Manoj Kumar vs Union Of India 2024 INSC 126 :: [2024] 2 S.C.R. 409 – Article 226 Constitution – Writ Jurisdiction – Arbitrariness In Executive Action

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 14,226– When a citizen alleges arbitrariness in executive action, the High Court must examine the issue, of course, within the context of judicial restraint in academic matters. While respecting flexibility in executive functioning, courts must not let arbitrary action pass through – while the primary duty of constitutional courts remains the control of power, including setting aside of administrative actions that may be illegal or arbitrary, it must be acknowledged that such measures may not singularly address repercussions of abuse of power. It is equally incumbent upon the courts, as a secondary measure, to address the injurious consequences arising from arbitrary and illegal actions. This concomitant duty to take reasonable measures to restitute the injured is our overarching constitutional purpose- In public law proceedings, when it is realised that the prayer in the writ petition is unattainable due to passage of time, constitutional courts may not dismiss the writ proceedings on the ground of their perceived futility. In the life of litigation, passage of time can stand both as an ally and adversary. Our duty is to transcend the constraints of time and perform the primary duty of a constitutional court to control and regulate the exercise of power or arbitrary action. By taking the first step, the primary purpose and object of public law proceedings will be subserved. The second step relates to restitution. This operates in a different dimension. Identification and application of appropriate remedial measures poses a significant challenge to constitutional courts, largely attributable to the dual variables of time and limited resources. (Para 13-22)

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