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COURT OF EQUITY EXERCISING JURISDICTION UNDER ARTICLE 226 WILL HAVE TO BE MINDFUL OF THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE AND ENSURE THAT IN RIGIDLY APPLYING TECHNICAL RULES OF PROCEDURE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE DOES NOT RESULT: ODISHA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Odisha through the division bench of THE CHIEF JUSTICE R. K. PATTANAIK in the case of Ramesh Chandra Pani vs State of Orissa and Others (W.P.(C) No.10228 of 2006)

Facts:

The background facts are that for the period between 23rdApril 1984 and 1st August 1989, the Petitioner worked on deputation with the Orissa State Handloom Weavers’ Co-operative Society Limited, Bhubaneswar (Society). According to the Petitioner, long after he was repatriated to his parent Department in the Government of Odisha, he was informed that some shortage was detected on the basis of an audit report concerning the Society and the shortage was in the sum of Rs.7,92,046.08, which was liable to be recovered from him

Judgement:

The Court exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution is also a Court of equity. It will have to be mindful of the interests of justice and ensure that in rigidly applying technical rules of procedure miscarriage of justice does not result. A handloom weavers’ cooperative society which is owed over Rs.15 lakhs for over eighteen years has been rendered helpless in seeking to recover even a tiny fraction of the said amount an account of successive interim orders passed first by the OAT and then by this Court. There was no corresponding burden on the Petitioner to deposit at least some part of the said amount as a condition for stay to be granted. Meanwhile, the Petitioner has superannuated and the Court is not informed what his present assets are.

Under Article 226 of the Constitution, the Court does not consider it to be a balance of equities to simply quash the impugned orders requiring recovery to be made from the Petitioner.

In the circumstances, the Court sees no reason why it should interfere either with the order dated 12th August 2004 or subsequent order dated 17th April 2006 of the OAT. The interim order dated 14th August 2006 stands vacated. The writ petition is dismissed. But, in the circumstances with no order as to costs.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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