Read Supreme Court’s Latest Observations on Principles of Judicial Review

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March 18, 2019

Case name: Sarvepalli Ramaiah (Died) as per LRS & Others v. The District Collector, Chittoor District and Others

The instant appeal assailed High Court of Andhra Pradesh’s order, whereby the Court declined to interfere with the District Collector’s order refusing to grant Ryotwari Patta in favour of the appellants. The Supreme Court in appeal upheld the High Court’s judgement and Justice R. Bhanumathi in her concurring judgment while applauding the High Court’s act in not interfering with the order of District Collector, made some essential observations pertaining to the principles of administrative law.

  1. That Administrative decisions are subject to judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution, only on grounds of perversity, patent illegality, irrationality, want of power to take the decision and procedural irregularity. Except on these grounds administrative decisions are not interfered with, in exercise of the extra ordinary power of judicial review.
  2. A decision may sometimes be set aside and quashed under Article 226 on the ground of illegality. This is when there is an apparent error of law on the face of the decision, which goes to the root of the decision and/or in other words an apparent error, but for which the decision would have been otherwise.
  3. Judicial review under Article 226 is directed, not against the decision, but the decision making process. Of course, a patent illegality and/or error apparent on the face of the decision, which goes to the root of the decision, may vitiate the decision making process. In this case there is no such patent illegality or apparent error. In exercise of power under Article 226, the Court does not sit in appeal over the decision impugned, nor does it adjudicate hotly disputed questions of fact.

The entire case can be accessed here.