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The Karnataka High Court recently expressed shock at the state government's response in the Nikhil Kumaraswamy wedding matter, noting that it was not willing to accept its officials' errors.
The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Sreeniwas Oka berated the government for not coming out with the truth despite several directions from the Court to do so.
The order passed on Monday states,
"Suffice it to say that notwithstanding several orders, the State Government has failed to come out with a clear factual stand and the State is not willing to accept the errors committed by its officers. Though we are not passing any order today only on the ground that we need to spare time to deal with issues of marginalized sections of society, we hope that the State Government comes out with a fair stand on the subject."
Karnataka High Court
The Court noted that the state government did not inquire into whether all the people who attended the wedding from different districts had the benefit of Y or Z category security.
The state government had earlier informed the Court that the Deputy Commissioner made a request to Kumaraswamy to explicitly specify in a letter that the number of guests would not exceed one hundred. On this issue, the Court noted that the state had accepted that "no movement and travel passes" were issued by the Commissioner.
"Firstly, this letter has not seen the light of the day for several weeks after this Court started dealing with the issue...Secondly, we fail to understand why the Deputy Commissioner became so proactive and requested the organizer to submit one more application specifying that the number of guests would not exceed one hundred. In case of an application made by a common man, we are sure that the Deputy Commissioner would not have gone out of the way by calling for another application."
It was also accepted that no movement passes were applied for and no passes were issued to enable the guests to travel up to the venue of marriage in Ramnagara district.
Further, the Court stated that it failed to comprehend the necessity for submitting two applications to the Commissioner on the same day, ie, the first letter seeking permission for holding a marriage ceremony and a second letter seeking permission to invite 100 guests.
Moreover, the Court took note of the state's submission that only in May did the Central government restrict the number of guests at weddings to fifty, and prior to that, there was no upper limit fixed for guests. If such a submission is accepted, then the policy of the Central Government will become arbitrary and irrational, the Court observed.
"The fact that in May 2020, a relaxation was granted by the Central Government by allowing not more than fifty guests to attend a marriage ceremony indicates that in April, even fifty guests were not permitted."
The Bench eventually observed that it was not willing to waste any more of its time on the issue, for now.
"In this petition, we are dealing with very serious issues of hunger, issues of marginalized sections of the society, issues of migrant workers who are stranded in the streets, etc. While we record that the State has not come out with a correct factual stand regarding the wedding and there is an attempt to keep back certain material from the Court, we do not propose to waste any further time of the Court on this issue as on today."