The Gauhati High Court has observed that a High Court, in exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, cannot direct the authorities to use a particular plot of land for school only.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Rashmin Manharbhai Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking following relief:
- to issue a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents for shifting the Sankardev Vidya Niketan, Howraghat to the plot of land measuring 15 bighas 1katha 14 lechas under revenue village-Howraghat Gaon, Mouza- Howraghat in the district of KarbiAnglong) owned by the school.
- to issue a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to carry out the construction of the Sankardev Vidya Niketan, Howraghat under the scheme of“Infrustructural Development Programme in ITDP of Assam.
- to direct the Respondents not to utilize any funds for construction of theSankardev Vidya Niketan school at its original location .
Considering the prayers made in the petition, the Court does not find that there is any illegality in the construction of the building.
The Court observed that the objection which is sought to be raised by the petitioner regarding the non-suitability of the plot which is situated at Howraghat Town under Howraghat Mouza.
The respondent No.8 (Managing Committee of the Sankardev Vidya Niketan) has stated in his affidavit-in-opposition that the building under construction will be utilized only upto Class VIII and high section of the school shall be conducted in a larger plot.
It is also the case of the petitioners that as per Section 10 of the Assam Non-Government Educational Institutions (Regulation and Management)Act, 2006, the minimum requirement of land is 1 bigha whereas the case of the respondent is that the school is situated within the Howraghat Municipal Boardwhich falls in Hills urban areas under 6th Schedule Autonomous District wherein the requirement is not less than 2.5 kathas of land.
“Even otherwise considering the prayers made by the petitioners, this Court in exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, cannot direct the authorities to use a particular plot of land for the school only. Still, however, at the same time, the authorities cannot be permitted to act de hors the rule.”
However, the Court granted liberty to the petitioners to approach the authority by filing a representation before the Karbi Anglong Autonomous District Council which may be considered in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible and pass a reasoned order which may be communicated to the petitioners.If such representation is filed latest by 31.08.2022, the same shall be decided latest by 17.09.2022 , directed the Bench.