It is axiomatic that a person who occupies the position of competent authority under the PMP Act must evoke and enjoy public confidence, the Bench observed.
The Supreme Court in Laljibhai Kadvabhai Savaliya & Ors. vs. State of Gujarat, has held that the competent authority under the provisions of the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962, must be someone who is holding or has held a judicial office not lower in rank than that of a subordinate judge or is a trained legal mind.
The Bench comprising Justice V.Gopala Gowda and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit observed that a person who occupies the position of competent authority under the PMP Act must evoke and enjoy public confidence.
Since, neither the Act nor the Rules framed thereunder deal with the qualifications required of a person before his appointment as competent authority nor do they deal with any transparent process for such appointment, the Bench referring to pari materia provisions in Section 2(e) of the Metro Railway (Construction of Works) Act, observed: “The competent authority under the provisions of the PMP Act must also be someone who is holding or has held a judicial office not lower in rank than that of a subordinate fudge or is a trained legal mind. If such requirement is not read into and not taken as an integral and essential qualification before appointment of any person as competent cuthority, the provisions in that behalf will not be consistent with the doctrine of fairness under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.”
The court, however clarified, that actions taken by the competent authority till now, will not in any way stand impaired or be invalidated purely on this count. The court has also directed the Central government to step in immediately and remedy the situation with appropriate measures in this regard.
Read the Judgment here.