Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Rajesh Singh Chauhan, J. while issuing the writ of mandamus commanded the opposite parties to reinstate the petitioner and post him at any place where the Competent Authority deems fit and proper within two weeks from the date of production of a certified copy of this order.

In the instant petition, the petitioner had assailed the impugned suspension order of 14.08.2019 passed by the Additional Director of Education (Basic), U.P., Prayagraj.

Counsel for the petitioner, Manish Kumar submitted that petitioner was working as a Steno-cum-Clerk when the suspension order was passed by Additional Director of Education (Basic) other than Joint Director of Education (Basic) who has the authority to suspend.

The Counsel objected to the contents of the instructions letter of 21.11.2019 produced by Counsel of the respondent, J.B.S. Rathour, wherein it was indicated that the petitioner was serving on the post of Personal Assistant Grade-II (as promoted) at the time of suspension. As proof, salary certificates and preliminary inquiry reports were provided.

Counsel drew the attention of this Court towards the Division Bench judgment of this Court in re Ashok Kumar Singh v. State of U.P, (2006) 3 UPLBEC 2247, in which it was categorically held that the order of suspension can be passed only by the Disciplinary Authority. However, the order to initiate the disciplinary proceedings may be passed by the Superior Authority. In ESI v. T. Abdul Razak, (1996) 4 SCC 708, the Supreme Court had laid down the same law as Ashok Kumar.

After considering the submissions of the parties and law laid down in various judgments put before the Court, the Court observed that suspension order of 14.08.2019 was not passed by the Competent Authority; therefore, it is liable to be quashed.[Jai Prakash Tiwari v. State of U.P., Service Single No. 31764 of 2019, decided on 22-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Pankaj Naqvi and Suresh Kumar Gupta, JJ., while disposing of this petition directed the complainant to avail alternate remedy to approach the Magistrate concerned under Section 156(3) CrPC.

The instant writ petition was filed for seeking a writ of mandamus commanding the respondent to conduct a fair investigation, under Sections 452, 376, 504, 506 IPC and 3(2)(v) SC/ST Act.

Counsels for the petitioner, Santosh Kumar Pandey and Rajnish Kumar Pandey submitted that petitioner is an informant and despite an application to the authorities concerned for a fair investigation, no action whatsoever was taken.

It was propounded in Sakiri Vasu v. State of U.P., (2008) 2 SCC 409 and reiterated in Sudhir Bhaskarrao Tambe v. Hemant Yashwant Dhage, (2016) 6 SCC 277 that in the event of unsatisfactory investigation, remedy of the aggrieved person is not to approach the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India but to approach the Magistrate concerned under Section 156(3) CrPC.

The Court observed that in this country, the High Courts are flooded with writ petitions praying for registration of the first information report or praying for a proper investigation. If the High Courts entertain such writ petitions, there will be no work other than these. [Kamlesh Kumari v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 3873, decided on 18-10-2019]

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 made clear that this order would not come in the way of the police invoking the provisions of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963 (the Act) if the members of the Bantwal Recreation Club (Petitioner) are found to indulge in any unlawful or immoral activities.

This instant petition was filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India with a prayer to direct the Respondents 1 to 3 from not interfering in skill games played in computerized electronic machines in the club.

Counsel for the Petitioner, Rajarama Sooryambail submitted that the petitioner seeks a writ of mandamus declaring that the petitioners and their members are entitled to play games like Rummy, Andhar Bahar, Carrom, Chess and other such skilled games. It was further submitted that by doing this they neither contravene any of the provisions nor attract any amount of offence under the Act. Therefore, the Respondents 2 to 4 should be restrained from causing any interference of any sort.

This particular controversy in the instant writ petition was already covered in a review petition.

The Court after observing the submissions of the parties and analyzing the case at hand disposed of the writ petition with certain dos and don’ts to the petitioner. Firstly, CCTV cameras shall be installed where games are played within six weeks and at least prior fifteen days period of footage shall be made available to the police. Secondly, identity cards shall be issued to the members so that they are able to produce when asked for. Thirdly, the petitioner shall not permit any activity by any of its members like indulging in acts of amusement as per Sections 2(14) and 2(15) of the Act and shall neither be allowed to play any kind of games for profits nor shall be allowed to play in an unlawful manner.

The Court also directed the respondents not to interfere in lawful recreational activities of the members of the petitioner and gave police the liberty to visit the premises periodically.[Bantwal Recreation Club v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 1444, decided on 04-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: G.S. Ahluwalia, J., dismissed a petition filed under Article 226 Constitution of India to direct the respondents to register an FIR on the basis of the complaint made by her.

The main question before the High Court to decide was ‘whether a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for registration of the FIR is tenable or not?’

The Supreme Court in the case of Divine Retreat Centre v. State of Kerala, (2008) 3 SCC 542 had held that the High Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 can always issue appropriate directions at the instance of an aggrieved person if the High Court is convinced that the power of investigation has been exercised by an investigating officer mala fide. That power is to be exercised in the rarest of the rare case where a clear case of abuse of power and non-compliance with the provisions falling under Chapter XII of the Code is clearly made out requiring the interference of the High Court. But even in such cases, the High Court cannot direct the police as to how the investigation is to be conducted but can always insist for the observance of the process as provided for in the Code. Even in cases where no action is taken by the police on the information given to them, the informant’s remedy would lie under Sections 190, 200 of CrPC, but a writ petition in such a case cannot be entertained.

Similarly, in the case of Lalita Kumari v. Government of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1, the Supreme Court held that cases like these do not pertain to issue of entitlement to writ of mandamus for compelling the police to perform statutory duty under Section 154 CrPC without availing alternative remedy under Sections 154(3), 156(3), 190 and 200 of CrPC.

Therefore, the Court finally dismissed the petition as the petitioner still had an efficacious and alternative remedy of filing a criminal complaint before the Court of competent jurisdiction.[Mamta Prajapati v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 2477, decided on 06-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Ali Mohammad Magrey, J. dismissed a Writ Petition on the basis of formal closure of ‘Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers’ (ReT) scheme by Government’s order.

A writ petition was filed by the petitioner requesting the High Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus commanding the respondents to select the petitioner and appoint him on the basis of merit eligibility against the post of ReT in a newly opened school. Respondent 7, who was placed at Serial 1, got less percentage than the petitioner, who was placed at Serial 3, and also her certificate was not certified by the University Grant Commission. The petitioner raised an objection to that.

The learned senior Additional Advocate General, entering on the behalf of the respondents, submitted that the government has formally sanctioned the closure of the ReT scheme vide Government Order No. 919-Edu of 2018, and therefore no indefeasible right has accrued to the petitioner claiming her appointment.

The Court held that since the government had formally withdrawn the appointment under ReT scheme, the Court could not direct the respondent to appoint the petitioner against a non-existing position. The Court was of the view that when the Government had taken a policy decision canceling all the advertisements for engagement of ReT,  the Court could not direct appointment against such post.

Hence, the writ petition was held to be devoid of any merit and dismissed in limine. However, the petitioner was granted liberty to challenge the Government Order No. 919-Edu of 2018.[Rayees Qadir Padder v. State of J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 418, decided on 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ. and N.S. Dhanik, J. allowed an appeal against the interlocutory order passed by learned Single Judge, for construction of the Advocates’ Chamber without giving appropriate time extension to the appellant. 

The appellant filed an appeal seeking relief and pleading extension of time against the impugned order directing them to file a final affidavit and to take immediate decision on the project. They contended that sanction of Detailed Project Report (for short DPR) is linked to releasing of funds. It is only if a budgetary sanction is accorded for construction of the Advocates’ chambers, would the question of approval of the DPR arise; and as funds can only be sanctioned by the State Legislature, and not Executive, a mandamus to the Executive is wholly unjustified.

The respondents in the aforementioned writ are practicing Advocates of the respective High Court; they had previously requested the Court for issuing the writ of mandamus and directing the appellant to complete the construction and to constitute a competent committee for allotment of new chambers and to review the existing chambers. The further allegation was that because of the negligence on the part of State, they are forced to work in harsh conditions. 

The learned Single Judge observed negligence and inaction on the part of State and the concerned agencies despite a constant reminder from the Registrar General of High Court, who identified and allotted the land area for construction. After the declaration of Chief Minister sanctioning funds for the particular project, State remained inactive and failed to deliver the project in time. 

The Court inquired about the laws which obligate State to finalize DPR only after adequate funds are sanctioned. Hence, the Court observed that there were no such laws and it was only the customary practice which required the State to approve DPR only when funds are released. The Court held, “It is not in dispute that a DPR is a pre-requisite for the commencement of construction, and it is only if the detailed project report is approved by the State Government, would the question of commencement of construction arise thereafter.” 

The Bench, however, observed that funds are undoubtedly required, but in absence of any such law which makes obligatory on the part of State to approve DPR after sanction of funds, upheld and modified the order of learned Single Judge and directed State to finalize DPR within three months. [State of Uttarakhand v. Pradeep Kumar Chauhan, Special Appeal No. 268 of 2019, Order dated 02-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Madhya Pradesh: The Court while hearing a public interest litigation filed by the petitioner as objections against certain provision stated in the draft of “Madhya Pradesh Outdoor Advertisement Media Rules, 2016” for regulating the installation of hoardings/advertisements erected on the road sides, the Bench comprising of SK Gangele and Anurag Shrivastava, JJ., observed that since the State invited objections while framing the rules mentioned above and now the said rules are in final stage of publication hence a writ of mandamus cannot be issued against the State Government and the petitioners have no locus standi to make objections at this juncture.

The petitioners have submitted that it is obligatory on the part of the Court to consider the objections filed against draft rules as the illegal hoardings/advertisements erected on the road sides without any permission from the Municipal Corporation are causing threat to the life of commuters as eye-catching advertisements put on the hoardings attract attention of drivers of the vehicles.

The Court perusing the contentions of parties held that it is well-settled principle of law that the Court cannot issue a writ of Mandamus against the State to frame particular sets of rules and since the Court had already issued interim directions to the State to consider the rules made by other State Governments or Corporations for finalising its draft rules hence, it is the duty of the State Government to frame the above-mentioned draft rules as early as possible preferably within a period of three months from the date of receiving the copy of the order in order to regulate the safe traffic movement in the State. [Satish Kumar Verma v.  State of Madhya Pradesh,  2017 SCC OnLine MP 333, decided on 28th February 2017]