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Supreme Court Emphasizes: Prior Judgment Ratios Not Dismissed by Referral to Larger Bench

The Supreme Court ruled that prior judgment ratios are not considered dismissed by referral to a larger bench. 

Rajnish Kumar Rai V/S Union Of India & Ors. [Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.20054 Of 2023]

The division bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M. Trivedi noted that the proceeding of which transfer is asked for, was instituted by the petitioner himself before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad and it has reached the final stage of hearing.

The petitioner’s application for transfer of the proceeding to the Ahmedabad Bench of the same Tribunal was rejected by the Principal Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Delhi. 

The petitioner questioned the legality of the said order before the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad invoking its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. But his plea was not accepted by the High Court relying on a judgment of this Court in the case of Union of India -vs- Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

The High Court relied on the passage from the case of Alapan Bandyopadhyay in dismissing the writ petition, holding that it lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain that petition. 

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the point of law laid down in the earlier judgment passed by the Court in the case of Alapan Bandyopadhyay has been referred to a larger Bench.

The Apex Court said that it did not think that judicial propriety permits ignoring the ratio laid down by the coordinate Bench in the case of Alapan Bandyopadhyay as no decision has come as yet from the larger Bench on the point of territorial jurisdiction of the High Court in a similar context. 

The court noted that so far as the plea of the petitioner is concerned, it is not a case of the petitioner that the Tribunal, which is hearing the matter at present, is without jurisdiction. He himself had instituted the application in the Tribunal at Hyderabad. His submission is the Bench of the Tribunal at Ahmedabad also has jurisdiction to hear the case, as at present he is residing in Ahmedabad after retirement.

“The matter has reached the final stage of hearing in the Tribunal at Hyderabad. That appears to be the main reason for which the Principal Bench of the Tribunal has rejected the petitioner’s transfer application. We do not find any flaw in such reasoning. In such circumstances, we decline to invoke our jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India in the present matter”, the court said. 

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