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Finalize selection of chairperson, members of CWCs, JJBs: HC to committee
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Finalize selection of chairperson, members of CWCs, JJBs: HC to committee

Imposes 1 lakh costs on petitioners for "hoodwinking" court

Post by Syed Rukaya on Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Srinagar, March 29: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh directed the selection committee to finalize the selection of Chairperson and members of Child Welfare Committee (CWCs) and Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) while imposing one lakh costs on petitioners for "forum hunting" and "hoodwinking" the court.
"We hope and trust that the Competent Authority shall act in the matter without any further delay and constitute the CWCs and JJBs in accordance with the 2015 Act (Juvenile Justice (Care and Welfare) Act) 2015 and the Rules (Juvenile Justice (Care and Welfare) Model Rules, 2016) framed thereunder," a division bench of Justices Sanjeev Kumar and Puneet Gupta said.
Dismissing two petitions filed by 100 Chairperson and Members of CWCs and JJBs, the court strongly deprecated the practice of pursuing parallel remedies by petitioners in Srinagar and Jammu wing of the court in respect of the same subject matter.
The petitioners, who are chairpersons and members of CWCs and JJBs, had challenged the advertisement notifications regarding the selection process for appointment of chairperson and members of CWCs and JJBs and had sought extension of their tenure by three years more.
The bench noted that all the 100 petitioners have participated in the selection process, out of which, 85 have already made it to the selection on the basis of their qualification, experience and personal interaction or interview.
"Although looking to the conduct exhibited by the petitioners in this litigation, we could have directed their ouster from their office, notwithstanding their selection made by the selection committee pursuant to the impugned notifications, yet, we have decided to take a lenient view in the matter with a hope that the petitioners would take a lesson from here and would never think of indulging in forum shopping or misleading the Court to derive any permanent or temporary unfair advantage," the bench said
The bench underscored that the petitioners even tried to hoodwink the court and justify the filing of subsequent petition in another wing by rearranging the sequence of names of petitioners just to give an impression as if they, in the subsequent petition, were different from the one who had filed the earlier petition in Srinagar Wing of this Court.
The court held that unscrupulous litigants cannot be allowed to even think of indulging in forum shopping to get favorable decisions. It is depreciable conduct in the field of law.
The bench observed that the conduct exhibited by the petitioners is highly depreciable and cannot be approved.

"Such litigants are not entitled to invoke the extraordinary writ jurisdiction. Both the writ petitions are, therefore, liable to be dismissed on this ground alone without even going to the merits of the controversy," the court said.

Adding, "Without commenting much, we dismiss both the petitions, but not without imposing exemplary costs of Rs.1.00 lac, to be deposited by the petitioners in the Registry of this Court within four weeks from today."

The court said that the dismissal of these petitions shall pave way for the selection committee to finalize the selection.

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