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Where the function is administrative, evidently judicial review shall lie

Where an opinion was not formed on relevant facts or within the restraints of the statute as an alternative safeguard to rules of natural justice where the function is administrative, evidently judicial review shall lie. [See Barium Chemicals Ltd. and another v. Company Law Board and others AIR 1967 SC 295] In fact The Hubli Electricity Co. Ltd. (supra) has been considered by this Court in Narayanan Sankaran Mooss v. The State of Kerala and Another [(1974) 1 SCC 68], stating:

“20. The power to revoke the licence is a drastic power. The revocation of licence results in severe abridgement of the right to carry on business.

Having in mind the requirements of Article 19(1)(g). Parliament has, it seems to us, prescribed certain conditions to prevent the abuse of power and to ensure just exercise of power. Clauses (a) to (d) of Section 4 prescribe some of the conditions precedent for the exercise of power. The order of revocation, in breach of any one of those conditions, will undoubtedly be void. The clause “if in its opinion the public interest so requires” is also a condition precedent. On a successful showing that the order of revocation has been made without the Government applying its mind to the aspect of public interest or without forming an honest opinion on that aspect, it will, we have no doubt, be void. The phrase “after consulting the State Electricity Board” is sandwiched between the clause “if in its opinion the public interest so requires” and clauses (a) to (d). In this context it appears to us that consultation with the Board is also a condition precedent for making the order of revocation. Accordingly the breach of this condition precedent should also entail the same consequence as the breach of the other conditions referred to earlier. It may be observed that the phrase “after consulting the State Electricity Board” did not find place in Section 4 as it stood originally. It was introduced in Section 4 in 1959 by an amendment. It seems to us that it was introduced in Section 4 with the object of providing an additional safeguard to the licensee…”

In Rohtas Industries v. S.D. Agarwal and Others [(1969) 1 SCC 325], it was categorically held that the Judicial Committee was considering a pre-constitutional provision which was not subject to the mandate of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

While exercising the power of judicial review in a case of this nature, the court would not be concerned with the merit of the decision but with the decision making process. If it is found that the decision making process has not been adhered to, indisputably, judicial review would lie.

In Coal India Ltd. and Others v. Saroj Kumar Mishra, [(2007) 9 SCC 625], this Court held:

“19. The floodgate argument also does not appeal to us. The same appears to be an argument of desperation. Only because there is a possibility of floodgate litigation, a valuable right of a citizen cannot be permitted to be taken away. This Court is bound to determine the respective rights of the parties. [See Zee Telefilms Ltd. v. Union of India and Guruvayoor Devaswom Managing Committee v. C.K. Rajan]”