Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench comprising of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Kauser Edappagath, JJ., addressed the issue relating to controversial regulations of the U.T. of Lakshadweep. The Bench granted the petitioner liberty to raise suggestions, objections etc. even after expiry of outer time limit of 21 days stipulated for public opinion.

In the instant petition, the petitioner, a native of Kavaratti in Lakshadweep Islands had approached the Court requesting for issuance of writ of mandamus directing Administer of Lakshadweep to issue a fresh public notice giving 30 days’ time to the public to submit their comments, suggestions etc. with respect to controversial draft Regulations. The petitioner contended that according to decision taken by the Committee of Secretaries held on 10-01-2014 on Pre-legislative Consultation Policy there should be a minimum period of 30 days for public to raise their views/objections for any draft legislation. Noticeably, the Lakshadweep Town and Country Planning Regulation, 2021 which was published on 28-04-2021, regarding which it had been stipulated by the authorities that members of public can submit the comments, suggestions etc. within twenty one days (on or before 19-05-2021) through registered post or email. The petitioner argued that on account of Covid restrictions in the island, many like him could not raise their suggestions/objections within that time. The petitioner also argued that the stipulation of outer time limit of 21 days was against the decision taken by the Committee of Secretaries on 10-01-2014.

The ASGI submitted that stipulation of 30 days is a matter relating to administrative expediency to be followed and that could not be construed as a right conferred upon a citizen as a matter of right to seek 30 days’ outer limit for raising such objection. Any administrative instruction of such nature therefore could not be relied upon to seek a writ of mandamus. Similarly, the counsel for Lakshadweep Administration argued that the administration had received 593 comments, suggestions, objections etc. and the same had been forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Opining that it was for the Ministry to consider the suggestions, objections etc. as raised against the draft Regulations, the Bench stated it would not be proper for the Court to direct the Central Government or the Administrator to accept any suggestion or comments. However, the Bench added,

In any system of governance, the Government would be eager to consider any such suggestion which may ultimately enable the Government to formulate their own decisions while granting approval of draft Regulations. Therefore, it is for the Central Government to consider whether any suggestions, comments or objections to be made by the petitioner or any person have to be accepted or not after the expiry of the time in the notification.

In the above backdrop, the Bench directed that if the petitioner forwards his suggestions/comments to the Administrator within two weeks, the same shall be forwarded to the Central Government and it is for the Central Government to consider whether such objection, comments etc. is to be accepted or not.[Mohammed Sadique v. U. T. of Lakshadweep, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2352, decided on 31-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Joby Cyriac

For Union of India: ASGI. K.M.Nataraj

For U.T. of Lakshadweep: Adv. S.Manu

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Division Bench of S. Manikumar and Shaji P. Chaly, JJ., while deciding the Constitutional validity of the Kerala State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act, 2007, dismissed the writ petition making significant observations.

Brief Facts

Aggrieved by the inaction on the part of the respondents in honouring a claim made by the petitioner for reimbursement of travel allowances which he had to incur in connection with the hearings before the State Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Commission at Thiruvananthapuram, instant writ petition for the issuance of mandamus has been filed against the State Government, Kerala. Further, the petitioner seeks to issue a similar relief against the Subordinate Courts so to implement speedy trial provided under Section 14 of the Atrocities Act by taking up the Atrocity cases and related matters immediately after the custody and bail cases. Furthermore, the writ petition seeks to declare the Kerala State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act, 2007 and the rules framed thereunder as unconstitutional on the ground of inconsistency and repugnancy with the Central Act. 

Issue

  1. Whether the State Government can form rules departing from central rules and thereby, deny rights conferred by the Central Government?
  2. Whether the State Government can disobey the rules framed by the Central Government for the benefit of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and decline to make provisions in the budgets thereby causing hardship to the poor people?
  3. Whether the subordinate courts can violate the law to the disadvantage of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by denying speedy trial though provided in Section 14 of the Act?

Contentions

The counsel for the petitioners made a submission on the following grounds;

  1. That the Central Act and the rules framed thereunder are binding on the State Government and it is, therefore, obligatory for them to act in consonance of the same.
  2. That the rules framed by the State Government do not fall under Rule 11, 12 or 15 of the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, as prescribed by the Central Government.
  3. That the State Government has failed to comply with the directive laid down under Rule 14, which mandates the State to allocate a certain sum in the Annual State budget for the SC/ST community.
  4. That the State is incompetent to make any law or enumerate any rule on the said subject, following which, the Kerala State SC/ST Commission Act, 2007 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 are liable to be declared as unconstitutional. The petitioners further cited, Barai v. Henry, (1983) 1 SCC 177 and Thirumuruga Hirupananda Variar v. State of Tamil Nadu, (1996) 3 SCC 15.
  5. That the District Magistrates and other similar officers callously neglected the duties prescribed for providing facilities and for making payments under the Schedule and the rules.
  6. That the lower courts do not implement speedy trials, as provided under Section 14 of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, thereby causing hardship to the victims and witnesses, etc.

The counsel for the respondents submitted as follows;

  1. That the petitioner has filed complaints before the Kerala State SC/ST Commission seeking Travel Allowance(TA)/Dearance Allowance(DA) claims, including hotel bill, room rent, etc. for payment.
  2. That as per the Kerala State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes Act, 2007 and the rules framed thereunder, there is no provision for paying TA or DA to the victims and witnesses who appear before the Commission, for the purpose of enquiry into the complaints. The Commission has no such fund to consider the claim.
  3. That the Commission is empowered to conduct an enquiry into cases where there are allegations of a miscarriage of justice during investigation and hence, the SC/ST complainants, who register complaints/petition before the State Commission, are not entitled to get TA/DA, when they appear before the Commission under any of the provisions of the Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 2007 and the rules framed thereunder.
  4. Cases under sections 3(1) and 3(2) of Prevention of Atrocities Act are registered in Police Stations and Special Cells are constituted for that purpose. Further, as mentioned in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, the District Magistrate, Sub Divisional Magistrate or other Executive Magistrate is the authority, liable for payment of such allowances to the victims of atrocity/dependent in the matter of investigation and trial.
  5. That even though the Kerala State Commission for Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes has the powers of a civil court, with regard to its function under Section 9, Rule 11 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995, is not applicable to the Commission.
  6. That Four Special Courts for the trial of offences under the SC/ST (POA) Act cases, have been established at Manjeri, Mananthavady (Kalpetta), Kottarakkara (Kollam) and Mannarkkad (Palakkad). The work turn-out in the four Special Courts for the trial of offences under SC/ST(POA) Act cases are being monitored on a monthly basis by the Judges holding the administrative charges of the respective districts and necessary directions and guidelines are being issued for the speedy trial and disposal of those cases.

Observations

The bench made significant observations with respect to State’s competency to legislate in presence of a central law on the same subject, separation of powers and mutual interaction between the three organs in a democratic setup and instances where the Commission is obligated to make reimbursements. It cited several case laws and observations with respect to the above enumerated hereby;

1. Bhim Singh v. Union of India, (2010) 5 SCC 538;

“While observing that the Constitution does not strictly prohibit overlapping of functions as this is inevitable in the modern parliamentary democracy, the Constitution prohibits exercise of functions of another branch which results in wresting away of the regime of constitutional accountability. Only when accountability is preserved, there will be no violation of principle of separation of powers. Constitution not only requires and mandates that there should be right decisions that govern us, but equal care has to be taken that the right decisions are made by the right body and the institution. This is what gives legitimacy, be it legislation, a policy decision or a court adjudication.”

2.  V.K. Naswa v. Home Secretary, Union of India, (2012) 11 SCC 42;

“It is outside the power of judicial review to issue directions to the legislature to enact a law in a particular manner, for the Constitution does not permit the courts to direct and advice the executive in matters of policy. Parliament, as the legislature, exercises this power to enact a law and no outside authority can issue a particular piece of legislation. It is only in exceptional cases where there is a vacuum and non-existing position that the judiciary, in exercise of its constitutional power, steps in and provides a solution till the legislature comes forward to perform its role.”  [Also refer; Manoj Narula v. UOI, (2014) 9 SCC 1 and Supreme Court Employee Welfare Assn. v. UOI, (1989) 4 SCC 187]

 3. Regina (Countryside Alliance) v. Attorney General, (2008) 1 AC 719;

 “…The democratic process is liable to be subverted if, on a question of moral and political judgment, opponents of the Act achieve through the courts what they could not achieve in Parliament.”

4.State of Himachal Pradesh v. Satpal Saini, (2017) 11 SCC 42;

“Reference was made to Supreme Court Employees’ Welfare Association, (1989) 4 SCC 187, that no writ of mandamus can be issued to the legislature to enact a particular legislation nor can such direction be issued to the executive which exercises the powers to make Rules in the nature of subordinate legislation.”

With respect to instances where the State Government is liable to reimburse the expenses incurred by the complainant, the Court highlighted the following points;

  1. Every victim of atrocity or his/her dependent and witnesses shall be paid expense from his place of residence to the place of investigation or trial of offence under the Act.
  2. The District Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate shall make necessary arrangements for providing transport facilities or reimbursement of full payment to the victims of atrocity and witnesses for visiting the investigating officer, Superintendent of Police/Deputy Superintendent of Police, District Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate.
  3. Every woman witness, the victim of atrocity or her dependent being a woman or a minor, a person more than sixty years of age and a person having 40 % or more disability shall be entitled to be accompanied by an attendant of her/his choice. The attendant shall also be paid traveling and maintenance expenses as applicable to the witness or the victim of atrocity when called upon during hearing, investigation and trial of an offence under the Act.
  4. The witness, the victim of atrocity or his/her dependent and the attendant shall be paid daily maintenance for the days he/she is away from the place of his/her residence or stay during investigation, hearing and trial of an offence, at such rates but not less than the minimum wages, as may be fixed by the State Government for the agricultural labourers.
  5. In addition to daily maintenance expenses, the witness, the victim of atrocity (or his/her dependent), and the attendant shall also be paid diet expenses at such rates, as may be fixed by the State Government from time to time.
  6. The payment of traveling allowance, daily allowance, maintenance expenses and reimbursement of transport facilities shall be made immediately or not later than three days by the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate to the victims, their dependents/attendant and witnesses for the days they visit the investigating officer or in-charge police station or hospital authorities or Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police or District Magistrate or any other officer concerned or the Special Court.
  7. When an offence has been committed under Section 3 of the Act, the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate shall reimburse the payment of medicines, special medical consultation, blood transfusion, replacement of essential clothing, meals and fruits provided to the victim of atrocity.

 Decision

While upholding the Constitutional validity of the State Act, the bench observed: “neither the Commission nor the State Government, is obligated to create a specific fund for reimbursement of the expenses, incurred by the complainant/witnesses for their appearance, in relation to inquiry and examination of a complaint by the Commission constituted under Section 3 of the Kerala State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act, 2007, and such fund is required to be created by the State Government, only in the case of investigation or trial.”

It was further said that, the submissions made by the petitioner are not sustainable and cannot be countenanced, as there is no derogation or inconsistency between the Central and the State Rules. [M.P. Chothy v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 4254, decided on 29-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Ali Mohammad Magrey, J. allowed the writ petition and directed the respondents to indemnify the petitioner.

The briefly stated case of the petitioner was that, the respondents invited applications for allotment of flats and the petitioner thereafter submitted a form along with a deposit of Rs 3 lacs in July 2013. The petitioner received a notice in November, 2014 wherein 10 days’ time was given to him to deposit the first instalment which time had already elapsed and it came to the knowledge of the petitioner that the flat had been allotted to him. The petitioner immediately approached the respondents, who provided him with the copy of the letter of intent along with a copy of payment schedule and was told that same was posted to him in December, 2013.

It was submitted that the petitioner had already deposited an initial amount and wasn’t conveyed the letter of intent besides the notice. It was further submitted that the petitioner filed a representation before the respondents, wherein the petitioner prayed for extension of at least three months for making the payment of 1st instalment in the backdrop of the fact that due to the floods in the valley in the year 2014, the petitioner had suffered the huge loss and was not in a position to pay.

It was further submitted that the petitioner after waiting for the response to his representation and also an extension of time keeping in view the previous experience of issuance of notices and late dispatch of the same, approached the respondents but was not given any extension and was told to wait and to his surprise, the petitioner came across another notice in January, 2015 wherein he was asked to deposit the instalment by ending of January, 2015 or in default the petitioner’s letter of intent shall be treated as withdrawn and his initial deposit will be forfeited and flat re-advertised.

The petitioner being aggrieved of the above said notice, challenged the same by virtue of writ petition and this Court disposed of the said writ petition with a direction to the respondents to afford the reasonable time to adhere to the terms of notice in regard to deposit of instalment and in the event such notice not having been served upon him, the same be served after affording reasonable time to the petitioner. The petitioner served the said order on the respondents and filed a detailed representation before the respondents, who chose not to file an appeal against the said order and despite the service on the respondents well within time; no action was taken by the respondents.

The Court on perusal of the facts and circumstances of the case cancelled the impugned notice and letter of intent. Further, the earnest money of Rs 3 lacs deposited by the petitioner was forfeited and the Flat in question re-advertised was declared as being against the order passed by this Court.

The Court further pointed out that it had earlier too directed the respondents to consider the hardship encountered by the petitioner in not making the deposit of instalment on account of the cause projected taking a pragmatic view and bearing in mind that a mere technicality in adherence to notice should not result in defeating his legitimate interests in regard to the acquisition of flat.

Petition was allowed and stood quashed to the extent of forfeiture of Rs 3 lacs and by writ of mandamus. Respondents were directed to pay the amount deposited by the petitioner along with interest of 9% from the date of deposition of the amount to its realization, within a period of one month.[Fida Ahmad v. Srinagar Development Authority, 2020 SCC OnLine J&K 484, decided on 21-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, J., addressed a matter with regard to stamp duty.

Respondents invited a tender to repair different roads in District Mathura. Petitioner’s tender was accepted.

Stamp Act

Further, the respondent issued a letter of acceptance with a clause that total security along with stamp duty should be deposited within 10 days. Petitioner wrote to the respondents that he is supposed to pay stamp duty as per Article 57(b) Schedule 1 B of the Stamp Act and for a period of 8 months, no work order was passed.

Bench on perusal of the facts and circumstances of the present matter stated that it is covered by the decision of this Court and further waste of time would cause loss to the public and Exchequer.

Despite the previous decisions in Strong Construction v. State of U.P., Civil Misc. WP No. 35096 of 2004 and Kishan Traders v. State of U.P., Writ C No. 52385 of 2015, authorities have demanded from petitioner what is known as stamp duty.

Further, the Court added that though the petition is belated, this Court has not been made aware whether the contract has already been executed or not.

With regard to the stamp duty, Court stated that it has been covered by the Division Bench of this Court in Kishan Traders v. State of U.P., Writ C No. 52385 of 2015, wherein Writ of Mandamus was issued which read as follows:

“We also issue a Writ of Mandamus commanding the respondents not to compel the Petitioners and similarly situate persons, whether they have filed writ petition or not, to pay Stamp Duty on security deposit in question treating as ‘mortgage deed’ and further to charge Stamp Duty on such ‘securities’ as provided under Article 57 (b) Schedule 1 B of the Stamp Act.”

Hence in view of the above, bench held that the petitioner would be liable to pay stamp duty as per Article 57(b) Schedule 1 B of the Stamp Act.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed. [Yogendra Kumar v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1024, decided on 07-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: T.V. Anilkumar, J. dismissed the writ petition with all interlocutory applications declared closed.

In the present case, the petitioner filed a writ petition requesting the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus against the respondent authority to ban the respondent broadcasting from telecasting the TV serial “Koodathai: The Game of Death”. The serial fictionalised the incidents relating to the commission of murder of six people at ‘Koodathai’ in Kozhikode, in which the petitioner is a key eye-witness.

Further, the case had yet not come to a conclusion. Therefore, the petitioner mainly contended that in order to prevent any prejudice by the other witnesses and fairness of the trial, the ban is a must.

The Court while dismissing the Writ Petition held that:

  1. The petitioner had no locus standi to file the petition;
  2. He himself on numerous occasions has appeared on news channels narrating the incident.
  3. The Writ of Mandamus can only be issued against a public authority if the same is required under any law, government order, or has been established by way of a precedent, which in the present case could not be cogently shown.

[Mohemmed Bava v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 3136, decided on 07-08-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Indira Banjerjee and Indu Malhotra, JJ that the Courts are duty bound to issue a writ of Mandamus for enforcement of a public duty.

“The High Courts exercising their jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, not only have the power to issue a Writ of Mandamus or in the nature of Mandamus, but are duty bound to exercise such power, where the Government or a public authority has failed to exercise or has wrongly exercised discretion conferred upon it by a Statute, or a rule, or a policy decision of the Government or has exercised such discretion malafide, or on irrelevant consideration.”

The Court was hearing the case pertaining to a private road in Pune being declared as being owned by Pune Municipal Corporation whilst in the property records, there was no private road.  In 1970, by an order of the Pune Municipal Corporation, a Plot was divided into 4 plots and a private road admeasuring 414.14 square meters. Read more

“There is no whisper as to how the road came to be shown as in possession of Pune Municipal Commissioner nor of the procedure adopted for effecting changes, if any, in the property records.”

Considering the issue at hand, the Court noticed in case of dispossession except under the authority of law, the owner might obtain restoration of possession by a proceeding for Mandamus against the Government. It said that in all such cases, the High Court must issue a Writ of Mandamus and give directions to compel performance in an appropriate and lawful manner of the discretion conferred upon the Government or a public authority.”

“In appropriate cases, in order to prevent injustice to the parties, the Court may itself pass an order or give directions which the government or the public authorities should have passed, had it properly and lawfully exercised its discretion.”

Stating that the Court is duty bound to issue a writ of Mandamus for enforcement of a public duty, the bench said that there can be no doubt that an important requisite for issue of Mandamus is that Mandamus lies to enforce a legal duty. This duty must be shown to exist towards the applicant.

“A statutory duty must exist before it can be enforced through Mandamus. Unless a statutory duty or right can be read in the provision, Mandamus cannot be issued to enforce the same.”

It further said that High Court is not deprived of its jurisdiction to entertain a petition under Article 226 merely because in considering the petitioner’s right to relief questions of fact may fall to be determined. In a petition under Article 226 the High Court has jurisdiction to try issues both of fact and law. Exercise of the jurisdiction is, it is true, discretionary, but the discretion must be exercised on sound judicial principles.

[Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v. State of Maharashtra,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 631, decided on 07.08.2020]


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Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi, JJ., addressed a petition wherein writ of mandamus was sought to direct the respondent to issue a Standard Operating Procedure to be followed while re-opening all religious places of worship in physical function.

Bench dismissed the above stated issue on not finding any merit as the government did not take any decision as to when the temples are to be reopened.

Thus, Court in view of the above, cannot issue any direction to the Government to issue a Standard Operating Procedure. [M. Jayabharathi v. State of T.N., 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 1137 , decided on 08-06-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and C. Hari Shankar, J. dismissed a writ petition that sought modification of the Order dated 17-4-2020 issued by the Directorate of Education, Delhi (“DoE”), and direction to the schools not to charge the tuition fees from the students keeping in view the present situation of COVID 19 at least for the lockdown period in the interest of justice.

Backdrop & issue

Notably, in its Order dated 17-4-2020, the DoE took stock of the emergent situation that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as of the precautionary and restrictive measures imposed, by the Central and State government, to contain its spread, including the imposition of lockdown. While appreciating the efforts of private unaided schools in providing online education to students, the DoE took note of certain malpractices indulged in by some schools and it issued certain directions. Of these, the petitioner claimed to be aggrieved by the first direction whereby schools have been interdicted from charging any fee, except tuition fee, from parents. The petitioner complains against this exception. The writ petition, therefore, prayed that this exception be done away with, and the impugned Order dated 17-4-2020, be consequently modified, by granting complete exemption from payment of any fee, including tuition fee, at least for the period during which the presently existing lockdown continues to be in place. In the alternative, the writ petition prayed that the impugned Order dated 17-4-2020, be modified to the extent that tuition fees be charged “after an appropriate and reasonable time from the reopening of the schools”.

Decision & discussion

Rule 165 of Delhi School Education Rules

Dr N. Pradeep Sharma, Advocate for the petitioner, relied on the first proviso of Rule 165 of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, which, in a case in which the school is closed on the 10th day of the month (by which date fees are payable), defers the requirement of payment of fees to the date following the 10th day on which the school reopens. Schools, being presently closed, the petitioner sought to rely on this proviso to submit that tuition fees cannot be charged by schools, during the period of such closure.

Disagreeing, the High Court was of the opinion that so long as education is being imparted online, and students are availing the benefit thereof, schools cannot be treated as “closed”, so as to disentitle them from charging tuition fees. It was observed that ex facie, the first proviso merely defers the stage of payment, of school fees, in such cases, to the appropriate time, when such payment would become possible, and no more. Rule 165 does not deal with the chargeability of tuition fees, but only with the payability thereof. The Court held:

“Rule 165 cannot be pressed into service to seek exemption, from the requirement of payment of tuition fees, for the period during which the schools remain physically closed, and are imparting education through online platforms. Students would be mandatorily required to pay tuition fees during this period, and, in so requiring, we do not find the impugned Order, dated 17th April, 2020, of the DoE, deserving of interference in any manner.” 

Direction re financial hardship clause

Refuting the contention of the petitioner concerning the grounds of financial hardship, Ramesh Singh, Senior Standing Counsel for DoE, submitted that the impugned Order dated 17-4-2020, itself prohibits schools from denying ID and password, to students, for obtaining access to online learning platforms, merely because, “owing to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities in the ongoing lockdown condition”, the parents of such students are unable to pay school fees. 

As per the High Court this is a wholesome provision. However, its misuse is to be checked. The Court directed that:

“It would be necessary for parents, seeking the benefit of this relief, to establish, to the satisfaction of the school, or the DoE, that, owing to the lockdown, they are, in fact, financially incapacitated from paying school fees.”

Policy decision & ambit of issuing mandamus

Dr Sharma, for the petitioner, then relied on the residual clause of the guidelines framed by the Central Government under the Disaster Management Act and submitted that “necessary relief” in the form of exemption from payment of tuition fees may be directed to be provided. According to the Court, the contention was totally misconceived. It is not for the High Court to arrive at a policy decision, regarding the relief that is to be provided to persons affected by any disaster including the COVID-19 epidemic.

Dr. Sharma further submitted that unaided schools were, in all cases, run by trusts or societies, and, instead of charging fees from students, schools should, during the period of COVID lockdown, source their expenses from the monies available with their parent trusts, or societies. Outrightly rejecting the submission, the Court said:

“It is not possible for this Court to issue any mandamus, directing unaided schools – who, it is trite, received no financial aid from the executive and are, therefore, dependent on fees for their expenses – to delve into the monies available with their parent trusts, or societies, for defraying the expenses involved in payment of salaries, maintenance of their establishment and imparting of online curricular education.”

The Court was of the opinion that the impugned Order dated 17-4-2020 issued by the DoE strikes correct balance between the legitimate concerns of the institutions, and of parents/students, even while safeguarding the interests of parents who may find themselves in impecunious circumstances, owing to the lockdown presently in place, or due to closure of their businesses/establishments. The writ petition was accordingly dismissed. [Naresh Kumar v. Director of Education, WP(C) No. 2993, decided on 24-4-2020] 

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of Abhay S. Oka, CJ and B.V. Nagarathna, J. dismissed a petition on the ground that that the same was not in public interest, wherein a direction was sought to open the wine shops in State Karnataka for a few hours during the lockdown period.

Petition has been filed to issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate direct the respondents to keep open the wine shops in the State of Karnataka at least for few hours in a day, if not for the whole day and etc.

The second prayer issued by the petitioner was that of providing alcohol in wine shops in limited quantities to the public during lockdown period.

Bench stated that when it expressed the view that there is no public interest involved in the present petition especially when large population is deprived of even elementary facility of food and shelter, petition Dr Vinod G. Kulkarni paid a sum of Rs 10,000 by way of donation to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund COVID-19.

Petitioner also stated that he would not press the writ petition.

Bench thus dismissed the petition and made it clear that no public interest was involved in the same. [Late G.B. Kulkarni Memorial v. State of Karnataka,  2020 SCC OnLine Kar 439 , decided on 07-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of S.J. Kathawalla and R.I. Chagla, JJ., issued a writ of mandamus directing respondents to issue a fresh visa to a 19 year old girl stranded at the Dubai Airport so as to enable her to come to Mumbai and be with her family, in view of Airlines misinterpreting the travel advisory issued by the Indian Government.

The present petition was filed as petitioners daughter — Nyla was denied a visa in the teeth of the Consolidated Travel Advisory for Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) issued by Government of India through Ministry of Health and public Welfare read with restriction related to COVID-19.

Petitioner was constrained to file the petition in view of the high-handed, arbitrary and wrongful action on the part of respondent 1 and 2.

Petitioner’s daughter was born in U.S.A and this is a citizen of U.S.A, though she moved to India in 2007 and did her schooling from Mumbai and later got admission for further studies at Tufts University, Boston.

Nyla holds an OCI Card and also had valid 5 year multiple entry visa along with an Aadhaar Card.

Senior Counsel representing the petitioner submitted that in wake of Coronavirus Disease Outbreak, Nyla’s University directed the students staying on campus to vacate the same and return to their permanent residence. For the same purpose her return travel was arranged by the petitioner.

Indian Government had issued a Consolidated Travel Advisory for Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) imposing restrictions on travel by foreigners to India. All the existing visas (excluding diplomatic, official, UN/International Organisations, employment, project visas) were suspended till 15-04-2020. Visa free travel facilities granted to OCI card holders were also kept in abeyance.

Further, he submitted that, in light of the aforesaid visa restrictions imposed by the Indian Government and to ensure that Nyla arrives in India before the restrictions became effective, petitioner modified her reservations and arranged a flight on 12-03-2020.

During Nyla’s transit at Dubai Airport, she was not allowed to board the flight based a complete wrong interpretation of the Consolidated Travel Advisory dated 11-03-2020 read with Visa Restrictions related to COVID-19. According to the airlines, Nyla was already past the deadline.

Thus, in view of the above, writ petition was filed.

In accordance with the issued advisory, petitioner’s counsel submitted that it was clear that as long as the passenger departing from its original port of departure before 12:00 GMT (5.30pm IST) on 13-03-2020 the passenger would be entitled to complete the journey and thereafter arrive into Mumbai.

In the present case Nyla made her departure from original port before 12:00 GMT (5.30pm IST) on 13-03-2020, she should not have been denied boarding by the Airlines at Dubai as she was only a transit passenger.

Thus, in view of the above, Court considered the compelling and urgent circumstances, it is expedient to dispose off the present writ petition. Clauses of the Consolidated Travel Advisory as well as the Visa restrictions issued by the Bureau of Immigration makes it clear that all existing visas (excluding diplomatic, official, UN/International Organisations, employment, project visas) stand suspended till 15-04-2020. The said restriction was to come into effect from 1200GMT on 13-03-2020 at the port of departure.

A Passenger in transit would not fall within the word ‘port of departure’.

Court stated that in the present circumstances, Nyla can travel to India is she is issued a fresh visa. The visa can be issued only for compelling reasons as more particularly stated in the issued advisories.

Therefore, the Court held that Nyla was wrongly denied boarding by the Airlines and thus writ of mandamus is issued directing the respondents either through themselves or through any one acting through them to issue a fresh visa to the petitioner’s daughter Nyla so as to enable her to come back to Mumbai.

Petition is disposed of in the above terms. [Sabah Manal Colabawalla v. Union of India, WP (L) No. 871 of 2020, decided on 17-03-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Alok Kumar Verma, J., allowed a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India challenging the impugned First Information Report dated 28-12-2019, seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the impugned FIR; and a writ of mandamus, commanding and directing the Respondents 1 & 2 not to arrest the petitioner in connection with the FIR.

The FIR stated that Respondent 3 had some conflict with her husband and the petitioner gave emotional support to her, later, they ended up in a hotel having physical relations in Dehradun, further, it stated that they again met in a hotel in Mumbai after few months. Respondent 3 stated that she wanted him to marry her or secure the future of her children.

The counsel for the petitioner Ranveer Singh Kundu and Raj Kumar Singh submitted that in the first instance given by the respondent the petitioner was detained at RVC Centre and College, Meerut Cantt. on duty, and regarding the second instance the petitioner did not go to Mumbai in the month mentioned by the respondent.

The Court while allowing the petition directed that no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner as the respondent was an adult and had her willful consent in the physical relations. [Rajendra Kumar Swain v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 42, decided on 28-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Goutam Bhaduri, J., while dismissing the present petition held that,

Legislature has before it a full panoply of legislative powers and as an incident of those powers, the express constitutional authority to disapprove an ordinance. If an ordinance has to continue beyond the tenure which is prescribed by Article 213(2)(a), a law has to be enacted by the legislature incorporating its provisions.

Petitioners counsel submitted that notification inviting application by Public Service Commission respondent 1 was published on 27-11-2019 pursuant to official communication of 23-11-2019.

It has been submitted that the above-said notification did not carve out any space for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) which was brought about by the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.

Governor of Chhattisgarh had promulgated the Ordinance of 2019 as the State Legislature was not in session.

Legislative Assembly of the State was held on 2nd and 3rd October, 2019, but no legislative business was laid held. For the legislative business, the Assembly started on 25-11-2019 till 02-12-2019 and therefore the ordinance which was promulgated on 04-09-2019 would hold the field.

If the State took the decision to conduct an examination prior to publication of the notification, it would amount to playing fraud with the Constitution. He also referred to the case Krishna Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, (2017) 3 SCC 1, and submitted that laying of an Ordinance before the legislature is mandatory.

State Counsel submitted that the Ordinance by the Governor was on 04-09-2019 and re-assmbly took place on 02-10-2019, therefore by virtue of Article 213 (2), six weeks expired on 13-11-2019 and the Ordinance ceased to operate. Subsequently, even if re-assembly of State Legislature started on 25-11-2019 till 02-12-2019 even after expiry of six weeks therefrom ordinance was not laid in the House, therefore, mandamus to this effect cannot be issued the Court.

Analysis

“Article 174 shows that the Governor has power to call for the sessions of the State Legislature and the time limit gap of 6 months is provided. Article 213 further gives power to the Governor to promulgate the Ordinance during the recess of Legislature.”

Since Article 213(2) mandates that the ordinance will expire from six weeks of the date of reassembly of the legislature, the ordinance having not been laid before the legislative assembly, within six weeks it would expire on 13-11-2019. Consequently, the said Article shows that after 13-11-2019, the ordinance ceased to function in operation.

Thus, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case and on perusal of the above-stated analysis, it is apparent that, if the State has not placed ordinance for EWS in the Legislative Assembly, the Court cannot issue a writ to promulgate the ordinance by way of mandamus on the principles of separation of powers.

Court also clarified that the reliance place on Krishna Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, (2017) 3 SCC 1 does not endorse the view that if the ordinance is not placed within the time prescribed under Article 213(2), the Court will assume such power of effective review or reconsideration.

Laying of an Ordinance before the State Legislature sub-serves the purpose of Legislative control over the ordinance-making power.

Therefore, Court cannot issue a writ of mandamus to Legislature as it would amount to encroaching the turf of the State Legislature. [Irfan Qureashi v. Chhattisgarh State Public Sevice Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 7, decided on 07-02-2020]

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., 2019 SCC OnLine All 4950, 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]