Thursday, 12 May 2016

Whether place of accessing web-based communication will confer jurisdiction on high court?

As far as Exhibit P1 and P2, the contention raised

by the petitioner is that the petitioner was made aware of the

same through the website at his native place within the State of

Kerala and that these created a disability on the petitioner from

any further engagement with the Governments throughout the

territory of India and he being so aggrieved, could raise the

contention before the High Court of Kerala. Immediately it is to


be noticed that the petitioner has not pleaded that the disability

created on him by Exhibit P2, has divested him of any post or

even an opportunity for such an engagement within the State of

Kerala. The mere fact that the petitioner was made aware of

Exhibit P1 & P2, only through the website, at Kerala would not be

sufficient to confer jurisdiction. To assume jurisdiction on such a

pleading would be specious, since then, with the accessibility to

the website through the internet, the petitioner could as well

plead that the same was accessed anywhere in India to confer

jurisdiction in any High Court within the territories of India. The

report of the High Level Team and Exhibits P2 and P3 have an

inextricable link and the "cause of action" arose for the petitioner,

on his being served with the order at Exhibit P3, which he would

have to take recourse by a writ petition filed before the High

Court within whose jurisdiction such cause of action or any other

arose.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

                                                PRESENT:-

                    THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE K.VINOD CHANDRAN

          WEDNESDAY,THE 10TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 2016/

                             W.P.(C).No.30342 of 2014 (P)
                         

 G.MADHAVAN NAIR, AGED 69 YEARS, S/O. LATE GOPALAN NAIR,
Vs

        UNION OF INDIA,
                   


            The petitioner is an eminent Scientist, who worked in

the Department of Space from its very inception in the year 1972

and headed the Indian Space Research Organisation [for brevity

"ISRO"] as its Chairman for about half-a-dozen years. The

petitioner has been honoured with doctorates by Universities and

decorated by the Country itself. The petitioner challenges Exhibits

P1, P2 and P3 orders which so to say, placed him in the dock and

blacklisted him from any Governmental engagement. The issue

assumes poignancy, since the Space programme is the most

prestigious initiative in any developing or developed country of

today's world; for reasons of the significant ramification it has on

the defence of the Country and the tantalizing temptation it offers

in unravelling the secrets of the beyond; often termed as the next

frontier of mankind. The report at Exhibit P1 and the orders at

Exhibits P2 and P3 are issued on the ground that an agreement



entered into with a private company has been done in such

manner as to cast a shadow on the post the petitioner occupied,

which directly reflects on his persona and credibility.

             2. The Central Government has filed a detailed

counter affidavit; but, however, demurred through the learned

Additional Solicitor General of India, Sri.G.Rajagopalan, insofar

as conceding to the jurisdiction of this Court, since no part of the

cause of action arose within the State. The learned Counsel

appearing for the petitioner Sri.P.Ramakrishnan, however, sought

to sustain the writ petition before this Court itself; on the words

employed in Article 226(2) of the Constitution of India and the

binding precedents on this point. This Court heard both learned

Counsel on the issue of maintainability and reserved the issue

for consideration. For the present, this Court is saved from

looking into the unpleasant facts, for reason of the parties having

consented to the question of maintainability being answered first.

It goes without saying, that, if the answer is against the

petitioner, the writ petition would stand dismissed and if it is held

in his favour, the matter would have to be heard fully.



           3. The petitioner had retired from service on

31.10.2009 as Chairman of ISRO and was, thereafter, awarded

the position of Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor in the

Department of Space/ISRO as per Exhibit P4 for a period of four

years. The same stood terminated by Exhibit P3. The

Professorship was awarded by the Department of Space,

Government of India from its office at Bangalore, within the State

of Karnataka, and the tenure was to be spent in Bangalore itself,

from where the termination too was effected. Exhibit P2 was the

direct cause of Exhibit P3, since the Department of Space,

considering the report of the Committees, which examined the

controversial agreement entered into, directed that the four

officers, one of whom being the petitioner, be divested of any

current assignment/consultancy and they be excluded from

re-employment, inclusion in Committees and any other important

role under the Government. Exhibit P1 is the report based on

which Exhibit P2    has been issued.      The petitioner    would

contend that the petitioner was never issued with Exhibit P1 or

P2 and that the same were available in the website of the


Department, which he happened to be confronted with, at his

residence at Thiruvananthapuram, to which place he had retired

after being divested of the Professorship. The petitioner being a

native of the State of Kerala and having his permanent residence

at Kerala, is entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court, is the

contention.

            4. The legal question of maintainability alone arising

preliminarily for consideration, this Court would first look into the

precedents placed on record by the learned Counsel. The

learned Counsel for the petitioner would place reliance on

Lt.Col.Khajoor Singh v. Union of India [AIR 1961 SC 532] and

Nawal Kishore Sharma v. Union of India [(2014) 9 SCC 329],

both of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Two decisions of the Division

Bench    of   this   Court   relied  on   by    the   petitioner   are

Officer-in-Charge, Army Medical Corps Records and Others

v. Rajesh.U [2009 (4) KHC 395] and Sukumar N.Oommen v.

Secretary to the Government of India and Another [2012 (3)

KHC 430]. The learned Assistant Solicitor General would place

reliance on Oil & Natural Gas commission v. Utpal Kumar



Basu [(1994) 4 SCC 711], C.B.I. Anti-Corruption Branch v.

Narayan Diwakar [(1999) 4 SCC 656], Union of India v. Adani

Exports Ltd. [(2002) 1 SCC 567], Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd.

v. Union of India [(2004) 6 SCC 254], and Addl.General

Manager - Human Resource, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. v.

Suresh Ramkrishna Burde [(2007) 5 SCC 336].

             5. Lt.Col.Khajoor Singh (supra) is a decision

rendered on Article 226 of the Constitution, prior to the

amendment, by which clause (2) was introduced. Article 226 as it

stood originally did not import the principle of "cause of action"

and, hence, the jurisdiction of a High Court was held to be

impossible of invocation on the basis of any part of cause of

action having arisen within the jurisdiction of a particular High

Court. Article 226 was held to be possible of invocation only

against persons/authorities whose presence had to be found

within the territories in relation to which the High Court exercises

jurisdiction. The aforesaid decision was cited only to bring out the

stark distinction made by introduction of clause (2) to Article 226,

which permitted a High Court to issue directions, orders or writs


to any Government, authority or person who resides outside the

territorial jurisdiction of the High Court, in cases where the cause

of action wholly or in part arises within such territories. Nawal

Kishore Sharma (supra) is strongly relied on by the petitioner to

urge the contention of jurisdiction and the same being the latest

decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, of the few cited, would

be dealt with later.

              6. Rajesh.U (supra) was an appeal to the Division

Bench from a judgment of the learned Single Judge of this Court,

wherein there was a direction to the Government to consider and

pass orders on a revision filed by the petitioner. In appeal, for the

first time the question of jurisdiction was taken. The Division

Bench found that since Union of India functions throughout the

territory of India, its inaction in relation to an appeal filed from the

State of Kerala, would confer jurisdiction on this Court. The

further objections were with respect to there being available no

remedy of revision before the Central Government and the

impossibility of being afforded a personal hearing to the

petitioner. This Court found that even if no revision is available,



the Government could direct consideration if the facts reveal

grounds for intervention. The necessity for a personal hearing

was also taken away. The Division Bench has not noticed any

facts arising in the case and this Court also does not find any

binding precedent in the aforesaid decision. There can also be

no reliance placed on the said decision since the issue has been

answered in the negative by a Full Bench of this Court in Indian

Maritime University v. Viswanathan [2014 (4) KLT 798 (F.B.)].

            7. Sukumar N.Oommen (supra) was again a

decision by a Division Bench of this Court, which invoked the

jurisdiction under Article 226 since the Central Government,

acting from New Delhi, sought for recovery of certain sums paid

to the petitioner while he was serving as the Chairman and

Managing Director of the Madras Fertilizers Ltd. in Chennai. The

recovery notice itself was issued against the petitioner, who was

spending his retired life in Kerala, which could be executed only

against his assets situated in the State of Kerala. The said

decision would also, on facts, be liable to be distinguished.

            8. Now we come to the decisions placed on record by



the learned Assistant Solicitor General. Narayan Diwakar

(supra) was an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, who

was officiating as Collector of Daman and then transferred to

Arunachal Pradesh. Even prior to the transfer, three First

Information Reports were lodged by the Central Bureau of

Investigation, at Bombay. The Superintendent of Police, CBI,

Anti-Corruption Bureau, Bombay issued a wireless message to

the Chief Secretary, Arunachal Pradesh to advise the IAS Officer

to meet the Inspector of Police, CBI, ACB, Bombay in connection

with the investigation of one of the FIRs. The IAS Officer

challenged the same before the High Court at Guwahati, which

invoked its jurisdiction under Article 226(2) and quashed the

summons. The Supreme Court considered the matter on the

question of jurisdiction after the appeal was dismissed at the

admission stage by the Division Bench of the High Court. Before

the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the IAS Officer agreed to approach

the appropriate High Court, untrammelled by any observations

made by the Guwahati High Court. Despite the fact that the

appeal was allowed on consent, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014            - 9 -


that the Guwahati High Court was clearly in error in deciding the

question of jurisdiction in favour of the officer.

            9. ONGC (supra), through its consultant, Engineers

India Ltd. (EIL), brought out an advertisement calling for tenders

to set up a Kerosene Recovery Processing Unit at Hazira

Complex in Gujarat. The respondent, based in Calcutta, came to

know of the floating of such tender from a newspaper circulated

within the territorial jurisdiction of the Calcutta High Court;

applied for the same and later on being denied of consideration,

approached the Calcutta High Court against the grant sought to

be made in favour of another tenderer. Assuming jurisdiction, the

High Court passed an order in favour of the petitioner, which was

challenged by the ONGC before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The

grounds on which the tenderer sought to maintain the writ

petition before the High Court of Calcutta were that the tenderer

came to know of the tender through the newspaper published in

Calcutta, submitted its tender and revised price bid from its

Registered Office at Calcutta and had made representations to

various authorities and agencies with respect to the defect in the

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014           - 10 -


tender process from the State of West Bengal. The Hon'ble

Supreme Court found that the said facts pleaded in the writ

petition in support of the cause of action should be considered

without embarking upon an enquiry about the correctness or

otherwise of the said facts. The settled meaning of the

expression "cause of action" being the bundle of facts which the

petitioner must prove, if traversed, to entitle him to a judgment in

his favour; was referred to. On that principle it was found that

none of the facts pleaded to invoke the jurisdiction constitute

facts forming an integral part of the cause of action. The fact that

the advertisement was read in Calcutta and that the tender and

related messages were sent from Calcutta were found to be

irrelevant insofar as considering the issue raised in the lis. The

three Judge Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court came down

very heavily on the Calcutta High Court, as is seen from

paragraph 12 of the aforesaid judgment.

              "12. Pointing out that after the issuance of

        the notification by the State Government under

        Section 52(1) of the Act, the notified land became

        vested in the State Government free from all

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014            - 11 -


      encumbrances and hence it was not necessary for

      the respondents to plead the service of notice

      under Section 52(2) for the grant of an appropriate

      direction or order under Article 226 for quashing

      the notification acquiring the land. This Court,

      therefore, held that no part of the cause of action

      arose within the jurisdiction of the Calcutta High

      Court. This Court deeply regretted and deprecated

      the practice prevalent in the High Court of

      exercising jurisdiction and passing interlocutory

      orders in matters where it lacked territorial

      jurisdiction.     Notwithstanding           the   strong

      observations made by this Court in the aforesaid

      decision and in the earlier decisions referred to

      therein, we are distressed that the High Court of

      Calcutta persists in exercising jurisdiction even in

      cases where no part of the cause of action arose

      within its territorial jurisdiction. It is indeed a great

      pity that one of the premier High Courts of the

      country should appear to have developed a

      tendency to assume jurisdiction on the sole ground

      that the petitioner before it resides in or carries on

      business from a registered office in the State of

      West Bengal. We feel all the more pained that

      notwithstanding the observations of this Court

      made time and again, some of the learned Judges

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 12 -


      continue to betray that tendency. Only recently

      while disposing of appeals arising out of SLP Nos.

      10065-66 of 1993, Aligarh Muslim University v.

      Vinay Engineering Enterprises (P) Ltd. [(1994) 4

      SCC 710] , this Court observed:

              "We are surprised, not a little, that the
              High Court of Calcutta should have
              exercised jurisdiction in a case where it
              had absolutely no jurisdiction."


      In that case, the contract in question was executed

      at Aligarh, the construction work was to be carried

      out at Aligarh, the contracts provided that in the

      event of dispute the Aligarh court alone will have

      jurisdiction, the arbitrator was appointed at Aligarh

      and was to function at Aligarh and yet merely

      because the respondent was a Calcutta-based

      firm, it instituted proceedings in the Calcutta High

      Court and the High Court exercised jurisdiction

      where it had none whatsoever. It must be

      remembered that the image and prestige of a court

      depends on how the members of that institution

      conduct themselves. If an impression gains ground

      that even in cases which fall outside the territorial

      jurisdiction of the court, certain members of the

      court would be willing to exercise jurisdiction on the

      plea    that   some    event,  however    trivial and

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014            - 13 -


         unconnected with the cause of action had occurred

         within the jurisdiction of the said court, litigants

         would seek to abuse the process by carrying the

         cause before such members giving rise to

         avoidable suspicion. That would lower the dignity of

         the institution and put the entire system to ridicule.

         We are greatly pained to say so but if we do not

         strongly deprecate the growing tendency we will,

         we are afraid, be failing in our duty to the institution

         and the system of administration of justice. We do

         hope that we will not have another occasion to deal

         with such a situation".



            10. Adani Exports Ltd. (supra) invoked the

jurisdiction of the Gujarat High Court, claiming the benefit of a

scheme introduced under the Import Export Policy on grounds

that they carried on the business from Ahmedabad, their order of

export and import were placed from Ahmedabad, the documents

and payments for exports and imports were made at

Ahmedabad. The credit of duty, claimed in respect of exports,

were handled from Ahmedabad, the denial of credit in the

passbook under the Scheme would affect the business carried

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014             - 14 -


out at Ahmedabad and the guarantee agreement was also

executed at Ahmedabad. It was held that each and every fact

pleaded in an application does not ipso facto lead to a

conclusion that those facts give rise to a cause of action unless

those facts are facts which have a nexus or relevance with the lis

involved in the case. The facts which have no bearing with the

lis or the dispute involved, as was held in ONGC (supra)

also; was held to be not a "cause of action" so as to confer

territorial jurisdiction on the Court concerned. It was held so in

paragraph 17:-

                "It is seen from the above that in order to

         confer jurisdiction on a High Court to entertain a

         writ petition or a special civil application as in this

         case, the High Court must be satisfied from the

         entire facts pleaded in support of the cause of

         action that those facts do constitute a cause so as

         to empower the court to decide a dispute which

         has, at least in part, arisen within its jurisdiction. It

         is clear from the above judgment that each and

         every fact pleaded by the respondents in their

         application does not ipso facto lead to the

         conclusion that those facts give rise to a cause of

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 15 -


       action within the court's territorial jurisdiction

       unless those facts pleaded are such which have a

       nexus or relevance with the lis that is involved in

       the case. Facts which have no bearing with the lis

       or the dispute involved in the case, do not give rise

       to a cause of action so as to confer territorial

       jurisdiction on the court concerned. If we apply this

       principle then we see that none of the facts

       pleaded in para 16 of the petition, in our opinion,

       falls into the category of bundle of facts which

       would constitute a cause of action giving rise to a

       dispute which could confer territorial jurisdiction on

       the courts at Ahmedabad".



            11. Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. (supra), a Company

having its Registered Office at Mumbai, obtained a loan from

Bhopal and challenged the vires of the Securitisation and

Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security

Interest Act, 2002 (for short "SARFAESI Act") before the Delhi

High Court when proceedings were taken by the creditor Bank

under the said Act. The jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court was

invoked on the ground that the seat of the Union Government

was in Delhi and the High Court of Delhi has the requisite

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014           - 16 -


jurisdiction. The Hon'ble Supreme Court found that the

jurisdiction of a High Court cannot be invoked to determine a

Constitutional question in a vacuum and the same has to be

agitated before the High Court, within whose territorial

jurisdiction,the injury was occasioned.

             12. Nawal Kishore Sharma (supra) was heavily

relied on by the petitioner, the facts of which have to be noticed.

The appellant was a seaman, registered as such by the

Department of Shipping, Government of India, at Mumbai. He

was declared unfit for sea faring activities due to his heart

condition and his registration was cancelled. On being so

discharged, the appellant settled down at his native place, within

the State of Bihar, and made representations raising financial

claims, as per the statutory provisions and the terms of the

contract. The disability compensation claim was answered by the

official respondents pointing out his entitlement to severance

compensation; but declining any disability compensation as

such, which, according to the official respondents, was an

entitlement to persons who were disabled in the course of

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 17 -


seafaring activities. The dismissal of the writ petition by the High

Court of Patna was found to be bad, on the specific facts arising

in the aforesaid case. It is also pertinent that the Hon'ble

Supreme Court also relied on two of its earlier decisions in Om

Prakash Srivastava v. Union of India [(2006) 6 SCC 207] and

Rajendran Chingaravelu v. R.K.Mishra [(2010) 1 SCC 457], to

draw support. Pausing here for a moment, the said decisions are

also to be examined.

            13. Om Prakash Srivastava (supra) was a case in

which the appellant was extradited on the basis of a treaty; the

violation of which was one of the grounds on which the

jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court was invoked. The appellant

had contended that he was facing trial in 8 cases, which was in

complete violation of the provisions of Section 21 of the

Extradition Act, 1962 and he was kept in solitary confinement

without proper medical care in the Central Jail within the State of

Uttar Pradesh. The Delhi High Court observed that the issue of

conditions of prisoners in the State of Uttar Pradesh could be

more effectively dealt with by the Allahabad High Court and

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 18 -


rejected the writ petition. The Hon'ble Supreme Court found that

the Delhi High Court ought to have dealt with the question

whether it has jurisdiction to deal with the writ petition. The

observation of the Delhi High Court was found to be of effect that

though there is no absolute lack of jurisdiction, but the

grievances could be dealt with more effectively by the other High

Court. It was only in such circumstance that the Hon'ble

Supreme Court found that it was not a correct way of dealing

with the aspect of jurisdiction and remanded the matter to the

High Court at Delhi for consideration.

            14. Rajendran Chingaravelu (supra) was a case in

which the appellant approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court

and the official respondents took a contention that the seizure of

cash, which led to the proceedings under the Income Tax Act,

1961 and eventually the writ petition, took place at the Airport at

Chennai and hence the Andhra Pradesh High Court did not have

the jurisdiction. The Hon'ble Supreme Court found that the

appellant had travelled to Chennai from Hyderabad and he had

disclosed the cash carried by him to the security personnel at the

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014              - 19 -


boarding point and the subsequent seizure at Chennai was on

the basis of the information passed on by the officials of the

Airport at Hyderabad. The consequential income-tax proceedings

were also initiated at Hyderabad and, hence, the writ petition was

found to be maintainable before the Andhra Pradesh High Court

itself. Both these decisions indicate that the facts pleaded to

invoke the jurisdiction of the respective High Courts        had an

inextricable link with the lis and they form an integral part of the

facts which had to be proved by the petitioner-litigant to get a

judgment in his favour. Those inextricable facts having occurred

within the territorial jurisdiction of the respective High Courts, the

said High Courts were said to have jurisdiction to deal with the

issue under Article 226(2) of the Constitution of India.

            15. Coming back to Nawal Kishore Sharma (supra),

the Hon'ble Supreme Court found that the cancellation of

registration of the appellant as a seaman was sent to the

appellant in his native address at Bihar. The appellant had sent

representations from his home at Bihar and the rejections were

also communicated to him in his residential address. The

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 20 -


communication of refusal of disability compensation was

received by him in the State of Bihar, which was a fraction of the

cause of action which was said to arise within the jurisdiction of

the Patna High Court. It was also found that on issuance of

notice by the Patna High court, the respondents had appeared

before the High Court and participated in the proceedings. After

hearing Counsel for both sides, the High Court passed an interim

order directing payment of Rs.2,75,000/-, which was remitted by

the respondent-Shipping Corporation of India to the bank

account of the appellant. Only when the matter was taken up for

final hearing, the High Court declined jurisdiction. It was only on

consideration of the aforesaid facts peculiar to the case and also

the interim order passed by the High Court, to which the

respondent acquiesced, that the Patna High Court was found to

have jurisdiction.

            16. However, in the instant case, this Court is of the

opinion that the facts distinguishes it from Nawal Kishore

Sharma (supra). In Nawal Kishore Sharma (supra) itself

another decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in State of

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014           - 21 -


Rajasthan v. Swaika Properties [(1985) 3 SCC 217] was

referred to. There again, the Calcutta High Court had invoked

jurisdiction under Article 226 with respect to acquisition of land

which occurred in the State of Rajasthan. Paragraph 8 of the

said decision is apposite for reference here:

             "The expression 'cause of action' is tersely

       defined in Mulla's Code of Civil Procedure:

                 'The "cause of action" means every
           fact  which,   if  traversed,    it  would be
           necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to
           support his right to a judgment of the court.'



     In other words, it is a bundle of facts which taken with

     the law applicable to them gives the plaintiff a right to

     relief against the defendant. The mere service of notice

     under Section 52(2) of the Act on the respondents at

     their registered office at 18-B, Brabourne Road,

     Calcutta i.e. within the territorial limits of the State of

     West Bengal, could not give rise to a cause of action

     within that territory unless the service of such notice

     was an integral part of the cause of action. The entire

     cause of action culminating in the acquisition of the

     land under Section 52(1) of the Act arose within the

     State of Rajasthan i.e. within the territorial jurisdiction

     of the Rajasthan High Court at the Jaipur Bench. The

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014        - 22 -


   answer to the question whether service of notice is an

   integral part of the cause of action within the meaning

   of Article 226(2) of the Constitution must depend upon

   the nature of the impugned order giving rise to a cause

   of action. The Notification dated 8.2.1984 issued by the

   State Government under Section 52(1) of the Act

   became effective the moment it was published in the

   Official Gazette as thereupon the notified land became

   vested in the State Government free from all

   encumbrances.      It  was   not   necessary    for  the

   respondents to plead the service of notice on them by

   the Special Officer Town Planning Department, Jaipur

   under Section 52(2) for the grant of an appropriate writ,

   direction or order under Article 226 of the Constitution

   for quashing the notification issued by the State

   Government under Section 52(1) of the Act. If the

   respondents felt aggrieved by the acquisition of their

   lands situate at Jaipur and wanted to challenge the

   validity of the notification issued by the State

   Government of Rajasthan under Section 52(1) of the

   Act by a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution,

   the remedy of the respondents for the grant of such

   relief had to be sought by filing such a petition before

   the Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur Bench, where the

   cause of action wholly or in part arose".

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014            - 23 -


          17. Reference can also be usefully made to paragraphs

20, 21 and 22 of Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. (supra):

           "20. A distinction between a legislation and

     executive action should be borne in mind while

     determining the said question.

           21. A parliamentary legislation when it receives

     the assent of the President of India and is published in

     the Official Gazette, unless specifically excluded, will

     apply to the entire territory of India. If passing of a

     legislation gives rise to a cause of action, a writ petition

     questioning the constitutionality thereof can be filed in

     any High Court of the country. It is not so done because

     a cause of action will arise only when the provisions of

     the Act or some of them which were implemented shall

     give rise to civil or evil consequences to the petitioner.

     A writ court, it is well settled, would not determine a

     constitutional question in a vacuum.

           22. The Court must have the requisite territorial

     jurisdiction. An order passed on a writ petition

     questioning the constitutionality of a parliamentary Act,

     whether interim or final keeping in view the provisions

     contained in clause (2) of Article 226 of the Constitution

     of India, will have effect throughout the territory of India

     subject of course to the applicability of the Act".

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014            - 24 -


             18. Herein, definitely it is an executive action which is

challenged by the petitioner. Exhibit P1 is the report of a High

Level Team, with respect to an agreement entered into between

M/s.Antrix Corporation Limited, a subsidiary of ISRO, and

M/s.DEVAS Multimedia Private Limited, which resulted in Exhibits

P2 and P3. The agreement, which was the subject matter of the

enquiry by the High Level Team, was not entered into within the

jurisdiction of this High Court; nor did any of the consequences of

the agreement arise within this jurisdiction. The High Level Team

concluded in Exhibit P1 that there have been serious

administrative and procedural lapses and also there is a collusive

behaviour on the part of certain individuals who were involved

with the execution of the agreement. No part of the enquiry at

any time extended to any incident which occurred within the

State of Kerala and the enquiry was carried out, outside the

jurisdiction of this Court. Exhibits P2 and P3 are identically dated

and was, hence, issued on the same day. Exhibit P3, in fact, was

the consequence of Exhibit P2. Exhibit P2 was the order which

directed the petitioner, along with three others, to be divested of

WP(C) No.30342 of 2014          - 25 -


the current assignments with the Government, as a consequence

of which Exhibit P3 was issued terminating the Professorship

with the Department of Space. As was noticed at the outset, the

Professorship was to be carried on in Bangalore under the

Department of Space/ISRO and the order too was served on the

petitioner at Bangalore. In such circumstance, definitely Exhibit

P3 cannot be challenged before this Court, since none of the

facts leading to conferment of a cause of action on the petitioner

could be traced to anywhere within the territorial jurisdiction of

this High court. The residence of the petitioner is inconsequential

and is not a fact, if traversed, the petitioner would be liable to

prove, to obtain a favourable judgment.

            19. As far as Exhibit P1 and P2, the contention raised

by the petitioner is that the petitioner was made aware of the

same through the website at his native place within the State of

Kerala and that these created a disability on the petitioner from

any further engagement with the Governments throughout the

territory of India and he being so aggrieved, could raise the

contention before the High Court of Kerala. Immediately it is to


be noticed that the petitioner has not pleaded that the disability

created on him by Exhibit P2, has divested him of any post or

even an opportunity for such an engagement within the State of

Kerala. The mere fact that the petitioner was made aware of

Exhibit P1 & P2, only through the website, at Kerala would not be

sufficient to confer jurisdiction. To assume jurisdiction on such a

pleading would be specious, since then, with the accessibility to

the website through the internet, the petitioner could as well

plead that the same was accessed anywhere in India to confer

jurisdiction in any High Court within the territories of India. The

report of the High Level Team and Exhibits P2 and P3 have an

inextricable link and the "cause of action" arose for the petitioner,

on his being served with the order at Exhibit P3, which he would

have to take recourse by a writ petition filed before the High

Court within whose jurisdiction such cause of action or any other

arose.

            20. In this context, useful reference can be made to

Suresh Ramkrishna Burde (supra), who was terminated from

service from Hyderabad for reason of the Scrutiny Committee at



Nagpur having invalidated the Caste Certificate on which basis

he obtained employment, on reservation. Apposite would be

reference to paragraph 15:

             "Before parting with the case we would like to

      observe that the order invalidating the caste

      certificate  had been passed        by the     Scrutiny

      Committee at Nagpur and, therefore, the earlier two

      writ   petitions  filed  by   the  respondent     were

      maintainable before the Nagpur Bench of the

      Bombay High Court. However, in the third and final

      writ petition the order under challenge was the order

      of termination of service which was passed by the

      appellant on 16.7.2004 at Hyderabad as the

      respondent was working with Bharat Heavy Electrical

      Ltd.'s Heavy Power Equipment Plant, Hyderabad.

      Therefore, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High

      Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition

      wherein challenge was raised to the said order.

      However, in order to cut short the litigation and settle

      the controversy we have decided the case on

      merits".




The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that though the invalidation of

the caste certificate could have been challenged before the



Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, the consequential

termination passed at Hyderabad could have only been agitated

before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. This Court is unable to

find any part of the cause of action in the case of the petitioner

herein having arisen within the jurisdiction of this Court. In such

circumstance, there would be absolutely no reason why this

Court should go into the facts.

             21. The petitioner, as is seen from the records, has

been consistently knocking at the wrong doors, since he had

earlier   approached     the   Central   Administrative   Tribunal,

Ernakulam Bench, which jurisdiction was declined for reason of

the petitioner, when served with Ext.P3; found to be not holding a

civil post under the Union. The Division Bench of this Court also

confirmed the view of the Tribunal. This Court would notice these

facts only since the learned Assistant Solicitor General had, at

the commencement of the proceedings itself, raised the question

of jurisdiction with a certain amount of deferment for having had

to raise a technical objection of jurisdiction. Despite the drastic

consequences visited on the petitioner, who had led many Space


projects of the country and had been decorated with "Padma

Bhooshan" and "Padma Vibhooshan"; that alone would not

enable this Court to assume jurisdiction, where there is none.

Technicalities too have its own role to play as was noticed by the

Hon'ble Supreme Court coming down heavily on the conduct of a

High Court, with strong words. It would not be proper for this

Court to brush aside a ground of lack of jurisdiction merely on the

finding of the same to be a technical ground. It is not as if the

petitioner does not have a remedy before the appropriate forum

and this Court having not examined any facts leading to the

impugned orders, the petitioner would not be curtailed in invoking

such remedy before the appropriate Court.

            The writ petition would stand rejected for reason of

lack of jurisdiction. Parties are directed to suffer their respective

costs.

                                               Sd/-

                                          K.Vinod Chandran
                                               Judge.





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