Judicial review should not be exercised virtually as a continuous oversight of the DA's functions, observed the Supreme Court while setting aside orders passed by Telengana High Court issuing directives to Designated Authority.
Vide these orders, the High Court had issued specific directions for anti-dumping investigation into articles imported from European Union, initiated contempt against Designated Authority and also directed the replacement of the incumbent DA.
These orders were passed in a writ petition filed by "Andhra Petro" challenging the orders of the Designated Authority on the issue of imposition of anti-dumping duty. Andhra Petro had applied to the Central Government, seeking imposition of anti-dumping duty on imports of normal Butanol or N-butyl alcohol originating in and exported into India from Saudi Arabia. The DA did not consider it appropriate to recommend levy of Anti-Dumping Duty on the subject goods from Saudi Arabia and terminated the investigation under Rule 14(b) of Anti-Dumping Rules. Thus, the Andhra Petro, filed writ petitions before the High Court contending that its applications have not been duly considered in accordance with provisions of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, especially Rules 2(b) and 2(d) of the Rules of 1995.
Assailing these orders before the Apex Court, the Attorney General contended that while issuing the notification, the DA acted within the framework of the law. Taking note of the materials on record, the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat agreed with the views expressed by Attorney General. In this court's opinion, the impugned orders were plainly erroneous in chastising the DA, and even directing his replacement, for what appears to be his adherence to prescribed procedure, the bench said.
While setting aside the order, the bench further said:
"Access to judicial review is a valuable right conferred upon citizens and persons aggrieved; the Constitution arms the High Courts and this court with powers under Articles 226 and 32. At the same time, barring exceptional features necessitating intervention in an ongoing investigation triggered by a complaint by the concerned domestic industry, judicial review should not be exercised virtually as a continuous oversight of the DA's functions. This court has cautioned more than once, that judicial review is to be exercised in a circumspect manner, especially where final findings are rendered by the DA."
Observing thus, the bench set aside the orders passed by the High Court.
Case name: THE DESIGNATED AUTHORITY vs. THE ANDHRA PETROCHEMICALS LIMITEDCase no.: CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 3046-3048_OF 2020Coram: Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra BhatCounsel: Attorney General KK Venugopal, Sr. Adv Mukul Rohatgi