Writ petitions not for the enforcement of orders contrary to the provisions of law

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a recent case before the High Court, M.M.S. Bedi, J. had to clarify to the petitioner the scope of a writ petition under Articles 226 and 227 and the Court had to mention that it can never be granted for the enforcement of an order per se contrary to the provisions of law.

The petitioner had moved an application before the Executive Magistrate to pray for the issuance of a search warrant under S. 93 CrPC to claim a few articles listed from the respondents. Tahsildar was appointed by the DM for the said purpose and the petitioner had filed the writ petition in High Court for seeking a direction to the administrative authorities to implement the warrant and to get recovered the articles mentioned in the application.

Keeping in mind, all the facts, circumstances as well as the steps taken in furtherance of the petitioner’s application by the Executive Magistrate and the District Magistrate, the Court held that a writ petition under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India is maintainable by a citizen of India whose fundamental rights have been infringed or if there is any violation of statutory obligations by a State authority. In the  Court’s opinion, the District Magistrate or the Executive Magistrate was not competent to issue any direction or warrant for recovery of any article from particular premises, from particular person without issuing notice to him and without hearing him. Apparently, Court clearly refused to issue a writ for an order that was contrary to law and had been passed without jurisdiction.

However, the Court mentioned that the present order would not in any way prejudice the right of the petitioner to avail a legal remedy to claim his movable property from the respondents. It is just that the respondents also have right to be heard and only after exercise of their right as well; the administrative authorities are authorized to issue a search warrant. [Suresh Gupta v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 1669, decided on 04.05.2017]

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