High Court to examine if tweets by officials have authority or not - ECAS Punjab

High Court to examine if tweets by officials have authority or not

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 29

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made clear its intent to examine whether tweets by the government authorities — virtually considered analogous to official declarations — have administrative backing and governmental force.

The decision by the Division Bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh to assess whether the tweets have their foundation in the official files came during the hearing of a petition filed against the Union of India and other respondents by Abhay Mohan through counsel Prateek Gupta.

Appearing before the Bench through videoconferencing, Prateek contended that he was not able to apply for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG), 2020, as he had secured admission to Carleton College in USA for the session commencing in September.

However, the borders of various countries were sealed following the Covid pandemic. It was then the petitioner noticed a tweet by the “Education Minister of India” stating: “Students who dropped the idea to study abroad, here is your chance to pursue your studies in India. I have advised @ DG-NTA to give one more opportunity to students to submit new/complete online application form for JEE (Main) 2020. Hurry! Forms available till May 24.”

Taking a note of the arguments, Justice Gupta asserted on behalf of the Bench that the petitioner had a legitimate expectation that the benefit promised in the tweet to the contenders for the engineering course would be extended to the aspiring students of the medical stream as well.

“Under normal circumstances, we would not have taken the tweet into consideration. But it is being noticed that tweets by the official authorities have now started occupying the importance of official declarations. We are not aware whether such declarations are backed by any official file in which the entire issue is dealt with,” Justice Gupta asserted.

Faced with the situation, the counsel appearing for the Union of India and other respondents prayed for some time to seek instructions.



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