State Electricity Board Vs. Union of India & Ors.  INSC 830 (7 May 2008)
REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF
INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.7337 OF 2002 RAJASTHAN STATE
ELECTRICITY BOARD ...
APPELLANT VERSUS ORDER This appeal
is directed against the judgment and order dated 02/03/2001 passed by the
Division Bench of the High Court of Bombay in Writ Petition No.1123 of 1997
whereby the Division Bench dismissed the writ petition of the appellant solely
on the ground that alternative remedy being available the appellant must resort
to the alternative remedy.
Heard the learned counsel for the
By now it is a well settled
principle of law that availability of alternative remedy is not an absolute bar
for granting relief in exercise of power under Article 226 of the Constitution.
In the present case between 4th
March, 1992 and 31st December, 1992 the appellant had booked rakes for carrying
coal to Gurla. A sum of Rs.3,56,69,671/- which had been collected from the
appellant over a period of time 2 by mistake. That the mistake has been
committed is admitted by the respondent herein and it has duly been noted by
the High Court. However, the High Court, in our view, erroneously rejected the
claim on the ground of availability of alternative remedy. On the aforesaid
premises the High Court dismissed the writ petition with the direction to the
appellant to approach the Railway Claims Tribunal for alternative remedy
provided under Section 13 of The Railway Claims Tribunal Act,1987 (hereinafter
We are clearly of the view that as
the respondent-Union of India has clearly admitted the liability, the High court ought
not to have relegated the appellant to his alternative remedy and should not
have dismissed the writ petition on that count. There is no disputed question
of fact in this case. As already noted, in the present case the respondent had
admitted its liability and, therefore, the question raised before the High
Court being an admitted fact the High Court ought not to have directed the
appellant to resort to its alternative remedy under the Act.
3 In the aforesaid premises, we
set aside the impugned order of the High Court. This appeal is allowed. No
costs. The respondents are directed to pay the admitted liability along with
interest at the rate of 6% p.a. with effect from 6th January, 1993 till payment
is made within three months from today.
( H.K. SEMA )
( MARKANDEY KATJU ) NEW DELHI, MAY