Pat HC | Principles of natural justice could not be put in a straight jacket formula so as to defeat the larger public interest

Patna High Court: Rajeev Ranjan Prasad, J. dismissed the writ application on the grounds that the settled proposition of law was that the writ of certiorari should not be issued only for making out a legal point.

The petitioner, aggrieved by the order dated passed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries, Government of Bihar whereby the appeal preferred by the petitioner against the order of canceling the allotment of his industrial plot was been dismissed has challenged the same in the instant writ application.

N.K. Agrawal, senior counsel on behalf of the petitioner submitted that it was a case of violation of principles of natural justice wherein the cancellation order was not served upon the petitioner and further the appellate authority failed to decipher that the inquiries conducted by the Department during the pendency of the appeal could not be taken as a conclusive proof of the fact that the unit in question was not functioning.

The counsel on behalf of the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (‘BIADA’) argued that the matters related to allotment of industrial plots and were to be considered from a larger public interest purview. He further submitted that the petitioner’s allegation that the order of cancellation passed in the year 2007 was not served upon the petitioner is not correct inasmuch as ‘BIADA’ had produced the proof of service by placing on record that the said decision canceling the allotment in favor of the petitioner was sent through courier and it was not returned un-served. It was also submitted that the industrial plot was given to the petitioner for carrying industrial activity but instead the petitioner was utilizing it for some kind of residential purpose which was confirmed by the inquiry report submitted after the spot verification by the appellate authority.

Upon perusal of the records, the court found that the industrial plot was allotted to the petitioner in the year 1996, and the purpose behind the same was setting up of industry but the materials available on record showed that no industrial activities were going on for the last several years. Since no prima-facie material was brought on record to controvert the findings and no material was made available to show that the findings were perverse and required any interference.

The case being one for issuance of a writ of certiorari, the principle was well-settled that while exercising its power to issue a writ in the nature of certiorari the Court under Article 226 would not sit in appeal and could not exercise an appellate power. Such a writ of certiorari could be issued only when the Court found that the impugned order suffered from perversity. [Santosh Kumar Jalan v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1772, decided on 30-09-2019]

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