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A dispute relating to interpretation and terms of a contract cannot be a subject matter of writ proceedings: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

If the transaction between the parties is a contract then it is in the realm of private law. The same is governed by the provisions of Contract Act and also by provisions of Sale of Goods Act. A dispute relating to interpretation and terms of such a contract cannot be a subject matter of writ proceedings as held by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K and Ladakh through a learned bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Dhar in the case of M/S Venoos Furniture Vs Sicop And Others [OWP No.792/2016].

The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner is a registered small scale industrial unit. Supply orders in favour of petitioner were issued by respondent No.1. The petitioner was asked to provide and Furniture set for administrative/lecture hall block at Faculty of Fisheries Rangil for approximate costs of Rs.52,57,151/ and also at SKUAST main campus, Shalimar, for an approximate cost of Rs.83,00,255/. The petitioner completed the work allotted to it and the payment in respect of the said work was also released by the respondent No.1 after receiving written authorization from respondent No.2.

It is the case of the petitioner that because the respondents failed to provide the space for dumping of material prepared by the petitioner, as such, it had to dump the same in its shops and that whole of this material got damaged in the devastating floods whereafter he served a legal notice upon respondent No.1 asking it to release the payment which it has received from respondent No.2 but of no avail. This according to the petitioner compelled it to file the instant writ petition.

It was contended by the respondents that the petitioner has approached the Court after more than five years, which casts doubt upon the genuineness of its claim. A preliminary objection to the maintainability of the writ petition on the ground that the dispute between the parties is in the realm of contract and, as such, the same cannot be adjudicated in the writ proceedings, was also raised.

After hearing learned counsels for both the sides, the Hon’ble High Court relied on the principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme court in the case of State of U.P and Ors Vs Bridge & Roof Co (India) Ltd and concluded by stating that “It is clear that the petitioner by approaching this Court by way of writ petition has not chosen the appropriate remedy. The issues involved in the petition arise out of contract between the parties and the same can be determined only in a civil suit after full dressed trial and not in the writ proceedings. Thus, the writ petition is held to be not maintainable. The same is, accordingly, dismissed with liberty to the petitioner to avail appropriate remedy of civil suit, if so advised.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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