Supreme Court Clarifies Writ of Mandamus Can't Be Issued For Establishing Adjudicatory Body Or Tribunal
The Supreme Court (SC) on 16 April 2021, in the case titled John Paily & Ors. (Petitioners) v. State of Kerala & Ors. (Respondents) ruled that a writ of mandamus cannot be issued by the SC for setting up an adjudicatory body or Tribunal.
The SC bench comprising of Justices Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed while dismissing a writ petition, wherein the petitioner sought a direction to set up an independent Tribunal comprising of retired High Court (HC) Judges.
The factual background of the case is that the petitioners sought a direction to set up an independent tribunal, which would comprise of retired High Court judges, for the purpose of looking into the claims of each Parish church and determine which denomination should have control over such churches.
The petitioners further sought a direction from the Court to grant the management of the concerned church to the Tribunal for the denomination which would constitute the majority, or divide the disputed churches and their properties equally.
It was further prayed by the petitioners before the Apex Court that no judgment shall be passed to operate which turns out to against the belief of petitioners and the members of religious denomination. If such would be protected under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, then could operate.
The SC bench while dismissing the petition stated that the Entry 11A of the Concurrent List does not empower the Apex Court or the High Court to establish such Courts or Tribunals. The Top Court also put emphasis on Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution and stated that it is not empowered to issue such directions under mandamus.
The Court clarified that no such directions can be issued by this Court to the Legislature of a State for enacting such a law. The bench termed this petition as a medium to "abuse the process of law."
The Court said, "In the judgment of this Court in K S Varghese v. Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's Syrian Orthodox Church (2017) 15 SCC 333, the reason for instituting the writ petition under Article 32 was that the petitioners consider themselves to be aggrieved by the judgment. The remedy of a party which is aggrieved by a judgment and order of this Court cannot certainly lie by instituting a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution."
The SC held and concluded that "Such a petition would not be maintainable. We, therefore, decline to grant an adjournment and have come to the conclusion that on the face of the prayers as they stand, the petition cannot be entertained."