It the jurisdiction of the Court to issue


It is well settled that when an alternative and equally efficacious remedy is open to a litigant, he should be re­quired efficacious remedy is open to a litigant, he should be required to pursue that remedy and not invoke the special jurisdiction of the High Court to issue a prerogative writ.

Though the existence of another memory does not affect the jurisdiction of the Court to issue a writ but the existence of an adequate legal remedy is a thing to be taken into consideration in the matter of granting writs. And where such remedy exists, it will be a sound exercise of direction to refuse to interfere in a petition under Article 226, unless there are good grounds there for. The existence of alternative remedy is not always a sufficient reason for refusing a party quick relief by a writ prohibiting authority acting without jurisdiction, from continuing such action.

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Therefore, if the existence of other adequate legal remedies is not parse a bar to the issue of certiorari and if in a proper case it may be the duty of the Superior Court to issue a writ of certiorari to correct the errors of an inferior court or tribunal called upon to exer­cise judicial or quasi-judicial functions and not to regulate the petitioner to other legal remedies available to him and if the superior court can, in a proper case, exercise its jurisdiction in favour of a petitioner who has allowed the time to appeal to expire or has not perfected his appeal e.g., by furnishing security required by the statute, it cannot be then laid down as an inflexible rule of law that the superior court must deny the writ when an inferior court or tribunal, by discarding all principles of natural justice and accepted rules of procedure, arrived at a conclusion which shocks the sense of justice and fair play, merely because such decision has been upheld by another inferior court or tribunal on appeal or revision. There may conceivably be the cases where the error, irregularity or illegality touching jurisdiction or procedure committed by an interior court or tribunal of first instance, is so patent and loudly obtrusive that it leaves on its decision an indelible stamp of infirmity or vice which cannot obliterated or cured on appeal or revision.

If an inferior court or tribunal of first instance- (i) Acts wholly without jurisdiction; (ii) Acts patently in excess of jurisdiction; or (iii) Manifestly conducts the proceedings before it in a manner which is contrary to the rules of natural justice and all ac­cepted rules of procedure and which offends the superior court’s sense of fair play, the superior court may quite properly exercise its power to issue the prerogative writ of certiorari to correct the error of the Court or tribunal of first instance even if an appeal to another inferior court or tribunal was available and recourse was not had to it or, if recourse was had to it, it confirmed what efface was a nullity for reasons aforementioned. This will be so all the more if the tribunals holding the original trial and the tribunals hearing the appeal or revision are merely departmental tribunals composed of persons belonging to the departmental hierarchy without adequate legal train­ing and background and whose glaring lapses occasionally come to notice of the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the High Court to issue writs against the or­ders of the tribunal is undoubted, but where there is another remedy provided, the Court may properly exercise its discretion in declining to interfere under Art. 226.

The existence of an alternative remedy is a bar to the entertain­ment of a petition under Art. 225 unless:- (a) There is a complete lack of jurisdiction in the officer or authority to take the action impugned, or (b) The order prejudicial to the writ petitioner has been passed in violation of the principles of natural justice and can, therefore, be treated as void or no nest. The above two exceptions to the normal rule to the effect of the existence of an adequate alternative remedy are not exhaustive and even beyond them a decision vests in the High Court to have enter­tained the petition and granted the petitioner relief notwithstanding the existence of an alternative remedy. The broad lines of the general principles on which the Court should act having been laid down, their application to facts of each particular case must necessarily depend on a variety of individual facts which must govern the proper exercise of the discretion of the Court and in a matter which is thus pre-eminently one of discretion, it is not possible or desirable to lay- down inflexible rules which should be applied with rigidity in every case which comes up before the Court. In all other cases, the High Courts should not entertain the petitioners or, in any event, not grant any relief to the writ petitioners. But the rule that the party who applies for the issue of a high prerogative writ should, before he approaches the High Court, have exhausted other remedies open to him under the law, is not one which bars the jurisdiction of the High Court to entertain the petition or to deal with it, but is rather a rule which the Courts have laid down for the exercise of their discretion.

Where a writ petition is filed in the High Court to have an as­sessment order quashed on the ground that the imposition of sales tax was without authority of law or ultra vires the Sales Tax Act and the Rules, the High court should not dismiss it on the ground that the petitioner should exhaust his internal remedies under the Act, because the authorities, constituted under the Act can only decide the disputes between the assessed and the sales tax authority in terms of the provisions of the Act and the question of ultra vires is foreign to their jurisdiction.

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