It is the inherent duty of the High Courts to issue the Writ of Mandamus for the enforcement of a public duty

Team SoOLEGAL 10 Aug 2020 3:14pm

It is the inherent duty of the High Courts to issue the Writ of Mandamus for the enforcement of a public duty

The Supreme Court of India has observed that the High Courts are duty-bound to exercise their power of issuing the Writ of Mandamus for the enforcement a duty towards the public.

The court has made this observation in a dispute which was pertaining to a private road. The aggrieved party i.e. the Hari Krishan Mandir Trust filed an application requesting the state government of Maharashtra to correct the wrong entry as “the internal road to the trust” under the name of Municipal Corporation of Pune. The State Government has rejected the said proposition and further ordered that the road belongs to the Pune Municipal Corporation. The High Court also dismissed the petition citing the order of Government and stating that the land comes under the purview of Section-88 of Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966.

When the matter was being argued in the Supreme Court, it was found that the land never belonged to the PMC as ordered by the Maharashtra Government. The said land belonged to the trust and was hostilely taken over by the Government.

After the following revelations were made, the SC stated that, the High Courts having jurisdiction under Article-226 of the Constitution are duty-bound to issue a Writ of Mandamus where a Government body has failed to exercise its discretion as conferred upon it by any rule, Statute or a public policy.

The Apex Court further observed, “The High Court is duty bound to issue a writ of Mandamus for enforcement of a public duty. There can be no doubt that an important requisite for issue of Mandamus is that Mandamus lies to enforce a legal duty. This duty must be shown to exist towards the applicant. A statutory duty must exist before it can be enforced through Mandamus.”

In the present case, the SC allowed the appeal setting aside the order of the High Court and ruled that there were no proceedings in respect of the ownership of the said land therefore the rights of the same could not have vested in the State.

Tagged: High Courts   Supreme Court   state government   Maharashtra   Section-88   Regional and Town Planning Act   Article 226  
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