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Existence of a right is the foundation of the jurisdiction of a Court to issue a ‘Writ of Mandamus’: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

The ‘Writ of Mandamus’ is of a most extensive remedial nature. The object of mandamus is to prevent disorder from a failure of justice and is required to be granted in all cases where law has established no specific remedy and whether justice, despite demanded, has not been granted as upheld by the Hon’ble High Court of J&K and Ladakh through a learned bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjay Dhar in the case of Ghulam Hassan Lone Vs JK High Court & Ors [SWP No. 790/2019 [WP(C) No. 1227/2019].

Brief facts of the case are that the rejection of the claim of the Petitioner was challenged, amongst other grounds, primarily on the ground that the same is violative of the principle of “Equal Pay for Equal Work”. It is contended that since the Petitioner is performing his duties on the post of Plumber in the Respondent High Court, as such, he is entitled to get the same pay for such services as is being paid to the Plumbers working in various Departments of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, including those working in the Estates Department and Public Health Engineering (Jal Shakti) Department. In essence, the Petitioner was seeking revision of pay scale already sanctioned against the post of Plumber in the Respondent-High Court which, on examination by the competent authority, is not found favour with in terms of the impugned Order dated 27th of April, 2017.

Merely because the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has sanctioned the pay scale in the case of Plumbers working in various Government Departments other than the one available to the Petitioner, working in the Respondent-High Court, cannot be a ground for seeking pay revision at par with such Plumbers. The payment of salary to an employee of the Respondent-High Court on a post borne on the establishment of the High Court is sanctioned and attached with the said post by the competent authority. An employee of the Respondent-High Court is accordingly governed by the terms and conditions of their employment, including the grant of salary, other allowances, etc. The Petitioner has not placed on record any material which could substantiate his claim for the release of enhanced pay scale at par with the Plumbers working in the various Departments of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Merely because there are different pay scales sanctioned and attached to the post of Plumber in various Departments of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is not sufficient to grant the Writ in favour of the Petitioner qua the relief claimed. In terms of settled legal position, for seeking a Writ from this Court, the Petitioner has to show as to which of his right stands violated as would warrant the Petitioner to approach this Court for seeking a ‘Writ of Mandamus’ in their favour.

In conclusion, while referring to the judgment of Supreme court in State of UP & Ors. V. Harish Chandra & Ors.; (1996) 9 Supreme Court Cases 309, the High Court stated that “From the perusal of the law laid down above, it is crystal clear that existence of a right is the foundation of the jurisdiction of a Court to issue a ‘Writ of Mandamus’. In the case on hand, the Petitioner has not been able to show as to which of his right has been violated by the Respondents which can be directed to be enforced by way of issuing a ‘Mandamus’ from this Court. In this context, the irrefutable conclusion which can be drawn is that none of the right of the Petitioner stands violated by the Respondents for which a ‘Writ of Mandamus’ can be issued in his favour.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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