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Allahabad High Court raps Centre for not appearing in case despite two notices

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The Allahabad High Court has pulled up the Central government for conspicuously remaining absent in a case, despite two notices being issued to them for the same during previous hearings.

The Division Bench of Justices Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Subhash Chand, while hearing a petition filed by Shamim Begum on Thursday, observed that in cases in which the Central Government is a party in the High Court, there is no lobbying on behalf of the Union.

“We are sad to say that despite being given time, the advocates of Central government are not appearing to represent it in these cases. Even on the last occasion before an earlier Bench, no one has appeared for the Union of India. We are really pained that the matter of Union of India remains unattended. The counter affidavit has not been filed, despite enough time being granted from February, 2021 till date,” the Court observed.

“Let a fresh notice be sent to the Additional Solicitor General of India, as it appears that in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the Union of India is not being represented properly, despite our request being made to the Assistant Solicitor General of India just two days before. No one has turned up. Though we were assured that some Counsel would remain present to assist the Court on behalf of the Union of India, but we are pained to mention that no Counsel for the Union of India is present in the matter,” it added.

In this case, the allegations against petitioner were that she took House Rent Allowance (HRA) benefit despite being an allottee of a Governmental resident and therefore, certain benefits had been stopped as a penalty by the Union of India following departmental proceedings.

Also Read: Bombay High Court issues notice to Centre on PIL seeking waiving off penalty for not maintaining minimum balance in account in view of Covid-19

Vibhu Rai, Counsel for the petitioner said that action was taken by holding the petitioner guilty of wrongful payment of HRA.  The petition against this was dismissed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, which was challenged in the High Court.

The Court had directed the Central government to file a reply in this matter. But even after the lapse of two dates, neither the reply was filed by the Centre, nor any advocate appeared to present the side of the Central Government. The Court issued a fresh notice to the Union of India and fixed September 22 as the next date of hearing.

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