Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Shivaji Pandey, J. in a civil writ petition held that when an authority has been empowered to hear a matter, it is that authority alone which has the power to decide the said matter, and this power cannot be delegated to another officer.

The present matter related to Anganbari Sevika at the time when Commissioner was empowered under the scheme to hear and decide the appeal. The petitioner, being aggrieved by a certain letter filed an appeal before the Commissioner, Magadh Division, Gaya who, instead of hearing and deciding the same, transmitted it to the Deputy Director, Department of Social Welfare, Magadh Division, Gaya to hear and decide the appeal.

The Court remarked that when a statutory provision authorized the Commissioner to decide the appeal and, the said provision neither carried with it a power of delegation nor did it empower the Commissioner to transmit the appeal and get it decided by an officer not empowered to hear and decide the appeal, then any decision taken by such an officer would be a void order in the eyes of law. 

In view of the above, the order of Deputy Director was quashed and the matter was remanded back to the Commissioner with a direction to decide the appeal and pass an order in accordance with law.[Sarswati Devi v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2040, decided on 19-11-2018] 

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