High Court Cannot Stay/Quash An Order In Anticipation, Before It Is Passed: SC [Read Judgment]
“The higher judiciary must avoid as far as possible from making any disparaging harsh remarks and strictures against any judicial/administrative officer while examining their action/order impugned in the judicial proceedings.”
The Supreme Court observed that a High Court cannot stay or/and quash the orders in anticipation, before they are passed by an authority.
Some 'Liquor' licensees had approached the Bombay High Court challenging an ex-parte order passed by Commissioner State Excise that directed sealing of their liquor shops. The High Court allowed their petition and quashed the order passed by the Commissioner. It also made serious observations and passed adverse remarks in the manner in which the Commissioner State Excise had dealt with the case, particularly the manner in which ex-parte interim orders were passed, and oral directions issued to the subordinate officers.
One of the directions passed by the High Court in this case read: "We direct that in the event the fourth respondent passes any orders adverse to the petitioners, then such orders shall not take effect for a period of four weeks from the date they are communicated to the petitioners."
The Licensees approached the Apex Court against the High Court order allowing the same Commissioner to decide the appeals. On the other hand, Commissioner State Excise filed the appeal aggrieved by the observations and adverse remarks made by the High Court against her personally.
The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra observed that the High Court rightly declined to transfer the pending appeals from the Commissioner State Excise to any other Commissioner State Excise or any other competent appellate authority under the Act.
Regarding adverse remarks and directions issued against the Commissioner, the bench observed that High Court should not have pre-empted the passing of any order of the authority, while deciding the Writ Petition.
"No higher court can pass such directions merely on anticipation of an order being passed by an appellate authority. It is only after the order is passed, that the aggrieved person has a legal right to take recourse to a legal remedy available in law against such order by approaching to a higher forum and pray for grant of appropriate relief against such order", said the bench.
The bench also added that that the higher judiciary must avoid as far as possible from making any disparaging harsh remarks and strictures against any judicial/administrative officer while examining their action/order impugned in the judicial proceedings. "In our view, these disparaging remarks/strictures coupled with the directions of how one should behave and pass orders was unnecessary in the facts of this case, and nor they were germane for deciding the lis between the parties. Such remarks/strictures, therefore, should not have been made. They are accordingly expunged and stand deleted from the impugned order. ", the court added.