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Vijay Singh Machhan Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Ors. - (High Court of Himachal Pradesh) (18 Dec 2018)

Unless act done by previous Government found to be contrary to provisions or against policy, State should not change its stand merely because other political party has come into power



By way of present writ petition, the Petitioner has prayed for quashing of Communication dated 12th March, 2018 (Annexure P-7), vide which, the office of Additional Chief Secretary (Public Works Department), has informed the office of Engineer-in-Chief (Public Works Department) that, the matter regarding construction of new PWD Rest House was reviewed by the Council of Ministers in its meeting held on 26th February, 2018 and the same has been cancelled.

The decision to cancel the construction of Rest House at village Kutara was taken by the Cabinet upon consideration of a Memorandum, which was placed before it specifically for the said purpose. Not only this, the justification for cancellation of Rest House given in the Memorandum is reasonable and not arbitrary, as alleged by the Petitioner. Thus, here it is not a case where the earlier proposal was rejected by the Cabinet without there being any cogent material placed before it. The factum of there being one Circuit House and two Rest Houses in close vicinity is prudent and plausible reason to have had reviewed the proposal of construction of new Rest House.

In State of Tamil Nadu and others Vs. K. Shyam Sunder and others, Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that, unless it is found that act done by the authority earlier in existence is either contrary to statutory provisions, is unreasonable, or is against public interest, the State should not change its stand merely because the other political party has come into power. In Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Corporation Federation Vs. B. Narasimha Reddy and others, Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that in the matter of the Government of a State, the succeeding Government is duty bound to continue and carry on the unfinished job of the previous Government, for the reason that the action is that of the "State". Hon'ble Court has further held that "Political agenda of an individual or a political party should not be subversive of rule of law" and the Government has to rise above the nexus of vested interest and nepotism, etc. as the principles of governance have to be tested on the touchstone of justice, equity and fair play. The decision must be taken in good faith and must be legitimate.

The Governments are in continuity and simply because there is a Change of Guard, the decisions earlier taken by the Government can be or should be allowed to be undone subsequently in a mechanical manner. The impugned decision of the Government is prudent and reasonable and further it cannot be said that the Government per se does not has any right to review an earlier decision taken by it, simply because there is a Change in Guard. The reasoning, as it emerges from the record, cannot be said to be so unreasonable so as to call for any interference in exercise of its writ jurisdiction by this Court. Present Court, thus, finds no infirmity with the decision taken by the State to review and cancel the construction of proposed Rest House at Kutara. There is no merit in this petition, the same is accordingly dismissed.

Relevant : A.P. Dairy Development Corporation Federation vs. B. Narasimha Reddy and Ors. MANU/SC/1020/2011; State of Tamil Nadu and Ors. vs. K. Shyam Sunder and Ors. MANU/SC/0911/2011


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