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October 10, 2022 at 8:20 PM #112105Tina DUGuest
It has been said that power, wherever vested, in a public
authority or agency, must be exercised fairly and justly:
“Any law made or action taken by the employer, corporate
statutory or instrumentality under Article 12 must act fairly,
justly and reasonably. Right to fair treatment is an essential inbuilt
of natural justice. Exercise of unbridled and uncanalised
discretionary power impinges upon the right of the citizen; vesting
of discretion is no wrong provided it is exercised purposively
judiciously and without prejudice. ..” (Delhi Transport
Corporation v DTC Mazdoor Congress AIR 1990 SC 101).
Every public authority is also under a duty to act within the bounds of
the power conferred or vested in him, to further the objectives for which
such powers are created and take into consideration only relevant
circumstances, bona fide and reasonably. Sans any of these, the exercise
of power is colourable, as held in State of Punjab v Gurdial Singh,
AIR 1979 SC 319:
“considerations, foreign to the scope of the power or extraneous
to the statute, enter the verdict or impel the action, mala fides
or fraud on power, vitiates the acquisition or other official act.”
The matter was put even more forcefully in Ravi Yashwant Bhoir v.
District Collector, Raigad & Ors., AIR 2012 SC 1339, as follows:
“37… Legal malice” or “malice in law” means something done
without lawful excuse. It is a deliberate act in disregard to the
rights of others. It is an act which is taken with an oblique or
indirect object. It is an act done wrongfully and wilfully without
reasonable or probable cause, and not necessarily an act done
from ill-feeling and spite. Mala fide exercise of power does not
imply any moral turpitude.
It means exercise of statutory power for “purposes foreign
to those for which it is in law intended.” It means conscious
violation of the law to the prejudice of another, a depraved
inclination on the part of the authority to disregard the
rights of others, where intent is manifested by its injurious
acts. Passing an order for unauthorized purpose constitutes
malice in law.”
- Vishakha vs. State of Rajasthan [1997(7) SCC 323].
- Delhi Transport Corporation vs. DTC Mazdoor Congress
AIR 1990 SC 101.
- D.V. Kapoor vs. Union of India AIR 1990 SC 1923.
- D.S. Nakara vs. Union of India 1983 (2) SCR 165.
- State of Punjab vs. Gurdial Singh, AIR 1979 SC 319.