A Bench of Justices RV Raveendran and HM Gokhale questioned the judicial propriety of an interim order passed by the Allahabad High Court on August 18, 2010, which had restrained the state government from forming the new district renamed after Dalit icon Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj.
The proposed Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Nagar district has within its boundaries five tehsils of Sultanpur and Rae Bareli districts, which form part of the Amethi constituency.
The controversy began on May 21, 2003 when chief minister Mayawati ordered the formation of the district. But her plans came to an abrupt stop when the Mulayam Singh Yadav government came to power in the state and scrapped the move on November 23 the same year.
Mayawatis venture won a new life on August 11, 2010 when an Allahabad High Court Division Bench Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Satish Chandra passed a judgement observing that the Mayawati government was well within its rights to notify the new district.
But on August 18, the state government was restrained by an interim order of the Lucknow Benchin contradiction to the Division Bench verdict -staying the restoration of the district till March 31, 2011. The Lucknow Bench had based its order on a Census notification issued on December 22, 2009 against any changes in the boundaries of nagarpalikhas, revenue villages, police stations, talukhas till March 31, 2011. This order was passed on a public interest litigation filed by one Manoj Kumar Rastogi. The UP government then moved the SC for relief.
Disposing of the case, the apex court on Wednesday ordered a larger Bench of the high court to take a fresh look at the issue on merits, during which status quo would be maintainedthat is, the August 11 verdict would prevail till further orders.
The court added that the mere fact that the district has been carved out and officers appointed will have no effect on the merits of the case to be decided by the larger Bench.
The Bench quashed the August 18 order, saying it was against judicial propriety for the Lucknow Bench to have issued the interim order by ignoring or overlooking a final judgment on an identical issue.
Solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the eegistrar general, Census, failed to impress the court with his argument that Uttar Pradesh has acted inconsistently by creating the district.