Allahabad HC Rejects Review Plea Against CBI probe into Recruitment of UP legislature Staff

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected a plea against its order directing the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the recent recruitment of staff in the UP legislature.

“We want to place the entire material before the HC but do not want to face CBI as it is a hounding probe agency,” senior advocate JN Mathur, appearing as a special counsel on behalf of the Legislative Council, submitted before the high court.

The bench of justices AR Masoodi and Om Prakash Shukla passed the order on the review application moved by the Legislative Council through its counsel Akansha Dubey.

Adv Shobhit Mohan Shukla appeared for the Respondent (Appellant in Special Appeal) and submitted that ) that the review application is maintainable against a judgment by virtue of Chapter V Rule 12 of Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952 and in the present case, the proceedings are pending at the interlocutory level.

The bench refused to accept the state’s request that instead of the CBI, the inquiry by a retired high court judge may be ordered. The court said:

This Court in its wisdom has held its cards of its sleeves and the reason for doing it are not far and wide, keeping in view the serious manipulation prima facie observed in this matter.

This Court need not hasten to put on record the specific instances regarding which the allegations made in the Special Appeal and Writ Petition are grave. Further, serious nepotism and collusion on the part of the officers in securing appointments for their favoured persons have been alleged, which, if found correct, not only flagrantly violates Articles 14 and 16 of Constitution of India, but also exposes senior officers involved in the recruitment exercise to penal consequences.

The Court added:

We don’t wish to cause any embarrassment to the establishment or dent the image of any high level individuals, unless the facts are verified by the said agency. It is only when, we pass final order in the matter that we shall find our reasons for the course that we have adopted in the matter.

The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry into the matter.

The plea said that the bench should review its order because if a proper opportunity of hearing was given, documents would have been placed by the administration to the satisfaction of the court that no criminal offence was made out for which the CBI inquiry was needed.

“Alleged irregularity or illegality does not mean that there was any criminal offence made out in the matter, necessitating to rush to a CBI-like agency,” Mathur added.

Meanwhile, counsel, representing the state government, urged the bench that it should direct an inquiry into the matter by a committee headed by a retired high court judge instead of the CBI.

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He said a retired judge would be in a better position to make an inquiry about illegalities in the recruitment, if any.

After hearing the matter at length, the bench rejected the review application. “There is no good ground to review the earlier order,” said the bench.

The high court had on September 18 expressed serious displeasure on the fairness of examinations conducted for filling vacancies of different staff in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

Recording its dissatisfaction, the bench had directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry to primarily find out as to whether there was any foul play in the recruitments.

The bench asked the CBI to place before it the preliminary enquiry report by the first week of November.

It had passed the order, registering a suo-motu PIL, in the course of hearing two petitions.

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