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Mahindra Finance Not An Authority Under Article 12, Writ Petition Not Maintainable Against It: Allahabad High Court

Areeb Uddin Ahmed
13 Jan 2021 4:21 PM GMT
Writ Mandamus Article 12 State

Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court in Arif Khan v. Branch Manager Mahindra Finance Sultanpur & Another, observed that writ of Mandamus cannot be issued to a private body, Mahindra and it does not comes under the ambit of Article 12 of the Constitution.

Petitioners submission

The Petitioner in this case had prayed before the court to issue a writ of Mandamus directing Mahindra Finance to provide the complete statement of Customer ID number with the concerned due amount which was left over with an additional prayer to direct the respondents to collect the concerned amount in partial/easy installments

The court had previously inquired the counsel for petitioner about whether a writ against Private Bank is maintainable or not. To which the Petitioner while submitting that writ against Private bank is maintainable relied of various judgements:

  1. Andi Mukta Sadguru Shree Muktajee Vandas Swami Suvarna Jayanti Mahotsav Smarak Trust and others Vs. V.R. Rudani and others : (1989) 2 SCC 691
  1. Manager, ICICI Bank Ltd. Vs. Prakash Kaur & others, decided on 26.02.2007 (Appeal (Crl.) No. 267 of 2007)

Courts observations

The Court while rejecting the contentions of the Petitioner, referred to Federal Bank Ltd. Vs. Sagar Thomas & Ors and considered the scope of issuing Writ under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The court observed:

"The Apex Court in Federal Bank Ltd. Vs. Sagar Thomas & Ors, (2003) 10 SCC 733, considered the scope of issuance of writ under Article 226 of the Constitution against a private Bank. Following was laid down in paras 27 and 33:

"27.Such private companies would normally not be amenable to the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. But in certain circumstances a writ may issue to such private bodies or persons as there may be statutes which need to be complied with by all concerned including the private companies. For example, there are certain legislations like the Industrial Disputes Act, the Minimum Wages Act, the Factories Act or for maintaining proper environment say Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 or Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 etc. or statutes of the like nature which fasten certain duties and responsibilities statutorily upon such private bodies which they are bound to comply with. If they violate such a statutory provision a writ would certainly be issued for compliance of those provisions.

For the discussion held above, in our view, a private company carrying on banking business as a scheduled bank, cannot be termed as an institution or company carrying on any statutory or public duty. A private body or a person may be amenable to writ jurisdiction only where it may become necessary to compel such body or association to enforce any statutory obligations or such obligations of public nature casting positive obligation upon it. We don't find such conditions are fulfilled in respect of a private company carrying on a commercial activity of banking."

Cited judgements not applicable to this case

The court observed that the two decisions which were placed by the Petitioners have no connection to this case because the facts and circumstances are totally different. Accordingly it observed that at this juncture no such relief can be sought and Writ of mandamus cannot be issued to Private bank accordingly:

"It is not the case of the petitioner that the Mahindra Finance is an authority within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution, nor it is alleged that there is any violation of any statutory provisions in the present case. In view of the above, we are of the view that no grounds have been made out to issue any mandamus to a purely private body, namely, Mahindra Finance in the facts of the present case."

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