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Chief Minister's Social Media Posts Not Equal To Administrative Order/Instruction: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
26 July 2021 8:51 AM GMT
Chief Ministers Social Media Posts Not Equal To Administrative Order/Instruction: Madhya Pradesh High Court
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While upholding the detention of a man, accused of black marketing of Remdesivir injections amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Madhya Pradesh High Court recently observed that the social media posts of a Chief Minister can't be equated with an administrative order/instruction. A Division Bench of Justices Sujoy Paul and Anil Verma further held that it is not necessary that...

While upholding the detention of a man, accused of black marketing of Remdesivir injections amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Madhya Pradesh High Court recently observed that the social media posts of a Chief Minister can't be equated with an administrative order/instruction.

A Division Bench of Justices Sujoy Paul and Anil Verma further held that it is not necessary that every social media post of a government functionary is seen/read out and followed in the administrative hierarchy.

Argument put forth

Placing reliance on various social media posts of the Chief Minister of the State, the Counsel for the Applicant, Mudit Maheshwari argued that the District Magistrate, while passing the detention order under National Security Act, 1980, was acting under the dictate of the Chief Minister.

In those posts, the CM of the State was expressing his opinion that the persons indulged in black marketing of Remdesivir injections are liable to be detained under the NSA Act.

Thus, it was argued that the order of detention passed by District Magistrate amounted to acting under the dictate of the Chief Minister's social media posts and the order was in furtherance of said posts.

To this, the Court observed thus:

"The social media posts cannot be equated with an administrative order/instruction. It is not necessary that every social media post of a government functionary is seen/read out and followed in the administrative hierarchy."

Further, the Court opined that had it been an executive instruction/order issued by higher functionary to act in a particular manner and in obedience thereof District Magistrate would have passed a detention order, perhaps the matter would have been different.

"Unless a clear nexus is established between the social media posts and the detention order, it cannot be said that District Magistrate has acted under dictate," added the Court.

Further, the Court also observed that the impugned order of District Magistrate had been examined by it on the necessary parameters and it was found that he had used his discretion in accordance with law and thus this argument of the petitioner must fail.

"Black-marketing of a drug like Remdesivir in days of extreme crisis is certainly such an ugly act and fact which can very well be a reason for invoking Section 3 of NSA Act against the petitioner by District Magistrate," the High Court thus ruled.

Blackmarketing Of Remedesivir Directly Impacts Public Order: Madhya Pradesh High Court Upholds Detention Under NSA

In a notable judgment, the Delhi High Court recently held that a promise or assurance given by the Chief Minister in a press conference amounts to an enforceable promise and that a CM is expected to exercise his authority to give effect to such a promise.

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Pratibha M Singh observed thus:

"The promise/assurance/representation given by the CM clearly amounts to an enforceable promise, the implementation of which ought to be considered by the Government. Good governance requires that promises made to citizens, by those who govern, are not broken, without valid and justifiable reasons."

Furthermore, it said:

"The CM is expected to have had the said knowledge and is expected to exercise his authority to give effect to his promise/assurance. To that extent, it would not be out of the place to state that a reasonable citizen would believe that the CM has spoken on behalf of his Government, while making the said promise."

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by daily wage labourers/ workers, who were unable to pay their monthly rent, to seek enforcement of a promise made by the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal dated 29th March last year.

Case Title: Sonu Bairwa v. State of MP & Ors.

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