Read Order:S.Srinivas Rao Vs. The Commissioner And Ors 

Tulip Kanth

Chennai, May 25, 2022: Observing that the power of judicial review under Article 226 of Constitution is to ensure that processes through which decision is taken by  Competent Authority is consistent with provisions of Act and Rules, the Madras High Court has held that the findings of the Original Authority and the Appellate Authority are of greater assistance for the High Court to exercise such power effectively. 

In this matter wherein the petitioner challenged the grounds of rent fixation, the Bench of Justice S.M.Subramaniam asserted, “The issue involved regarding fixation of rent is to be adjudicated with reference to the documents and evidences available on record. Such a roving enquiry cannot be conducted by the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, as it requires scrutinization of documents regarding the fair rent fixed, etc.”

The factual matrix of this case was such that the petitioner was in occupation of the temple commercial premises for several years and recently vacated the premises and handed over possession to the temple authorities pursuant to the orders passed by this Court. The Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department/ second respondent had issued orders for recovery of differential arrears of rent but the petitioner had raised several grounds questioning the order impugned passed by the second respondent.

Noticing that the petitioner had not exhausted the statutory appellate remedy in respect of the impugned order, the Bench was of the view that the petitioner was at liberty to prefer an appeal challenging this order for the purpose of redressal of the grievance.

 Holding that the importance of exhausting the appellate remedy should not be under-minded by the High Courts, Justice Subramaniam affirmed that an aggrieved person is expected to exhaust the appellate remedy and entertaining the writ petition is only on certain exceptional circumstances, where the aggrieved person is able to establish a gross injustice shocking to the conscience of the Court, but not otherwise. Considering that other writ petitions were filed earlier and pursuant to the orders of this Court, the Bench held that if the petitioner files an appeal, then the same shall be entertained and issues shall be decided on merits and in accordance with law.

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