Srinagar: The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir “acted without any competence and jurisdiction,” the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir held after quashing the order passed by the Divisional Commissioner for initiating a probe against the Principal and Chair of Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson School for alleged fraud and malpractices.
On 6 March, 2020, the former Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, ordered a probe into an alleged fee embezzlement scam that surfaced after Rajan Sandhu, Member of All Saints Church Srinagar, and Issac Samuel, Member of St Paul’s Church Amritsar, filed written complaints with Crime Branch Jammu, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, and Industries and Commerce department of Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that the incumbent Principal of the School Society, Parvez Samuel Kaul, had misused and embezzled school fees and purchased properties worth crores with the money.
It was further alleged that the incumbent Principal had purchased land in his own and his wife’s name by using school fees and mortgaging the school property including nazool land with banks while he was supposed to use school fees for development of the school.
Justice Javed Iqbal Wani on hearing the pleas from the Principal of the school recorded that the moot point involved in the pleas which begs consideration would be as to whether the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir is possessed of any power, competence, jurisdiction and authority in admitting and entertaining the complaint of alleged acts of omissions and commissions including embezzlement, fraud, and corrupt practices.
Further, the court asked, whether the Director, Industries & Commerce Department, Srinagar, and Assistant Commissioner, Nazool, Srinagar, could have entertained similar complaints as had been filed before whereupon CJM, Srinagar, had tasked Crime Branch for enquiry/investigation of the matter.
Justice Wani noted that the matter in relation to the said allegations of alleged corrupt practices had been taken cognizance of by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, and an enquiry had been undertaken by the Crime Branch, which however, is subject matter of petition before this court, wherein though a stay order has been passed by this Court on 19 February, 2020, yet the stay order cannot per se be said to have decided the fate of the complaints and proceedings initiated thereupon.
“In presence of the said complaints and proceedings initiated thereupon, there was no occasion in law for the complainants to file a complaint one after another on the same set of allegations before respondent No. 2 and respondents 2 and 4,” the court said.
“Having regard to what has been observed, considered and analysed, the writ petitions succeed and impugned order bearing No. Div.Com./Dev/41/2020/118 dated 06 March, 2020 passed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir challenged in WP(C) No 803/2020 is set aside,” the judge ruled.
The complaints filed by the complainants and also proceedings initiated thereupon by the official respondents are legally not sustainable and are thus, quashed, the judge ruled.