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Himachal Pradesh High Court closes PIL initiated on complain made against the then Chief justice

The Himachal Pradesh High Court closed a Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) initiated on 15th September, 2017 on a complaint made to the then Chief Justice of this High Court by one Rajeev Sharma, regarding one Drug Inspector, who was said to have been caught red-handed in a Corruption case by the State Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau in the year 1995 and also in the year 2012.

It was alleged that the said individual falls in the category of a person with doubtful integrity, but showing undue favouritism and nepotism, he was wrongly promoted from the post of Drug Inspector to the post of Assistant Drug Controller and was posted in the said sensitive post at Nahan, District Sirmour, by flouting certain orders passed by this High Court.

Certain reliefs were sought in the said letter ostensibly in order to check and curb corruption in the Health Department of the Government of Himachal Pradesh, in public interest.

What started as a Public Interest Litigation regarding the promotion of Drug Inspector , later was converted on 14.03.2018 into a PIL against other officers alleged to be having doubtful integrity and a direction was given that a Chart in a Tabulated Form be filed by the State disclosing names of officers subjected to disciplinary proceedings, indicating the date of first hearing, current status and stage of Departmental proceedings, as also action thereupon, and also the statement as to whether such officers are holding any sensitive post or not.

From time to time, the State filed appropriate status reports in the last six years.

Certain guidelines issued on 02.11.2012 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Government of India, with regard to vigilance clearance for promotion, have been placed on record, as also certain instructions issued on 17.12.2018 by the then Chief Secretary of the Government of Himachal Pradesh to all the Administrative Secretaries to the Government of Himachal Pradesh.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua is of the view that it is not desirable for the High Court to enter into the broad arena of postings and promotions of officials of the State Government on a continuous basis and keep monitoring them in this Public Interest Litigation since it might be construed as an interference in the running of the Government, and might affect the reputation and careers of officials who are not parties to the PIL and who might not have an opportunity to refute the allegations against them.

Having regard to the instructions referred to above which have been placed on record, which the Court hope and trust will be followed in respect of such matters, reserving power of the Court to give appropriate directions where specific instances of such postings and promotions are brought to the notice of the Court, the Bench close the CWPIL.

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