1. Heard Sri A.P. Mishra, learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the material available on record. No one has appeared on behalf of the respondents.
2. The petitioner has filed the present writ petition with the following prayer:
"(i) Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus thereby commanding the opposite parties, specially the opposite party no.2, to make payment of Rs.2,05,537/- to the petitioner at an early date which this Hon'ble Court may deem just and proper towards the work carried out by the petitioner."
3. At the outset, it may be mentioned that earlier, the petitioner has filed writ petition bearing No.1013 (MB) of 2011, which was dismissed by Division Bench of this Court on 01.02.2011 and the following order was passed:
"The petitioner raises stale claim. The writ petition is, therefore, not maintainable and is accordingly dismissed. However, it is open for the petitioner to purse remedy elsewhere as provided under law. Dismissal of this writ petition will not come in the way of the petitioner in seeking appropriate remedy. It is also open to the petitioner to approach opposite party no.2 for the said purpose by making a representation."
4. In para-1 of the writ petition, the petitioner has disclosed that earlier, the petitioner had filed the Writ Petition bearing No.1013 (MB) of 2011, praying therein to issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus, commanding the opposite parties to make payment of Rs.2,05,537/- (rupees two lacs five thousand five hundred thirty seven only) to the petitioner. The writ petition was dismissed with the observation that it is open to the petitioner to approach opposite party No.2 for the said purpose by making a representation.
5. The petitioner has filed the second writ petition for the same relief. We are of the considered view that the second writ petition for the same relief is not maintainable.
6. Moreover, in the case of 'City and Industrial Development Corporation v. Dosu aardeshir Bhiwandiwala and Ors.', (2009) 1 SCC 168, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held:
"The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 is duty-bound to consider whether:
(a) adjudication of writ petition involves any complex and disputed questions of facts and whether they can be satisfactorily resolved;
(b) the petition reveals all material facts;
(c) the Petitioner has any alternative or effective remedy for the resolution of the dispute;
(d) person invoking the jurisdiction is guilty of unexplained delay and laches;
(e) ex facie barred by any laws of limitation;
(f) grant of relief is against public policy or barred by any valid law; and host of other factor."
7. In another case 'Nivedita Sharma v. Cellular Operators Association of India and Ors.', (2011) 14 SCC 337, the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that where statutory forum is created by law for redressal of grievances, the writ petition should not be entertained ignoring the statutory dispensation. It was held that the petitioner must exhaust the statutory remedy before resorting to writ jurisdiction. It is true that in certain exceptional cases, the powers of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can be invoked, even if, statutory remedy of appeal has not been exhausted.
8. In the case of Whirlpool Corporation (supra), certain conditions have been indicated wherein despite availability of an alternative remedy, powers of judicial review can be exercised by the High Courts. The Hon'ble Supreme Court observed as under:
"15. Under Article 226 of the Constitution, the High Court, having regard to the facts of the case, has a discretion to entertain or not to entertain a writ petition. But the High Court has imposed upon itself certain restrictions one of which is that if an effective and efficacious remedy is available, the High Court would not normally exercise its jurisdiction. But the alternative remedy has been consistently held by this Court not to operate as a bar in at least three contingencies, namely, where the writ petition has been filed for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights or where there has been a violation of the principle of natural justice or where the order or proceedings are wholly without jurisdiction or the vires of an Act is challenged. There is a plethora of case-law on this point but to cut down this circle of forensic whirlpool, we would rely on some old decisions on the evolutionary era of the constitutional law as they still hold the field. "
9. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of 'Commissioner of Income Tax v. Chhabil Dass Agarwal', (2014) 1 SCC 603 has observed that statutory forum is created by law for redressal of grievances, the writ petition should not be entertained ignoring the statutory dispensation subject to such exception. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that it is settled law that non-entertainment of petition under writ jurisdiction by the High Court when an efficacious alternative remedy is available, is a rule of self-imposed limitation. It is essentially a rule of policy, convenience and discretion rather than a rule of law. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has also observed that, undoubtedly, it is within the discretion of the High Court to grant relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India despite existence of alternative remedy. However, the High Court must not interfere if there is an adequate efficacious alternative remedy available to the petitioner and he has approached the High Court without availing the same unless he has made out an exceptional case warranting such interference or there exist sufficient grounds to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
10. The relevant paras of the judgment in the case of 'Commissioner of Income Tax v. Chhabil Dass Agarwal'(supra), are as under:
"11. Before discussing the fact proposition, we would notice the principle of law as laid down by this Court. It is settled law that non-entertainment of petitions under writ jurisdiction by the High Court when an efficacious alternative remedy is available is a rule of self-imposed limitation. It is essentially a rule of policy, convenience and discretion rather than a rule of law. Undoubtedly, it is within the discretion of the High Court to grant relief under Article 226 despite the existence of an alternative remedy. However, the High Court must not interfere if there is an adequate efficacious alternative remedy available to the petitioner and he has approached the High Court without availing the same unless he has made out an exceptional case warranting such interference or there exist sufficient grounds to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226. (See: State of U.P. vs. Mohammad Nooh, AIR 1958 SC 86; Titaghur Paper Mills Co. Ltd. vs. State of Orissa, (1983) 2 SCC 433; Harbanslal Sahnia vs. Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd., (2003) 2 SCC 107; State of H.P. vs. Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd., (2005) 6 SCC 499).
12. The Constitution Benches of this Court in K.S. Rashid and Sons vs. Income Tax Investigation Commission, AIR 1954 SC 207; Sangram Singh vs. Election Tribunal, Kotah, AIR 1955 SC 425;Union of India vs. T.R. Varma, AIR 1957 SC 882; State of U.P. vs. Mohd. Nooh, AIR 1958 SC 86 and K.S. Venkataraman and Co. (P) Ltd. vs. State of Madras, AIR 1966 SC 1089 have held that though Article 226 confers a very wide powers in the matter of issuing writs on the High Court, the remedy of writ absolutely discretionary in character. If the High Court is satisfied that the aggrieved party can have an adequate or suitable relief elsewhere, it can refuse to exercise its jurisdiction. The Court, in extraordinary circumstances, may exercise the power if it comes to the conclusion that there has been a breach of principles of natural justice or procedure required for decision has not been adopted.
(See: N.T. Veluswami Thevar vs. G. Raja Nainar, AIR 1959 SC 422; Municipal Council, Khurai vs. Kamal Kumar, (1965) 2 SCR 653; Siliguri Municipality vs. Amalendu Das, (1984) 2 SCC 436; S.T. Muthusami vs. K. Natarajan, (1988) 1 SCC 572; Rajasthan SRTC vs. Krishna Kant, (1995) 5 SCC 75; Kerala SEB vs. Kurien E. Kalathil, (2000) 6 SCC 293; A. Venkatasubbiah Naidu vs. S. Chellappan, (2000) 7 SCC 695; L.L. Sudhakar Reddy vs. State of A.P., (2001) 6 SCC 634; Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami (Moingiri Maharaj) Sahakari Dugdha Utpadak Sanstha vs. State of Maharashtra, (2001) 8 SCC 509; Pratap Singh vs. State of Haryana, (2002) 7 SCC 484 and GKN Driveshafts (India) Ltd. vs. ITO, (2003) 1 SCC 72).
13. In Nivedita Sharma vs. Cellular Operators Assn. of India, (2011) 14 SCC 337, this Court has held that where hierarchy of appeals is provided by the statute, party must exhaust the statutory remedies before resorting to writ jurisdiction for relief and observed as follows:
"12. In Thansingh Nathmal v. Supdt. of Taxes, AIR 1964 SC 1419 this Court adverted to the rule of self-imposed restraint that the writ petition will not be entertained if an effective remedy is available to the aggrieved person and observed: (AIR p. 1423, para 7).
"7. ... The High Court does not therefore act as a court of appeal against the decision of a court or tribunal, to correct errors of fact, and does not by assuming jurisdiction under Article 226 trench upon an alternative remedy provided by statute for obtaining relief. Where it is open to the aggrieved petitioner to move another tribunal, or even itself in another jurisdiction for obtaining redress in the manner provided by a statute, the High Court normally will not permit by entertaining a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution the machinery created under the statute to be bypassed, and will leave the party applying to it to seek resort to the machinery so set up."
13. In Titaghur Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. State of Orissa, (1983) 2 SCC 433 this Court observed: (SCC pp. 440-41, para 11) "11. ... It is now well recognised that where a right or liability is created by a statute which gives a special remedy for enforcing it, the remedy provided by that statute only must be availed of. This rule was stated with great clarity by Willes, J. in Wolverhampton New Waterworks Co. v. Hawkesford, 141 ER 486 in the following passage: (ER p. 495) ''... There are three classes of cases in which a liability may be established founded upon a statute. ... But there is a third class viz. where a liability not existing at common law is created by a statute which at the same time gives a special and particular remedy for enforcing it. ... The remedy provided by the statute must be followed, and it is not competent to the party to pursue the course applicable to cases of the second class. The form given by the statute must be adopted and adhered to.' The rule laid down in this passage was approved by the House of Lords in Neville v. London Express Newspapers Ltd., 1919 AC 368 and has been reaffirmed by the Privy Council in Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v. Gordon Grant and Co. Ltd., 1935 AC 532 (PC) and Secy. of State v. Mask and Co., AIR 1940 PC 105 It has also been held to be equally applicable to enforcement of rights, and has been followed by this Court throughout. The High Court was therefore justified in dismissing the writ petitions in limine."
14. In Mafatlal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, (1997) 5 SCC 536 B.P. Jeevan Reddy, J. (speaking for the majority of the larger Bench) observed: (SCC p. 607, para 77) "77. ... So far as the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226--or for that matter, the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 32--is concerned, it is obvious that the provisions of the Act cannot bar and curtail these remedies. It is, however, equally obvious that while exercising the power under Article 226/Article 32, the Court would certainly take note of the legislative intent manifested in the provisions of the Act and would exercise their jurisdiction consistent with the provisions of the enactment."" (See: G. Veerappa Pillai v. Raman & Raman Ltd., AIR 1952 SC 192; CCE v. Dunlop India Ltd., (1985) 1 SCC 260; Ramendra Kishore Biswas v. State of Tripura, (1999) 1 SCC 472; Shivgonda Anna Patil v. State of Maharastra, (1999) 3 SCC 5; C.A. Abraham v. ITO, (1961) 2 SCR 765; Titaghur Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. State of Orissa, (1983) 2 SCC 433; H.B. Gandhi v. Gopi Nath and Sons, 1992 Supp (2) SCC 312; Whirlpool Corpn. v. Registrar of Trade Marks, (1998) 8 SCC 1;Tin Plate Co. of India Ltd. v. State of Bihar, (1998) 8 SCC 272; Sheela Devi v. Jaspal Singh, (1999) 1 SCC 209 and Punjab National Bank v. O.C. Krishnan, (2001) 6 SCC 569)
14. In Union of India vs. Guwahati Carbon Ltd., (2012) 11 SCC 651, this Court has reiterated the aforesaid principle and observed:
"8. Before we discuss the correctness of the impugned order, we intend to remind ourselves the observations made by this Court in Munshi Ram v. Municipal Committee, Chheharta, (1979) 3 SCC 83. In the said decision, this Court was pleased to observe that: (SCC p. 88, para 23).
"23. ... when a revenue statute provides for a person aggrieved by an assessment thereunder, a particular remedy to be sought in a particular forum, in a particular way, it must be sought in that forum and in that manner, and all the other forums and modes of seeking [remedy] are excluded.""
15. Thus, while it can be said that this Court has recognized some exceptions to the rule of alternative remedy, i.e., where the statutory authority has not acted in accordance with the provisions of the enactment in question, or in defiance of the fundamental principles of judicial procedure, or has resorted to invoke the provisions which are repealed, or when an order has been passed in total violation of the principles of natural justice, the proposition laid down in Thansingh Nathmal case, Titagarh Paper Mills case and other similar judgments that the High Court will not entertain a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution if an effective alternative remedy is available to the aggrieved person or the statute under which the action complained of has been taken itself contains a mechanism for redressal of grievance still holds the field. Therefore, when a statutory forum is created by law for redressal of grievances, a writ petition should not be entertained ignoring the statutory dispensation.
16. In the instant case, the Act provides complete machinery for the assessment/re-assessment of tax, imposition of penalty and for obtaining relief in respect of any improper orders passed by the Revenue Authorities, and the assessee could not be permitted to abandon that machinery and to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution when he had adequate remedy open to him by an appeal to the Commissioner of Income T
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ax (Appeals). The remedy under the statute, however, must be effective and not a mere formality with no substantial relief. In Ram and Shyam Co. vs. State of Haryana, (1985) 3 SCC 267 this Court has noticed that if an appeal is from "Caesar to Caesar's wife" the existence of alternative remedy would be a mirage and an exercise in futility. In the instant case, neither has the assessee-writ petitioner described the available alternate remedy under the Act as ineffectual and non-efficacious while invoking the writ jurisdiction of the High Court nor has the High Court ascribed cogent and satisfactory reasons to have exercised its jurisdiction in the facts of instant case." 11. It is settled law that where disputed questions of fact are raised requiring appreciation of evidence, it will not be convenient to decide the dispute in a proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. 12. In the instant case, according to the petitioner the bills were submitted for payment but the payment was not made. Applying the law laid down in the aforesaid judgment, the matter cannot be entertained under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. 13. We are of the considered view that an alternative efficacious remedy is available to the petitioner and the writ petition is not maintainable. 14. In view of the above discussion, the writ petition is not maintainable and the same is hereby dismissed. However, it is made clear that dismissal of the present writ petition will not stand in the way of the petitioner seeking any other remedy as is available in law. 15. Interim application(s), if any, stands disposed of.