Meghalaya High Court’s act of taking suo motu cognizance in matter relating to validity of provisions of Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014, unacceptable

Supreme Court: Terming the act of Meghalaya High Court of taking up suo motu cognizance of appointment of Lokayukta and failure to constitute Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission to be sad scenario, definitely and absolutely an impermissible and unacceptable one, the bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ said it was necessary to reiterate the fundamental principle to be adhered to by a Judge.

The Court elaborately explained that Suo motu public interest litigation can be initiated to ameliorate the conditions of a class of persons whose constitutional or otherwise lawful rights are affected or not adequately looked into so that persons in disadvantaged situation because of certain reasons like social, economic or socio-economic, are in a position to have access to the Court. In such cases the Court appoints Amicus Curiae to assist the Court and also expects the executive to respond keeping in view the laudable exercise.

In the present case, the High Court referred to the clause (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014 and compared these provisions with the provisions of other Acts enacted by different legislatures even when there was no challenge to the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Act. The Court noticed that the said suo motu petition was registered for giving effect to the Act by bringing the institutions into existence. It was further said that the Division Bench of the High Court had, with an erroneous understanding of fundamental principle of law, scanned the anatomy of the provision and passed an order in relation to it as if it is obnoxious or falls foul of any constitutional provision as a person aggrieved or with expanded concept of locus standi someone could have assailed the provisions. Hence, the direction pertaining to the stay of the provisions of the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014 in the order dated 14.12.2015, was set aside. [Joint Secretary, Political Department,  Government of Meghalaya  v. High Court of Meghalaya, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 263, decided on 18.03.2016]

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