Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: R. Devdas, J., while allowing the present Writ Petition, directed the Medical Council to issue the No Objection Certificate to the Petitioner pending departmental enquiry.

 Brief Facts

  1. That the petitioner, after completing MBBS graduation registered with respondent 5; Karnataka Medical Council and was thereby selected to the post of General Duty Medical Officer by the Karnataka Public Services Commission.
  2. That the petitioner was consequently appointed to the post of General Duty Doctor at Primary Health Centre, Alur Village, Chamarajanagar Taluk and District by way of notification dated 16-12-2015.
  3. That the petitioner thereafter appeared for the entrance examination for pursuing Post Graduation Diploma in Otolaryngology conducted by the Karnataka Examination Authority and secured admission with the Mysore Medical College for the same.
  4. That due permission was taken by the petitioner from respondent 4 with respect to the said enrolment, via communication letter dated, 26-05-2016 and before completing the admission process, charge of his position was handed over to the rightful authority.
  5. That after completion of the course, the petitioner moved a request dated 27-10-2018, for appointment at any government hospital or Primary health Centre to which, an order dated 15-12-2018 was passed recruiting the petitioner at Munduru, K.R. Nagar.
  6. That the petitioner made a representation to the Medical Council, dated 07-09-2019, so to practice as a private doctor, requesting for a NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE (NOC).
  7. That the aforementioned representation was made contending that the petitioner has discharged his duties in rural area for more than one year as stipulated under the Medical Registration Rules.
  8. That the petitioner also made a parallel application to the Registrar of the Karnataka Medical Council for the registration of Additional Qualification as a Postgraduate diploma holder.
  9. That it is imperative to secure a NOC for the petitioner in order to apply against the recent vacancy for ENT as advertised by the Special Recruitment Committee and Chief Administrative officer, Health & Family Welfare.
  10. That the present petition is filed seeking a writ of mandamus against the respondent authorities to consider the representations made and include the PG Diploma of the Petitioner under the register of the R-5 Council.

 Issue

  • Whether the petitioner has fulfilled the statutory requirement for the issuance of No Objection Certificate by the Medical Council?

 Observation & Decision

While allowing the present Writ Petition, the Court observed,

“(…) As per the Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidate (Counseling, Allotment and Certification) Rules, 2015, a person who has completed MBBS Degree or Post Graduate Degree and Diploma is required to undergo one year compulsory service training in Government Hospital or Medical College Institutions in rural areas. It is also a fact that on completion of the PG Diploma Course, when the petitioner reported back to duty, the authorities have issued a movement order asking the petitioner to take charge as a Duty Doctor, at PHC, Munduru, K.R. Nagar, which is also a rural area. The movement order was issued on 19-12-2018 and till date the petitioner has been serving at the said place. Therefore, the petitioner has completed more than one year in the rural area. The discrepancy pointed out by the respondent is required to be dealt with in the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the respondent authority.”

[Dr Anand Kumar v. State of Karnataka, 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 1632, decided on 09-10-2020]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna, and Krishna Murari, JJ has upheld the speaker’s orders dated 25.07.2019 and 28.07.2019 to the extent of the disqualification of the Petitioners but has set aside the part of order that said that disqualified members can’t contest elections till the end of the current Assembly term i.e. the 15th Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. It, hence, directed that 17 Karnataka MLAs can contest the by-elections in the state.

On validity of Speaker’s order

In the impugned order, the Speaker had concluded that the Petitioners have voluntarily given up membership of the party, through their undisputed conduct. Here are the grounds on which the said order was challenged and the Court’s decision on the same:

Breach of principles of natural justice

The Petitioners had contended that the principles of natural justice were breached when the Speaker provided for a three­days’ notice, in derogation of Rule 7(3)(b) of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of Members on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, wherein a seven­day period is prescribed. The Court, however, held that

“Principles of natural justice cannot be reduced into a straitjacket formula. The yardstick of judging the compliance of natural justice, depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.”

Violation of constitutional mandate

The Court held that though there was an error on the part of the Speaker relating to the period of disqualification imposed in the impugned orders, the same does not rise to a level which requires us to quash the disqualification orders in their entirety.

“the error is severable, and does not go to the root of the disqualification, and thus does not require us to quash the disqualification orders in toto.”

Orders passed with malafides

The Court noticed that the Petitioners have not been able to establish any illegality in the orders passed by the Speaker. It held,

“The Speaker, in our view, had concluded based on material and evidence that the members have voluntarily given up their membership of the party, thereby accruing disqualification in terms of the Tenth Schedule, which facts cannot be reviewed and evaluated by this Court in these writ petitions.”

On Speaker disqualifying members till the end of the term

The Court noticed that the Speaker is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term. However, a member disqualified under the Tenth Schedule shall be subjected to sanctions provided under Articles 75(1B), 164(1B) and 361B of Constitution, which provides for a bar from being appointed as a Minister or from holding any remunerative political post from the date of disqualification till the date on which the term of his office would expire or if he is re­elected to the legislature, whichever is earlier.

It also explained that the 91st  Constitutional Amendment, Articles 71(1B), 164(1B) and 361B  were enacted to ensure that a member disqualified by the Speaker on account of defection is not appointed as a Minister or holds any remunerative political post from the date of disqualification or till the date on which his term of office would expire or he/she is re­elected   to the legislature, whichever is earlier.

Considering that the Speaker had, in the order, disqualified the members from contesting elections till the end of the current Assembly term, the Court held:

“the part of Speaker’s orders detailing the duration of disqualification, viz., from the date of the respective order till the expiry of the term of  the 15th Legislative Assembly of Karnataka, is accordingly set aside.”

On Petitioner’s approaching Supreme Court directly

The Court, however, wasn’t pleased with the way the matter was dealt with & said,

“we do not appreciate the manner in which the petitioners came to the Court”

It said that the matters challenging disqualification must go to the High Court first. It said that the Speaker, while adjudicating a disqualification petition, acts as a  quasi­judicial  authority and the validity of the orders thus passed can be questioned before this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. However, ordinarily, the party challenging the disqualification is required to first approach the High Court as the same would be appropriate, effective and expeditious.

On growing trend of Speakers acting against constitutional mandate

It also emphasised on the need for stable governments and that there is a growing trend of Speakers acting against constitutional mandate due to which the citizens are denied stable governments. It said,

“There is a growing trend of the Speaker acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral. Further horse trading and corrupt practices associated with defection and change of loyalty or lure of office or wrong reasons have not abated. Thereby the citizens are denied stable governments. In these circumstances, there is need to consider strengthening certain aspects, so that such undemocratic practices are discouraged and checked.”

On disqualification vis-à-vis resignation

Though the Court noticed that resignation and disqualification on account of defection under the Tenth Schedule, both result in vacancy of the seat held by the member in the legislature. It, however, said that further consequences envisaged are different. It explained,

“Factum and taint of disqualification does not vaporise by tendering a resignation letter to the Speaker. A pending or impending disqualification action does not become infructuous by submission of the resignation letter, when act(s) of disqualification have arisen prior to the member’s resignation letter.”

On reference to larger bench

Holding that no substantial question of law exists in the present matter, which needs reference to a larger bench, the Court said that the power of the Speaker to   disqualify has been interpreted in a number of cases, and the present case does not require any broad­based reference which would only prolong the inevitable.

“Such casual and cavalier references should not be undertaken by this Court in view of conditions prescribed under Article   145(3)   of   the   Constitution,   which   mandates   a responsibility   upon   this   Court   not   to   indulge   in   excessive academic endeavors and preserve precious judicial time, and effectively dispense justice in a timely fashion.”

[Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil v. Hon’ble Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1454, decided on 13.11.2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Deciding the Cauvery Water Dispute that reportedly travels beyond 100 years, the bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, JJ awarded to the State of Karnataka an additional 14.75 TMC of water, i.e., 10 TMC, on account of availability of ground water in Tamil Nadu + 4.75 TMC, for drinking and domestic purposes including such need for the whole city of Bengaluru. Hence, in view of the allocation of additional 14.75 TMC of water to Karnataka, the State of Karnataka would now be required to release 177.25 TMC of water at the inter-state border with Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal had, by award dated 05.02.2007, directed the State of Karnataka to release 205 TMC of water to the State of Tamil Nadu.

The Court noticed that the Tribunal had drastically reduced the share of Karnataka towards Domestic and Industrial purpose for the reason being that only 1/3rd of the city of Bangaluru falls within the river basin and also on the presumption that 50% of the drinking water requirement would be met from ground water supply. Holding that the said view taken by the Tribunal ignores the basic principle pertaining to drinking water and is, thus unsustainable, the Court said:

“Drinking water requirement of the overall population of all the States has to be placed on a higher pedestal as we treat it as a hierarchically fundamental principle of equitable distribution.”

In a 465-page detailed judgment, the Bench took note of the fact that around 20 TMC of groundwater is available beneath the surface in Tamil Nadu which the Tribunal has not taken into account citing it as a conjecture. Hence, while keeping in mind the risks associated with over extraction of underground water, the Court said that 10 TMC of the said available groundwater in Tamil Nadu can, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, be accounted for in the final determination of its share.

The Court, however, refused to interfere with the allocation of water in favour of the State of Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Stressing upon the importance of the matter, the Court said:

“in view of the acute scarcity of the water resources and the intensely contested claims of the States, it is expected that the allocations hereby made would be utilized for the purposes earmarked and accepted and no deviancy is shown in carrying out the verdict of this Court.”

[State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 135, decided on 16.02.2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Court directed the State of Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water from tomorrow i.e. 28.09.2016 till the next date of hearing i.e. 30.09.2016 and said that the State of Karnataka shall obey the order without any kind of impediment, obstruction or any other attitude till the next date of hearing. Needless to say, the water that has been released will be adjusted in the eventual adjudication.

Fali S. Nariman, appearing on behalf of the State of Karnataka had submitted that there will be difficulty on the part of the State of Karnataka because of the resolution passed by the State to use the Cauvery water for drinking purpose only and not to release the water to the State of Tamil Nadu. The bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ, however, said that the direction for release of water has been passed for the coming three days despite the resolution passed.

The Court had asked Mukul Rohatgi, the Attorney General for India what could be the possible solution for the situation and said that the same is being done not because this Court cannot adjudicate or pass appropriate orders in accordance with law to maintain and sustain the rule of law and majesty of law which are elan vital of our constitutional law, but prior to that it would be appropriate if there is a  discussion regard being had to the conceptual federalism prevalent in our democratic body polity. Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the Union of India is prepared to facilitate so that the impasse between the two States can appositely melt. Both the States expressed their consent to it. [State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, I.A. NO.12/2016 IN I.A. NO.10 in Civil Appeal No.2456/2007, decided on 27.09.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: As an interim measure, regard being had to the subsequent developments and the problems that have been highlighted by Fali S. Nariman in the State of Karnataka, the Court directed the State of Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water from today till the next date of hearing i.e. 27.09.2016. The Court had initially, on 05.09.2016 directed the release of 15000 cusecs of water and had later modified the said order on 12.09.2016 and directed the release of 12, 000 cusecs of water by the State of Karnataka.

The bench of Dipak Misra and U.U. Lalit, JJ noticed that the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal had fixed 192 TMC for normal year in favour of the State of Tamil Nadu and the Tribunal has also carved out monthly allocation from the month of June to May, which is called the “water year”. However, it was contended by the Counsel appearing for the State of Karnataka that is not a normal year and, therefore, there has to be adjustment in monthly allocation and If there is a deficit year and not a normal year, the yearly allocation has to reduce proportionally. He further contended that when the State of Karnataka is in a great misery as far as the supply of water is concerned, it is not possible to release any water in favour of the State of Tamil Nadu and that the State of Karnataka has to part with drinking water if it is compelled to supply the water to the State of Tamil Nadu.

Shekhar Naphade, the counsel for the State of Karnataka contended that the monthly allocation by the Tribunal is rational, inasmuch as it has taken into consideration various crops that are grown in the State of Tamil Nadu and seasonal requirement. He also submitted that both the States have to embrace the principle of adjustment in deficit year. He, however, said that the Tribunal has not really referred to the decision pertaining to drinking water for 2/3rd of the City of Bengaluru are covered by the water basin.

Considering the aforesaid contentions, the Court directed the Union of India to constitute the Cauvery Management Board within four weeks hence, regard being had to the directions by the Tribunal. The Union of India shall produce after four weeks the notification indicating that the Cauvery Management Board has been constituted so that, if required, appropriate directions can be issued to the Board. [State of Karnataka v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 962, decided on 20.09.2016]