‘Law Does Put Any Fetters On HC To Exercise Jurisdiction In Contractual Matters’

Srinagar: There are no fetters on High Court in exercising jurisdiction in contractual matters, its single bench said on Wednesday as it ordered release of over 40 lakhs payments in favour of a contractor by Srinagar Municipal Corporations for works carried by him nearly five years ago.
“From a bare perusal of the record and on careful analysis of the judgments (by Supreme Court), I hereby conclude that law does not put any bar or any fetters on the High Court in respect of exercising its writ jurisdiction in contractual matters,” said the Single Bench of Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal.
The Top Court judgments, the Bench said, clearly prove that there has been “paradigm shift” in the approach of the Courts in exercise of its Writ Jurisdiction in the matters of contractual disputes with State and its authorities.
“The law regarding the exercise of judicial review in contractual matters with State or its instrumentalities has definitely evolved over the years and the ordinary citizens can, in appropriate cases, approach the High Courts for exercise of Writ Jurisdiction.”
Referring to the case in hand, the court said that it can safely be concluded that the petitioner (contractor) was allotted work by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation on the directions of competent authority i.e., Commissioner, SMC in 2017 and the petitioner in compliance to directions issued, executed the work within a time frame. Accordingly, the court said, the authorities are under legal obligation to release the admitted liability (Rs. 40.71 lakhs) in his favour within a period of four weeks.
“If the payment is not released within the aforesaid period the petitioner will be held entitled to the interest @ 6% from the date the payment was due and not released by the respondents (SMC),” the court said.

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