Utt HC | Question regarding “instrumentality of state” cannot be decided in intra-court appeal

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, J. dismissed a petition for it being raised for the first time in an intra-court appeal.

The appellant has filed the said writ petition questioning the “Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Park” (STEP) in terminating their services. The counsel has contended that STEP was initially established and funded by the respondent and consequently “STEP” would fall within the ambit of Article 12 of the Constitution of India. On the other hand, the respondent pressed upon the fact that STEP is a self-financing body whose funds were initially granted by the Government of India to establish the above plus there was no allocation of funds towards the same for more than 15 years now. Also, STEP was a society registered under the Societies Registration Act which further corroborates their submission. The case of Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, (2002) 5 SCC 111 was referred to wherein it was stated that to prove instrumentality it has to be proved that financially, functionally and administratively there existed governmental control but if the control was found to be regulatory then body was not a “State” within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

Now the question that arose before the Court was whether termination of the services of the petitioners under the Indian Contract Act necessitates examination in writ proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Here the Court said that the scope of interference in an intra-court appeal was extremely limited so accordingly the question cannot be decided here that too after permitting the parties to amend their respective pleadings.

Hence appeal was disposed of with a liberty to file a fresh appeal. [Hasibur Rahmaan v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 28, Order dated 03-01-2019]

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