(1) The petitioner challenge the cancellation of alltoment to him of the residential quarter in dispute and the legality of the ntoice (Annexure `G' to the writ petition) dated 5-4-1965 under Section 4(1) of the Public Premises Eviction of (Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1958 (hereinafter called the Act) calling upon the petitioner to show cause on or before 2-5-1965 why an order of eviction should nto be made against him on the ground that he is in unauthorised occupation of the public premises.
(2) According to the petitioner's averments, he is a quasi-permanent employee of the Government of India being an Upper Division Clerk in the office of the Trade Mark Registry, Government of India, New Delhi. He was alltoted the Government quarter in question in Rama Krishna Puram, New Delhi in January, , 1963, the alltoment to be effective from 5-2-1963 when he took its possession. On 19-9-1964, he came to know from a memorandum addressed to the Registrar of Trade Marks, Registry Office, Industrial Estate, Okhla, by the Assistant Director of Estates, that the staff of Trade Marks Registry had nto been declared eligible for accommodation in the general pool. It was by means of this memorandum that the alltoment of the residential quarter to the petitioner Shri M.L. Joshi was cancelled and he was directed to hand over vacant possession of the quarter in question to the Central P.W.D., Enquiry Office. This is Annexure `B' to the writ petition.
(3) The argument urged before me is that once this alltoment is made in favor of the petitioner, it must be assumed that the petitioner was entitled to the alltoment and thereforee, this right cannto be taken away except in accordance with the law. No rules having been framed for cancelling alltoments, the order cancelling the petitioner's alltoment according to the counsel is arbitrary and discriminatory. It has also been agreed that the Assistant Director of Estates who purports to have cancelled the alltoment, was nto authorised to do so.
The ground of attack against the show cause ntoice is that the officer who issued the show cause ntoice, namely, the Deputy Director of Estates (Litigation), respondent No.2, is himself going to adjudicate upon the merits of the controversy and thereforee, it is vocative of the rules of natural justice.
(4) In the return, it has been pleaded that since the office of the petitioner was nto declared eligible for participation in Government accommodation from the general pool by the Government of India, the alltoment of the quarter alltoted to the petitioner was cancelled by the competent authority. After the cancellation of the alltoment, the petitioner was nto entitled as of right to retain the quarter in question, with the result that he could be proceeded against under the Act. It has been expressly averred that the alltoment in favor of the petitioner was initially made under a mistake of fact that the office of the Trade Mark Registry, where the petitioner was at that time employed, was eligible for alltoment of accommodation.
This alltoment having been made under a mistake of fact, could nto afford any prtoection to the petitioner. The staff of the Trade Mark Registry, including the petitioner had never been declared eligible for Government accommodation by the competent authority, namely, the Ministry of Works and Housing. In regard to the competency of the authority issuing the show cause ntoice, it is pleaded that the Deputy Director of Estates (Litigation) respondent No.2 is the Estate Officer under the Act, and thereforee, entitled to start proceedings under the Act.
(5) A preliminary objection has also been raised on behalf of the Director of Estates to the effect that it is open to the petitioner to appear before the statutory authority enquiring into the matter and show cause against the eviction and also to appeal from the prejudicial order as provided by Section 9 of the aforesaid Act. In support of his submission, Mr. Parkash Narain has relied on a Bench Decision of this Court in Hari Kishan Das v. Union of India, .
(6) Shri N.D. Bali, learned counsel for the petitioner, has argued that the existence of the alternative remedy is, nto always an absolute bar in the way of the petitioner seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and in support of his contention, he has relied on a Single Bench decision of the Allahabad High Court in Lala Raj Kishore v. District Board of Seharanpur, : AIR1954All675 .
(7) I quite agree that an alternative remedy does nto go to the jurisdiction of this Court in granting relief under Article 226 of the Constitution; nor is it per se a legal bar to the issue of a writ by this Court. It is indeed only one of the several relevant considerations which this Court takes into account in the exercise of its judicial discretion, whether or nto on the facts and circumstances of a given case to allow its constitutional jurisdiction to be invoked and to grant relief under Art. 226. This Court, I may observe, is nto inclined ordinarily to allow itself to be reduced to the status of subordinate tribunals constituted under different statutes for the purposes of performing statutory functions.
The language of Article 226 is undoubtedly wide but jurisdiction there under is nto exercised by this Court merely because it is lawful to do so. There are certain recognised self-imposed restrictions in the exercise of the jurisdiction. It is only in exceptional cases where to direct a party to the alternative statutory remedy would inter alias result in grave hardship, either by causing undue delay or by operating as denial of fair deal from the subordinate tribunals, that this Court would ordinarily feel inclined in the interest of substantial justice to permit its constitutional jurisdiction to be invoked.
Again, this Court does nto generally enter upon a determination of questions demanding elaborate examination of evidence for establishing the right sought to be enforced, nor does this Court act as a Court of appeal to correct errors of fact of the subordinate tribunals. Indeed, in the absence of any specific factors, this Court is reluctant to allow the statutory machinery created for securing relief to be by-passed and substitute itself for the statutory tribunal.
In the case in hand, I am far from satisfied that any grave hardship or gross injustice is likely to visit the petitioner if he is left in the ordinary course to show cause under the statute and to seek further relief, if necessary, by preferring appeal provided there under. No extraordinary circumstance has been brought to my ntoice why the petitioner should nto adopt the course designed by the Legislature for person similarly placed.
(8) I have nto been impressed by the argument that the show cause ntoice is wholly without jurisdiction. Section 2(a) of the Act defines an 'estate officer' to mean an officer appointed as such by the Central Government under Section 3. In the case in hand, it is shown in the return that the Deputy Director of Estates (Litigation) is, the Estate Officer under the Act and is entitled to start proceedings there under. The show cause ntoice under Section 4, would, thereforee, be fully authorised and lawful. There being no jurisdictional or toher similar serious legal infirmity, it would clearly be for the petitioner to show cause on the merits against his proposed eviction in accordance with the statutory provision.
The contention urged on behalf of the petitioner that the Estate Officer would be buth the prosecutor and the Judge which is hit by the ratio of the Supreme Court decision in Gullappalli Nageswara Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, : 1SCR580 , is unconvincing and of no avail to the petitioner in the present case because the Estate Officer does nto appear to me to be acting as a Judge in his own cause when he is disposing of the proceedings initiated by the show cause ntoice under S. 4 of the Act.
To say that no one shall be a Judge in his own cause means that the Judge must nto have anything like a personal interest in the cause he is to adjudicate upon and nto that an officer discharging his official functions must nto start proceedings in a matter which he is, under the law, competent to adjudicate upon. The petitioner's argument is obviously misconceived in the instant case and the decision of the Supreme Court does nto seem to lend support to the petitioner's submission on the existing facts before me.
(9) For all the foregoing reasons, this petition fails and is hereby dismissed. In the peculiar circumstances of this case, there would be no order as to costs.
(10) Petition dismissed.