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Uttarakhand High Court directs petitioner to approach state govt on irregularities in purchase of sheep, fodder

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The Uttarakhand High Court has directed a petitioner to submit a composite representation, highlighting all her grievances in the matter of purchase of fodder and sheep, to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand, within two weeks.

The Division Bench of Justice Alok Kumar Verma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari passed this order on October 6, while disposing of a PIL filed by one Gauri Maulekhi, alleging irregularities in the purchase of fodder and sheep by the Uttarakhand Sheep and Wool Development Board.

The petitioner contended that fodder is available at much lower price in Uttarakhand, but it is being purchased from an outside agency at higher price. Various other allegations have been made against certain authorities. The reliefs sought in the PIL include:-

“A. Allow the present petition and thereby issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents to take time-bound action as per law on 20 representations preferred by the petitioner;
B. Allow the present petition and thereby issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the Respondent No. 3 (Anand Vardhan) to complete the inquiry into the various misconducts of Respondents herein within 14 days;
C. Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction directing the Respondents to prevent the manipulation of evidences/documents pending inquiry & ensure temporary suspension/forced leave/removal/transfer of concerned officers during this inquiry / investigation / cross checking of facts;
D. Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction directing the Respondents to stop further promotions/rewards to concerned officers during this inquiry/investigation/cross checking of facts;  
E. Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction directing the Respondents to initiate and take appropriate punitive/corrective action in a time bound manner, against the erring officers of the Department/Boards/Federations based on the findings of the Inquiry Committee constituted by State Government, including but not limited to recovery of losses caused to the Public Exchequer. 
F. Award costs of this petition to the Petitioner;

G. Pass such order or further order[s] as this Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the present case in and in the interest of justice.

Pragati Sanwal, Counsel for the petitioner, submitted that an enquiry was ordered into the purchase of fodder, however, the Inquiry Officer is yet to complete the enquiry. She further pointed out that the petitioner has made several representations to the concerned authorities, but no decision has been taken on such representations so far.
While considering the PIL, the Court opined that since the state government has ordered an inquiry, which is still pending, therefore, no interference by the High Court in the matter would be called for at this stage.

In such a view of the matter, the Court disposed of the PIL with liberty to the petitioner to submit a composite representation, highlighting all her grievances in the matter of purchase of Fodder and Sheep, to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttarakhand.

The Court ordered that if such representation is made by the petitioner within two weeks from the date of the order , the Chief Secretary shall look into the matter and take appropriate decision, in accordance with law, within four months from the date of production of such representation before him. “It goes without saying that before taking any decision, the Chief Secretary shall hear all persons, who are going to be affected by his decision,” it added.

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