6 Sep 2023 11:15 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash an order of the State Legislative Assembly Secretariat seeking to recover a sum of about Rs. 4 lakh from former legislator Chikkanna who missed a government-funded legal study tour back in 2009.A single bench of Justice R Nataraj observed,"The tour was scheduled on 23.08.2009 but the request to cancel the tour was made by the petitioner on which...
The Karnataka High Court has refused to quash an order of the State Legislative Assembly Secretariat seeking to recover a sum of about Rs. 4 lakh from former legislator Chikkanna who missed a government-funded legal study tour back in 2009.
A single bench of Justice R Nataraj observed,
"The tour was scheduled on 23.08.2009 but the request to cancel the tour was made by the petitioner on which was very close to the date of departure. Therefore, the tour operator cannot be expected to refund the tour cost as the operator would have already spent corresponding amounts on the airfare, accommodation etc. In that view of the matter, the petitioner cannot now contend that he was unable to travel due to reasons beyond his control and also contend that he was not liable to refund a sum of Rs.3,89,800/-."
Chikkanna was nominated as one of the members of a Committee to study the legal systems in foreign countries. The Committee had organised a tour to study the legal system in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Bangkok between 23.08.2009 to 10.09.2009. The State Government had agreed to bear the expenditure and had credited an amount of Rs.3,89,800, to Chikkanna's account so as to enable him to release the payment to the authorized travel agent Cox & Kings.
The former MLA was supposed to leave for Australia on 23.08.2009 but five days prior to the scheduled departure, he purportedly informed the Speaker that he cannot travel as he was unwell. He also requested the Speaker to take appropriate steps to recover a sum of Rs.4,15,000 paid to Cox & Kings.
The agency however responded that Chikkanna is entitled to refund of only 20% of the tour cost, i.e., Rs. 80,000.
Chikkanna argued that he was unable to travel due to his medical condition as he was suffering from viral fever and therefore, the tour cost was not recoverable from him. The order to recover the amount is passed without hearing him and without providing an opportunity of being heard, it was contended.
The Court held that since all facts were undisputed, Speaker's order to recover the cost from Chikkanna's allowance did not involve adjudication of any rights. "“Thus, there was no need to comply the principles of natural justice before ordering the recovery of Rs.3,89,800, from the allowance payable to the petitioner,” Court held and dismissed the petition.
Case Title: Chikkanna And Karnataka Legislative Assembly Secretariat & Others
Case NO: WRIT PETITION NO. 39016 OF 2011
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 347
Date of Order: 28-08-2023
Appearance: Advocate Sakshi M Krisha for Advocate Abhijit Haranhalli for petitioner.
AGA Rahul Cariappa for R1.
Click Here To Read/Download Order