Table of content:-
- Background of the case
- Issues Raised
- Statutory Provisions Involved
- Submissions of the Parties
- Judgment Analysis
- Case Laws:
- Ayub Khan P.A. v. the State of Kerala and Another [2012 (1) KHC 615]
- Surendran P.v. State by Inspector of Police [2019 (3) KHC 102]
- Pradyat Kumar Bose v. Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court [1956 SC 285]
- Pramatha Nath Mitter and others v. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of the High Court at Calcutta in the State of W.B. [AIR 1961 Calcutta 545]
- Prabhakaran Nair v. State of Kerala [1969 KLT 444]
Mathew Z Pulikunnel vs Chief Justice of India [Writ Petition (Civil) (unnumbered) of 2021]
Background of the case
The petitioner had purchased a flat situated in Maradu, Kerala. The same flat was ordered to demolish by the Supreme Court in 2012 in a legal dispute on the ground that the said flat is not in compliance with the norms of the costal regulations zone. Aggrieved by the order of the Supreme court the petitioner filed the writ petition before the Kerala High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. By this writ petition, the petitioner sought to an in house inquiry against the judicial misconduct done in this case.
Whether a writ petition filed against the Chief Justice of India is maintainable?
Statutory provisions Involved
- Article 226 of the Constitution of India
“Power of High Courts to issue certain writs
(1) Notwithstanding anything in Article 32 every High Court shall have powers, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibitions, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.
(2) The power conferred by clause ( 1 ) to issue directions, orders or writs to any Government, authority or person may also be exercised by any High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the territories within which the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises for the exercise of such power, notwithstanding that the seat of such Government or authority or the residence of such person is not within those territories.
(3) Where any party against whom an interim order, whether by way of injunction or stay or in any other manner, is made on, or in any proceedings relating to, a petition under clause ( 1 ), without
(a) Furnishing to such party copies of such petition and all documents in support of the plea for such interim order; and
(b) giving such party an opportunity of being heard, makes an application to the High Court for the vacation of such order and furnishes a copy of such application to the party in whose favour such order has been made or the counsel of such party, the High Court shall dispose of the application within a period of two weeks from the date on which it is received or from the date on which the copy of such application is so furnished, whichever is later, or where the High Court is closed on the last day of that period, before the expiry of the next day afterwards on which the High Court is open; and if the application is not so disposed of, the interim order shall, on the expiry of that period, or, as the case may be, the expiry of the aid next day, stand vacated
(4) The power conferred on a High Court by this article shall not be in derogation of the power conferred on the Supreme court by clause (2) of Article 32.”
Submissions of the Petitioner
- It was submitted that it was highly improper if the matter was dealt with by the registry as by this way registry comes under judicial domain by relying upon the judgment of Ayub Khan P.A. v. State of Kerala and Another [2012 (1) KHC 615] and Surendran P.v. State by Inspector of Police [2019 (3) KHC 102].
- Further, the petitioner raised a question regarding the doubt raised by the registry after taking a strong exception to the view taken by this court.
- It was contended that a writ petition is maintainable against the chief justice of the High Court as well as against the Chief Justice of India in respect of their administrative functions.
- It was pointed out that in regard to in house inquiries which deal with the complaints against the judges and the chief justice of High Courts and Chief Justice of India need to take appropriate actions and therefore becomes a necessary part of the writ petition.
- By relying on the judgment of Pradyat Kumar Bose v. Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court [1956 SC 285] it was contended that the petition was related to the administrative function and hence the same is maintainable.
The court relied upon the ruling of Pramatha Nath Mitter and others v. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of the High Court at Calcutta in the State of W.B. [AIR 1961 Calcutta 545] in which the Calcutta High Court observed that if the power exercised by the Chief Justice is of administrative nature then the remedy can be sought under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in appropriate cases.
Further, the court relied upon the judgment of K.Prabhakaran Nair v. State of Kerala [1969 KLT 444] in which the full bench of the Kerala High Court held that
“There is nothing in the wording of Article 226 of the Constitution which warrants the imposition of a limitation that the jurisdiction of the High Court under the said Article cannot be invoked for the purpose of calling in question orders passed by the Chief Justice or by the High Court itself on administrative side. In the light of the aforesaid discussion, there is no legal basis for the doubt raised by the Registry in the matters.”
After taking all the facts and circumstances into consideration Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar directed the registry to number the writ petition and list the same for admission.
The court further clarifies that the registry is free to consider the maintainability of the matter and refuse the matter to numbered it if they think it fits.