The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, in a PIL filed by a group of advocates, has held the government servants ‘did not violate’ Rule 5 of Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, in so far as meeting the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, was concerned, in Jabalpur during the local body elections in year 2015. The Hon’ble court was moved by the advocates of Democratic Lawyers Forum who pleaded that Rule 5 of Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, stated that a government servant should not canvas or otherwise interfere or use his influence in connection with or take part in any election to a legislative body. However, the respondent government officers, in their reply, denied meeting the RSS chief.
The court, in the present case, had to decide on the issues; whether a citizen, including a government officer, has a right to meet any person and the right of privacy to meet a person of his choice. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Rajeev Kumar Dubey adjudicated the matter saying: “The meeting is said to have taken place in the office of RSS at Keshav Kutir. Meeting a Head of a Group does not show that such Government servant was canvassing or otherwise interfering or using his influence in connection with any election.”.
“There is no allegation that the Government servant has influenced any of his subordinates to vote in a particular manner. Therefore, it cannot be said that any Government servant has used his influence in connection with the election,” the court added, dismissing the PIL while further observing that; “we find the present public interest litigation filed by an Advocate, is a politically motivated petition in as much as the counsel for the petitioner was an agent of the Congress candidate”.
The court further said that the dispute in the present case is in respect of election of Mayor which is obviously a political issue and that the political issues are supposed to be settled through ballot not through a writ petition in the court, in obiter dicta.