Scope of interference by a writ court in decision of a lower forum — limited to the extent of assessing

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Sindhu Sharma, JJ. ruled that a joint reading of Article 226 of the Constitution of India and Section 103 of the Constitution of State of Jammu & Kashmir leads to the conclusion that a writ court has a limited scope of interference in orders of a lower forum.

Petitioners along with one Naseema Bibi had booked tickets for travel to Delhi but were refused to board by the respondent airlines on the ground that Naseema Bibi was suffering from a serious disease and did not have a medical certificate certifying her fitness to travel on the airlines.

A complaint was filed by aggrieved petitioners before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum urging that Naseema Bibi was not subjected to any medical examination by respondents and thus their decision was without any reasonable cause. It was also stated that respondent’s action had prevented timely medical treatment of Naseema Bibi in Delhi which caused her death. As such, a compensation of Rs 4.5 lakhs was claimed by the petitioners. District forum awarded Rs 30,000 as compensation on the ground that while respondent’s refusal for boarding to Naseema Bibi was justified, refusal for petitioners was arbitrary. Petitioners challenged payment of meager compensation amount awarded by the District forum.

The Court relied on dictum in Heinz India Private Limited v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2012) 5 SCC 443 and observed that a court exercising writ jurisdiction does not sit as a court of appeal but has to see only whether the process of arriving at a decision has been correctly followed or not. Since the order of State Commission was based on the testimony of witnesses and the case set up by petitioners, there was no perversity in its order.

In view of the above, the petition was dismissed.[Abdul Karim Tantray v. Go Airlines (India) (P) Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 868, decided on 16-10-2018]

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