Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Division Bench of Ali Mohammad Magrey and Dhiraj Singh Thakur, JJ. disposed of the appeal after asking the Writ Court to hear the parties and decide the writ petition on merits, expeditiously.

An appeal was filed by the appellant (who is the respondent 7 in the connected writ petition), against the order dated 23-10-2019 passed by the learned Single Judge in the contempt petition arising out of Other Writ Petition (OWP) filed by the respondent’s 8 to 11.

The appellant stated that the respondents 8 to 11 had filed an OWP, wherein the learned Single Judge, in terms of order dated 10-01-2019, while issuing notice to the respondents, observed that pendency of the writ petition shall not come in the way of the official respondents in making further follow up under law in pursuance to NIT No. 64/02/EEP/R&B/2018-19 dated 27th of June, 2018. Thereafter, alleging non-compliance of the aforesaid order passed by the learned single Judge, the writ petitioners/ respondents 8 to 11 filed a contempt petition, wherein the learned single Judge, in terms of order dated 23-10-2019, i.e., directed that the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, was to take immediate steps to provide security to the Executing Agency so that the execution work undertaken by the Executive Engineer, R&B, Division Pulwama, with respect to pathway in question went unhindered.

The appellant submitted that the contempt petition had arisen out of the ad-interim order passed in writ petition filed by the respondents 8 to 11 wherein the learned Single Judge has only made observation that pendency of the writ petition shall not come in the way of the official respondents in making further follow up under law, however, the learned Single Judge had gone beyond the scope of contempt jurisdiction by issuing further directions for providing security to the Executing Agency.

The Court found force in the submissions of the appellant and, therefore, ordered that the impugned order was set aside; since the consideration in the contempt petition was deferred. Accordingly, the appeal was disposed of along with the connected petitions. [Ghulam Hassan Rather v. UTof J&K, 2019 SCC OnLine J&K 913, decided on 02-12-2019]

Case Briefs

Jharkhand High Court: Sujit Narayan Prasad, J. dismissed a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as he was aggrieved by the order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner on 24-12-2014.

The Chief Information Commissioner, in exercise of power conferred under Section 19(8)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI Act, 2005’), held the petitioner liable to make payment for an amount of Rs 50,000 by way of compensation to be paid in favour of the respondent for the harassment meted out to him by the petitioner. The Deputy Commissioner too had issued a communication to the petitioner to deposit the demand draft for the said amount in compliance of the order passed by Chief Information Commissioner.

The petitioner challenged these orders on the following grounds:

  • Since the petitioner was appointed as a First Appellate Authority, he cannot be held responsible to make payment of an amount of compensation.
  • The Chief Information Commissioner had committed illegality in view of the fact that the provision of Section 19 (8) (b), which provides power upon the Second Appellate Authority to make compensation upon the public authority and not upon the Commission.
  • The meaning of public authority has been defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. Though the petitioner has the exercising power of a Public Information Officer, he cannot be held responsible for making payment of compensation, since he cannot be said to be a public authority within the meaning of Section 19 (8) (b) of the RTI Act, 2005.

High  Court, in this case, passed an ad-interim order that the petitioner, who held the post of First Appellate Authority, he cannot be treated as a public authority within the meaning of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, 2005 even though he is presumed to be Public Information Officer. The Court further stated that in a case where the Deputy Commissioner could not pass an interim order, the petitioner will be subjected to irreparable loss.[Lalchand Dadel v. State Information Commission, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 1179, decided on 11-09-2019]