News Karnataka
Saturday, April 20 2024

HC orders former MLA to pay Rs 3.89 Lakhs for canceled trip

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Bengaluru: High Court has denied former MLA Chikkanna’s request to overturn an order from the Legislative Assembly Secretary. This order mandates Chikkanna to repay Rs 3.89 lakhs for the costs of a canceled study tour organized by the State Legislative Assembly Committee.

The judgment was issued by Justice R. Nataraj, who was the sole judge on the bench. The dispute revolves around a study tour that was initially planned for August 23, 2009. Chikkanna was supposed to participate in this tour as a committee member with the responsibility of examining foreign legal systems. However, merely five days before the tour was scheduled to begin, Chikkanna submitted a request for its cancellation.

The tour organizer had already spent money on airline tickets, lodging, and other preparations but had not been repaid. Chikkanna now asserts that he had compelling reasons preventing him from going on the trip, but the bench did not agree with his argument.

In its judgment, the bench declared that the Secretary’s directive to refund Rs 3,89,800 was fair and sensible. It stressed that every aspect of the case was transparent, and there was no legitimate justification to intervene with the Secretary’s order to deduct the loss from Chikkanna’s allowances and other benefits. This ruling adheres to the principles of natural justice.

To give some context to the case, in 2009, MLA Chikkanna was chosen to be a part of a committee responsible for studying legal systems in other countries. This committee had organized a study tour that covered Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Bangkok, scheduled from August 23 to September 10, 2009. The legislative assembly had provided Rs 4.15 lakhs to the tour operator, Cox and Kings, on Chikkanna’s behalf. This money was intended to cover the travel expenses for the state government committee members.

However, a mere five days before the planned departure, Chikkanna fell ill and couldn’t go on the trip. As a result, Chikkanna asked the Legislative Assembly Secretary to revoke the Rs 4.15 lakh payment made to the tour operator. The tour operator, citing the sudden cancellation, argued that they should only be refunded 20% of the expenses incurred. In response, the Legislative Assembly Speaker directed Chikkanna to reimburse Rs 3,89,800, which represented the losses suffered due to the unexpected cancellation of the tour. This prompted Chikkanna to challenge the decision in court.

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