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Madhya Pradesh High Court dismisses PIL seeking inquiry into Patwari recruitment scam

The Madhya Pradesh High Court imposed a Cost of Rs.10,000/- on the Petitioner and dismissed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking a direction to the respondents to constitute a fact finding enquiry by a Committee headed by a Retired/Sitting Judge of High Court of Madhya Pradesh or any other High Level Committee to enquire into the scam in the recruitment of Patwari Examination conducted by the respondent No.2 (Madhya Pradesh Employees Selection Board) in the month of March-April, 2023 and the result of which was declared on 11/07/2023.

In the Patwari recruitment process, there is a big-big recruitment scam of high level, due to which the meritorious students are deprived of being given appointment as Patwaris. Such kind of scam would not only hamper the development of the State but also spoil the future of the younger generation. In the circumstances petitioner has prayed for constitution of a High Level Committee of a Retired/Sitting Judge of High Court of Madhya Pradesh to enquire into the matter.

Per contra, Anand Soni, Additional Advocate General for the respondents/State, on advance notice, has vehemently opposed the prayer and submitted that the present petition has been filed only on the basis of newspaper cutting accompanied with certain unsubstantiated and irrelevant documents. The petition has been filed by a person who is actively involved in the politics and he was a past Member of the Congress Party and he has some personal interest with oblique motives and in order to settle the political vendetta and to achieve political mileage on account of forthcoming Legislative Assembly Elections in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

The Indore Division Bench of Justice Sushrut Arvind Dharmadhikari and Justice Hirdesh noted that the petition has been filed purely on the basis of newspaper cutting/reporting. Incorrect declarations have been made in para 9 as regard non-availability of alternative and efficacious remedy. There is a non-compliance of Rules 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 of Chapter XIII-A of the M.P. High Court Rules, 2008, on this ground alone the petition deserves to be thrown-out.

According to the aforesaid provisions, the petitioner is required to give a declaration that thorough research has been conducted in the matter and it is required to be accompanied by all such material where necessary. Rule 14 of Chapter XIII-A of the Rules of M.P. High Court Rules, 2008 provides that a Public Interest Litigation (Writ Petition) shall disclose –

(1) petitioner’s social public standing/professional status and public spirited antecedents;

(2) source of petitioner’s finances for meeting the expenditure of the P.I.L.;

(3) source of the information on which the averments are based;

(4) facts constituting the cause;

(5) nature of injury caused to the public; and

(6) nature and extent of the personal interest of the petitioner involved in the cause, if any.

Rule 15 of the aforesaid Chapter provides that “All substantive allegations/averments in a writ petition shall, as far as practicable, be supported by prima facie evidence/material. Such allegations/ averments and evidence/material shall be substantiated by an affidavit of the petitioner.” So far as alternative remedy is concerned, the petitioner can approach the Concerned Authority by filing a complaint, the said remedy has not been availed by the petitioner. Since there is a noncompliance of Rule 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of M.P. High Court Rules 2008, the petition itself is not maintainable and liable to be dismissed.

In reply, counsel for the petitioner contended that the Public Interest Litigation cannot be thrown-out only because the petitioner belongs to a rival political parties. The persons with political affiliations are as much entitled to file a PIL as any other person. The counsel placed reliance on the Apex Court judgment in the case of State of West Bengal and others vs. Deepak Mishra reported in (2021) SCC OnLine 3147.

After hearing took place, the Additional Advocate General for the respondents/State has produced a letter dated 19/07/2023, which is taken on record, in which it is stated that the State Government has already taken action to enquire into the alleged irregularities and illegality in the recruitment of Patwari Examination conducted by the respondent No.2 by appointing a Retired Judge of the High Court Madhya Pradesh, therefore, in view of the action taken by the State Government, no such direction can be issued, in light of the aforesaid letter to the respondents to constitute a Committee etc.

In the facts and circumstances of the case, it is clear that the present writ petition by way of Public Interest Litigation is based on news paper reporting without conducting any research and without even disclosing the source of information, from which it can be inferred that the scam has taken place, the Court finds no reason to entertain the petition and the same deserves to be and is hereby dismissed by the High Court.

The Court noted that petitioner has filed thet petition even without filing a representation before the State Government and directly approached this Court, which is in violation of Madhya Pradesh High Court Rules, as stated in the preceding paragraphs. This Court is of the considered opinion that some cost deserves to be imposed on the petitioner for wasting the precious time of the Court.

“Accordingly, petitioner is directed to deposit a sum of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand Only) imposed on the petitioner for wasting the precious time of this Court. The petitioner is directed to deposit the aforesaid cost before the High Court Legal Services Committee, Indore within a period of 30 days from today, failing which the Registry is directed to list this case under the head/caption “Direction Matter”, so as to enable this Court to pass appropriate order for recovery of the cost by way of arrears of land revenue”, the order reads.

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