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Article 226 being an extraordinary remedy, is not intended to be used for the purpose of declaring private rights of the parties: Allahabad High Court

The remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution being an extraordinary remedy, it is not intended to be used for the purpose of declaring private rights of the parties. For the enforcement of contractual rights and liabilities the normal remedy of filing a civil suit must be availed and the court would not exercise its prerogative writ jurisdiction to enforce contractual obligations. This declaration was made by the Allahabad High Court presided by J. Y.K. Srivastava and J. Surya Prakash Kesarwani in the case of Badri Narayan Shukla Associates vs. State of U.P. and othrs [Writ.C.No. 13291 of 2020].

In the present case, the respondent had invited tender for a civil work and the petitioner was successfully awarded the contract as he was the lowest bidder. The pleadings and the documents indicate that there arose a dispute regarding the work not being up to the standards and was not completed within the scheduled time. The petitioner filed writ petition before the court under article 226 in the nature of certiorari to call for record of the case to provide that the payment of his earlier work has been denied on false ground that the payment has already been made and also by which his contract had been cancelled. He further issued a writ of mandamus directing the respondent to pay the rest amount of the work done by the petitioner immediately and also not to take any coercive action against the petitioner.

The honorable court in the present case asserted, “The remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution being an extraordinary remedy, it is not intended to be used for the purpose of declaring private rights of the parties. In the case of enforcement of contractual rights and liabilities the normal remedy of filing a civil suit being available to the aggrieved party, this court would not exercise its prerogative writ jurisdiction to enforce such contractual obligations. The only exception may be a case where the amount is admitted and there is no disputed question of fact requiring adjudicating of detailed evidence and interpretation of the terms of the contract. In the case at hand, the reliefs sought as per the case set up by the petitioner, would require adjudication of serious factual disputes relating to terms of the contract in respect of the prescribed standards of work and the time schedule for its completion. There is also serious dispute with regard to the extent of the work completed and the payments which are due. The pleadings and the material which are on record do not in any manner indicate that it is a public law remedy which the petitioner is seeking to invoke so as to persuade us to exercise our discretionary jurisdiction.”

Reference was made to the case of M/s Lalloo Ji Rajiv Chandra And Sons vs. Meladhikari Prayagraj Mela Authority and others, reiterated the legal position that in a case of non-statutory contract, the remedy available to the contractor, if he is aggrieved by non-payment, would be either to file a civil suit or if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties, to invoke the terms of the agreement. The writ petition was dismissed with the following observation that in the present case, there is nothing to held that the contract is a statutory contract. The remedy of the contractor, if he is aggrieved by non-payment, would be to either file an ordinary civil suit or if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties, to invoke the terms of the agreement.

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