Jharkhand High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Anubha Rawat Choudhury, J. while dealing with a civil writ petition directed the State to follow principles of natural justice in proceedings for issuance of distress warrant against the petitioner.
Brief factual matrix of the matter was that in pursuance of a certificate case filed against the petitioner for recovery of a certain amount of money, the Certificate Officer issued a distress warrant against him without deciding the objection petition filed by the petitioner under Section 9 of the Bihar and Orissa Public Demands Recovery Act, 1914 and also without considering the explanation submitted by the petitioner. Aggrieved by the aforesaid, instant writ petition was filed by the petitioner praying for quashing of the entire proceeding in certificate case filed against him. The primary contention of the petitioner was that the said action of Certificate Officer was in total disregard to the provisions of Bihar and Orissa Public Demands Recovery Act, 1914 and was also a gross violation of principles of natural justice and fair play.
The court noted that as per the provisions of Bihar and Orissa Public Demands Recovery Act, upon issuance of notice in the certificate proceedings, the certificate-debtor has a right to file an objection under Section 9 of the said Act and the same is required to be disposed of by the Certificate Officer. It was observed that failure to follow the procedure prescribed in the statute was an arbitrary action and gross violation of the principles of natural justice. Therefore, the said action also impinged upon the petitioner’s fundamental right under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
On the strength of aforesaid reasoning, the impugned order vide which distress warrant was issued against the petitioner was set aside with a direction to the Certificate Officer to hear the petitioner, consider his objection and pass a reasoned order within a period of one month thereafter. [Bhupender Singh v State of Jharkhand,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1233, decided on 27-09-2018]