Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench comprising of P.B.Suresh Kumar and K. Babu, JJ., addressed the instant petition against the report submitted by the Kerala Lok Ayukta to the Chief Minister of the State under Section 12(3) of the Kerala Lok Ayukta Act, 1999 in respect to a complaint lodged by one V.K Muhammed Shafi against the petitioner. The Bench stated,

“In spite of a vigilant media, it is a fact that abuse of public resources and position in public life for private gain are rampant in our State.”

Background

The petitioner was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly as Minister for Higher Education on 16-05-2016 and had been a member of the Council of Ministers of the State since 25-05-2016. A complaint was received against the petitioner alleging that he had violated the oath of office by abusing his position as a Minister by indulging in favouritism and nepotism in appointing one K.T Adeeb (cousin of the petitioner) as the General Manager of the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation (the Corporation).

The academic qualification prescribed by the Government for appointment to the post of General Manager was Graduation with MBA or CS/CA/ICWAI; that immediately on assumption of office by the petitioner as the Minister in charge of the Minority Development Department, which is the administrative department of the Corporation, the Government issued an order modifying the educational qualification prescribed for appointment to the post of General Manager by adding B.Tech with PGDBA (Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration) as an alternative educational qualification based on a note issued by the petitioner directing such a modification.

It was further alleged in the complaint that there was no proposal from the Corporation for modifying the educational qualification for the post, and the same was modified with a view to facilitates the appointment of petitioner’s cousin who possesses only the additional qualification added by the Government.

It was also submitted in the complaint that though K.T. Adeeb applied for selection pursuant to the invitation, he did not turn up for the interview and was later on appointed on deputation basis. In spite of objection raised against his appointment by the General Administration Department that K. T. Adeeb, who was then working in a Private Bank could not be appointed as the General Manager of the Corporation on deputation basis, the petitioner overruled the said objection and directed to issue orders to appoint K. T. Adeeb. Moreover, the vigilance clearance , as required in respect of persons to be appointed as General Manager in all public sector undertakings was not obtained.

Findings of Lok Ayukta

After conducting preliminary, the Lok Ayukta reached to the findings that the action of the petitioner in directing appointment of his cousin on deputation basis without inviting any application and without providing any opportunity to other eligible persons to apply for the post was an action actuated by personal interest in the discharge of the function
of the petitioner as a Minister to favour his cousin and the said actions would amount to favouritism, nepotism and also lack of integrity on the part of the petitioner in his capacity as a Minister of the State. Hence, it was declared that the petitioner was not entitled to continue as a member of the Council of Ministers. A report was accordingly submitted in terms of Section 12(3) of the Act by the Lok Ayukta to the Chief Minister.

Observations by the Court

The Bench, while citing the decision of the Supreme Court in Uttamrao Shivdas Jankar v. Ranjitsinh Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, (2009) 13 SCC 131, stated that the purpose of judicial review over orders of statutory bodies is to ensure that the statutory bodies act within the confines of their allocated powers. The power of judicial review is therefore not directed against the
decision, but is confined to the decision making process. The court would examine an error of fact touching the merits of the decision only when it has a direct nexus to
the decision making process.

Differentiating the judgment in K.Chandrasekharan v. C.Sasidharan Pillai, 1994 KHC 6, the Bench stated that, regarding the contention that the affidavit filed in support of the complaint was defective and was not in conformity with Rule 52 of Kerala Lok Ayukta (Form and Manner of Complaint) Rules, 1999, the Bench opined that since the petitioner had not raised any objection in this regard in his written statement and had not alleged any prejudice being caused to him for want of a proper affidavit; the procedural defects of the instant nature could not be raised in a proceedings for judicial review.

On the question of maintainability of report, the Bench was of the view that under Section 8(1) of the Act, the bar would apply only in the case of a complaint involving any grievance in respect of any action relating to any matter specified in the Second Schedule. Section 2(h) of the Act defines ‘grievance’ to mean a claim by a person that he sustained injustice or undue hardship in consequence of maladministration.

“The distinction between ‘grievance’ and ‘allegation’ falling within the scope of the Act is that the grievance should be contained in a claim by a person that he has sustained an injustice or undue hardship due to the maladministration, whereas the allegation in relation to the public servant can be raised by any person, who may not have any grievance to be redressed, qua the maladministration, the bar under Section 8(1) of the Act does not apply to such a case.”

Similarly, the contention of non-issuance of notice and violation of natural justice were also rejected by the Court holding that the Lok Ayukta had issued notice before admission of the complaint to the respondents including the petitioner and pursuant to the said notice, the
petitioner entered appearance in the proceedings and filed a written statement offering his comments on the complaint. Thus, considering the fact that Lok Ayukta had forwarded a copy of the complaint to the public servant even before the admission of the complaint, in the absence of any prejudice caused to the petitioner the same would not amount to injustice merely because of not repeating the same process and sending notice to the petitioner after the complaint was admitted.

Lastly, observing that it cannot be said that the Lok Ayukta is bound to afford to public servant an opportunity to let in evidence once the complaint is admitted, irrespective of the fact as to whether or not the Lok Ayukta needs any additional materials; the Bench, while relying on the decision of Supreme Court in Narayan Govind Gavate v. State of Maharashtra, (1977) 1 SCC 133, held that,

“The formation of an opinion on the facts is a subjective matter and if an opinion is formed based on the relevant materials, so long as the authority was acting within the scope of its powers, however meagre the materials be, the courts should not and will not interfere with the opinion formed in exercise of judicial review.”

Hence, finding the instant petition without any merit the Bench dismissed the same in limine. [K.T. Jaleel v. V.K Muhammed Shafi, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 1817, decided on 20-04-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. I.P.C.Sasidharan and Adv. Akshay Venu

For the Respondents: Sr. Adv. George Poonthottam, Adv. S.Kabeer, Adv. P.E.Sajal, State Attorney K.V.Sohan, Sr. Adv. P.Narayanan, Sr. Adv. V.Manu and Sr. Adv. Suman Chakravathy

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: John Michael Cunha J., allowed the petition partly stating that Section 156(3) CrPC applications are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the applicant who seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.

The facts of the case are such that Respondent 2 presented a private complaint under Section 200 of Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC seeking reference of the matter for investigation to the Lokayukta Police under Section 156(3) of CrPC, in the interest of justice. The Special Judge, Special Court under Prevention of Corruption Act, Bengaluru referred the complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Bengaluru, for investigation and for filing the report before the Court vide order dated 06-10-2016. This order is impugned in this petition on the ground that the procedure followed by the learned Special Judge is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Priyanka Srivastava v. State of U.P., (2015) 6 SCC 287.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that in the absence of any averments made in the complaint to the effect that Respondent 2/Complainant has exhausted the remedy under Sections 154(1) and 154(3) CrPC and there being no affidavit as mandated, the learned Special Judge has committed an error in referring the complaint about investigation under Section 156(3) of CrPC.

Counsel for the respondents submitted that the complaint was filed in the year 2012 much earlier to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the year 2015 and as such, the principles laid down in the said decision cannot be applied to the facts of the case. Further, he submitted that non-filing of the affidavit may amount to a curable irregularity and the same does not amount to illegality vitiating the impugned order and thus, sought to dismiss the petition.

Relevant paras from the judgment titled Priyaka Srivastava v. State of U.P., (2015) 6 SCC 287 is below

“30. In our considered opinion, a stage has come in this country where Section 156(3) CrPC applications are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the applicant who seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate. That apart, in an appropriate case, the learned Magistrate would be well advised to verify the truth and also can verify the veracity of the allegations. This affidavit can make the applicant more responsible. We are compelled to say so as such kind of applications are being filed in a routine manner without taking any responsibility whatsoever only to harass certain persons. That apart, it becomes more disturbing and alarming when one tries to pick up people who are passing orders under a statutory provision which can be challenged under the framework of the said Act or under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. But it cannot be done to take undue advantage in a criminal court as if somebody is determined to settle the scores.”

“31. We have already indicated that there has to be prior applications under Sections 154(1) and 154(3) while filing a petition under Section 156(3). Both the aspects should be clearly spelt out in the application and necessary documents to that effect shall be filed. The warrant for giving a direction that an application under Section 156(3) be supported by an affidavit is so that the person making the application should be conscious and also endeavour to see that no false affidavit is made. It is because once an affidavit is found to be false, he will be liable for prosecution in accordance with law. This will deter him to casually invoke the authority of the Magistrate under Section 156(3). That apart, we have already stated that the veracity of the same can also be verified by the learned Magistrate, regard being had to the nature of allegations of the case. We are compelled to say so as a number of cases pertaining to fiscal sphere, matrimonial dispute/family disputes, commercial offences, medical negligence cases, corruption cases and the cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, as are illustrated in Lalita Kumari are being filed. That apart, the learned Magistrate would also be aware of the delay in lodging of the FIR.”

 The Court observed that when a specific prayer is made by the complainant to refer the complaint about investigation under Section 156(3) of CrPC, the principle laid down in the relied judgment above comes into force. It is mandated that when an application is filed under Section 156(3) of CrPC, the same shall be supported by an affidavit, so that the learned Magistrate could verify the truth of the allegations made in the complaint and also to obviate false and irresponsible complaints being filed invoking the jurisdiction of the criminal courts. The direction is binding on all the courts under Article 141 of the Constitution of India.

The Court thus held that the instant complaint was filed in the year 2012, but the order of reference was made only in the year 2016 subsequent to the law laid down by the in Priyanka Srivastava’s case (supra). Hence, the impugned order of reference made by the learned Special Judge cannot be sustained.

In view of the above, petition was allowed partly.[C.T. Ravi v. State of Karnataka,  2020 SCC OnLine Kar 1746, decided on 22-10-2020]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: A Division Bench of Mohammed Rafiq and B. R. Sarangi, JJ.,  dismissed the petition and vacated the interim order.

 The facts of the case are such that the petitioner is a private limited company, registered under Companies Act was awarded the work “Construction of HL bridge over river Suktel on Tamian to Mundalsar road in the district of Bolangir under Biju Setu Yojana” vide agreement dated 26-02-2014 and the completion date was fixed to 25-02-2016 but it was completed before scheduled dated and handed over on 07-09-2015. Once the work completed and it was open for public transportation few horizontal cracks were to be seen and while the petitioner company was called for restoration work, the nationwide lockdown was announced and due to it being left unattended in the middle of the work, ‘span’ collapsed killing and injuring two persons respectively. Consequently, the petitioner was blacklisted and charged under various sections of the Penal Code, 1860 which stands challenged and pending adjudication. However, now Lokayukta has registered suo motu case against the petitioners and observed that a recently constructed bridge was collapsed resulting in death of two labourers and demanded a fair enquiry to be submitted exercising its power under Section 20(6) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014, and directed to file status report of the same within a period of three months from the date of passing of the order. Hence the instant application was filed challenging the order of Lokayukta.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that as there are petitions pending adjudication before Court and the petitioner is also facing criminal charges, Lokayukta also causing an enquiry is prejudicial to the interest of the petitioner and the order passed is without complying the principles of natural justice and, thereby, the said order cannot sustain in the eye of law.

Counsel for the respondent the Lokayukta has only directed for investigation by the Vigilance authority, which is within the complete domain of the Lokayukta under Section 20(6) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014. If the Lokayukta has been empowered under the statute to issue such direction for investigation, the same should not be interfered with by this Court by passing an interim order and seeks that such interim order should be vacated and allow the Lokayukta to proceed with the matter in accordance with the law.

The Court observed that even though the order of blacklisting the contractor has been challenged before this Court and the matter is pending adjudication, and the contractor himself is facing criminal case lodged against it for such negligence in the work, but that ipso facto cannot disentitle the Lokayukta to cause an enquiry under the provisions of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014 for alleged corruption in the matter of execution of the work itself.

The Court held that if the direction has been given to find out the lapses caused on the part of the government servant and such direction has been issued under Section 20(6) of the Odisha Lokayukta Act, 2014, this Court does not find any illegality or irregularity by issuing such direction by the Lokayukta.

In view of the above, petition is not entertained and accordingly dismissed.[Ram Kumar Agrawal Engineers (P) Ltd. v. Odisha Lokayukta,  2020 SCC OnLine Ori 774, decided on 16-10-2020]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J. while dismissing a petition seeking a writ of Quo Warranto, made significant observations upon what constitutes employment under the Central or the State Government, as mentioned under Article 319(d) of the Constitution.

Brief Facts

In the present case, a retired Judge of the Kerala High Court was appointed as the Chairperson of the Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes after serving as Upa Lokayukta. By the instant public interest writ petition, the petitioner seeks to issue a writ of quo warranto against Respondent 1 and further prays to declare Respondent 2 as disqualified for the post of Chairman, Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes citing restrictions under the Constitution and the State Laws.

Observations

               “The concept of employment involves ‘three ingredients: (1) employer (2) employee and (3) the contract of employment. The employer is one who employs, i.e., one who engages the services of other persons. The employee is one who works for another for hire. The employment is the contract of service between the employer and the employee hereunder the employee agrees to serve the employer subject to his control and supervision.”

  • Hargovind Pant v. Dr Raghukul Tilak, (1979) 3 SCC 458, a member of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission after the termination of his position as the member, was appointed as Governor of Rajasthan. While considering the challenge, in the light of Article 319(d) of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court observed,

 “Howsoever wide and expansive a meaning we may give to the words employment under the Government of India, the office of Governor cannot come within it. The word ’employment’ is not a word with a single fixed meaning but it has many connotations. On the one side it may bear the narrow meaning of relationship of employer and employee and on the other, it may mean in its widest connotation any engagement or any work in which one is engaged. If the former be the sense in which the word ’employment’ is used in clause (d) of Article 319, the office of Governor would certainly not be an employment, because the Governor of a State is not an employee or servant of any one. He occupies a high constitutional office with important constitutional functions and duties. The executive power of the State is vested in him and every executive action of the Government is required to be expressed to be taken in his name. He constitutes an integral part of the legislature of the State though not in the fullest sense, and is also vested with the legislative power to promulgate ordinances while the Houses of the Legislature are not in session. He is also entitled to address either House of the Legislature or both Houses assembled together and he may send messages to the House or Houses of the Legislature with respect to a bill then pending in the legislature or otherwise. It is the Governor’s report which generally forms the basis for the President taking action under Article 356 of the Constitution. It will be seen from this enumeration of the constitutional powers and functions of the Governor that he is not an employee or servant in any sense of the term.”

 In view of the distinct facts of the present case, the Court reproduced relevant sections of the Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification Amendment) Act, 1979 and the Kerala Lokayukta Act, 1999.

The Court, relying on the above precedents and in the light of the facts and circumstances of the present case observed,

“As such, it is necessary to consider whether the office of Lokayukta is under the Government, that is to say, whether there exists a relationship of master and servant between the Lokayukta and the State. It cannot be disputed that as per the scheme of the Lokayukta Act, to discharge the functions and duties of the office, the Lokayukta is not controlled by the State Government in any manner. The State Government is not at all empowered to ask the Lokayukta to discharge its functions or to perform its duties in the manner which it likes. No doubt, the Lokayukta receives his salary from the State Government. But that is not again the sole criteria to hold that he is under the employment of the State. The post of Lokayukta is an independent statutory post and by no stretch of imagination, can it come under the purview of ’employment under the Government’. As such, we find that, the post of Lokayukta is a public authority, which has public or statutory duties to perform and it is in no way under the control of the State Government. We find that the contention of the petitioner that Lokayukta being the post under the Government, as per Section 24(3) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the first respondent is disqualified or ineligible, is devoid of merits.”

Decision

While making the above-mentioned observations, the Court dismissed the instant writ petition filed for issuance of a writ of quo warranto on the lack of merits.[S. Subramaniam v. State of Kerala,  2020 SCC OnLine Ker 4284, decided on 6-10-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Former Supreme Court judge and former Lokayukta of state of Karnataka Justice NG Venkatachala has passed away at the age of 89.

Born in an agriculturist family Mittur, Justice Venkatachala obtained Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law degrees from Mysore University. He then got enrolled as an Advocate in the then High Court of Mysore on 16 November 1955. He also served as a part-time reader in Mercantile Law from 1958 to 1970 and a legal adviser to the University of Agricultural Sciences, Hebbal from 1963 to 1973 and Bangalore University from 1970 to 1973.

He served as a Government Pleader and was later promoted to high court government advocate which he served till 1977. He was then appointed as additional judge for Karnataka High Court on 28 November 1977 and a permanent judge on 8 September 1978. He functioned as a tribunal for prevention of unlawful activities under the unlawful activities prevention act during the year 1990. He was appointed as the acting Chief Justice for Karnataka High Court in May, 1992. On 1 July 1992 he was sworn in as Judge of the Supreme Court of India which he remained until Jul2 2, 1995.

Sworn in as the Karnataka Lokayukta on 2 July 2001, Justice Venkatachala was best known for rejuvenating the department of Karnataka Lokayukta, the anti corruption agency. He is said to have put the fear of god in the Karnataka administration. Number of complaints the office of Lokayukta was receiving dramatically increased from 20-25 per day to 200-250 per day while Justice Venkatachala was in tenure.He personally led hundreds of raids often lashing out at corruption in political life. In his four and a half years in office, he had looked into more than 50,000 cases of misconduct and complaints from members of the public. He even drew lot of criticism often from politicians who accused him of tarnishing all politicians with the same brush. He was discontinued as Lokayukta for the second term because of legal hurdles although a huge campaign was done in favor of him. 

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of Ranjan Gogoi and R. Banumathi, JJ sought explanation from the chief secretaries of 12 States and Union Territories as to why they have not appointed a Lokayukta yet. Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, states that every state shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta.

The Bench was hearing the petition filed by filed by advocate and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in which it was said that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, received presidential assent on January 1, 2014 and came into force from January 16, 2014 but the executive has not established a Lokpal yet. The PIL has also sought a direction to the states to provide adequate budgetary allocation and essential infrastructure for effective functioning of Lokayuktas. The petitioner, in his petition, had said:

“many State Governments are deliberately weakening the Lokayukta by not providing adequate infrastructure, sufficient budget and workforce.”

The Bench, hence, asked the chief secretaries of Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal to give reasons for not appointing a Lokayukta and to specify by when they would appoint a Lokayukta

The Court has also asked the Chief Secretary of Odisha to apprise the Court about the status of the Lokayukta in State and said the Court has no information whether it has an anti-corruption ombudsman or not.

Source: ANI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Directing the Union of India to implement the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, the bench of Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, JJ held that the Act as it stands today is an eminently workable piece of legislation and there is no justification to keep the enforcement of the Act under suspension till the amendments are carried out.

The Union of India had argued that certain provisions of the Act need to be altered to make the provisions thereof workable in a meaningful manner to which the writ petitioners had responded by saying that the very fact that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 has been gathering dust from the date of its introduction in the Parliament i.e. 18.12.2014 would sufficiently demonstrate the lack of executive/legislative will to give effect to a salutary enactment en-grafting a vital requirement of democratic functioning of the Government, namely, accountability of the political executive and those in high echelons of public office, to an independent body i.e. Lokpal.

The Amendment Bill seeks the following major changes/inclusions in the 2013 Act:

  • Inclusion of Leader of the largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha in the Selection Committee, in lieu of the Leader of Opposition in the present House of People/Lok Sabha(LOP).
  • Limiting the tenure of the eminent jurist, as a Member of the Selection Committee.
  • Absence of any Member of the Selection Committee or a vacancy in the post of any Member will not invalidate the recommendations of the Selection Committee for appointment of the Chairperson or Member of the Lokpal or the appointment of the eminent jurist. Also, appointment of a Member of the Search Committee or the proceedings of the said Committee will not be invalid by reason of either the absence of a Member of the Search Committee or a vacancy in the Selection Committee.

Considering the arguments and the provisions of the Act and the Amendment Bill, the Court said that though it cannot express any opinion on the exercise of the legislative prerogative of seeking changes in the existing law, but the question is whether the Act, as it exists, sans the amendment proposed, is so unworkable that the Court should refuse enforcement. The bench noticed that if, at present, the LOP is not available, surely, the Chairperson and the other two Members of the Selection Committee, namely, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or his nominee may proceed to appoint an eminent jurist as a Member of the Selection Committee under Section 4(1)(e) of the Act.

The Court also said that though there is no specific provision akin to sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act insofar as the constitution of the Search Committee by a truncated Selection Committee is concerned. But the absence of such a provision, by itself, will not invalidate the constitution of the Search Committee by the truncated Selection Committee when the Act specifically “empowers” a truncated Selection Committee to make recommendations for appointment of the Chairperson or Members of the Lokpal. To hold otherwise would be self-contradictory. [Common Cause: A Registered Society v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 486, decided on 27.04.2017]

 

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 petition praying for implementation of the recommendation/report of the Lokayukta Uttar Pradesh, dated 22nd February, 2012, the Court noticed that the law enforcement agencies have moved into action and have collected information and material including with reference to the representations and affidavits received in the course of the said investigation/enquiry.

The report was the outcome of the complaint made by the appellant against Husna Siddiqui, Member of Legislative Council and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, the then Cabinet Minister in U.P for purchasing lands through their income which they earned from unknown sources. The Allahabad High Court, however, refrained from entertaining the writ petition seeking implementation of the report and said that the opinion of the Lokayukta in the report cannot be construed to be final or conclusive as it was a fact finding enquiry and a detailed enquiry is yet to be made after affording opportunity of hearing to the person against whom complaint is made and also that there was no element of public interest in the grievances made by the appellant. The said decision of the High Court was challenged before the Court under Article 136 of the Constitution.

The Counsel appearing for the concerned State Agencies contended that having regard to the voluminous documents and more particularly the need to verify the correctness of the information made available during the investigation/enquiry, it would take some more time to complete the investigation/enquiry in the respective cases. Accepting the said contention, the bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and A.M. Khanwilkar, J expressed a sanguine hope that the State Agencies would complete the investigation/enquiry at the earliest and not later than six months from the date of this order and take the same to its logical end in accordance with law. [Jagdish Narain Shukla v. State of U.P., 2016 SCC OnLine SC 990, decided on 26.09.2016]