‘Authorities bound to settle disputes by passing speaking orders’

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Secretaries to the School Education Department and the Higher Education Department to issue consolidated instructions to all subordinate authorities to ensure that statutory appeals and disputed issues between parties in the Education Department were decided by passing speaking orders assigning reasons for arriving at the conclusion.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam observed that the consolidated directions should say that in the event of lapse, negligence or dereliction appropriate disciplinary actions would be initiated against the authorities who were responsible for passing such evasive and non-speaking orders. The court suo motu impleaded the Secretaries in the case as respondents.

“Authorities competent are bound to settle such disputes by passing speaking orders. The non-speaking orders are passed in an evasive manner and such an exercise of power is to be deprecated. Any competent authority, while passing an order is expected to furnish reasons for arriving at such a conclusion. The practice of passing a non-speaking order is to be viewed seriously”, the judge said.

The court said that an evasive or non-speaking order would cause unnecessary issues between the parties and when they filed unnecessary writ petitions, the valuable judicial time was wasted. Mostly, such matters were liable to be remanded back and such an unnecessary remand would cause hardship to the litigants. The time delay caused to the litigants was also to be considered by the competent authorities, it said.

The court was hearing one such petition where the order of the Inspector of Matriculation Schools was challenged. It was said that it was a non-speaking order which did not assign any reasons or arrive at any conclusion. The court directed the Inspector of Matriculation Schools to pass a revised speaking order, in accordance with law, within a period of 12 weeks.


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