Madras HC: Mandamus can be issued only when existence and Violation of Fundamental Right can be demonstrated

LI Network

Published on: October 18, 2023 at 11:40 IST

The Madras High Court has asserted that the issuance of a mandamus, under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, should only be granted to individuals who can conclusively demonstrate both the existence of a fundamental right and its violation by the State.

The ruling, delivered by a Division Bench comprising Justice Dr. Anita Sumanth and Justice R. Vijayakumar, pertained to a mandamus issued by a Single Judge upon the request of the petitioner.

The court, while setting aside this mandamus, emphasized the crucial requirement for the petitioner to establish the existence of a fundamental right and its infringement by the State.

The judgment noted that “the rejoinder in this case, filed in 2014 more than adequately establishes that the writ petitioner has come to Court with unclean hands. He was eminently unfit, as a Panchayat Councilor, to have held a government post.”

Furthermore, it highlighted that the petitioner had suppressed this fact and audaciously claimed that the school should have issued a show-cause notice, which it did not.

The court criticized the writ court for accepting these discrepancies and for computing the sitting fee earned by the writ petitioner, reducing it from the benefits to be paid by the school, all based on severely disputed facts and documents.

The case stemmed from a dispute between the respondent and the petitioner, who claimed to have served as a PG Assistant (Political Science) teacher at a school but was not paid any salary.

A Single Judge had previously issued a mandamus against the petitioner to provide monetary benefits to the respondent for the said years. The petitioner approached the Division Bench seeking relief from the writ.

The Division Bench highlighted the presence of numerous disputed facts in the case and noted that it was always open for the writ court to issue a mandamus directing the respondent to address the petitioner’s representation in accordance with the principles of natural justice, thereby resolving inconsistencies and factual disputes.

The Bench also pointed out that the validity of the appointment order held by the petitioner was disputed from the start, but the school had not expressly denied the signature on the order or stated that it was forged.

Ultimately, the High Court allowed the petition, setting aside the earlier mandamus.

Case title: “The Manager, Government Aided Secondary School v. N. Nalina Kumar and Ors. [Neutral Citation: 2023/MHC/4416].”

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