Friday, December 9, 2022

Chhattisgarh HC disposes of PIL against bad roads built during 2007-2011

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The Chhattisgarh High Court has disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which said construction quality of roads built from 2007 to 2011 under Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects was abysmally poor and much below the minimum specification as prescribed by respondent authorities.

The PIL has been filed by one Virendra Pandey.

It is broadly with the above allegations, the petitioner had approached the High Court earlier in 2016. That petition was disposed of by an order dated 04.02.2019. The order reads as follows:

“1. Learned counsel representing the State submits that the State Government is willing to inquire into the matter which was the primary relief sought through this Public Interest Litigation.

  1. In view of the same, the PIL stands disposed off.”

The present petition came to be filed as despite the assurance given to the Court, as recorded in the order dated 04.02.2019 passed in 2016, no enquiry worth the name had been undertaken by the State. This prompted the petitioner to harbour a doubt as to whether an attempt is made to shield wrong-doers and the petitioner approached the High Court again by filing the PIL.

During the course of the proceedings on an earlier date, Gagan Tiwari, Deputy Government Advocate, had produced a letter dated 03.03.2022 issued by the Under Secretary, Public Works Department stating that after completing inquiry, sanction was granted to prosecute S.C. Trivede, R.Y. Siddiqui, J.M. Lulu and A.K. Jayat under Section 17(A) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Tiwari submitted that after sanction was granted, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (Economic Offences Wing) is taking necessary steps.

Harshawardhan Parganiha, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that he has instructions from the petitioner to submit that in view of the above developments, the petitioner is satisfied, for the present, of the action taken and that the petition may be disposed of. He further submitted that as there was gross delay in taking necessary steps, liberty may be reserved to the petitioner to approach the High Court again, if there was procrastination or unreasonable delay in taking the investigation to its logical end.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Deepak Kumar Tiwari observed that having regard to the above submission, the PIL is not pursued any further and the same is disposed of reserving liberty to the petitioner to approach the High Court again, if the need arises in future.

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