Tag Archives: Judicial Review

Power of – Review of Punishment

In Deputy Commissioner v. J. Hussain, (2013) 10 SCC 106, it was held that power of review of punishment ordinarily is not availed by a Court or Tribunal. Court while undertaking judicial review of matter is not supposed to substitute its own opinion on reappraisal of facts. In exercise of power of judicial review, court can interfere with the punishment imposed only when it is found to be totally irrational or is outrageous in defiance of logic. It was further observed “this limited scope of judicial review is permissible and interference is available only when punishment is shockingly disproportionate, suggesting lack of good faith. Otherwise, merely because in the opinion of the court lesser punishment would have been more appropriate, cannot be a ground to interfere with the discretion of the departmental authorities.” It further observed that it is only when punishment is found to be outrageously disproportionate to the nature of charge, principle of proportionality comes into play. Yogendra Kumar v. Union of India, 2018 (5) AWC 4858.

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Administrative Action – Subject to Control by Judicial Review

 Judicial restraint in exercise of judicial review was considered in the State (NCT of Delhi) v. Sanjeev, (2005) 5 SCC 181 as follows:

“One can conveniently classify under three heads the grounds on which administrative action is subject to control by judicial review. The first ground is “illegality”, the second “irrationality”, and the third “procedural impropriety”. These principles were highlighted by Lord Diplock in Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service, 1985 AC 374 : (1984) 3 WLR 1174 (HL) (commonly known as CCSU case). If the power has been exercised on a non-consideration or non-application of mind to relevant factors, the exercise of power will be regarded as manifestly erroneous. If a power (whether legislative or administrative) is exercised on the basis of facts which do not exist and which are patently erroneous, such exercise of power will stand vitiated.” It needs no emphasis that complex executive decisions in economic matters are necessarily empiric and based on experimentation. Its validity cannot be tested on any rigid principles or the application of any straitjacket formula. The Court while adjudging the validity of an executive decision in economic matters must grant a certain measure of freedom or play in the joints to the executive. Not mere errors, but only palpably arbitrary decisions alone can be interfered with in judicial review. The Court should therefore be loath to interfere with such recommendation of an expert body, and accepted by the Government, unless it suffers from the vice of arbitrariness, irrationality, perversity or violates any provisions of the law under which it is constituted. The Court cannot sit as an appellate authority, entering the arena of disputed facts and figures to opine with regard to manner in which Tafrc ought to have proceeded without any finding of any violation of rules or procedure. If a statutory body has not exercised jurisdiction properly the only option is to remand the matter for fresh consideration and not to usurp the powers of the authority. Vasavi Engg. College Parents Assn. v. State of Telangana, (2019) 7 SCC 172

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Tender – Rights of Bidder

In Meerut Development Authority v. Association of Management Studies, (2009) 6 SCC 171, the Hon’ble Apex Court held that tender is an offer. It is an invitation to seek communication to convey acceptance. It was further held as under:

        “A tender is an offer. It is something which invites and is communicated to notify acceptance. Broadly stated it must be unconditional; must be in the proper form, the person by whom tender is made must be able to and willing to perform its obligations. The terms of the invitation to tender is in the realm of contract. However, a limited judicial review may be available in cases where it is established that the terms of the invitation to tender were so tailor-made to suit the convenience of any particular person with a view to eliminate all others from participating in the bidding process.

        The bidders participating in the tender process have no other right except the right to equality and fair treatment in the matter of evaluation of competitive bids offered by interested persons in response to notice inviting tenders in a transparent manner and free from hidden agenda. One cannot challenge the terms and conditions of the tender except on the aforesaid ground, the reason being the terms of the invitation to tender are in the realm of contract. No bidder is entitled as a matter of right to insist the authority inviting tenders to enter into further negotiations unless the terms and conditions of notice so provided for such negotiations.” Bihar State Housing Board v. Radha Ballabh Health Care and Research Institute Private Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 483.

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Power Conferred Upon An Authority – Abdication of

In the case of Anirudhsinhji Karansinhji Jadeja v. State of Gujarat, (1995) 5 SCC 302, it was held as under:

        “Broad principles that emerge is that if a power conferred upon an authority is not exercised by him independently within the framework of the Statute/law and the decision is taken by him under the “dictation” of a superior authority or a Minister, it shows that he has abdicated his power.

        Professor De Smith, in his principles of Judicial Review, 1999 Edition, page 240 has aptly said:

        “An authority entrusted with a discretion must not, in the purported exercise of his discretion, act under the dictation of another body or person. In at least two Commonwealth cases, licensing bodies were found to have taken decision on the instructions of the heads of Government who were prompted by extraneous moves. But, as less colourful cases illustrate, it is enough to show that a decision which ought to have been based on the exercise of independent judgment was dictated by those not entrusted with the power to decide, although it remains a question of fact whether the repository of discretion abdicated it in the face of external pressure.”

        In Dipak Babaria v. State of Gujarat, (2014) 3 SCC 502, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has reiterated the principle that if power conferred upon the authority under the Statute is not exercised by him independently and decision is taken by him under the instruction (dictation) of a superior authority, it goes to show that he has not applied his mind and abdicated his power. Umaraw Singh Yadav v. State of U.P., 2020 (1) AWC 905.     

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