Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
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Kerala HC dismisses PIL for FIR against Kerala Chief Minister, former Secretary for alleged role in Gold smuggling, other scams [Read Order]

"Investigation is the function of the police and writ court cannot be converted as an investigation agency", the Court said while dismissing the plea, inter alia, for want of evidence to support the petitioner's claims.

Meera Emmanuel

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea seeking the registration of an FIR against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijiyan and M Shivashankaran, his former Secretary-in-charge for their alleged involvement in scams such as the Sprinklr deal scam, BevQ App. e-Mobility Consultancy scams and the gold smuggling case.

The plea by Alappuzha-based journalist Michael Varghese had also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation or a National Investigation Aagency (NIA) probe into these scams (Michael Varghese v. Pinarayi Vijayan and ors).

However, after recording detailed arguments made in the matter by the petitioner, the State, the NIA and the Central Government (Customs), a Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed the plea, observing,

"...judged from any angle, we are of the view, petitioner has not made out a case for issuance of a writ of mandamus. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed. No costs."
Kerala High Court

The Court cited a plethora of High Court and Supreme Court judgments to ultimately find that the plea is not maintainable on account of the following reasons:

No evidence adduced in plea to support allegations

In this regard, the Court observed, inter alia, that,

"The petitioner has solely relied on the statement of the Leader of the Opposition and contended that if it is true, the matter requires investigation. As such, he has no evidence or material, and that is why he has prayed for an interim direction...."
"Investigation is the function of the police and writ court cannot be converted as an investigation agency."
the Court added.

Existence of Alternative Remedy

The Court pointed out that the petitioner has alternative remedies if the police had not registered an FIR in a case. These remedies include approaching the jurisdictional Magistrate under Section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), or filing a private complaint under Section 190 read with Section 200, CrPC.

"Without resorting to the procedure as contemplated in the Cr.P.C, the petitioner has approached this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India", the Bench observed.

It proceeded to emphasise that the remedy under Article 226 is an extraordinary exercise of power which should be exercised only if a person alleges inaction on the part of statutory authorities and if s/he has no other alternative and efficacious remedy under the Statute.

However, no such circumstance existed in this case for the exercise of this extraordinary jursidcition, the Court opined.

"Merely because allegations are levelled against the Hon'ble Chief Minister and others and in as much as the allegations relate to abuse of power, it cannot be contended that the nature and magnitude require issuance of a writ as the only remedy available to the petitioner."

Kerala High Court

The Court added, "it should be borne in mind that if there is an adequate and efficacious remedy available to such person, to vindicate his grievance, then the self imposed restraint on the writ court to exercise the extraordinary jurisdiction shall be applied and such person should be relegated to avail the statutory remedy."

The writ petition was, therefore, dismissed.

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara. Advocate General C Sudhakara Prasad appeared for the Kerala Government. Senior Public Prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta appeared for the National Investigation Agency. Standing counsel Jaishankar V Nair appeared for the Customs/ Central Government.

Read the Judgment:

Michael Varghese v. Pinarayi Vijayan and ors - Judgment.pdf
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