Monday, October 2, 2023

Patna High Court dismisses PIL seeking an inquiry into misappropriation of Government schemes by State

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The Patna High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking direction to the respondents to enquire into the Government Schemes which are misappropriated by the State Government and its officials (respondent IInd Set) in the name of religion at Vidyapati Nagar Block under Samastipur District and for direction to protect Government funds which are illegally misused by the authorities.

The PIL was filed by one Ajay Kumar Singh further seeking direction for removal of encroachments from the land of Railways and its officials (Respondents Ist Set), which is encroached by the Respondents IInd Set.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Rajiv Roy noted from the order dated 26.08.2019 itself that the Division Bench found that the dispute of land encroached by State, raised vis-a-vis the Railway Administration would be settled by themselves.

In a subsequent order on 11.12.2020, the counsel for the Railways brought to the notice of the Court that there has been large encroachment of public land and building there was a direction to the Commissioner, Darbhanga Division as also the District Magistrate, Samastipur to file their personal affidavits.

The Standing counsel for the Railways raised the issue of encroachment to their properties.

The Court opined that the Railways cannot raise the issue of encroachment on their property in a Public Interest Litigation. It is not as if the Railways do not have the wherewithal to take appropriate proceedings for removal of encroachment and execute it, in accordance with law. There is no public interest discernible which could be agitated by a third party in so far as the Railway lands are concerned.

The further prayer is for enquiring into the alleged financial defalcation of Vidyapati Dham Ugna Mahadev Temple, Samastipur. At the outset, the Bench noted that the said entity has not been impleaded. Despite that, there is an Intervenor Application filed by the person who is the President of the Vidyapati Mandir Vikash Samiti, Vidyapati Dham. It is specifically alleged in the Intervenor Application that the Dham is being managed by a Samiti of which the Intervenor is the President. It is alleged that even at an earlier point the petitioner had obtained an interim order in the writ petition without the junction of the Samati who is in management; directing the Bihar State Religious Trust Board or the District Magistrate to take over the temple for administering it.

Obviously, it is a dispute in the management of the Committee for which the petitioner would have to institute a suit and not agitate the cause before this Court, that too styling it as public interest , held by the High Court.

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