The Supreme Court has held that there is no right vested in an applicant to claim that the Law Commission set up by the Central Government should be given constitutional or statutory status.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Sanjay Karol observed, “As regards the 2nd direction, it must be remembered that when a litigant seeks a writ of mandamus, he must show a right existing in his favour and the corresponding obligation of the State to ensure that the litigant is able to exercise the said right. There is no right vested in the applicant to claim that the Law Commission set up by the Central Government should be given constitutional or statutory status.”

The Bench was deciding an appeal filed by the Centre taking exception to the judgment and order dated passed by the Madras High Court, Madurai Bench in a writ petition filed by the respondent.

ASG Aishwarya Bhati appeared on behalf of the appellants while Advocate Raghunatha Sethupathy B appeared on behalf of the respondents.

A petition was filed by the respondent seeking a writ of mandamus against the Centre to appoint the Chairman and other members of the 22nd Law Commission constituted through the notification in accordance with law within the time stipulated by the Court. It was prayed before the Court to issue writ of mandamus or any other writ or direction or order in nature of writ, directing to propose a comprehensive legislation in the field of 'Torts and State Liability' as per the directions of Supreme Court in "MCD v. Uphaar Tragedy Victims Assn (2011) 14 SCC 481” and “Vadadora Municipal Corporation v. Purshotam Murjani and Others (2014) 16 SCC 14” in accordance with law.

The Supreme Court in the above regard noted, “As far as the law of torts and liability thereunder of the State is concerned, the law regarding the liability of the State and individuals has been gradually evolved by Courts. Some aspects of it find place in statutes already in force. It is a debatable issue whether the law of torts and especially liabilities under the law of torts should be codified by a legislation.”

The Court said that a writ court cannot direct the Government to consider introducing a particular bill before the House of Legislature within a time frame and therefore, the first direction issued under the impugned judgment was unwarranted.

“As regards the 3rd direction, the prayer was pre¬mature as when the writ petition was filed, 22nd Law Commission was not even constituted. … Unless adequate funds are provided, the Law Commission will not be able to discharge its functions”, added the Court.

The Court further noted that as and when the requisition is sent by the 22nd Law Commission for requisitioning funds, the Central Government will have to consider the said proposal and ensure that the Law Commission does not become ineffective on account of its failure to sanction adequate funds.

“As regards the 5th direction, whether a nodal officer should be appointed or not, is a matter to be decided by the Central Government. … The law regarding power of the writ court to issue a mandate to the legislature to legislate is well settled. No Constitutional Court can issue a writ of mandamus to a legislature to enact a law on a particular subject in a particular manner”, held the Court.

The Court added that the court may, at the highest, record its opinion or recommendation on the necessity of either amending the existing law or coming out with a new law.

“As and when the 22nd Law Commission submits the requisition for grant of funds, the Central Government will consider such requisition at the earliest considering the importance of the tasks assigned to the Law Commission. The Central Government must ensure that the Law Commission does not become ineffective on account of lack of funds”, directed the Court.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal, quashed the first, second, and fifth directions, and modified the judgment.

Cause Title- Union of India & Ors. v. K. Pushpavanam & Ors.(Neutral Citation: 2023 INSC 701)

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