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"Refer To 'Talisman' Given By Mahatma Gandhi In Case Of Dilemma About Right Decision": Allahabad HC Tells UP Govt Officers

Sparsh Upadhyay
13 Nov 2021 6:20 AM GMT
Refer To Talisman Given By Mahatma Gandhi In Case Of Dilemma About Right Decision: Allahabad HC Tells UP Govt Officers
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In a significant observation, the Allahabad High Court recently asked the Uttar Pradesh Government officers to refer to the Talisman given by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi whenever they are confronted with doubt and are in a dilemma about the right decision. Essentially, the Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot was dealing with a contempt plea filed on account of violation of...

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In a significant observation, the Allahabad High Court recently asked the Uttar Pradesh Government officers to refer to the Talisman given by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi whenever they are confronted with doubt and are in a dilemma about the right decision.

Essentially, the Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot was dealing with a contempt plea filed on account of violation of the Court's order dated March 15, 2021, related to the grant of scholarships to needy students who belong to the lowest strata.

Referring to the Talisman of the Mahatma Gandhi, the Court observed thus:

"The Talisman given by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi for those who are confronted with a doubt and are in a dilemma about the right decision may be recalled by the concerned officials.

"I will give you a Talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test.

Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.

Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to control over his own life and destiny?

In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and your self melts away."

Facts In brief

The UP Government is providing scholarship and fee reimbursement to the marginalized sections of the society viz. Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Class, Minority and General Category of Economically Weaker Section under the Uttar Pradesh SC/ST Post Metric Scholarship and Fee Reimbursement Rules, 2012.

The Government made it mandatory for all the students to provide an Aadhaar Card/Number for entitlement of scholarship and fee reimbursement.

The said provision was assailed and sought a direction to the respondent authorities to accept the scholarship and fee reimbursement form of the students without insisting for Aadhaar Card/Number.

In response to this, the Court, as an interim measure, asked the eligible students to approach the authorities and thereafter, issued the following order on March 15, 2021 (in connection to which, the instant contempt plea has been filed):

"… further the respondents are directed to accept the application forms of the students of the marginal section of the society of the college for grant of benefit of social welfare scheme without insisting upon students to submit their AADHAAR Cards and linking of mobile phone and bank account with AADHAAR Card."

Now, in the contempt plea, it was argued that the order of the court had not been complied with and therefore, the Court ordered the presence of the Director of the Social Welfare Department, Government of U.P., before it.

Stand of the Contemnor

It was submitted before the Court that since the compliance of orders of the Court would lead to violation of the regulations, however, it was admitted that the orders of the Court have to be complied with in all circumstances.

It was further submitted that permission has to be obtained from Hon'ble the Chief Minister as well as Government of India, accordingly, a time period of one month was sought for compliance of orders passed by the Court.

However, the affidavit didn't disclose the cause for the delay in complying with the order which was passed by this Court on 15.03.2021.

Court's observations

Stressing that the culpability of Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Government of U.P couldn't be ruled out, the Court, at the outset, observed thus:

"The matter pertains to grant of scholarship to needy students who belong to the lowest strata of the society and their academic careers are at stake. The contemnor as well as other Senior Officers of the State Government have shown apathy towards the plight of needy students and have prima facie disobeyed the orders passed by this Court."

Further, the Court sought for the presence of other senior officers of the Government, in case the orders of the Court are not complied with in the letter and spirit before the next date of listing.

Case title - Unnati Management College And 4 Others v. Rakesh Kumar,Director

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