Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Chhattisgarh HC Says The Courts Should Not Monitor Or Interfere In Enquiry As It Affects Administration Of Justice

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The Chhattisgarh High Court on Thursday held that it is not the function of the court to monitor an enquiry or an investigation on a complaint of an alleged commission of offence as the same would have an adverse impact on the administration of justice.

The petitioner herein has filed the writ petition challenging the decision of General Administration Department of the State of Chhattisgarh dated 06.02.2019 on the basis of correspondence received from the Office of the Prime Minister of India (in short, PMO) dated 16.01.2019 asking the State Economic Offences Investigating Bureau (in short EOW) to constitute Special Investigation Team (in short, SIT) for enquiring upon the allegations levelled against the petitioner.

Vikas Singh, Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner said that the entire action on the part of the State is with malafides and is politically motivated and is purely a vindictive attitude of the present government. He also said that the correspondence received from the PMO was only in respect of complaint that the PMO has received from the private complainant. The State Govt. thus on receiving the complaint from the PMO have to look into the allegations only so far as the contents in the complaint and cannot look into any other issues which are not raised in the complaint. Further, so far as the complaint is concerned, the State Govt. has already scrutinized the same and the Govt. has decided to close the matter and hence, there was no requirement for the state to again issue order constituting SIT.

Dayan Krishnan, Senior Advocate appearing for the state government said that the impugned decision is nothing but a follow up action on receipt of a letter from the PMO and the same is only a preliminary enquiry to find out whether the allegations are true or not, which can only be determined by an enquiry. It is for this purpose, that the impugned decision has been taken to constitute SIT under the Economic Offences Wing. Further contention of the State is that the decision is only to hold an investigation and as such it is not a full fledged enquiry which is being conducted and for which the petitioner should not have any grievance, nor should the petitioner shy away from facing investigation.

Acting upon the plea, the single judge bench of Justice P. Sam Koshy, observed that merely taking a decision to hold an inquiry in itself does not amount to passing of an adverse order or an action infringing any of the rights of the petitioner.  It is only the findings obtained in the course of inquiry which would determine the next course/step required by the State Govt. or which the State govt. intends to take.

The bench said that the High Court should refrain from giving out a prima facie decision or opinion in a case particularly when the entire facts of the case are still to be enquired or investigated. The documentary proof is yet to be collected. An investigation into a complaint or an offence is a field exclusively reserved with the State and the agencies authorised by the State to enquire or investigate. It is the unfettered power of the state authorities to inquire into a complaint or a report of an offence so long as the said power is legitimately exercised.

Thus, the High Court decline to interfere and dismissed the writ petition.

-India Legal Bureau

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