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A Mandamus Cannot Be Issued For Setting Up An Adjudicatory Body Or Tribunal: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court recently observed that a mandamus cannot be issued for setting up an adjudicatory body or tribunal.

The above observation was made while dismissing a petition filed by John Paily and others who sought a direction for setting up an independent Tribunal consisting of former High Court judges to look into claims of each parish Church to determine which denomination/faction must have control over each such Church. Another direction sought was that the said tribunal should hand over the management of concerned Church to the denomination constituting majority, or in the alternative, direct such Independent Tribunal to partition all disputed Churches and their properties equitably.

The Division Bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah observed, “A mandamus cannot be issued by this Court for setting up an adjudicatory body or tribunal. Entry 11A of the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution deals with, inter alia, “constitution and organization of all courts, except the Supreme Court and the High Courts”. Having due regard to the provisions of Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution, no such mandamus can be issued by this Court. Nor can a direction be issued by this Court to the legislature of a State to enact a law. The purpose of the petition, as is evidenced by the prayer (v) extracted above, is to obtain a direction that no previous judgment of this Court on the subject raised should operate.”

While dismissing the petition, the bench further stated, “As the petitioners have themselves indicated in the course of the synopsis, the judgment of this Court in K S Varghese vs Saint Peter’s and Saint Paul’s Syrian Orthodox Church (2017) 15 SCC 333, is the reason for instituting the writ petition under Article 32 since 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. 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.”

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