The Bombay High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar for not following “due process of law” before filing a PIL seeking an FIR against over 300 engineering and technical education colleges in the state for allegedly submitting false and bogus information. The Thane MLA faced the court’s ire after his lawyer informed that he had not approached the police in the matter, with Justice A S Oka, who was heading a division bench, telling the legislator, “You could have raised this issue in the Assembly… First you do your duty and then expect others to do theirs.”
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Kelkar, through his organisation ‘Citizen Forum for Sanctity in Educational System’, filed a PIL in HC seeking FIR to be lodged against 346 colleges in the state. According to the petition, these colleges, in connivance with their trust members and principals, allegedly submitted false, fabricated and bogus information to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) while seeking extension of approval every year.
The bench headed by Justice Oka on Tuesday sought to know if the petitioner had first approached the police seeking to lodge complaint against the errant colleges, to which the petitioner’s lawyer replied in the negative. Irked with this, the court said, “You (petitioner) are filing a public interest litigation alleging that others are not following law and are into illegal practices but even you have not followed due process of law. “You should have first approached the police. If police failed to initiate action then you should have approached the court.”
“You (Kelkar) are a member of the Legislative Assembly. You are on a higher pedestal than a common man. You could have raised this issue in the Assembly. Have you made any attempts to do so? First you do your duty and then expect others to do theirs,” Justice Oka said.
The court posted the petition for further hearing on January 24. As per AICTE rules, colleges have to make an online submission of compliance of norms every year based on which their approvals are extended. “The new process was based on trust imposed in the principal and management of the college that they will submit true and correct information,” said the petition.