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Chhattisgarh High Court dismisses PIL seeking Ambagarh Chowki be declared district HQ

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The Chhattisgarh High Court recently dismissed a PIL seeking a declaration that Ambagarh Chowki should be declared a district headquarters instead of Mohla Manpur.

The PIL has been filed by residents of village and post-Ambagarh Chowki and in a recent decision by the state Mohla Manpur has been notified to be the district headquarters.

The submission is made that Ambagarh Chowki should have been declared as a district headquarter instead of Mohla Manpur for the reason that Ambargarh Chowki is more densely populated and resources are easily available therein.

It is further contended that ignoring the said availability of the resource and the population Mohla Manpur which is at a distance of around of 40 km from Ambagarh Chowki, Mohla Manpur has been declared as a district headquarters, therefore the notification of the State has been made without considering the necessary conditions and the notification which is going to be operated from 1/01/2022 should be stayed.

Per contra, Alok Bakshi, Additional Advocate General (AAG), contended that it is the state’s prerogative to declare a particular district to be the district headquarters as different parameters are required for it. The AAG further contended that unless and until it is shown that there is a gross negligence in such declaration, the petitioner cannot question the same.

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The Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice N.K. Chandravanshi after hearing the counsels for the respective parties sought the map which is placed on record.

The Court observed that Ambagarh Chowki is in the northern direction while traveling to south, first Mohla comes then Manpur comes and at the end towards the eastern side, Aundi comes, which is at the far extreme east, thereafter another district begins.

Prima facie on perusal of the map of Mohla and Manpur, the Court further observed that it comes in between Aundi and Ambagarh Chowki.

“Therefore the claim of the petitioner if acceded to, the population and the resident of the Aundi will have to travel a longer distance to Ambagarh Chowki instead of Mohla Manpur.”

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As per map the Mohla Manpur is centrally situated in the proposed district headquarters. Even otherwise the decision which has been taken by the State would be purely an administrative decision and

“until gross malafide is pointed out the High Court would refrain its power to intervene to disturb such notification.”

The Bench held that the different parameters might have been considered by the State to declare a particular area as district headquarters. There is nothing placed before us to show that there is a gross non application of mind foregoing any necessary criteria to declare Mohla Manpur as district headquarters. It is the prerogative of the State to declare a particular place as district headquarters.

“The High Court would not interfere in such administrative acts unless gross illegality or irregularity is pointed out. The spirit of the Constitution of the separation of powers cannot be defeated merely on self-declaration of petitioners. Therefore, we are not inclined to entertain this petition at the threshold,”

-the Court said while dismissing the PIL.

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