Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, J. dismissed the writ application on the grounds that the settled proposition of law was that the writ of certiorari should not be issued only for making out a legal point.

The petitioner, aggrieved by the order dated passed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries, Government of Bihar whereby the appeal preferred by the petitioner against the order of canceling the allotment of his industrial plot was been dismissed has challenged the same in the instant writ application.

N.K. Agrawal, senior counsel on behalf of the petitioner submitted that it was a case of violation of principles of natural justice wherein the cancellation order was not served upon the petitioner and further the appellate authority failed to decipher that the inquiries conducted by the Department during the pendency of the appeal could not be taken as a conclusive proof of the fact that the unit in question was not functioning.

The counsel on behalf of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (‘BIADA’) argued that the matters related to allotment of industrial plots and were to be considered from a larger public interest purview. He further submitted that the petitioner’s allegation that the order of cancellation passed in the year 2007 was not served upon the petitioner is not correct inasmuch as ‘BIADA’ had produced the proof of service by placing on record that the said decision canceling the allotment in favor of the petitioner was sent through courier and it was not returned un-served. It was also submitted that the industrial plot was given to the petitioner for carrying industrial activity but instead the petitioner was utilizing it for some kind of residential purpose which was confirmed by the inquiry report submitted after the spot verification by the appellate authority.

Upon perusal of the records, the court found that the industrial plot was allotted to the petitioner in the year 1996, and the purpose behind the same was setting up of industry but the materials available on record showed that no industrial activities were going on for the last several years. Since no prima-facie material was brought on record to controvert the findings and no material was made available to show that the findings were perverse and required any interference.

The case being one for issuance of a writ of certiorari, the principle was well-settled that while exercising its power to issue a writ in the nature of certiorari the Court under Article 226 would not sit in appeal and could not exercise an appellate power. Such a writ of certiorari could be issued only when the Court found that the impugned order suffered from perversity. [Santosh Kumar Jalan v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1772, decided on 30-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Alok Aradhe, J. dismissed a petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India with respect to the claim for compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme been rejected.

In the present petition, the petitioner sought a writ of certiorari with respect to the quashing of communication through which the claim for petitioner’s compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme was rejected. Along with the stated petitioner also sought a writ of mandamus to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority to release an amount of Rs 7 lakhs as compensation in accordance with the revised scheme.

In accordance with the facts of the case as stated, the petitioner claimed to be a rape victim on the basis of which after the FIR and investigation were duly completed, the petitioner’s father made a representation for grant of compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme before the District Legal Services Authority.

Further, the above-stated authority passed an award by which the petitioner was directed to pay a sum of Rs 3 lakhs as compensation. Though, during the pendency of the proceeding before the Authority, in the criminal case, the petitioner and petitioner’s father were both declared hostile.

Thus in view of the above, the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority through an order had set aside the order awarding compensation passed by the Authority on the ground of petitioner and petitioner’s father turning hostile following which the petitioner approached the High Court.

Conclusion

High Court on perusal of the facts and circumstances of the matter, stated that in the exercise of powers under Section 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 the State Government framed Karnataka Victim Compensation Scheme, 2007. Clause 6(3) and clause 7(10) of the scheme read as under:

“6(3) The victim/claimant shall cooperate with police and prosecution during the investigation and trial of the case.”

7(10) If a victim or his dependants have obtained an order sanctioning compensation under this scheme of false/vexatious/fabricated complaint which is so held by the Trial Court, the compensation awarded shall be recovered with 15% interest per annum.

From the perusal of the above-stated clauses of the scheme, it is evident that the victim has to cooperate with the prosecution during the investigation and trial and the complaint filed by her should not be fabricated.

High Court held that the petitioner, as well as her father, were declared hostile, they violated clause 6(3) of the scheme and therefore, were not entitles to seek compensation. Thus on finding no merits in the case, the Court dismissed the same. [XXX  v.  Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 1738, decided on 16-09-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka: Application under Article 140 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was contemplated by Yasantha Kodagoda and Arjuna Obeyesekere, JJ.  for issuance of Writs of Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus.

The factual matrix of the case was that the petitioner filed an application where he sought certiorari against the respondent- Inspector General of Police, in lieu to quash the decision of dismissal of the petitioner from the Police Department. Such dismissal order was passed because; a complaint was filed against the petitioner who was a Sub-Inspector, for the illicit relationship with a married woman. The complainant was the husband of the woman with whom the petitioner was in the alleged relationship. The complainant had detained the petitioner when he was found in his house.

A preliminary investigation was conducted and a charge sheet was filed accordingly. It was stated that in the investigations carried out by the Police Department it was revealed that the Petitioner had made an entry in the Information Book that he left the Station to attend lectures at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura. However, inquiries had revealed that, instead the Petitioner had visited the wife of the complainant on that particular day. It was further examined by the Court that all the charges were based on the petitioner who made a false entry in the information book and thereafter had engaged in an illicit relationship with the wife of the complainant and also duping her with an amount of Rs 50,000. He was charged for violating the disciplinary code and bringing the Police Service to disrepute. Eventually, he was found guilty by the Court. Although the Inquiry Officer had only recommended, by way of punishment, the suspension of salary increments and promotions due to the Petitioner, the Senior Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Petitioner had recommended that the services of the Petitioner be terminated as provided for in Section 24:3:2 of Chapter XLVIII of the Establishments Code, as the Petitioner was still under probation at the time the aforementioned incident occurred.

The Court had examined the said provision of the Establishments Code and found that the said recommendation was in terms of the Establishments Code. The Inspector-General of Police had agreed with the said recommendation and by a Disciplinary Order, petitioner to be terminated from the services.

Petitioner then appealed to the National Police Commission which had dismissed his appeal. Aggrieved by which he again appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where his appeal was dismissed. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that although the charge sheet contained seven charges, the Inquiry Officer had found the Petitioner ‘guilty’ of only three charges. He further submitted, however that the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police, the Inspector General of Police, the National Police Commission and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal have all proceeded on the basis that the petitioner had been found guilty of all seven charges, thus, was an error on the face of the record and vitiated their finding.

The Court, observed that the Inquiry Officer had dealt with all the charges and found him guilty of the relevant ones. Thus, the Inquiry Officer has, in fact, found the Petitioner ‘guilty’ of all charges, but had grouped the charges under three heads in his conclusion. The Court further observed that, it was clear to the Court that the Inquiry Officer was satisfied with the core offence – i.e. making a false entry and engaging in conduct unbecoming of a Police officer – which was common to all charges, had been established. It was held that, “Although the Inquiry Officer was required to record his conclusions on each charge separately, no prejudice has been caused to the Petitioner by the course of action adopted by the Inquiry Officer in lumping together charges of a similar nature. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal too has proceeded on the basis that the Petitioner has been found guilty of the principal allegation made against him. In these circumstances, this Court does not see any merit with the submission of the learned Counsel for the Petitioner.”

Hence, the Court found no merits in the application of the petitioner and found him guilty of the said conduct. The application was dismissed.[Ranawana Wedaralalage v. C.D. Wickramaratne, 2019 SCC OnLine SL CA 8, decided on 17-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Alok Aradhe, J. while disposing of this petition granted the petitioner the liberty to assail the order by which a fine was imposed for not supplying information.

In the instant case, the petitioner sought a writ of certiorari for the quashing of the order passed by the Karnataka Information Commission by which the petitioner was directed to provide information to respondent 1 that whether Karnataka Badminton Association is a “Public Authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h) of Right to Information Act, 2000.

Prashanthi A.L., Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the information sought by the petitioner will be supplied to the petitioner within fifteen days.

The Court observed that it is not necessary to examine the validity of the order passed by the Karnataka Information Commission and directed the petitioner to provide information within fifteen days from the date of the order. [Karnataka Badminton Association v. S. Raghu, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 1443, decided on 23-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, C.J. and Alok Kumar Verma, J. entertained a writ petition which was initially filed in the Allahabad High Court in 1994.

Factual matrix of the case was that the petitioner was appointed as a Panchayat Mantri and thereafter the Panchayat Mantries were declared to be public servants. Petitioner sought leave for 15 days during his course of employment. Respondent demanded a health certificate by the petitioner, however, he failed. The services of the petitioner were terminated on various grounds; he questioned his termination on the principle of natural justice.

State Public Services Tribunal on the sole ground that the impugned order of termination dated had been passed with retrospective effect and the State Public Services Tribunal quashed the said order of termination and held that the order of termination cannot be passed with retrospective effect.

While the Tribunal held that the petitioner had been absent from duty throughout, and had filed the Claim Petition after a period of more than 12 years, the State Public Services Tribunal observed that, since the order of termination was void, the law of limitation had no application on void orders; but no order related to the payment of salary for intervening period was passed as the petitioner was at fault.

The Court in the instant writ held that while it was debatable whether the Tribunal was entitled to grant the relief sought for in the Claim Petition, despite the employee had invoked its jurisdiction 12 years’ after the order of termination was passed. The Court felt that it was inappropriate to examine that aspect since the Government had filed a Writ Petition before the Allahabad High Court questioning the very same order passed by the Tribunal, albeit to the extent the order of termination was quashed and the petitioner was reinstated into service. Hence the examination in the Writ Petition was limited to the action of the Tribunal in denying the petitioner salary for the period between the dates of his termination till the date on which the petitioner was required to join duty.

The writ was filed challenging the order passed by the State Public Services Tribunal, Lucknow where it quashed the termination order of the petitioner and had held it illegal and void. It further directed respondents to reinstate the petitioner and pay him salary and dues. The Tribunal, however, observed that no orders were passed for payment of salary to the petitioner, for the intervening period, on account of his continued absence from duty.

The Court held that, “unlike an appellate authority which can reappreciate the evidence on record, the High Court, in the exercise of its certiorari jurisdiction, would not substitute its views for that of the Tribunal, nor would it reappreciate the evidence on record to arrive at a conclusion different from that of the Tribunal whose order is impugned before it.”

The Court found no error in the order of the Tribunal as to pass certiorari, hence saw no reason to interfere with the order of the Tribunal in denying the salary from the date of the termination till reinstatement. The Court observed that “Having approached the State Public Services Tribunal after a period of 12 years, the petitioner cannot be heard to contend that he should also be paid his salary for the intervening period from the year 1980 to 1992 when he approached the Tribunal, even though it was he who had slept over his rights for around 12 years.”[Naresh Kumar Jain v. State Public Services Tribunal, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 613, decided on 16-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: A Division Bench of S.K. Mishra and Dr A.K. Mishra, JJ., dismissed the writ petition against the judgment declining interference in the disciplinary proceeding and order imposing the punishment of compulsory retirement.

The facts of the case were that appellant-petitioner was appointed as an officer of the Indian Bank as Inspecting Manager at Kolkata. He was entrusted with the inspection of banks at different places for which the bank had to pay the bill for lodging. The Deputy Manager General, on finding the irregularity asked for the explanation which was duly submitted but was not appreciated and appellant-petitioner alleged to be dishonest under the Indian Bank Officer Employees’ (Conduct) Regulations, 1976. A disciplinary authority thus imposed a major penalty of compulsory retirement. The appeal and review petition filed before the reviewing authority was dismissed and hence, this writ.

The Judgment of the Single Judge Court after submission held that the court had the jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition. The court further held that the court could not interfere with the enquiry, appellate and reviewing authority in absence of the procedural irregularities. The Court further held that “The power of judicial review to scan the evidence, which had reached finality on the basis of concurrent finding, was found uncalled for in the facts placed and law analyzed.”

The matter was then called for Division Bench which observed the Judgment of Radhey Shyam v. Chhabi Nath, (2015) 5 SCC 423 in which the court made it clear that the writ of certiorari, under Article 226 of the Constitution, is issued for correcting gross errors of jurisdiction i.e. where lower courts either without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction or acting in flagrant disregard of law or rules of procedure or acting in violation of the principles of natural justice, pass an order thereby occasioning failure of justice. Thus, the impugned judgment of the learned single judge was found to have the support of law and facts. Thus, writ dismissed. [Abhiram Samal v. Indian Bank, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 198, decided on 01-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ. and N.S. Dhanik, J. entertained a petition seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the order passed by Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board. 

The learned counsel for the petitioner, Vikas Kumar Guglani, submitted that impugned order by the respondent of the closure of the Unit due to several deficiencies in the said unit must be quashed and the unit must be de-sealed. After the rectification of the deficiencies noted by the Pollution Control Board and complying with the stipulated norms, the unit is still closed as the authority has not given a clean chit for de-sealing. 

Further the learned counsel for the respondent, Aditya Pratap Singh, submitted that the petitioner’s representation would only be considered in accordance with law after an inspection of the unit would be caused again by the officials of the Pollution Control Board to satisfy themselves that the petitioner’s claim of having complied with the stipulated norms were valid or not. He contended that necessary orders would be passed thereafter in accordance with law with utmost expedition. 

The Court, in this regard, observed that petitioner’s unit was closed for a week, thus directing the Board to conduct and examine the unit and cause an inspection of the subject unit. It is also important that the respondent must be satisfied that the petitioner has complied with the said norms and thereafter make any decision as it is a matter related to public interest and environment. [Eurasia Door Devices v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 346, decided on 03-05-2019]