Writ

The remedy under Article 226 is extraordinary and is of Anglo-Saxon vintage but it is not a carbon copy of English processes.

To appreciate the legal position we only wish to refer to two of the decisions of this Court reported in Dwarakanath v. Income Tax Officer 1965 (2) SCJ 296 and Gujarat Steel Tubes Ltd. and Others Vs. Gujarat Steel Tubes Mazdoor Sabha and Others, In Dwarakanath case the Supreme Court stated as under:

This article is couched incomprehensive phraseology and it ex facie confers a wide power on the High Courts to reach injustice wherever it is found. The Constitution designedly used a wide language in describing the nature of the power, the purpose for which and the person or authority against whom it can be exercised. It can issue writs in the nature of prerogative writs as understood in England; but the scope of those writs also is widened by the use of the expression ‘nature’, for the said expression does not equate the writs that can be issued in India with those in England, but only draws an analogy from them. That apart, High Courts can also issue directions, orders or writs other than the prerogative writs. It enables the High Courts to mould the reliefs to meet the peculiar and complicated requirements of this country. Any attempt to equate the scope of the power of the High Court under Article 226 of Constitution with that of the English Courts to issue prerogative writs is to introduce the unnecessary procedural restrictions grown over the years in a comparatively small country like England with a unitary form of Government to a vast country like India functioning under a federal structure. Such a construction defeats the purpose of the Article itself.

(Emphasis added)

 Similarly in Gujarat Steel Tubes Case (supra), the relevant principles can be culled out from paragraphs 73 and 81.

While the remedy under Article 226 is extraordinary and is of Anglo-Saxon vintage, it is not a carbon copy of English processes. Article 226 is a sparing surgery but the lancet operates where injustice suppurates. While traditional restraints like availability of alternative remedy hold back the court, and judicial power should not ordinarily rush in where the other two branches fear to tread, judicial daring is not daunted where glaring injustice demands even affirmative action. The wide words of Article 226 are designed for service of the lowly numbers in their grievances if the subject belongs to the court’s province and the remedy is appropriate to the judicial process. There is a native hue about Article 226, without being anglophilic or anglophobic in attitude. Viewed from this jurisprudential perspective, we have to be cautious both in not overstepping as if Article 226 were as large as an appeal and not failing to intervene where a grave error has crept in. Moreover, we sit here in appeal over the High Court’s judgment. And an appellate power interferes not when the order appealed is not right but only when it is clearly wrong. The difference is real, though fine.

81. …Broadly stated, the principle of law is that the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is limited to holding the judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals or administrative bodies exercising the quasi-judicial powers within the leading strings of legality and to see that they do not exceed their statutory jurisdiction and correctly administer the law laid down by the statute under which they act. So long as the hierarchy of officers and appellate authorities created by the statute function within their ambit the manner in which they do so can be no ground for interference….

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