Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

Closure under (JJ) Act of Orphanage Home in Puducherry, on account of deficiencies, cannot be ordered - without first giving hearing: Madras HC

The Madras High Court on April 17, 2020 {Santhosha Nanban Home for Boys v. Union of India & Ors.} held that in view of statutorily imperative in the JJ Act itself, it becomes clear as day light that third respondent which has passed impugned order under JJ Act ought to have followed principles of natural justice. It was held that law is well settled that principles of natural justice is predicated and posited primarily on the time honoured audi alteram partem doctrine. To put it differently, it was held that writ petitioner ought to have been given notice, writ petitioner ought to have been called upon to give explanation and thereafter, a decision should have been taken one way or the other after considering writ petitioner's version also.

It was held that a perusal of the impugned order reveals that inspection itself was conducted only on 05.04.2020 and impugned order has been passed on the very next day, i.e., 06.04.2020. It was held that there is also no disputation or disagreement before the Court, notice or opportunity not being given to the writ petitioner before passing the impugned order.

In the present case, two homes were inspected on 05.04.2020. At the time of inspection, certain deficiencies (enlisted in impugned order) were noticed and on this basis, exercising powers under Section 41(7) read with section 53 of 'The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (Act 2 of 2016)' (referred to as 'JJ Act') and under Rules 23(7), 24(1)(2)(c) and 24(3) of Puducherry JJ Rules, two Orphanages homes were ordered to be closed forthwith by directorate of Social Welfare, Puducherry. The said order was assailed before the HC, inter alia, for not giving hearing - lock, stock, and barrel violation of principles of natural justice, in passing the order of closure.

As a sequitur to above discussion, impugned order being order dated 06.04.2020, ordering closure of Orphanages homes, made by directorate of Social Welfare, Puducherry, was set aside, by the Madras High Court, solely on the ground of principles of natural justice not being followed. The petition was allowed, with liberty to issue fresh notice and give hearing, and take decision thereafter afresh, after considering the version of the petitioner by the department.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published