Jitendra Singh and Ors. Versus Securitrans India Pvt. Ltd.
Court / Forum : Delhi High Court
Citation : LPA 162/2020
Coram : Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad
Subject : Definition of State under Article 12 of the Constitution
Date of Decision : 2020-06-22
- The Respondent company used to distribute currency in different ATM branches operated by banks. The Appellants were employees of the Respondent whose services were terminated for their alleged misconduct on account of misappropriation of currency handed over to them by the Respondent as custodians, for topping up in ATM branches of different banks.
- The Appellants had filed writ petition praying inter alia for issuance of a writ/direction to the Respondent not to terminate their services and further, to release all arrears of wages. This writ petition was dismissed by single judge bench vide order dated May 20, 2020 on the ground that the same does not lie under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as the Respondent is a private company and is not a State or any other Authority and nor is it funded by the Government.
- Aggrieved by the said order, Appellants preferred the present Appeal.
- Whether the Respondent can be considered as “State” under Article 12 of the Constitution of India?
- The Hon’ble High Court held that the Respondent is not a State or an Authority against which a writ petition is maintainable within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India.The Hon’ble High Court relied upon Ramana Dayaram Shetty v. International Airport Authority of India, (1979) 3 SCC 489, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court had laid down the parameters for determining whether a body falls within the sweep of the definition of "other Authorities", as contemplated in Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
- The Hon’ble High Court relied upon Ramana Dayaram Shetty v. International Airport Authority of India, (1979) 3 SCC 489, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court had laid down the parameters for determining whether a body falls within the sweep of the definition of "other Authorities", as contemplated in Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
- The Hon’ble High Court observed that that the matters which come purely under the realm of a contract between two parties are not amenable to writ jurisdiction. Further, it was held that the Respondent’s activity of collecting currency from different banks and to top up the ATM branches cannot be described as a public function in the light of the test laid down by the Supreme Court in Binny Ltd. & Anr. v. V. Sadasivan & Ors. [(2005) 6 SCC 657] and therefore, it cannot be treated as an Authority or an instrumentality of State within under Article 12 of the Constitution.
Vipul Ganda is a Delhi based Advocate practicing largely at the Delhi High Court. His practice focus is Dispute Resolution and Litigation and his practice areas include Arbitration, Commercial, Civil, Constitutional, Corporate and Criminal Litigation.