Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Addressing an issue of public importance relating to difficulties faced by visitors at Shri Jagannath Temple (Puri), the Bench comprising of Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan, JJ., passed an interim order issuing directions for regulation and upkeep of the Temple.

The writ petition was filed by Mrinalini Padhi, a practicing advocate before the Orrisa High Court, highlighting the issues of public importance which need to be addressed and monitored so as to ensure safe custody of the valuables of the Temple; proper hassle-free worship by the devotees; and the clean and hygienic environment in the Temple. The issues put forth, also include the harassment of visitors by sevaks of the Temple. The Hon’ble Supreme Court noticed that the issues raised, involve the enforcement of fundamental right under Article 25 and directive principles under Articles 38, 49, 51A (f) and (g) of the Constitution. The Court further observed pilgrimage centers are of undoubted religious, social, historical and architectural importance, representing cultural heritage of our country. Millions of people visit these centers not only for tourism but for seeking inspiration for righteous values.

Having regard to the nature of the issue, Hon’ble Court directed the District Judge, Puri, to submit a report on factual aspects of the matter including difficulties faced by visitors and deficiency in management. Further, the Administrator was directed to review arrangement of CCTV cameras; and ensure that no direct collection of offerings is made by any sevak. The State of Odisha was directed to constitute a committee to study the management of other important shrines. Hassle free darshan by the visitors and utilization of offerings for righteous objects was considered to be of prime importance by the Hon’ble Court; hence, it was observed that the sevaks need to be compensated by legitimate remuneration as determined by the concerned Authority. Mr. Gopal Subramanium, learned Senior Counsel, was appointed as the Amicus Curiae to assist the Court. The matter is to be listed on 5-7-2018 for further consideration. [Mrinalini Padhi v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 602, decided on 08-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Judicature at Madras: The Single Judge Bench of K. Ravichandrabaabu J., recently addressed a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, which sought to direct the respondent to dispose of his representation wherein the petitioner had objected to register any document in connection to the subject-matter property.

The Court held that since the petitioner himself had admitted that 3 suits were pending in respect of the subject-matter properties between the parties, it is upon the petitioner to work out his remedy in the civil proceedings by filing interim applications, if he has any cause of action to receive interim relief. The Court observed that the petitioner had parallely proceeded with a complaint before the first respondent and also filed a writ petition seeking for its disposal. The Court was of the view that the petitioner could not do so without pursuing remedy before the Civil Court and hence, the writ petition would not be entertained. [G. Rohit v. Inspector General of Registration, 2018 SCC OnLine Mad 716, order dated 13.3.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While deciding the points of reference as laid before the Court in a set of writ petitions filed under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution, a Full Judge Bench comprising of Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, CJ, B.V. Nagarathna, J. and Aravind Kumar, J. held that a second writ petition assailing the same detention order is maintainable on fresh grounds or new grounds.

The instant order of reference arose under provisions of the Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drugs Offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Slum-Grabbers Act, 1985. Three points were referred to the High Court for appropriate orders. The Court decided on all the three points in seriatim.

On the point of maintainability of a second writ petition challenging the detention order, when the first one was already dismissed, the High Court held that a second writ petition based on the same grounds which were raised in the first petition is not maintainable on the principles of res judicata. However, it is maintainable if it is based on fresh grounds or those different from the ones taken in the first petition.

On the second point, it was held that the non-mentioning of the period of detention in the order of detention would not vitiate the same. However, in such a case the detenu could not be detained after a maximum period of twelve months as provided under Section 13 of the Act.

Lastly, the High Court held that there was no nexus between Sections 3(1) and 3(2) of the Act, as Section 3(1) relates to the order of detention passed by the State Government, and

Section 3(2) relates to the order as passed by the delegated Authority. And the time period mentioned in both the provisions, have no nexus either. The time mentioned in the first provision relates to the period of detention and that mentioned in the second provision relates to the period of delegation.

The points of reference were answered accordingly and the writ petitions were directed to be placed before the appropriate bench. [Abdul Razak v. State of Karnataka, 2017 SCC OnLine Kar 2855, dated 7.10.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court for Andhra Pradesh & Telangana: The Court dismissed a writ petition seeking a writ of mandamus which claimed that the request for extension of parole of the petitioner has been pending and no action whatsoever has been taken on it.

The petitioner, serving a life sentence, requested for his parole to be extended from 31.07.2017 to 30.01.2018 on the ground that his mother is quite old and suffering from serious health issues. This request petition has not been disposed of.

The Court stated that sub-rule 16 of  Rule 974 of the Andhra Pradesh Prison Rules clearly specifies that parole cannot be granted for prolonged illness of relatives. Sub-rule 12 states that the period of parole cannot exceed two weeks except in cases of emergency. The petitioner had already been granted parole for 30 days which was further extended by 15 days. Since the grounds mentioned by the petitioner are anyway not allowed under the Rules, therefore, no case can be made out for non-passing of orders. Hence the petition was dismissed. [P. Liyakat Ali Khan v. State of A.P., Writ Petition No. 25526 of 2017, decided on 02.08.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the ‘money for change of land use’ scam involving Ram Kishan Fauji where it was alleged that no appeal lies against the order passed by the Single Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in exercise of criminal jurisdiction, the 3-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ held that  the Letters Patent Appeal was not maintainable before the Division Bench and, consequently, the order passed therein is wholly unsustainable and, accordingly, it is set aside. The Bench, however, granted liberty to the State to assail the order of the learned Single Judge in accordance with law, as the State had been diligently agitating its grievance in a legal forum which it thought had jurisdiction.

The question for determination before the Court was that whether the learned Single Judge, in the obtaining factual matrix has exercised criminal jurisdiction or not. The Court, hence, noticed that the writ petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing of the recommendation of the Lokayukta. The said recommendation would have led to launching of criminal prosecution, and, as the factual matrix reveals, FIR was registered and criminal investigation was initiated. The learned Single Judge analysed the report and the ultimate recommendation of the statutory authority and thought it seemly to quash the same and after quashing the same, as he found that FIR had been registered, he annulled it treating the same as a natural consequence. Thus, the effort of the writ petitioner was to avoid a criminal investigation and the final order of the writ court is quashment of the registration of FIR and the subsequent investigation.

Stating that the nomenclature of a writ petition is not the governing factor but what is relevant is what is eventually being sought to be enforced, the Court held that in such a situation, to hold that the learned Single Judge, in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, has passed an order in a civil proceeding as the order that was challenged was that of the quasi-judicial authority, that is, the Lokayukta, would be conceptually fallacious.

As per the facts of the case, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Haryana in exercise of power under Section 8(1) of the Haryana Lokayukta Act, 2002 (for brevity, “the Act”) made a reference to the Lokayukta, Haryana to enquire into the allegation of bribery levelled in the alleged Compact Disc (CD) of the sting operation against the appellant are correct and whether Change of Land Use (CLU)/Licence was granted in pursuance of these allegations. The Lokayukta, hence, recommended for registration of FIR for offences punishable under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The appellant, hence, filed a Civil Writ Petition before the High Court, seeking issue of writ in the nature of certiorari for quashing of the said order. [Ram Kishan Fauji v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 259, decided on 21.03.2017]


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the writ petition relating to appointment of constitutional authorities where the President of India was made the first respondent, the Court said that despite the decision of the constitutional bench in Rameshwar Prasad v. Union of India, (2006) 2 SCC 1 where it was clearly held that the President of India cannot be arrayed as a party to the litigation, the petitioners being emboldened by some kind of imaginative faculty have described the President as a Respondent.

The petitioners had sought issue of a quo warranto declaring that one of the respondents is not eligible to hold the constitutional post or alternatively issue a writ of mandamus not to continue on the post in question, the Court said that the writ petition preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution is absolutely the product of disgruntled minds obsessed with their own litigation. Their individual grievances do not confer any right on them to file a writ petition of the present nature. It is an assault on the Constitution, more so, when the high constitutional authorities are involved. No litigant can be permitted to browbeat or malign the system. This is essential for maintaining the integrity of the institution and the public confidence in the delivery of justice. It is sheer malice. The question of issuance of any kind of writ does not arise.

The bench of Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ further directed that in future the petitioners shall be debarred from filing any kind of public interest litigation in any constitutional court and none of their petition under Article 226 or Article 32 of the Constitution shall be entertained unless they are personally grieved. [Anindita v. Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 71, decided on 30.01.2017]