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Public interest litigation cannot be filed merely because suggestions of the officer have not been accepted by the superior officers: High Court of Delhi

The High Court of Delhi, through learned judges, Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan in the case of Shovan Patra vs. UOI & Others (W.P.(C) 7600/2020 ) held that public interest litigation cannot be filed merely because suggestions of the officer have not been accepted by the superior officers

BRIEF FACTS: The petitioner was an employee of the respondent-institution, and held the post of Accounts Officer. He had a difference of opinion with his superior officers about the implementation of the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. In the writ petition, the petitioner alleged various violations of the Act and Schemes framed thereunder, which according to him, resulted in loss to the exchequer, including inter alia enrolment of excluded employees and withdrawal of provident fund amounts contrary to the existing Rules. The petitioner had also stated that certain remedial measures were required to be taken, including by modification of the software system employed by the respondent organisation. The petitioner had put an endorsement to this effect before high ranking administrative officers of the respondents, but they took a different view regarding the implementation of the Act, 1952. The petitioner then took the matter up directly with the highest levels in the respondent organisation, and has also submitted a grievance with the Prime Minister’s Office.

FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The court remarked that the present petition was not appropriately the subject matter of a Public Interest Litigation at all. It was not desirable that an administrative officer approached the Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the view taken by his superior administrative officers, whether to vindicate a position of which he is convinced or to teach a lesson to the high ranking officer. There was no allegation in the present case of any mala fides, or any supporting material, for the court to entertain the present public interest litigation. The court dismissed the petition by remarking that a public interest litigation cannot be filed merely because suggestions of the officer have not been accepted by the superior officers

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K

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