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misfeasance of public office

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The high court has said if an officer or authority issues a vague notice to a person without specific allegations against him/her, it amounts to harassment, and the action of that officer/authority is liable for "misfeasance of public office".

The court said the officer/authority concerned has to compensate the person for the loss and costs incurred for redressal.

"I have come across many notices issued by government officers/statutory authorities, and many of them are vague without any specific allegation against whom the notice has been issued. Such an exercise of power results in harassment," Justice HG Ramesh observed. The judge directed the district registrar of societies, Vijayapura, to deposit within four weeks Rs 10,000 as costs payable to Lakshmi Vidyavardhaka Sangha, Vijayapura. The sangha got a notice on August 31, 2015, which didn't contain any specific allegation.

For the full text of the report in the ToI (emphasis added by me), click here.

This is an important judgement which can apply to various circumstances, and as such, I thougt it required a new blog itself.

One case that comes to mind readily, is the one detailed here, where a BBMP AEE served a ‘building plan violation’ notice on an elderly woman, pertaining to her house constructed before the KMC Act, 1976, came into force, plainly out of vengeance, since she was fighting illegal constructions, under the AEE's watch.

There must be plenty more similar instances, where the citizens can now seek remedy on the strength of this order.

Repeatedly, it's the judiciary, that has shown itself to be the strongest pillar of Indian democracy.

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