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Chhattisgarh HC dismisses PIL against creation of new district

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The Chhattisgarh High Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging a notification dated 11.11.2021 issued in connection with a proposal to create a new district, namely, Manendragarh-Chirmiri-Bharatpur (MCB).

Mahendra Dubey, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted that the notification suffers from many infirmities including violation of Articles 154, 162 and 166 of the Constitution of India.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice  Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Rakesh Mohan Pandey observed that the petitioners are the very same petitioners, who had approached the High Court earlier by filing of WPPIL No. 45 of 2022, ventilating the same grievance.

WPPIL No. 45 of 2022 was disposed of along with five other connected cases by an order dated 25.03.2022.  

The  Court had passed the following order: 
“14. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, we are of the considered opinion that it will not be appropriate at this juncture to entertain these writ petitions as the objections filed by the petitioners are yet to be considered by the State Government. 

15. However, we are also of the considered opinion that it will be in the interest of justice, if the petitioners before this Court In these batch of writ petitions, are permitted to file additional objections, within a period of two weeks taking all such pleas,as may be available in law and as well as on facts. 

16. Accordingly, liberty is granted to the petitioners before this Court in these batches of  petitions to file additional objections within a period of two weeks from today before the Secretary, Government of Chhattisgarh, Department of Disaster Management. 

17. Mr. Verma submits that no decision will be taken without considering additional objections to be submitted by the writ petitions in these batches of writ petitions.

18. The writ petitions, accordingly, stand disposed of. We also  reserve liberty to the petitioners to approach this Court again in future, if need be. Liberty is also granted to Mr. Varun Sharma, as prayed for.”

Petitioners’ counsel Mahendra Dubey submitted that the petition is maintainable as by the aforesaid order dated 25.03.2022, liberty was granted to the petitioners to approach the High Court.   

Raghvendra Pradhan,  Additional Advocate General, submitted that as the petitioners had approached the High Court earlier on the same subject matter and on the same cause of action, the writ petition is not maintainable. He submitted that though at the time of filing of the present writ petition, objections of the petitioners were not disposed of, the objections filed by the petitioners had been disposed of by an order dated 02.09.2022.

Pradhan also submitted that in the order, inadvertently, date is written as 02.08.2022 though it ought to have been written as 02.09.2022. He submitted that date is correctly written as 02.09.2022 below the signature of the signing authority.   

The Court held that the submission of Dubey that the petition is maintainable despite the fact that the very same notification was challenged in WPPIL No.45 of 2022 on the ground that liberty was granted by the High Court, is misconceived.  

“Liberty, which was granted, has to be understood in the context in which the same was granted.”

Since WPPIL No. 45 of 2022 and other connected cases were disposed of directing the objections of the petitioners to be decided by the State  Government, liberty was granted so that if the petitioners were aggrieved by the decision taken on their representation, they can assail such decision of the Government, observed the High Court.

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