Skip to content


Kosaraju Venkata Subbayya, Vs. the Government of Andhra Pradesh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. Nos. 1171, 1173, 1185 and 1240/1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1965AP425
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 226 and 299
AppellantKosaraju Venkata Subbayya, ;vivekananda and ors.
RespondentThe Government of Andhra Pradesh and anr.
Appellant AdvocateD. Narasaraju, ;A. Gangadhara Rao, ;Y. Suryanarayana, ;O. Chinnapppa Reddy, ;S. Venkata Reddy, ;M. Ramaiah, ;B.C. Jain, ;C.P. Sarathy and ;C. Jayashree Sarathy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateB.V. Subrahmanyam, Adv. General and ;S.R. Reddy, Adv. for ;P. Ramachandra Reddy, Govt. Pleader
Excerpt:
- motor vehicles act (59 of 1988)section 149 (2): [v. gopala gowda & jawad rahim, jj] insurers entitlement to defend the action joint appeal by insured and insurer - held, the language employed in enacting sub-section (2) of section 149 appears to be plain and simple and there is no ambiguity in it. it shows that when an insurer is impleaded and has been given notice of the case, it is entitled to defend the action only on grounds enumerated in sub-section (2) of section 149 of the act, and no other grounds are available to it. the insurer is not allowed to contest the claim of the injured or heirs of the deceased on other grounds, which are available to the insured. if insurer is permitted to contest the claim on other grounds it would mean adding more grounds of contest to the insurer.....order(1) the petitioners ask for a writ of certiorari or in the alternative a writ of mandamus or any appropriate direction or order to quash or override the orders passed by the directors of public instruction (second respondent) and to compel him and the state government (first respondent) to give effect to their earlier decision to prescribe the books of the petitioners as second language hindi text books for the 5th and the 6th classes of the schools in the state. it is necessary to state a few facts to bring to the fore the controversy between the parties. the government of erstwhile andhra pradesh had in g. o. 158, education, dated 24-2-1954 framed certain administrative rules or instructions regarding the selection of text books for use in the schools in the state. they provided.....
Judgment:
ORDER

(1) The Petitioners ask for a writ of Certiorari or in the alternative a writ of mandamus or any appropriate direction or order to quash or override the orders passed by the Directors of Public Instruction (Second respondent) and to compel him and the State Government (First respondent) to give effect to their earlier decision to prescribe the books of the petitioners as second language Hindi text books for the 5th and the 6th classes of the schools in the State. It is necessary to state a few facts to bring to the fore the controversy between the parties. The Government of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had in G. O. 158, Education, dated 24-2-1954 framed certain administrative rules or instructions regarding the selection of text books for use in the schools in the State. They provided for two text books Committees for selecting books and recommending their acceptance to the Government. In 1956, by G. O. No. 2482 dated 23-10-1956 provisions was made for the appointment of an accused hoc Text Book Committee. This committee had supervisory powers over the other two Committees. It could also, on its own, select books. this accused hoc committee used to be appointed almost every year and practically overruled or effectively neutralised what the other two Text Book committees had done. The Government of Andhra Pradesh therefore passed G. O. No. 353 dated 14-2-1963 scrapping all the three Committees including the accused hoc committee and constituting a single Committee designed the State Text books Committee.

This Committee was composed of the three Vice Chancellors of the Universities in the State, the Education Secretary, the Director of Public Instructions and certain others. The G. O. also provided for some Hindi language experts referred to as Reviewers to be co-opted by the committee to assist it in the selection of Hindi books to be used in the state Schools for the study of Hindi as first and second languages. The state Text Book Committee with the aid of the Reviewers selected the Hindi books of the petitioners in W. Ps. 1185, 1171 and 1173 of 1964 for the study of Hindi as a second language by the 6th class students in the state. The book of the Petitioner in W. P. No. 1240/64 was similarly selected for the 5th class. On 25-41964 the director of Public Instructions communicated to the Petitioners that their books 'have been ordered to be prescribed for the year 1964-65'. But this communication made it sufficiently clear that the order was subject to the fulfilment of two conditions by the petitioners. They were : (a) that the petitioners have to execute agreements in favour of the Government and (b) that they have to deposit a specified sum of money in the government treasury to the credit of the Government. The communication further stated that the date for the execution of the agreement and deposit of the money will be intimated later. On 12-5-1964, the petitioners received another communication from the director of Public Instruction that the earlier communication dated 25-4-1964 'is kept in abeyance'. It added significantly that the prescription of text books of the petitioners will become effective only on their executing agreements in favour of the government. On 24-6-1964, a third communication was sent by the director of Public Instruction to the petitioners informing them that the order prescribing their books was cancelled. It is this communication of the director of Public Instruction that has led to the filing of these writ petitions.

(2) The main grounds on which these petitions are rested are : (a) that the director of Public Instruction or the government has no power or authority to cancel the text books prescribed by the state Text books Committee ; (b) that the action of the respondents in cancelling the prescription of the text books by the Text Book Committee is based on extraneous and improper considerations and (c) that in cancelling their previous order, the respondents did not observe the principles of natural justice.

(3) The respondents counter theses contentions by pointing out (a) that the petitioners have no right to sustain these writ petitions ; (b) that the action of the Government in cancelling its previous order is purely administrative in character and cannot successfully be challenged in writ proceedings ; (c) that the Government have undoubted jurisdiction to revoke or review its previous orders which were passed in the discharge of purely administrative functions of the government (d) that the order of cancellation was the result of certain information received by the government that the Reviewers co-opted by the state Text Books committee did not act fairly and properly and that the government were satisfied about the truth of these allegations and lastly that no question of natural justice can arise in the present cases.

(4) The first question that requires to be considered is the one relating to the authority and jurisdiction of the Government to pass the impugned order of cancellation. It is urged for the petitioner that G. O. Ms. No. 353, Education dated 14-2-1963 under which the State Text Book Committee was constituted did not reserve to the Government any power whatsoever to approve or modify or reject or differ from the prescription of text books by the said Committee and that therefore the committee was the sole authority in the matter of prescription of Hindi Text Books and the Government did not come into the picture at all and consequently it had no authority or jurisdiction to cancel what the committee prescribed. I think this contention cannot prevail, for more than one reason. The Communication to the petitioners by the Directors of Public Instruction on the 25th of April 1964, merely informed them of the order of the Government. This communication expressly stated that the books were 'ordered to be prescribed for the school year 1964-65', It leaves little room for doubt that the 'order' mentioned in the communication is the Order of the Government. There is not a word in it about the state text book committee.

If the order of the Government is put aside, there is not basis for the petitioners to claim that their books were prescribed. It is not their case that the Text Books Committee informed them that their books had been prescribed. the foundation of the petitioners claim that their books had been prescribed is the communication of the 2nd respondent informing them of the Government's Order. I find it difficult to see how the petitioner can base themselves on this order and at the same time contend that the Government have no jurisdiction or authority in the matter of prescription of Hindi Text Books. If their contention is right, the Government's initial order prescribing their books was invalid for want of jurisdiction and authority . Then there is no basis for them to say that their books were prescribed. If so, their complaint in these petitions cannot have force.

(5) There is perhaps an even more potent reason. G. O. Ms. No. 353, Education dated 14-2-1963, cannot be read in isolation and constructed as exhaustive and self-contained., On the other hand, it had to be read in conjunction with and as part and parcel of G. O. Ms. No. 158, Education dated, 24-2-1954. It is this G. O. that has prescribed a number of rules relating to the selection of text books for use in the schools of the entire State including the Telangana region of it. This G. O. had originally set up two Text Book Committees. Subsequently it was amended by G. O. 2482, Education dated 23-101956 under which an accused hoc Text Book Committee was set up as an overriding body which scrutinised and revised the recommendations of the two text books Committees. the G. O. of 1956 made another change in a very important respect. It required that the publishers whose book is selected should enter into an agreement with the Government . It appears that it is only on execution of such an agreement between the chosen publishers and the Government that any rights will enure to either side. Provisions to the effect made by G. O. 2482 of 1956 are admittedly still in force as part of amended G. O. 158 of 1954. The portion of G. O. 2482 of 1956 relating to the accused hoc Text Book Committee was however superseded and replaced by G. O. Ms. No. 353, Education, dated 14-2-1963, under which the present State Text Books Committee has been constituted.

Viewed against this background, I find it well-nigh impossible to hold that G. O. Ms,. No. 353, Education dated 14-2-1963, must be read and interpreted independently of G. O. Ms. No. 158, Education dated 24-2-1954. On the contrary it appears to me that G. O. 353 of 1954. All that the 1963 G. O. really did was to constitute the present State Text Books Committee in the place of the two precious Text Book Committees and the accused hoc Committee. In other respects, the 1954 G. O. as amended from time to time still governs the selection of the Text Books. Now a perusal of G. O. Ms. 158, Education dated 24-2-1954 makes it clear beyond possible doubt that the Text Book Committees were intended to be only advisory bodies. This G. O. expressly say so. In more than one place in this G. O. It appears that it is the Government who is entitled finally to select and approve the text books Rule 32-A of G. O. Ms. No. 158/54 which was introduced by an amending G. O. dated 3-5-1958 and also Rule 79(1) of G. O. Ms. No. 158 as amended in 1958 speak of the text books being selected and prescribed by the Government . It is also well to note that the agreement to to be executed by the selected publishers is to the Government and not to any body else. These provisions in G. O. Ms. No. 158, make it abundantly clear that the final right and duty of prescribing text books rest wholly on the Government and that the State Text Books rest wholly on the Government and that the State Text Book committee is not the final arbiter in the matter but only an adviser .

This is as it should be because the Government performing a Governmental in prescribing text books for schools. A Governmental function is not ordinarily, and perhaps cannot be parted, with completely in favour of a non statutory outside body like the State Text Books Committee. It is open to the Government to set up in suitable cases advisory Committees to advise it and aid it in the discharge of its Governmental functions. but it cannot be inferred from the setting up of such Committees that the Government that the Government denuded itself completely of its governmental functions and powers in favour to the Committees . Such an inference or assumption would have far-reaching repurcussions on the administration of the country. Exceptionally strong evidence will therefore be required to show that the Government surrendered its power and function to a non-statutory Committee set up by it. The presumption must, if anything, be against such a surrender of power . In any event, the intention of the Government must appear with unmistakable clearness before a Court is able to say that the Government has given up its power or function in favour of a body like the Text Book Committee. In the instant case, I am by no means satisfied that under G. O. 353 of 1963 the Government wholly relinquished its powers and functions regarding the prescription of Hindi Text Books. the true position appears to be that the Government only intended to have the benefit of the opinion of the Committee and did not surrender its right of final decision to the committee. I am also inclined to the view that the Government cannot in any important matter pertaining to the administration of the State and affecting the general good of the public strip itself completely of its powers and responsibilities by entrusting them to a non-statutory Committee which is the creature of a purely executive order.

(6) In the matter of governance of the State the executive Government of the State the executive Government exercise what are called residuary sovereign powers, that is to say such sovereign powers, that is to say such sovereign powers as to do not belong to the judiciary of the legislature of the State. All these three organs of State exercise sovereign powers. Those sovereign powers which do not belong to the judiciary and the legislature fall into the executive. This is the accepted constitutional theory. It is not different under our constitution . No doubt it is open to the legislature to enact within the sphere allotted to it under the Constitution, laws controlling and regulating the powers and duties and functions of the executive Government . The Constitution and the common law of the Country also impose certain restrictions upon executive action. The courts exercise control by interpreting the laws of the land and giving effect to them and to the provisions of the Constitutions. Subject to all these or in spite of all these, the executive Government have certain prerogative powers which it cannot and will not part with. Some of these powers are exercised by it rather imperceptibly in its internal administration of the country. The House of Lords in Attorney General v. De Keyser's Royal hotel Ltd., (1920) AC 508 at P. 526 referred with approval to the dictum that the prerogative powers of the Government are 'the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority , which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the Crown'.

Apart from this characteristic of a Government , there is another consideration which is relevant. the Government should at least be treated on a par with a private individual. if so, the Text Book Committee in the instant case can have no higher right or status than an agent of the Government. Before the action of an ordinary private agent creates legal rights in third parties the principal is entitled to revoke the action of the agent. The powers of a public agent are in some important respects inferior to those of a private agent so far as the effect of his acts on the principal is concerned. I shall however ignore this aspect here. Even so, after the Text Books Committees selected the Books and before such selection created legal rights in the publishers or others, the Government was entitled to rescind that selection. this is perhaps the lowest position in which the Government can be placed, and even this does not aid or advance the contention urged on behalf of the petitioners that the prescription by the Committee is final and the government cannot thereafter seek to modify much less overrule it. Therefore, from more than one point of view we reach the same conclusion, namely that the Government is entitled to take the final decision in the matter of prescription of text books and to override the action of the Committee, if it deems it necessary to do so.

(7) I shall now turn to the question whether the petitioners have any legal right to maintain these writ petitions I think I should answer this question in the negative. The rights of the petitioners can only be under a contract in a case like this. The form of the contract prescribed by the Government under para 40 of G. O. Ms. No. 158 of 1954 as amended by G. O. 2482 dated 23-10-1956 clearly shows that the prescription of Text books of a particular publishers is a matter of contract between that publishers and the Government. The form of agreement which is to be entered into between that publishers and the Government . The form of agreement which is to be entered into between the Governor of Andhra Pradesh on the one hand and the chosen publisher on the other reads as follows.

'Whereas the privilege of selling the published books specified in the Schedule annexed to this Agreement in one or more Districts in Andhra/Telangana area of the State is given firm.;

And whereas the firm has agreed to sell the published books required for use in the Primary/Middle/High School stages in one or more Districts in Andhra/Telangana areas of the state in accordance with the terms and conditions set out below :

Now those presents witness and the parties hereto mutually agree as follows. . . . . . . Then follow eleven terms and conditions which relate to the payment of royalty by the publishers to the Government , the deposit of money to be made by the publishers to the Government the stocking of sufficient number of books the liability of the publishers not to transfer the copy right to another person during the period for which his books has been selected under the agreement and several other conditions, which are not necessary to detail here. it is not the case of the petitioners that an agreement in this form has not to be executed by them ; nor is it their case that even without executing this it their case that even without executing this agreement they would get a right to have their text books prescribed for the Schools in he State. Indeed, even the first communication addressed by the Second Respondents to the publishers in the instant cases clearly informed them of he requirements of the execution of an agreement. This was reiterated and emphasised in the second communication of he director of Public Instruction dated 12-5-`964 by which he kept the prescription of the text books ;in abeyance until further orders.

Looked at from any point of view, it appears to me that the right which the petitioners can possibly claim is only a right under a contract. But in the instant case a concluded contract has not come into being. The first communication of the second respondent that the petitioners' books had been prescribed and that it was subject to their executing the necessary agreement and making the required deposit is only an offer under the law of contracts. It is only when this offer is accepted by the publishers and the conditions prescribed in that offer are complied with that a concluded and therefore an enforceable contract will come into being. It is only when such contracts emerge that a legal right will reside in the petitioners cannot claim to have acquired any legal right against the Government in the matter of the prescription of certain text books. This being the position, I am unable to see how the petitioners can maintain these writ petitions. It is well to state here that it is only a person who has an existing and specific legal right that can maintain a petition for a writ of certiorari or mandamus or ask for an order or direction under Article 226. Vide State of Orissa v. Ram Chandra, : AIR1964SC685 ; Calcutta Gas co., (prop) Ltd. v. State of West Bengal, : AIR1962SC1044 and State of Punjab v. Suraj Parkash, : [1962]2SCR711 . In the instant cases, the petitioners do not have any such existing or specific right to sustain these writ petitions.

(8) But it is argued rather strenuously by Mr. Narasaraju on behalf of the petitioners that a mere likelihood of the petitioners fulfilling the conditions mentioned in the first communication of the Director of Public Instruction (executing the contract and making the deposit) would give them an 'interest' to institute these writs. But the learned counsel himself does not deny that what he calls an 'interest' is something inferior to a legal right. It is only a hope or chance of some future benefit accruing to a party. I am not able to place the so-called interest on a higher footing and I am not referred to any authority which has held that such an inchoate or nascent right or incipient interest is sufficient foundation for maintaining writ petitions like the present. I therefore agree with the argument advanced by the learned Advocate General for the respondents that the petitioners do not have any present legal right to maintain these writ petitions.

(9) The next contention which has been very vigorously pressed upon me by Mr. Narasaraju is that the Government have acted without bona fides, that their action in cancelling the prescription of the petitioners books was actuated by extraneous considerations and improper motives, and that therefore though their action be administrative in character it is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this Court. I am not satisfied that this argument ought to prevail. I wish to rest my conclusion on two separate grounds : first, in all cases where imputation of improper conduct, fraud or the like is made against a person or the Government, or any other statutory Authority , the allegations must be set forth with all particulars. this position is firmly settled in law. In Wallingford v. mutual Society, (1880) 5 AC 685 it was pointed out long ago :

'With regard to fraud, if there is any principle which is perfectly well settled, it is that general allegations, however strong may be the words in which they are stated, are insufficient even to amount to an averment of fraud of which any Court ought to take notice.'

The same statement of the law is found in Bharat Dharma Syndicate v. Harish Chandra 64 Ind App 143 at P. 147 : (AIR 1937 PC 146 at pp. 147-148).

Recently, in Union of India v. P. K. More, : (1961)IILLJ427SC the Supreme Court had to consider a case where a bald plea of improper conduct against the defendant was made in the plaint and the written statement contained an equally bald denial of it. All the same, the plaintiff attacked the written statement as not specific or detailed. This was answered by the Supreme Court by pointing out that a bald plea of improper conduct set up in the plaint statement and that an equally bald plea in the written statement cannot be construed against the defendant. This authority seems to be quite apposite to the instant case, for Mr. Narasaraju's contention is that the counter affidavit of the respondents does not give sufficient particulars and details to clear themselves of the imputation of improper conduct or of being influenced by extraneous considerations, made in the affidavit in support of the writ petitions. But the allegations in the petitioners affidavits are nothing more than bald, vague and broad. Such allegations cannot therefore evoke specific and detailed answers in the counter affidavit. On the ground of lack of sufficient particularity in the counter affidavit of the respondents, the petitioners cannot therefore succeed. On the other hand, the correct view to take in a case like the present is not to attach importance to the bald allegations of improper conduct made in the petitioners' affidavit. What is more, the petitioners have not been able to say who precisely in the Government was actuated by extraneous considerations or outside influence or the like. Making allegations in a broad and bald way against Government generally is certainly not an effective method of attack in a court. The Government is composed of the Ministers, Secretaries, Head of Departments etc. In these writ petitions, the Head of the Department, namely the Director of Public Instruction is the second respondent. The State Government is the first respondent. The orders of cancellation of the prescription of the Text Books of the petitioners could have been the result of the deliberations of the Ministers in charge, the Chief Minister, the Secretary to the Education Department, director of Public Instructions and perhaps some others also. In such a case, to make general and broad allegations of lack of bona fides or of being influenced by extraneous considerations or other reasons is not sufficient . Something more specific, more direct and more precise is a necessary to sustain a plea of this nature. If it were otherwise, it will be very easy for any person to make a broad and bald claim that a particular action of the Government is the result of extraneous and improper considerations and if on such vague and broad allegations devoid of any detail and which do not even specify the individual who was subjected to the alleged vice, the Government are to enter on their defence and affirmatively establish that what they did was perfectly bona fide and unconnected with any improper motives or extraneous considerations, it will indeed be putting the Government in a most difficult and least enviable position. I do not think the law has gone to this extreme extent of requiring the Government in answer to a bald and vague allegation of mala fides or something amounting to it, to affirmatively establish on detailed facts and figures and other elaborate data that they and free from any vestige of blame. Such lopsided onus, no person can reasonably be called upon to discharge. from this point of view, therefore, I do not think the bald and bare imputation of improper conduct or extraneous consideration should be permitted to assume any importance against the respondents.

(10) The other ground on which I am inclined to negative the contention of the petitioners is that the impugned action of the Government falls exclusively within its administrative sphere and it cannot therefore be called in question in these writ proceedings. This is not to say that every administrative action taken or order passed by the Government is immune from scrutiny by this Court in exercise of its wide powers under Art. 226 of the Constitution. But there are well understood limits set to the exercise of judicial review under Art 226. These limits recognise the necessity to allow the Government a reasonable amount of discretion to enable it successfully to carry on the administration of the country. therefore, even marking the area of the Court's powers rather widely, I must say that only those administrative acts and orders which disregard or contravene a statute or statutory rules, which are in excess of the authority of the Government , which constitute a fraud on the statute or on the powers of the Government and which fail to observe the rules of natural justice where binding provisions require them to be observed will be amenable to the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226.

But it is very important that this jurisdiction can be invoked only be a person whose legal right has been affected by the impugned action or order of the Government . In such cases it may not be possible for the Government to contend successfully that their action was administrative in character and could not therefore, be brought under the scrutiny of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitutions. But in other cases which relate to governmental functions simpliciter and which fall within the exclusive and uninhibited administrative sphere of the Government and which do not involve invasion of legal rights of subjects, the government cannot be rendered answerable in courts. In the instant cases, no question of non compliance with law or statute arises ; nor is there any foundation laid for the animadversion of improper conduct ; What is even more important is that there is no infraction of any vested right of the petitioners. Therefore, I do not see how the petitioners are entitled to call in question the action of the Government by invoking the writ jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution .

(1) All that has happened in the present cases is that the Government set up a Committee to aid them in ascertaining the Hindi Text Books which can properly be prescribed for schools and the publishers with whom they can enter into contracts for the supply of those books. I do not see how this is different from the Government's power to enter into a contract for its own supplies or to determine those with whom it will deal for procuring the supplies. It is perhaps useful in this connection to notice the following observations made by the Supreme Court of America in Perkins v. Lukens Steel Co., (1940) 84 Law Ed. 1108 :

'Like private individuals and businesses, the Government enjoys the unrestricted power to produce its own supplies, to determine those with whom it will deal, and to fix the terms and conditions upon which it will make needed purchases. Acting through its agents as it must of necessity, the Government may for the purpose of keeping its own house in order lay down guide posts by which its agents are to proceed in the procurement of supplies, and which create duties to the Government alone.

It has done so in the Public contracts Act. That Act does not depart from but instead embodies the traditional principle of leaving purchases necessary to the operation of our Government to administration by the executive branch of Government , with adequate range of discretion free from vexatious and dialatory restraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . .it was not intended to be a bestowal of litigable rights upon those desirous of selling to the Government ; it is a self-imposed restraint for violation of which the Government - but private litigants - can complain.'

(12) suppose the Government set up a Committee for selecting suitable tenders, say for the construction of a bridge or for the supply of articles of stationery. could a tenderer who was not chosen by the committee or one who was chosen by the committee but was rejected by the Government move a writ to compel the Government to accept his tender and act upon it It can say without hesitation that this Court will not grant a writ in favour of the unsuccessful tenderer. Equally so, if a tender was accepted by the Government subject to the condition of the tenderer executing an agreement in favour of the Government and the Government revokes the offer before the execution of the agreement by the tenderer, I do not think this Court will issue a writ of certiorari or Mandamus against the Government . In the matter of contracts a Government is not in a worse position than a private individual and it will be for the person complaining of breach of contract to take action in an ordinary court of law ., vide C. K. Achutan v. State of Kerala, : AIR1959SC490 .

(13) In the cases in hand the Government intimated to the petitioners that their books are accepted subject to the condition that they enter into agreements with the Government and also deposit certain sum of money. But before these conditions were fulfilled by the petitioners, the Government kept its order in abeyance and subsequently cancelled it. Further , there is nothing to show that the petitioners in fact accepted the offer within the meaning of the law of contracts. Thus even before the government's offer was accepted by the petitioners, the Government had cancelled the offer. The petitioners cannot therefore claim any legal right against the government or complain of any legal injury. This is especially so, because the petitioners cannot obtain any right against the Government before entering into a valid agreement with the Government under Art. 299 of the Constitution.

(14) The last argument presented on behalf of the petitioners is that there was a failure of natural justice in the instant cases because the petitioners were not heard before the respondents passed orders cancelling the prescription of the petitioners books. I do not think in a case like the present the question of natural justice as embodied in the doctrine of audi alteram partem can arise. this doctrine has application a only to quasi judicial determinations and not to purely administrative orders. I do not see anything quasi judicial in the instant cases. No quasi judicial process is enjoined here by any rule or provision of law. The decision in Shivji Nathubhai v. Union of India, : [1960]2SCR775 does not assist the petitioners. That was a case which related to Mineral Concession Rules. There, an order of lease was granted in favour of one person. Before the lease was actually executed, his rival preferred a petition for review to the Central Government under one of the Mineral concession rules. the order of lease was reviewed by the Central government without giving notice to the party affected. The Supreme Court held that the process of review was quasi judicial in character and it was therefore necessary to issue a notice to the affected party before the order was reviewed. I do not think this decision has any bearing on the present cases. Here, no function of a quasi judicial character was performed by the Respondents; not is any quasi judicial process enjoined here by any law, rule or regulation. As I already indicated, exercise of administrative power in the present cases was not related to any existing legal rights of the petitioners. I and therefore unable to see how the principle of audi alteram partem can be invoked in favour of the petitioners.

(15) As pointed out in New Prakash Transport Co. Ltd. v. New Suwarna Transport Co. Ltd. (s) : [1957]1SCR98 questions of natural justice will depend upon the relevant statutory rules and provisions governing a particular matter. The Supreme Court said :

'Rules of natural justice vary with the varying constitutions of statutory bodies and the rules prescribed by the Act under which they function; and the question whether or not the rules of it have been contravened should be decided not on any pre-conceived notions, but in the light of the statutory rules and provisions.'

Their Lordships proceeded :

'In the instant case, no such rules have been brought to our notice which could be said to have been contravened by the appellate authority .'

This view was reiterated by the Supreme Courts in Nagendranath v. Commissioner of hills Division, : [1958]1SCR1240 .

(16) In Anji Raju v. State of Andhra Pradesh , : AIR1961AP123 Chandra Reddy, C. J., speaking for the Divisions Bench observed :

'The question for consideration in this petition is whether the doctrine of audi alteram partem could apply to this case. In other words, had the petitioners a right to be heard before any action could be taken by the Government making permanent assignment of lands to some of the political sufferers this depends upon whether they had acquired any interest in the property. They contend that the answer to this must be in the affirmative because of G. O. No. 1142 dated 8th June. 1954.

We have to examine this question from the standpoint whether that Government Order had created any right in any of the political suffers which could be enforced in a Court of law, In our considered opinion, this Government Order should not clothe the political sufferers with any legal right, as it is merely an executive instruction issued for the guidance of the officers who were to carry out the policy of the Government .'

The learned Chief Justice referred to a previous Division Bench ruling in Muralidhar v. State of Andhra Pradesh , : AIR1959AP437 and pointed out that it was decided there that every order passed by the Government would not confer any right to create any liability on any individual or groups of individuals nor could an action be founded on that in a Court of law. Reference was also made to the similar view expressed by Satyanarayana Raju, J. in W. P. 582/55 which was confirmed on appeal in W. A. 88 of 1958. The decisions in : AIR1961AP123 (supra) indicates beyond reasonable doubt that when a writ petitioner has no legal right or vested interest he cannot successfully invoke in his favour the doctrine of audi alteram partem and on that ground challenge an administrative order passed by the Government . The cases of the present petitioners appear, if anything, to be weaker than the case of the petitioners in : AIR1961AP123 (supra).

(17) For the above reasons, these writ petitions fail and have to be dismissed. But in the circumstances of these cases, I make no order as to costs.

(18) Petitions dismissed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //