The Court set aside the direction pertaining to the stay of the provisions of the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014. It is also held that State Human Rights Commission shall become functional by end of June, 2016.
A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court Today slammed Meghalaya High Court for taking suo motu Cognizance in the matter of ‘appointment of State Lokayukta and failure to constitute Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission’. The Bench also set aside the direction pertaining to the stay of the provisions of the Meghalaya Lokayukta Act, 2014. It is also held that State Human Rights Commission shall become functional by end of June, 2016.
The Bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh has held as follows;
“Suo motu public interest litigation can be initiated to ameliorate the conditions of a class of persons whose constitutional or otherwise lawful rights are affected or not adequately looked into. The Court has adopted the said tool so that persons in disadvantaged situation because of certain reasons – social, economic or socio-economic – are in a position to have access to the Court. The Court appoints Amicus Curiae to assist the Court and also expects the executive to respond keeping in view the laudable exercise”
But the bench noted that in the instant Case the High Court has compared the provisions pertaining to appointment of Chairperson and Members under the Act with the provisions of other Acts enacted by different legislatures. The legislature has passed the legislation in its wisdom. There was no challenge to the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Act. The suo motu petition was registered for giving effect to the Act by bringing the institutions into existence. This may be thought of in very rare circumstances depending on the nature of legislation and the collective benefit but in that arena also the Court cannot raise the issue relating to any particular provision and seek explanation in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.
According to Supreme Court,
“Division Bench of the High Court has, with an erroneous understanding of fundamental principle of law, scanned the anatomy of the provision and passed an order in relation to it as if it is obnoxious or falls foul of any constitutional provision. The same is clearly impermissible. A person aggrieved or with expanded concept of locus standi some one could have assailed the provisions. But in that event there are certain requirements and need for certain compliances”.
Explaining the legal position as above the Supreme Court held that, the High Court could not have proceeded as if it was testing the validity of the provision and granted stay.
“The approach is totally fallacious. Having opined aforesaid, we have no option but to set aside that part of the order which deals with the provisions of the Act. We do not intend to express any opinion with regard to validity of any provision contained in the Act. We also do not think it condign to direct that the establishment under the said Act should become operational within any fixed time. Suffice to say at present that when the State Legislature has introduced the legislation to take steps as regards the institution, it shall be the endeavour of the executive to see that the office of the Lokayukta is in place. We say no more for the present” said the Bench.
Read the Judgment here.