Sikkim High Court: Meenakshi Madan Rai, J., decided on a petition wherein the petitioner body established under the Sikkim Municipalities Act, 2007, claimed that the provisions of the Employees‟ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act,
1952, (“EPF & MP Act, 1952”) was not applicable in the State of Sikkim as it was not enforced in compliance to the provisions of Article 371F of the Constitution of India. The prayers were as follows:
(a) to hold that the provisions of the Central Act are not applicable to the Petitioner; and
(b) to hold that the provisions of the Employees‟ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is not applicable to the Petitioner Corporation; and
(c) to hold that the Petitioner is not the principal employer of the Municipal wards Association/Committee/Samaj which is a non-profit making NGO as decided by the Respondents; and
(d) to issue an appropriate writ in the nature of mandamus or any other writ, order or direction holding that the proceedings conducted by the Respondents is without jurisdiction, bad and illegal; and/or
(e) to issue an appropriate writ in the nature of mandamus or certiorari or any other writ, order or direction quashing the Order dated 05.07.2019 passed by the Respondent;
(f) and upon cause/s being shown and after hearing the parties be pleased to make the rule absolute and/or pass such other orders;
(g) to pass any other direction/s, relief/s, order/s that may be deemed fit and proper in the circumstances of this case;
(h) to allow the costs of the Writ Petition in favour of the Petitioner.
Counsel for the respondents challenged the maintainability of the Petition contended that where an alternative, efficacious remedy is available, the Writ Jurisdiction of this Court cannot be invoked and that it was a settled law that Petitions under Writ Jurisdiction are not to be entertained by the High Court when an efficacious, alternative remedy is available, this being a Rule of self-imposed limitation, although discretion lies with the Court to permit a Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, despite existence of such a remedy.
The Court in the light of the specific provisions of law and the observations made in the ratiocinations referred to by the counsel of the respondent opined that before invoking the Writ Jurisdiction of this Court, the Petitioner was to necessarily exhaust the remedy available to it under the Statute.[Gangtok Municipal Corporation v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Sikk 161, decided on 22-10-2021]
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.