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SUPREME COURT HAS SET ASIDE THE ORDER OF HIGH COURT & TRIBUNAL IN THE CASE OF COMPASSIONATE APPOINTMENT

CASE NAME: ASHOK KUMAR MEWARI V. UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS
CASE NUMBER: CIVIL APPEAL NO.—– OF 2023 (Arising out of SLP (C)                             No. 5921 of 2019)

DATED ON: DECEMBER 05, 2023
Quorum: Honourable Justice J.K. MAHESHWARI & Justice K.V. VISWANATHAN

FACTS OF THE CASE:

An employee of the Railways applied for voluntary retirement due to medical ailments, intending to appoint his son Mukesh Mewari on compassionate grounds. The Union of India partially accepted the request but did not consider the request. Dissatisfied, the appellant filed an Original Application No. 200/00398/2015 before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jabalpur Bench, Jabalpur, which was granted on 11.2.2016. The Tribunal issued directions that the respondent’s counsel’s reliance on the Railway Board’s circular No. E(NG)II/2009/RC-1/CR/2 dated 12.11.2014 is misplaced, and the respondents’ reliance on the Supreme Court’s decision in S.S. Grewal Vs. State of Punjab and others, 1993 Supp (3) SCC 234 cannot strengthen their case. The original application is allowed, and respondents are directed to consider the applicant’s claim for appointment of his son on compassionate grounds within three months.

The said order was challenged in Writ Petition No. 7540 of 2016 before the High Court regarding appointment and invalidation on medical grounds, partially allowed in 2017. The court remitted the matter with observations, stating the Tribunal had made an error by not considering a circular from 2006. The application for compassionate appointment was rejected without challenge, raising questions about its maintainability. The court allowed the petition, quash the order, and remanded it for reconsideration. The appellant’s review was dismissed, leading to a subsequent Writ Petition, which was dismissed, resulting in this appeal.

SCHEME FOR COMPASSIONATE APPOINTMENT

Clause-7: Determination/availability of vacancies

(a) Appointment on compassionate grounds should be made only on regular basis and that too only if regular vacancies meant for that purpose are available.

(b) Compassionate appointments can be made upto a maximum of 5% of vacancies falling under direct recruitment quota in any Group ‘C’ or ‘D’ post.

ISSUES RAISED

Whether the compassionate appointment can be awarded for voluntary retirement in the employment  under Indian Railways.

CONTENTION OF THE PETITIONER

The petitioner argues that accepting a voluntary retirement prayer is not justified, as it was made in a composite prayer asking for voluntary retirement and compassionate appointment to his son. The court relies on the Food Corporation of India and Another v. Ram Kesh Yadav and Another case, 9 SCC 531. The petitioner’s argument is supported by the Tribunal and High Court orders, which show that the Railways’ clarification issued on November 12, 2014 applies to the petitioner’s case, despite the request for voluntary retirement and appointment to his son prior to the clarification. The order accepting voluntary retirement was passed on September 18, 2013.

CONTENTION OF RESPONDENT

The counsel for the Railways argues that the Circular dated 12.11.2014 is a clarification and will apply to the main Circular. However, the counsel is unimpressed by the petitioner’s application dated 18.06.2013, which was a composite request for voluntary retirement and compassionate appointment to his son. The Department accepted the request before the clarification was issued. The counsel believes it is appropriate to give the respondent one chance to decide the petitioner’s claim for compassionate appointment.

COURT’S ANALYSIS

The respondent reiterated their understanding and relied on the circular dated November 12, 2014. The Government of India, Ministry of Railways, issued a letter of clarification dated March 3, 2009, during the hearing. The subsequent clarification dated November 12, 2014 is based on the same letter, and the findings as recorded by the Tribunal and confirmed by the High Court are in conformity with the said letter.

The Ministry of Railways, through the Railway Board, has laid down that if an employee is medically invalidated or de-categorised and the administration cannot find alternative posts, they may be kept on a supernumerary post in their regular grade until a suitable post can be identified or until retirement. The Circular dated June 14, 2006, which was issued on June 14, 2006, is considered valid and applicable regardless of the clarification of the Board’s letter dated November 12, 2014 regarding medical categorisation of employees. The application for voluntary retirement was made on June 18, 2013, before the classificatory circular dated November 12, 2014. The Board’s letter dated March 3, 2009, was never placed before the Tribunal or High Court to support the contention, and there is no reference to the letter in the Circular of November 12, 2014.

The appellant’s request for voluntary retirement was made instead of offering him an alternative post and his son Mukesh Mewari, a B.Com pass, to be appointed at his place. This means that his request for voluntary retirement can only be allowed if his simultaneous request for compassionate appointment of his son is accepted. This Court had the occasion to consider a similar issue in the case of Food Corporation of India and Another vs. Ram Kesh Yadav and Another (2007) 9 SCC 531, wherein this Court considered whether a conditional voluntary retirement application can be partially accepted, by granting only the request for voluntary retirement without acceding to the condition.

The appellant applied for voluntary retirement under the condition that his son Mukesh Mewari be appointed in his place. The request for voluntary retirement and the request for compassionate appointment were composite. The respondents only accepted the request for voluntary retirement without accepting the request for compassionate appointment to the appellant’s son. The board should accept both requests compositely, accepting both or rejecting them in total. The employer had the option to inform the employee that compassionate appointment could not be given due to existing norms, but this was not done in this case. The appellant’s request for compassionate appointment was not considered.

JUDGEMENT

In view of the above discussion, we allow this appeal and set­aside the orders passed by the Tribunal in the Original Application and review respectively and the order dated 13.11.2018 of the High Court. We also quash the order dated 10.11.2023 passed by the West Central Railway, Jabalpur Division, Jabalpur.

we direct that compassionate appointment, in the applicable post, be given to the Appellant’s son Mukesh Mewari within a period of 4 weeks from the date of communication of this order. No order as to costs.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY: ABHISHEK SINGH

 

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The Thodu Tangle: The Karnataka High Court Validates Villagers’ Concerns on Bridge Construction.

Samad A.A. & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.

Writ Appeal No.: 636 OF 2024

Court: High Court of Karnataka.

Coram: Hon’ble J. B.M. Shyam Prasad, J. T.G. Shivashankare Gowda.

The High Court of Karnataka delivered a judgment on May 2, 2024, on a writ appeal filed against an interim order dated 18.03. 2024. The interim order directed the Deputy Commissioner of Madikeri to remove a concrete road constructed on a thodu within four weeks.

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

The appellants are the residents of Mugatageri village in Kodagu District. A concrete road has been put up on the thodu (a small stream or water channel) in their locality, which might have resulted in the stagnation of water. The initial petition was filed by Sri K.K. Deepak against various state officials and local authorities responsible for the construction and maintenance of the road. After this, there were directions to remove the concrete road, but actions were yet to be taken due to the election.

 

LEGAL ISSUES

  1. Whether the appellant’s rights would be affected by the implementation of the interim order directing the removal of the concrete land?
  2. Whether the appellants should have been impleaded as parties in the writ petition before passing the interim order?

 

LEGAL PROVISIONS

  • Section 4  of the Karnataka High Court Act, 1961, under which the appeal was filed.
  • Rule 27 of the Writ Proceedings Rules, 1977, states that a certiorari writ petition must include certified or authenticated copies of the order to be quashed and, if applicable, copies of orders from all involved authorities.
  • Additionally, the case involves principles under environmental protection laws concerning water bodies.

CONTENTIONS BY THE APPELLANTS

The learned counsel for the appellants contended that the implementation of the interim order directing the removal of the concrete road would affect their rights as they were not made parties to the original writ petition. Thus, their rights and interests were only considered after passing the interim order. The petitioners argued that the construction of concrete roads over thodu may have led to significant water stagnation, affecting the local land properties. They also contended that despite the direction of the Tahsildar, the Panchayat Development Officer, to remove the concrete road, no action was taken.

CONTENTIONS BY THE RESPONDENTS

The learned Additional Government Advocate, representing the respondents, submitted that the interim order could not be implemented due to the elections during the time of order. However, he did not oppose the appellant’s contention that they should have been included and heard before passing the interim order to address their concerns appropriately.

ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court recognized the environmental issues resulting from the construction of the road over the thodu. It observed that the grievances of the appellants regarding the interim order and their concerns were valid as they were not given an opportunity to present their case in the original writ proceedings. The Court acknowledged the delay due to elections and deemed it necessary to provide the appellants an opportunity to file the applications.

CONCLUSION

The case above is an example of the importance given to the principles of natural justice by the courts. The courts allowed the appellants to be heard before the implementation of an order that might affect their rights. This case highlights the necessity of ensuring that all parties are heard in judicial proceedings. It also underscores the importance of maintaining natural environments and addressing the impact of infrastructure projects on the environment.

Judgement reviewed by Maria Therese Syriac.

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The Kerala High Court dismisses Writ as Petitioner fails to show any locus standi seeking to maintain the writ as PIL

CASE TITLE – Vinod Mathew versus the Union of India & Ors.

CASE NUMBER – WP(C) NO. 17179 OF 2024

DATED ON – 20.05.2024

QUORUM – JUSTICE GOPINATH P. & JUSTICE SYAM KUMAR V.M.

FACTS OF THE CASE

“The prayers sought in this Writ Petition, filed as a public interest litigation, are as follows:

  1. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ, order, or direction directing respondents Nos. 2 to 4 to consider and take action on Ext.P3 representation as per law within a time limit fixed by the Hon’ble Court, in the interest of justice.
  2. To issue a writ of mandamus or any other writ, order, or direction directing respondents Nos. 1, 6, and 7 to consider and take action on Ext.P5 representation as per law within a time limit fixed by this Hon’ble Court, in the interest of justice.
  3. Such other writ, orders, or directions deemed fit on facts and in the interest of justice.”

The petitioner claims that a money heist occurred within the jurisdiction of Kodakara Police Station, and that Crime No.146 of 2021, dated 07.04.2021, has been registered in that station. According to the petitioner, because the heist involves hawala and money laundering with political overtones, he has filed Ext.P3 representation dated 24.04.2024 and Ext.P5 representation dated 28.04.2024 with the relevant respondents, seeking the registration of a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The petitioner expresses disappointment that the concerned respondents have taken no action on his representations. Given the nature of the crime, which he believes has ramifications for the nation’s economic security, he has filed this Writ Petitions, seeking the aforementioned prayers.

 

 

 

 

ISSUES

Whether the petitioner has sufficient standing to maintain the Writ Petition and whether the petition serves a genuine public interest or is politically motivated.

 

CONTENTIONS BY THE PETITIONER

The petitioner alleges that the heist has significant ramifications for national economic security. Representations seeking action under the 2002 Act were made but were not acted upon, leading to the Writ Petition. The petitioner is citing, Dr. P. Nalla Thampy Thera v. Union of India, for a flexible approach to locus standi in public interest litigations.

CONTENTIONS BY THE RESPONDENT

Respondents 2 and 3 have in their statement, challenged the locus standi of the petitioner to prefer the Writ Petition in a matter which essentially has criminal law implications. The statement also reveals that based on FIR No.146 of 2021 dated 07.04.2021 of Kodakara Police Station and the Final Report filed therein by the Police, an ECIR/KCZO/11/2023 dated 30.01.2023 has been registered by the Enforcement Directorate under the Act, 2002 and that the matter is under active investigation. It has been stated therein that several persons have been questioned and their statements recorded. That effective steps are being presently undertaken by the Enforcement Directorate to ascertain the proceeds of crime including the money trail and that meticulous investigation is required in cases of such nature to find out the money trail, the proceeds of the crime and the persons involved in the money laundering case, are also pointed out by respondents 2 and 3 in their statement. The Enforcement Directorate has through the said statement sought dismissal of the Writ Petition at the very threshold on the ground of maintainability and lack of locus standi in the petitioner. Respondents 1 and 5 have in their statement contended that the Writ Petition is not maintainable and that no public interest is involved in the matter. It is alleged by them therein that the Writ Petition has been filed with political interest and ulterior motives by the petitioner who is admittedly the State President of a political party. It is also averred therein that Ext.P2 Final Report clearly reveals that the State Police has completed the investigation and has filed the Final Report before the jurisdictional Magistrate who has taken cognizance of the matter. Respondents 1 and 5 thus seek dismissal of the Writ Petition on the ground that a public interest litigation is not maintainable in a criminal matter and that the petitioner is only a stranger who is in no way connected with the alleged crime.

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Hon’able High Court of Kerala finds that the petitioner has failed to reveal any locus standi to prefer or maintain the above Writ Petition as a public interest litigation. The objections raised by the respondents in their statements regarding lack of locus standi in the petitioner has legal merit and are accordingly accepted and upheld. The court is convinced that even if we were to hold that the Writ Petition is maintainable at the instance of the petitioner, the reliefs sought for cannot be granted.  Ext.P3 representation is addressed to officials of the Enforcement Directorate seeking registration of a case under the Act, 2002, against a named individual. There is also a prayer in Ext.P3 that the named individual and his associates should be arrested. The prayer for consideration of Ext.P3 by the competent authority under the 2002 Act is based on a misconception of the scope of the 2002 Act. After analysing the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the court made it clear that the Enforcement Directorate is not an investigating agency stricto sensu. The command and mandate of the Enforcement Directorate under the 2002 Act is to ensure that no person benefits from the proceeds of crime derived out of the commission of a scheduled offence and to see that such property is confiscated to the State. Therefore, in the facts of this case there cannot be any direction issued to consider Ext.P3 which has been filed with a prayer to register a case and arrest certain individuals for that is not the mandate of the Enforcement Directorate. Moreover, the statement filed on behalf of respondents 2 and 3 filed in this case indicates that the Enforcement Directorate has registered an ECIR/KCZO/11/23 in the above matter and the same is being enquired into as well. Thus the court sees no reason to direct the consideration of Ext.P3. The second relief sought in the Writ Petition is for Ext.P5 representation, which requests action under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act of 2008 (NIA Act). Section 6 of the NIA Act, 2008, states that the process begins with the filing of a FIR under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) for an offence listed in the Schedule to the NIA Act, 2008. A review of the Ext.P2 Final Report reveals that no offences listed in the Schedule to the NIA Act, 2008, were committed. The petitioner has incorrectly invoked Section 6, as the preliminary requirements for its application—namely, the commission of a scheduled offence and the filing of a FIR—have not been met. Hence for the above mentioned reasons the writ is dismissed.

 

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Tripura High Court: Reinstatement Not Automatic in Case of Dismissal Order Overturned for Procedural Flaws

 

Case title: Rajesh Das VS Society for Tripura Medical College & Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital & ANR

Case no.: WA No. 17 of 2024

Dated on:  19TH MARCH OF 2024

Quorum: HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. APARESH KUMAR SINGH HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S.D. PURKAYASTHA

FACTS OF THE CASE

The learned writ court by the impugned order dated 12th February, 2024 set aside the order of dismissal of the petitioner dated 28th April, 2023 and directed the respondent employer to start the proceeding from the stage of evidence, as it was of the view that the petitioner had been dismissed from the service on the basis of the statements he made in his written statement. Before us the appellant is aggrieved as there is no direction for reinstatement pending fresh departmental enquiry from the stage of evidence. On the part of the appellant, learned senior counsel, Mr. P Roy Barman, submits that as per Articles of Charges No. I, II & III as per Memorandum dated 30th December, 2020, the petitioner was charged with criticizing the respondent-Society through his social media accounts i.e. Twitter handle relentlessly and had also indulged in indiscipline to disturb normal functioning of the Society. He was alleged to be involved in activities which were detrimental to the interest of the Society by posting offensive posts on his social media account criticizing the functioning the society though being an employee of the Society. He was also alleged to have left his work place during working hours without permission of his Controlling Authority and as such, was liable for indisciplined behaviour. Earlier, writ petitioner had approached this court in WP(C) No.700/2021, being aggrieved by the issuance of the memorandum of the charges. The learned writ court vide order dated 10th January, 2022 directed the Disciplinary Authority to take a fresh look in the objections raised by the petitioner by way of his representation dated 26th August, 2021. If it was found that the Facebook post, which is the source of Disciplinary Proceeding, has in any way, directly or indirectly criticized the appointment of the respondent No.3, the principle of fairness would warrant removal of respondent No.3. Else he should be allowed to continue as the Inquiry Officer. Pursuant thereto, the Inquiry Officer was changed vide Order dated 21st January, 2022.

ISSUES

  • Whether the Disciplinary Proceedings Violated Principles of Natural Justice:
  • whether the petitioner’s actions, allegedly criticizing the respondent-Society on social media, were protected under the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • whether the petitioner should be reinstated to his position pending the outcome of a fresh departmental inquiry, following the setting aside of the dismissal order.

 LEGAL PROVISIONS

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India: This article guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression. The petitioner had invoked this right to justify his criticism of the respondent-Society on social media, arguing that it should not be a ground for disciplinary action.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

The Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that though the petitioner denied having any Twitter handle ID to post such comments and refuted the charges under Article ‘I’ as baseless but without properly adducing the offending posts as evidence in the Disciplinary Proceeding, the Inquiry Officer proceeded to hold him guilty. His written statement of defence is at Annexure-12 at page 88. He has also referred to the rebuttal of his defence statement reflected in the inquiry report as contained in the second show cause notice vide memorandum dated 21st March, 2023 (Annexure-13) wherein the inquiry officer has categorically stated that the AO was denying uploading of any FB or Twitter postings concerning the internal affairs of TMC as charged by the Disciplinary Authority. It is submitted that the petitioner had also taken a plea of Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India to criticize the follies of the management. As such, the learned Writ Court found that the impugned order of dismissal was passed only on the basis of his defence statement. However, the learned Writ Court while setting aside the order of dismissal did not issue any direction for consequential relief, i.e. reinstatement in service pending departmental inquiry. Learned senior counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance on para 31 of the Constitution Bench judgment rendered by the Apex court in the case of Managing Director, ECIL, Hyderabad & Ors. vs. B. Karunakar & Ors. reported in (1993) 4 SCC 727. He submits that in such a case when the dismissal has been set aside on account of violation of principles of natural justice in conduct of Disciplinary Inquiry the proper course for any court or tribunal is to direct restatement of the delinquent during the period of departmental enquiry though the question of back wages etc. would arise only on conclusion of the fresh inquiry. As such, the impugned order may be interfered to that extent.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

The Learned senior counsel for the respondents, Mr. SS Dey submits that the inquiry proceedings have been conducted in a proper manner after due opportunity to the petitioner to submit his defence statement and after service of the inquiry report along with the second show cause notice whereby the punishment of termination from service was proposed. As such, the learned Writ Court was not right in setting aside the penalty of dismissal from service and directing fresh inquiry to restart the proceedings from the stage of evidence. He has also countenanced the plea of reinstatement pending Departmental inquiry raised by the appellant. He has also referred to the same decision of the Apex court in the case of B Karunakar (supra). He submits that para 31 of the report which contains the opinion of the three judges comprising the majority do not specifically convey that reinstatement is automatic. If the observations of the Apex court at para 31 are looked into in detail, the order of punishment in this case has not been set aside on non-service of inquiry report, as was the case therein. The order of termination had been set aside to restart the disciplinary inquiry from the stage of evidence, as according to the learned Writ Court, the punishment was based only on the defence statement of the delinquent, which finding is not correct.

COURT’S ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

We have considered the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties and taken note of the relevant materials placed on record as referred to hereinabove. In the present case, the order of termination has been set aside by the learned Writ Court being persuaded by the plea that the findings of the inquiry officer suffered from violation of principles of natural justice as the Presenting Officer had not established the charges by adducing evidence of such offending social media posts alleged to have been posted by the delinquent employee. Instead, though the delinquent employee had denied that he had no Twitter handle ID and that the posts were not from his mobile either but the Inquiry Officer proceeded to hold the charges established. As such, the penalty imposed upon the petitioner was only on the basis of his defence statement. The petitioner, however, is aggrieved by the impugned order only to the extent that despite setting aside of the order of dismissal the learned Writ Court did not direct reinstatement pending departmental inquiry. Though reliance had been placed on para 31 of the Constitution Bench judgment of the Apex Court on such plea but on a reading of the said judgment and as has been considered and interpreted in subsequent decisions of the Apex Court, we are of the view that the plea of the petitioner for automatic reinstatement upon setting aside of the dismissal order is not tenable. This view finds further support from the subsequent decisions rendered by the Apex Court such as Union of India Vs. YS Sadhu, Ex-Inspector reported in (2008) 12 SCC 30 (para 3&7), Chairman, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Ors. Vs. A. Masilamani reported in (2013) 6 SCC 530 (Para 16 & 17) and State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. Vs. Rajit Singh, reported in (2022) 15 SCC 254 (para 12-14) wherein the Apex Court after noticing the Constitution Bench decision in the case of B Karunakar (supra) had occasion to hold that once the court sets aside an order of punishment, on the ground that the inquiry was not properly conducted, the court cannot reinstate the employee. It must remit the case dismissal. The instant appeal is disposed of with the aforesaid modification(s) in the impugned order. Pending application(s), if any, also stand disposed of.

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Judgement Reviewed by – HARIRAGHAVA JP

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Rajasthan HC directs State Government to look into the absence of State Counsel representation in legal proceedings

CASE TITLE – Rekha Kumari v. State Of Rajasthan.

CASE NUMBER – S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 3015/2019

DATED ON – 15.03.2024

QUORUM – Hon’ble Justice Ganesh Ram Meena

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

Mr. Rahul Gupta, Adv. and Mr. Shubhendu Pilania, Adv., on behalf of Mr. Basant Singh Chhaba, AAG, representing all respondents, request three weeks to file a reply. On January 22, 2020, this Court instructed the petitioner’s attorney to provide a copy of the petition to Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG’s office and to file the case after indicating Mr. Saini’s name in the cause-list. Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG, represented the respondents on February 3, 2020, and requested two weeks to provide a response. On September 15, 2023, Mr. C.L. Saini, AAG, representing the respondents, requested an extension of time to submit their reply, and this request was granted. Once more, now, more than four years later, the respondent State’s attorneys ask for extra time to file a response. The issues concern the petitioners’ claim to be appointed to the Grade III (Special Education) Teacher post. The unemployed people who have come before this court as petitioners are doing so in order to pursue justice. Although they were served four years ago, the respondent-State, which is regarded as a welfare state, is pleading for more time to submit a response.

 

ISSUE

Whether the State can be given time to file a reply.

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan noticed that the respondent authority’s sluggish attitude demonstrates that they are not operating as a welfare state, and this type of behaviour might have disastrous effects on the entire legal system, which is why poor unemployed litigants are turning to the courts in the first place. The court has also evidently noticed that the respondent-State is not being adequately represented by the Officer or its solicitors for the past two months. It has been brought to the attention of the Rajasthani government, the chief secretary, and the principal secretary of the law and legal affairs department several times, but as of yet, no adequate plan has been established for the state’s representation. The absence of State counsel is the reason for the adjournment of several cases.  A few days ago, this Court also learned of a lawsuit that the State had brought, in which no one had represented the State on two or three occasions. In the aforementioned case, this Court believes that the Governor of Rajasthan, His Excellency, should be informed of the issue so that the State Government can investigate and the State’s interests can be protected throughout the legal process and any rulings rendered by the Court. The court ordered that a copy of this order must be sent by the Registrar (Judicial) to the Chief Secretary of the State of Rajasthan, His Excellency the Governor of Rajasthan, and the Principal Secretary of the Law and Legal Affairs Department of the Government of Rajasthan. For the sake of fairness, the Hon’ble High Court gave the respondents  two weeks as a last chance to file a reply, subject to the respondent state paying each petitioner’s costs of Rs. 10,000 in the event that the reply is not submitted by the next listing date.

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