Jurisdiction of the High Courts can be invoked if there is no alternative remedy for the petitioner – High Court of Sikkim
The jurisdiction of High Courts under article 226 is applicable only when the other available solutions have been exhausted or are unavailable. Such a power must be exercised only in exceptional circumstances and the discretion of the judges must be within the procedure established. This was upheld by the Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai saying, “this Court is aware that the existence of an Arbitration Clause would not divest the High Court of its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, neither is the exercise of Writ jurisdiction under Article 226 in a contractual matter ruled out. However, this jurisdiction is invoked when there is no efficacious alternative remedy for the Petitioner” in M/S Linkwell Telesystems Pvt. Ltd. Vs. The state of Sikkim and others [W.P.(C) No.23 of 2021].
The brief facts of the case are the petitioner was allotted the contract for fair price shops in Sikkim. In April, the petitioner sent a notice to the respondents to release funds for the operations. From June, the petitioner paused all the work. The respondents issued a show cause against him citing that the funds had been released in the month of march itself. Aggrieved by this unilateral suspension of services by the petitioner, the respondents terminated the services of the petition and allocated it to a third party. The petitioner appeared before the high court to get such orders and notices quashed.
After listening to both the parties, the learned judge observed that clause 7.9 of the contract between both the parties talked about resolution of disputes before an Arbitrator in accordance with the rules of the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. In Nivedita Sharma v. Cellular Operators Association of India [(2011) 14 SCC 337], the court held that, “However, it is one thing to say that in exercise of the power vested in it under Article 226 of the Constitution, the High Court can entertain a writ petition against any order passed by or action taken by the State and/or its agency/instrumentality or any public authority or order passed by a quasi-judicial body/authority, and it is an altogether different thing to say that each and every petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution must be entertained by the High Court as a matter of course ignoring the fact that the aggrieved person has an effective alternative remedy”. Relying on the judgement abovementioned and the facts and circumstances of the case, the court dismissed the petition on the ground that there are other alternate remedies available and no exceptional circumstance has been put forth.