Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Uttarakhand High Court directs state to act against violence over question paper leak

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The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the State to take appropriate and stern action against all persons who resort to violence or arson.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Kumar Verma heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking the following reliefs:

“a) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding and directing the respondents to conduct a fair and impartial CBI inquiry regarding the recent scams in selection processes / competitive examination and the progress of the said inquiry be placed on regular intervals before this Hon’ble Court.

b) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding and directing the respondents not to use unnecessary force and Lathi Charge etc. upon the agitators / unemployed youth while they makes peaceful agitation and only if they found to be indulge in illegal act then only force may be used against them.”

So far as relief (a) is concerned, S.N. Babulkar (Advocate General) states that the State Government has taken the issue of leak of question papers in relation to the public examinations very seriously, and a Special Task Force has been constituted to investigate offences related to the said leaks. He submits that around 70 persons have been arrested so far, and the investigation is in progress.

Let the counter-affidavit be filed in relation to the first relief sought by the petitioner within four weeks. The status of the investigation should be disclosed in the counter-affidavit, the Court directed.

Further the Court noted that violence was resorted to by mobs while agitating the issue of question paper leak. Even if such leaks of question papers have taken place that cannot give an excuse to anyone to resort to violence, and destroy public property, or cause public nuisance. The petitioner has the fundamental right to lodge his protest in a peaceful gathering, after obtaining due permission from the administration. However, that does not give him the right to resort to violence. The High Court therefore, rejected the second relief.

The matter is listed on 11.07.2023 for further hearing.

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