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Allahabad HC Deems Comparison in Affidavit Scandalous: Elderly Petitioner Likened to 'Musaddi Lal' from 'Office-Office' Ordered Expunged

The Allahabad High Court recently ruled to expunge a particular statement from a litigant's affidavit, deeming it scandalous. The affidavit likened the petitioner, an elderly woman grappling with financial challenges, to the character 'Musaddi Lal' from the television series 'Office-Office'.

The bench, presided over by Justice J.J. Munir, deemed such language inappropriate for inclusion in the court record.

"This Court can understand the anguish of the petitioner, but that does not justify the pleadings in Court being marred with the employment of colloquial expressions and scandalous pleadings", said the bench. 

The case revolved around the allocation of a family pension to the widow of a government employee. The woman approached the high court, claiming that she had been receiving the family pension since December 4, 2010, following a court directive. However, another woman, who had previously waived her claim, filed a petition in 2011, securing an interim stay on the pension disbursement. This petition was dismissed in 2022, resulting in the lifting of the stay.

The high court acknowledged the validity of the woman's claim, and, in January of this year, directed the authorities to continue disbursing the family pension to the petitioner until her writ petition is resolved.

However, in April, the court was informed that the petitioner was not receiving the pension without any justification provided. In response, the court instructed the Deputy Director of Secondary Education, Azamgrah Region, Azamgarh, and the Senior Treasury Officer, Ballia, to comply with the court's January order within one week. The court subsequently scheduled the matter for further review in May.

On May 1, the Senior Treasury Officer, Ballia, submitted an affidavit affirming compliance, stating that the pension along with arrears of family pension up to the month of March, 2024, had been disbursed to the petitioner. In response to this compliance affidavit, the petitioner's counsel filed a rejoinder affidavit.

The high court observed that in three paragraphs of the rejoinder affidavit, the petitioner had "employed some scandalous language". One of these paragraphs asserted that despite being entitled to family pension, the petitioner encountered resistance from Respondent No. 3 (the Senior Treasury Officer, Ballia) due to unfulfilled illegal demands.

The three paragraphs in question, describing the petitioner as an elderly woman enduring severe financial distress, drew a comparison between her circumstances and those of 'Musaddi Lal' from the TV show 'Office-Office'.

The high court deemed such language inappropriate for the record and expunged it accordingly. Additionally, while scheduling the matter for further hearing on May 16, 2024, the court ordered that the family pension shall be disbursed to the petitioner without fail, on a month-by-month basis, until further directives from the court.

Case Title: Smt. Shobhawati Pandey v. State of U.P. and others

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