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The Supreme Court has held that a chief minister should eschew arbitrariness and discrimination while using discretionary powers in the disbursal of relief funds as these powers are not unfettered or unaccountable.

 “In a democracy governed by the rule of law, no government or authority has the right to do what it pleases. Where the rule of law prevails there is nothing like unfettered discretion or unaccountable action,” said the apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik in their judgment delivered Thursday.

 “The disbursement or payment to undeserving cases can be questioned,” the judgment said.

 “When there are no guidelines or when it is difficult to limit the discretion in a high functionary by guidelines, the authority should be careful in exercising discretionary power, so as to ensure that it does not give room for nepotism, favouritism or discrimination,” said the court.

 “Relief amount cannot be granted, merely because the recipient happens to be the friend, supporter of the chief minister or belongs to his political party,” the court said.

 Justice Raveendran said: “But this does not mean that no discretion can be vested in an authority or functionary of high standing. Nor does it mean that certain funds cannot be placed at the disposal of a high functionary for disbursal at his discretion in unforeseen circumstances.”

 The Supreme court said this while setting aside the Rajasthan High Court’s Dec 18, 2007, decision in which it held that all minor victims of rape should be treated equally for the grant of relief by the chief minister under the relief fund. The petition was filed by social activist Sanyam Lodha.

 The petition said that in Rajasthan from January 2004 to August 2005, 392 cases of rape of minor girls were filed. Out of these, 13 were given assistance from the relief fund ranging from Rs.10,000-50,000. However, a rape victim was given a sum of Rs.5 lakh June 25, 2005 and another was given Rs.3.95 lakh Aug 11, 2004, in an arbitrary manner.

 Setting aside the high court order, the Supreme court said that the mere fact that in two cases of rape, involving “extreme viciousness and depravity”, high compensation was granted keeping in view the “gravity of the offence and the surrounding circumstances”, was by itself not sufficient to interfere with the discretion of the chief minister.

 Pointing out that the relief fund was to be used for various purposes including natural calamities, the judges cautioned against the grant of excessive compensation in one or two cases. “The amount granted should, therefore, be reasonable to meet the immediate need of coming out of the trauma or catastrophe,” the court said.


One Response to “Supreme court cautions chief ministers on discretionary powers”

  1. IndianCitizen

    Urgent and Important Message for Jusitce Raveendran and Justice Patnaik
    Sub: RTI for BCCI is too weak
    Ref: Public interest intervention from Supreme Court urged

    Respected Sirs – The Sports minister is proposing to bring BCCI under RTI but that is too weak a step against the autocratic private club operation of BCCI and IPL franchises – kindly peruse below
    Supreme Court needs to abolish IPL the most corrupt form of cricket. Monies can be paid back to the private owners and we can start all over again with State level Govt controlled franchises. Private entities may be used for sponsorships. The IPL model is not working for the nation or for cricket.
    India was happy when the 2 Btown hore teams were sacked for contractual irregularities and source of funds issue but BCCI slacked after that. Instead of stepping on the gas, they foolishly bought into Modi’s challenge trying to prove to him they could run an IPL like entity re-instated those teams and further slackened on ED, ROC, FEMA violation, source of funds of each franchise owner, transfer of ownerships investigations…
    Cricketers are supposed to be National Resource NOT private property of those who pay for their performance like in brothel house. Senior cricketers contd to be traded like commodities in a mandi bazaar. Cheer gals with suggestive clothes and dances contd. Hosts like Dandekar were not sacked for lewdism exposing boobs on TV in front of sr commentators pretending to discuss cricket but diverting everyone’s attn elsewhere. No mandate to restrict players from attending IPL parties was imposed; Everyone knows they were dens of drugs, drinks, dope ideal for match fixing; so many IPL4 matches seemed fixed or doped, no investigations were made by BCCI, no vigil imposed on that.
    When players were needed to play for National level, they were tired or sick or injured – basically neither BCCI nor players were motivated to play for the country…there goes country and cricket down the drain!! How can Govt allow this? How can Supreme Court allow this?
    Justices of SC are URGED by the people of India to stop this blatant corruption going on via IPL and stop this molestation of national sports, national resources and national pride by BANNING IPL and proposing a whole new model that is state owned not private club owned.
    Supreme Court intervention to ban IPL urged.

    Reply

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