STATE OF ORISSA Vs. JAGANNATH JENA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
STATE OF ORISSA
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S.K. Ray, J. -
(1.) THESE two revisions have been heard together because they involve identical questions of sustainability of the claim of privilege advanced by the State of Orissa who is the Petitioner in both the revisions. This order will govern them both.
(2.) THE opposite party in C.R. No. 10/73, Jagannath Jena, has filed T.S. No. 25 of 1971 in the Court of the First Munsif, Cuttack for setting aside the order of discharge dated 9 -6 -1965 discharging him from the Police Training College, Angul where he had joined as a cadet Sub -Inspector of Police on 24 -1 -1965. The ostensible ground for discharge was that he was found much below the standard and was not likely to improve. He ultimately filed the aforesaid suit as his various representations to the Inspector General of Police and the Deputy Chief Minister against the order of discharge proved fruitless. He has impugned the order of discharge on the ground inter alia, or mala fides on the part of the concerned authorities in passing the order of discharge. In elaborating this ground he has alleged that the authorities showed favour to one Gagan Behari Mohanty, who had been similarly discharged from the training in 1964 Sessions by re -admitting him as he was the nephew of the then Minister Sri Satyapriya Mohanty. After written statements were filed by the Defendants in this suit, the Plaintiff filed an application under Order 11, Rule 14, Code of Civil Procedure calling for certain documents enumerated in the schedule annexed to it. The Defendants claimed privilege in respect of the documents mentioned against serial Nos. 1, 4 and 8 of the annexed schedule. In support of the claim of privilege an affidavit of the Inspector General of Police, who is the Petitioner No. 2, has been filed. The claim of privilege was disallowed by the order of the Munsif dated 24 -11 -1972. It is from this order that the Civil Revision No. 10/73 has been filed. The opposite party in C.R. No. 11 of 1973, Hemanta Kumar Jena, who had similarly been selected as Sub -Inspector of Police and had joined training as a cadet Sub -Inspector of Police at the Police Training College, Angul, was also discharged from the Police Training College on 9 -6 -1965. His representations against this order of discharge having faced to yield results, he filed T.S. No. 26 of 1971 for identical relief as claimed by Jagannath Jena in T.S. No. 25 of 1971. He also imputed mala fides and malice to the concerned authorities, who were instrumental in passing order of discharge. In this suit also after the Petitioners had filed their written statements, the Plaintiff -opposite party filed an application under Order 11, Rule 14, Code of Civil Procedure for production of the documents enumerated in the schedule annexed thereto. This schedule was identical to the schedule of documents annexed to the Petitioner of Jagannath Jena filed in T.S. No. 25 of 1971. The Petitioners -Defendants claimed privilege in respect of documents enumerated in serial Nos. 1, 4 and 8 of the schedule of documents. By an identical order dated 24 -11 -1972, the trial Court rejected the claim of privilege. This order is identical for word for word with the order of the same dated in T.S. No. 25 of 1971. It is from this order that the Civil Revision No. 11/72 has been filed.
(3.) THE claim of privilege in both the cases was under Sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act. The Inspector General of Police, Petitioner No. 2, filed the affidavit claiming privilege as the officer at the Head of Department concerned. The Plaintiff opposite party, inter alia, contended that the Inspector General of Police is not the officer at the Head of Department as envisaged under Section 123 of the Evidence Act and since the affidavit claiming privilege has not been filed by the appropriate authority, the claim must be negatived. It was also further contended that the documents in respect of which privilege is claimed do not relate to the affairs of the State nor their disclosure would cause any injury to the public interest. The learned Munsif held that the Inspector General of Police is the Head of Department and, as such, was competent to claim privilege. He also be held that the documents do not relate to the affairs of State and are not of that class in respect of which privilege can be claimed under Sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act. He, therefore, directed the Defendants to produce the documents mentioned in serial Nos. 1, 4 and 8 of the schedule of documents.;
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