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Disputed Facts Cannot Be Adjudicated In Writ Proceedings: Madras High Court

Upasana Sajeev
12 April 2022 4:32 AM GMT
Disputed Facts Cannot Be Adjudicated In Writ Proceedings: Madras High Court
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Exhausting the alternate remedy is the rule, entertaining a writ petition is an exception.

The Madras High Court recently disposed of a writ petition filed by a workman for terminal and pensionary benefits. The bench of Justice S.M Subramaniam, the court observed that the petitioner was a workman and retired from service. Hence, he was governed under service conditions and after retirement under the pension scheme and therefore should approach the labour court for...

The Madras High Court recently disposed of a writ petition filed by a workman for terminal and pensionary benefits. The bench of Justice S.M Subramaniam, the court observed that the petitioner was a workman and retired from service. Hence, he was governed under service conditions and after retirement under the pension scheme and therefore should approach the labour court for appropriate relief to redress his grievances in the manner known to law.

During the course of the hearing the court also discussed the present situation where the litigants directly approach the High Court under article 226 without exhausting the remedies provided under the statutes. The petitioners seek for a direction to direct the respondent to pay entire pensionary and service benefits. However, the High Courts powers are limited in such cases and these leads to multiplicity of proceedings. The court also opined that litigant should not be made to suffer by way of multiplicity of proceedings.

"The justice delivery system should thrive hard to ensure that the aggrieved persons get speedy justice and their genuine grievances are redressed in accordance with law. Contrarily, if they were driven to Court repeatedly and finally their grievances are not addressed or redressed then the faith in the justice delivery system is in peril and therefore, the Courts are expected to be cautious in dealing with the multiplicity of proceedings and the possibility of creating multiplicity of proceedings and to ensure that the issues are decided on merits at the first instance itself. Once the issues are decided and the rights of the parties are crystallized, then all appropriate reliefs can be granted even in a writ petition filed for a direction to consider the representation."

The court also observed that the question is not with respect to maintainability of these writ petitions but with respect to their entertainability. It was further observed that all writ petitions are maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution but its entertainability is to be decided with respect to the rights of the parties or its infringement.

Therefore, the parties must be allowed to exhaust the alternate remedies provided under the statutes and service rules and then if they are further aggrieved, approach court under Article 226 of the Constitution. The courts are expected to adjudicate issues on merits and settle the issues for the purpose of providing complete justice to the parties approaching the Court.

"The power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is to ensure the processes through which the decision is taken by the competent authorities in consonance with the statues and rules in force, but in a decision itself. This being the scope under the Constitution, the high Court need not venture into an adjudication of the disputed facts between the parties, at all circumstances."

In the present case, the petitioner should have approached the competent labour court for computation of benefits or for any other appropriate relief and if the grievance were not redressed, approach the High Court. In such case, the factual findings of the labour court could be of assistance to the High Court in taking an appropriate decision. The court thus gave liberty to the petitioner to approach the Labour Court for appropriate relief.

Case Title: A Pitchaiah v. The Managing Director and Ors

Case No: W.P (MD) No. 6412 of 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 149

Click here to read/download judgement


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