Intrinsic Content And Quality of Judgment More Important Than Mere Disposal Of Cases - Supreme Court
A Supreme Court Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna remanded a matter to the Uttrakhand High Court as they found that the High Court had disposed the Writ Petition without deciding it on merits.
In this case, the Uttarakhand Public Service Tribunal had directed the Department to ignore the uncommunicated "Uttam" entries in the Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) while considering the case of the Respondent for his promotion to the post of the Chief Engineer Level2.
Aggrieved, the State of Uttarakhand had preferred the Writ Petition before the High Court. By the impugned order, the Division Bench of the High Court had disposed of the Writ Petition and it had directed the State to comply with the order passed by the Tribunal.
The Supreme Court found that there was no discussion at all by the High Court on the merits of the order passed by the Tribunal.
To that end, the Bench held, "None of the grounds raised in the writ petition has been dealt with and/or considered by the High Court on merits. There is no discussion at all on any of the grounds raised in the writ petition. The Division Bench of the High Court has disposed of the writ petition in a most cavalier and cursory manner, which is unsustainable. The High Court has disposed of the writ petition without deciding the writ petition on merits and has directed the Department to comply with the order passed by the Tribunal solely by observing that the order has been passed on 15th September, 2021 and till date no review ACP has been constituted. However, the High Court ought to have noted that the order passed by the Tribunal was under challenge before it and therefore, the High Court was required to decide and dispose of the writ petition on merits and consider the legality and correctness of the order passed by the Tribunal."
The Bench noted that the impugned order was bereft of reasoning, and the diverse grounds that were raised by the parties ought to have been examined by the High Court, and a clear finding was required to be produced.
The Court further placed reliance on Vishal Ashwin Patel Vs. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Circle 25(3) & Ors., where it was held when the Constitution confers on the High Courts the power to give relief, it becomes the duty of the High Courts to give such relief in appropriate cases and the High Courts would be failing to perform its duty if relief is refused without adequate reasons. It is further observed that in this case, the High Court in the exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India was required to have independently considered the legality and validity of the order passed by the Tribunal which was under challenge before it.
Therefore, the Supreme Court remanded the matter to the High Court for deciding the Writ Petition afresh on merits, while refraining from making any observations on the merits of the case.