Unauthorized Judicial Review in Administrative Matters Except for Gross or Dishonest Violation of Law: High Court of Rajasthan

The High Court of Rajasthan, Jaipur observed that no interference is permitted in the exercise of powers of judicial review in matters relating to the construction of a public utility building unless it is shown that there is a flagrant violation of any provision of law/rule in the action of authorities or that he is suffering from bad faith.

A dividing bench of Judge Pankaj Bhandari and Judge Anoop Kumar Dhand ruled,

“It is settled law that the matter of the erection of a building for public utility is in the domain of the government and its officials and until and unless it is shown that there is a flagrant violation of any provision of law/rule in the action of authorities or if it suffers from bad faith, no interference is authorized in these administrative matters in the exercise of the powers of judicial control under Article 226 of the Constitution from India.

This Petition in Brief has been filed to request the Respondent State to immediately stop or cancel the proposal/work for the creation of a new Gram Panchayat Building at Khasra Land No. 3418/1. Alternatively, the petitioners requested the respondents to develop the existing Gram Panchayat building by incorporating the land of a closed school and that the sanctioned budget of Rs.25.00 lacs be transferred immediately for this purpose. The petitioners have alleged that the proposed new building is almost 3 km from the approach of the local citizens, who are the beneficiaries.

The court found that Apex Court had repeatedly held that state policy decisions should not be interfered with until they were found to be manifestly arbitrary or irrational. In this regard, the court further considered that it would not interfere in the political decisions of the authorities until they could be blamed for reasons of bad faith, unreason, arbitrariness and injustice.

While dismissing the motion, the court relied on JR Raghupathy Vs. PA State [(1988) 4 SCC 364], where the location of Mandal’s headquarters was changed by decision of the government, which was questioned on the grounds that it was contrary to the instructions of the executive. The Apex Court had ruled that the High Court would not have issued a writ in the nature of mandamus to enforce the directives which were nothing more than administrative instructions having no legal force, which did not give rise to any legal right in favor of the petitioners of the writ.

The claimant’s lawyer argued that the authorities had failed to redress their grievance and had started construction on the site allocated by the district collector, Tonk. The petitioner’s lawyer further argued that the proposed new building is located far away and lacks means of transportation etc., so that it would be inconvenient for the villagers to attend the Panchayat proceedings.

He also argued that by accepting this petition, instructions would be given to the defendants to construct and move the proposed new Panchayat building to the school near the area.

Case title: Vijay Narayan Sharma & Anr. vs. state of rajasthan

Quote: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 66

Click here to read/download the order