Punjab & Haryana HC: Unfortunate to see writ jurisdiction invoked at the drop of hat, as if HCs are Tehsil Courts
The Punjab and Haryana HC said that citizens are invoking writ jurisdiction of the HC without approaching the proper forum at the drop of the hat, expressing its frustration at the large number of writ petitions being filed before it (Ranbir Singh and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Ors.).
The Court emphasized that its inherent powers were to be used cautiously and with control and should not be cited to evade other fora.
The Court said, “Here we are constrained to add that it is unfortunate to see Writ Jurisdiction being invoked at the drop of hat, as if HCs are Tehsil Courts.”
A Bench of Justices Jaswant Singh and Rajesh Bhardwaj was hearing a petition filed by residents of a village in Karnal, Haryana, seeking the Court’s involvement in accelerating repairs on a stretch of village road. The road extended from the Khora Kheri village to an IOC (Indian Oil Corporation) township.
The petitioners mentioned that the Indian Oil Corporation was needed to deposit an amount of Rs. 21.27 Lakh for the road repairs, which was not done. 2 letters and 1 document from 2012 were produced to prove this claim.
Though the Bench at first expressed its reservations on the maintainability of the writ petition, the Court tried to resolve the petitioners’ injustice.
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Accordingly, the Bench called upon the counsel for Indian Oil Corporation, to inform the Court if it was responsible for the maintenance of the road and if yes, why funds were not released.
IOC told the Bench that it was not responsible for the road, and produced a memo written to the PWD (Public Works Department) to this effect.
Pointing out that the question of who was responsible for the road was importantly a matter of disagreement between the PWD and IOC (2 government bodies), the Court observed that the question was one which the district administration and a civil court was best suited to decide.
The court said that Article 226 of the Constitution, the provision of law from which HCs draw their power, cannot be cited to overreach the work of District Administrations.
The court said, “The Legislature has given remedies for each grievances to its Citizens by enacting statutes, which are needed to be invoked by them for redressal.”
Urging citizens to approach the proper forum to voice grievances, the Court refused the petition.