Dev Sharma Vs. State of U.P. & Ors  Insc 81 (23 January 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & P. Sathasivam
out of SLP(C) No. 12576 of 2004) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the Allahabad
High Court dismissing the Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No. 18497 of 1994.
The dispute related to fixation of seniority.
is not necessary to go into the factual aspects in detail as the writ petition
was disposed of in a summary manner observing as follows:
is a writ petition challenging the final seniority list.
have heard counsel for the parties.
seniority has been given from the date of confirmation. We see no illegality.
The writ petition is dismissed.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that such
summary dismissal of writ petition was not warranted as several issues of
considerable importance were involved, more particularly whether the norms for
fixing seniority in the background facts of the case were to be considered.
Learned counsel for the appellant pointed out that in the seniority list he was
placed below juniors which was impermissible. That aspect was not considered by
the High Court.
Learned counsel for the respondent-State and its functionaries supported the
order of the High Court.
the quoted portion of the order goes to show that practically no reason was
indicated. The dismissal of the writ petition in such summary manner without
indicating any reason is clearly indefensible.
Reasons introduce clarity in an order. On plainest consideration of justice,
the High Court ought to have set forth its reasons, howsoever brief, in its
order indicative of an application of its mind, all the more when its order is
amenable to further avenue of challenge. The absence of reasons has rendered
the High Courts judgment not sustainable.
Even in respect of administrative orders Lord Denning M.R. in Breen v.
Amalgamated Engineering Union (1971 (1) All E.R. 1148) observed The giving
of reasons is one of the fundamentals of good administration. In Alexander
Machinery (Dudley) Ltd. v. Crabtree (1974 LCR 120) it
to give reasons amounts to denial of justice. Reasons are live links between
the mind of the decision taker to the controversy in question and the decision
or conclusion arrived at. Reasons substitute subjectivity by objectivity.
The emphasis on recording reasons is that if the decision reveals the
inscrutable face of the sphinx, it can, by its silence, render it
virtually impossible for the Courts to perform their appellate function or
exercise the power of judicial review in adjudging the validity of the
decision. Right to reason is an indispensable part of a sound judicial system,
reasons at least sufficient to indicate an application of mind to the matter
before Court. Another rationale is that the affected party can know why the
decision has gone against him. One of the salutary requirements of natural
justice is spelling out reasons for the order made, in other words, a speaking
out. The inscrutable face of a sphinx is ordinarily incongruous with
a judicial or quasi-judicial performance.
This Court in State of Orissa v. Dhaniram Luhar (2004 (5) SCC 568) has while
reiterating the view expressed in the earlier cases for the past two decades emphasised
the necessity, duty and obligation of the High Court to record reasons in
disposing of such cases. The hallmark of a judgment/order and exercise of
judicial power by a judicial forum is to disclose the reasons for its decision
and giving of reasons has been always insisted upon as one of the fundamentals
of sound administration justice-delivery system, to make known that there had
been proper and due application of mind to the issue before the Court and also
as an essential requisite of principles of natural justice. Any judicial power
has to be judiciously exercised and the mere fact that discretion is vested
with the court/forum to exercise the same either way does not constitute any
license to exercise it at whims or fancies and arbitrarily as used to be
conveyed by the well-known saying: varying according to the
Chancellors foot. Arbitrariness has been always held to be the
anathema of judicial exercise of any power, all the more so when such orders
are amenable to challenge further before higher forums. Such ritualistic
observations and summary disposal which has the effect of, at times, cannot be
said to be a proper and judicial manner of disposing of judiciously the claim
before the courts. The giving of reasons for a decision is an essential
attribute of judicial and judicious disposal of a matter before courts, and
which is the only indication to know about the manner and quality of exercise
undertaken, as also the fact that the court concerned had really applied its
The attempt to draw an analogy on the power of this Court under Article 136 of
the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short the Constitution) and the
practice of rejecting appeals at the SLP stage invariably without assigning
reasons with the one to be exercised while dealing with a writ petition has no
meaning and is illogical. First of all, the High Court is not the final court
in the hierarchy and its orders are amenable to challenge before this Court,
unlike the obvious position that there is no scope for any further appeal from
the order made declining to grant special leave to appeal. It has been on more
than one occasion reiterated that Article 136 of the Constitution does not confer
any right of appeal in favour of any party as such and it is not that any and
every error is envisaged to be corrected in exercising powers under Article 136
of the Constitution of India. The powers of this Court under Article 136 of the
Constitution are special and extraordinary and the main object is to ensure
that there has been no miscarriage of justice. That cannot be said to be the
same with a writ petition. Consequently, this appeal is allowed and the order
of the High Court is set aside.
view of the aforesaid, we set aside the impugned order of the High Court and
remit the matter to it for fresh disposal in accordance with law by a reasoned
order. We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merit of
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