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"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.
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,
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:
In this regard, the Court observed, inter alia, that,
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.
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.