Supreme Court of India came down heavily on the Kerala High Court in the matter of exceeding its Writ Jurisdiction to collect evidence in a Contract law appeal. By setting aside the Division Bench order in M.K.Jose vs.State of Kerala(Writ Appeal No:1912/2013 in Writ Petition No:22541/2013) in Civil Appeal No:19380/2014, the honourable apex Court of the nation repeated that a Writ Court should always refrain from disputed question of fact in such contract-related matters and should not waste valuable time of the higher judicature. It reiterated that disputed question of facts shall be entertained by the proper legal forum or by the trial courts.
|Supreme Court of India(Left);High Court of Kerala(Right)|
The case had arisen in a contract work granted by PWD to the appellant in High Court for construction of a road. The work was almost 50 percent completed but extended several times for completion due to various reasons. However as the same was not completed in stipulated time, competent authority issued stop memo to the contractor and the earnest money had been forfeited to State Government. This came before the Single Judge of the State High Court and was prayed to quash the order of competent authority and to stay all further proceedings in the matter pending disposal of the petition. Learned Single Judge, however, did not entertain the prayers fully. Rather he directed the State to give notice to petitioner with regard to measurement of work completed by him. This has led to the appeal before Division Bench of the High Court where the Bench found that the order quashing the contract was made on incorrect data and appointed Advocate Commissioners to probe into the matter and file reports. The Division Bench quashed the order of the competent authority.
The case then came before the apex Court of the Nation and the Court after quoting several precedents opined that a Writ Court should ordinarily not entertain a writ petition, if there is breach of contract involving disputed questions of fact and set aside the order of Division Bench of High Court.