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Judicial Review: How it is the most potent weapon in the hands of Judiciary?


Black’s Law Dictionary defines judicial review as “a court’s power to review the actions of other branches of government, especially the court’s power to invalidate legislative and executive actions as being unconstitutional.[1] Administrative actions are either ministerial or discretionary. A ministerial action is one where the authority has a duty to do a thing in a particular way. Such actions, however, are exceptional. In most administrative actions, the administrative authority has the power either to act or not to act or to act in one way or the other-is called discretionary power. ‘Discretion’ is the power to decide or act according to one’s judgement.[2] It was the discretionary power that became an object of Prof. Dicey’s criticism in his monumental treatise on constitutional law.[3] According to Dicey, discretion was the source of inequality and discrimination and of arbitrary action. It was, therefore, the negation of the rule of law. The rule of law, according to Dicey, warranted absolute predictability of administrative action. The grant of discretionary power created possibilities of abuse of power and uncertainty about how it would be exercised.

In Tata Cellular v. Union of India,[4] the Supreme Court laid down the following basic principles relating to administrative law:

  • The modern trend points to judicial restraint in administrative action;

  • The Court does not sit as a court of appeal over administrative decisions, but merely reviews the manner in which the decisions were made;

  • The Court does not have the expertise to correct administrative decisions. If a review of the administrative decisions is permitted it will be substituting its own decision without the necessary expertise, which itself may be fallible;

  • A fair-play in the joints is a necessary concomitant for the administrative functioning.

  • However, the administrative decision can be tested by application of the Wednesbury principle of reasonableness, and must be free from arbitrariness, bias or mala fides.

The Supreme Court observed in K.L. Trading Co. Ltd. v. State of Meghalaya,[5] that to attract judicial review of administration action, the applicant must show that the administrative action suffers from vice of arbitrariness, unreasonableness and unfairness. Merely because the Court may feel that the administrative action is not justified on merit, can be no ground for interference. The Court can only interfere when the process of making such decision is wrong or suffers from the vice of arbitrariness, unfairness and unreasonableness.

The principles upon which the courts are prepared to apply the test of legality and review the exercise of administrative acts are:

  • Disregard of ‘natural justice’ or procedural due process,

  • Excess of power and jurisdiction,

  • Error of law,

  • Error of fact,

  • Failure to perform a duty, and

  • Abuse of discretionary power.

Judicial Review of Administrative action has not been confined merely to the quashing of ultra vires administrative actions. The court has been proactive in laying down guidelines for the exercise of the administrative discretion, where the statute did not contain them. In New India Public School v. HUDA,[6] where the Town Planning Act gave power to the development authority to dispose of sites for public purpose by public auction or ‘otherwise’, the court held that normally such sites should be allotted through public auction. The word ‘otherwise’ should be construed consistently with public purpose. The court gave clear and detailed instructions as to how such allotments were to be made. Where such allotments were made with nefarious designs, and several officers of the development authority were found guilty of acting against public interest so as to benefit a construction company, the Supreme Court held that a report by a Judge of the Supreme Court of their illegal behavior was sufficient to inflict disciplinary action against them.[7]

Orders and directions were issued by the Court for the implementation of the anti-pollution laws.[8] On a petition from the workers, the court intervened in the winding-up proceedings of an industrial undertaking, took the unprecedented step of taking over direct control of the undertaking and, and after finding its revival impossible, directed resumption of the winding-up proceedings.[9]


The exercise of administrative discretion, even if given by a valid statute, or by the Constitution can be challenged on the following grounds:

  • It has been exercised beyond the scope of the power given by the law, i.e., it is ultra vires the law.

  • It has been exercised by an authority other than the one in whom it was vested.

  • It has been exercised without application of mind or on irrelevant considerations or without taking into account the relevant considerations.

  • It has been exercised arbitrarily or unreasonably or disproportionately.

  • There has been mala fide intent.

  • It has resulted in belying the legitimate expectations raised by previous administrative policy or practice.


An administrative authority in which discretion is vested is supposed to exercise it by taking relevant considerations into account and by excluding irrelevant considerations. An authority, which acts on irrelevant considerations, assumes jurisdiction wrongly. Criteria for Judicial Review were laid down by the House of Lords in Associated Provincial Picture Houses v. Wednesbury Corporation.[10] These are known as Wednesbury’s principle. According to that principle, the authority exercising discretion must exclude from its determination matters that are irrelevant, and include matters that are relevant. Where discretion is given to an administrative authority, it is supposed to exercise it so as to further public interest. It cannot be exercised unless and until the conditions for its existence are obtained.

In Secretary of State of Employment v. ASLEF,[11] Lord Denning said:

“If it appears to the Secretary of State?’ This is, in my opinion, does not mean that the minister’s decision is put beyond challenge. The scope available to the challenger depends very much on the subject matter with which the Minister is dealing. In this case, I would think that, if the Ministers does not act in good faith, or if he acts on extraneous considerations which ought not to influence him, or he plainly misdirects himself in fact or in law, it may well be that a court would interfere, but when he honestly takes a view of the facts or the law which could reasonably be entertained, then his decision is not to be set aside simply because thereafter someone thinks that his view was wrong.”

This was once again stressed by the House of Lords in Secretary of State for Education and Science v. Tameside Metropolition Borough Council,[12] where it was clearly laid down that statutory power must be exercised in accordance with the legal standard of reasonableness and, in spite of the words such as ‘if the Secretary of the State is satisfied’, the actions would be valid only if they are such as a reasonable person might take on the basis if the material before her.

In Padfield v. Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food,[13] the House of Lords rejected the concept of absolute discretion. The court in this case laid down that the authority is said not to have exercised its discretion properly when:

  • It has not applied its mind; or

  • Has taken irrelevant considerations into account or has taken relevant considerations into account; or

  • Has acted mala fide.

The trouble arises when the power of judicial review is misused. And it happens if the Judiciary is tempted to exceed its proper jurisdiction and fails to exercise self-restraint. The Supreme Court of India has consistently thwarted attempts on the part of the legislature and the executive to ensure the supremacy of Directive Principles of State Policy over the Fundamental Rights of individual citizens. Many laws enacted to advance socio-economic policies and programmes of the Government have been struck down by the court on the ground that they violated fundamental rights. Fortunately the Supreme Court has of late been flexible to some extent. The supporters of Directive Principles, for example, have been able to achieve the deletion of the right to property as a fundamental right through the 44th Amendment and in the latest case of Minerva Mills, the court has veered round to the view that interpretation of Fundamental Rights cannot be entirely divorced from the Directive Principles. Further the Supreme Court had negative sections ‘4’ and ‘5’ of the 42nd Amendment Act for excluding Judicial Review. Thus the courts occupy a key position in the scheme of Indian Administrative law. The aggrieved person takes refuge in the judiciary through means such as writs, appeals, reference to the courts, injunctions, declarations, damages for tortuous actions of the administrations and civil servants, enforcement of contracts between the state and the private persons, etc. Writs are issued by the Supreme Court and High Courts under the provisions of the Articles 226 and 32 of the Constitution. They can also make any order or direction, declaration or injunction, if they consider appropriate in the individual case. Today in our country Judicial Review is not a luxury. It is a necessity. After all, some authority or agency has to be entrusted with the ultimate task of interpreting the constitution and deciding upon the validity of legislative and executive action.

The public authority cannot act as a free agent of the discretionary power given by the statute. He must justify his action on valid grounds of public interest and statutory provisions. The statute confers freedom to determine its own criteria for choosing between alternative courses of action with such phrases as ‘as he deems’, ‘if he thinks fit’, ‘if he considers’, and such other expressions. But they should not fetter their own powers by self-imposed rules. He must apply his mind to the values and facts in question, by not adopting a rigid policy. Facts of the case cannot be twisted and the values cannot be ignored.[14]


At times, legislative draftsmen seek to exclude judicial review of the rules made under a statute. For this purpose, a law conferring legislative power on the Administration may also contain a provision to exclude the judicial review of the rules made under that statute. A number of formulae are used for the purpose of excluding judicial review of the rules but, on the whole, it may be correct to say that the courts’ reaction to such formulae is not favourable and their endeavour has been to interpret them in such a manner that judicial review of the rules is not completely excluded.

No formula has been evolved as yet which may succeed in barring the courts completely from reviewing delegated legislation. A formula at times used in the statutes is to say that the rules enacted under the Act would have effect “as if the rules were enacted or included in the list itself.” This is known as “as if enacted” clause. Initially, in Britain, in Institute of Patent Agents v. Lockwood,[15] Lord Herschell found it difficult to explain the meaning of those words, or suggest the effect to be given to them, if notwithstanding them the rules were open to review by the courts. He could not give any other meaning to these words except this that the rules “for all the purposes of construction or obligation or otherwise” should be treated exactly as if they were in the Act.

The Herschell view thus, sought to exclude the doctrine of ultra vires and accord to the rules a finality and freedom from judicial review. This view came to be criticized on the ground that it represented the high watermark on the inviolability of delegated legislation, that it had the effect of making delegated legislation exempt from judicial review just as the statute itself is exempt therefrom.[16] However, the Herschell doctrine was overruled by the House of Lords in Minister of Health v. the King, ex parte Yaffe,[17] where Lord Dunedin expressed the view that delegated legislation, if inconsistent with the Act, would not be saved and that it would be bad. Further, the House of Lords in A.G. v Ryan,[18] held that such sort of ouster clauses do not prevent the court from intervening in the case of excess of jurisdiction and violation of principles of natural justice. The House of Lords made the application of doctrine of ultra vires wider in the celebrated case of Anisminic Ltd.[19] for minimizing the effect of ouster clauses.

‘As if enacted in the Act’ clause has been used in India as well in some statutes. The Hon’ble Supreme Court adopted the Herschell doctrine is a few cases,[20] but in a other cases, it declared the rules bad in spite of the “as if enacted clause”.[21] In State of Kerela v. Abdulla and Co.,[22] the Court stated that such a provision attaches no additional sanctity to the rules. The Court observed:

“Power to frame rules is conferred by the Act upon the State Government and that power may be exercised within the strict limits of the authority conferred. If in making a rule, the State transcends its authority, the rule will be invalid, for statutory rules made in exercise of delegated authority are valid and binding only if made within the limits of authority conferred. Validity of a rule whether it is declared to have effect as if enacted in the Act or otherwise is always open to challenge on the ground that it is unauthorized.”[23]

This view comes near the Yaffe, rather than the Lockwood, approach. It is suggested that it is the logical view to take. There is no reason as to why the courts should not apply the ultra vires doctrine even when the rules are declared to be effective “as if enacted in the Act”. The rules are delegated legislation and the delegate can claim no more power than what the ambit or scope of the delegation by the parent statute happens to be. Therefore, the rules ultra vires the power delegated being void ab initio cannot form part of the Act.

In General Officer, Commanding-in-Chief v. Subhash Chandra,[24] a rule was held ultra vires the Act in spite of the “as if enacted” clause in the parent Act. The Supreme Court rejected the argument that the impugned rule had become a part of the Act as soon as it was made, and, accordingly, the question of its contrariety to the parent Act could not arise at all.

Rejecting the argument, the Court declared the rules ultra vires the Act and observed clarifying the position as follows:

“It is well settled that rules framed under the provisions of a statute form part of the statute. In other words, rules have statutory force. But before a rule can have the effect of a statutory provision, two conditions must be fulfilled, namely: (1) it must conform to the provisions of the statute under which it is framed, and (2) it must also come within the scope and purview of the rule-making power of the authority framing the rule. If either of these two conditions is not fulfilled, the rule so formed would be void.”

So, according to the Court, even when there is “as if enacted” clause in the statute, a rule is to be valid must fulfill the two conditions mentioned above. This means that an ultra vires rule cannot be validated by the act “as if enacted” clause.

This judicial view has again been reiterated by the Supreme Court in Asstt. Collector, Central Excise v. Ramakrishnan Kulwant Rai.[25] The Supreme Court has now categorically taken the view that by use of expression ‘as if enacted in this Act’ formula, the subordinate legislation does not lose its character of being subordinate to parent Act and the formula does not bestow any additional sanctity to subordinate legislation which if not made within the strict limits of authority conferred by the parent Act is always open to challenge on the ground that it is unauthorized.[26]

Another formula used in statutes at times to exclude judicial review of delegated legislation is to say that when the rules are notified, the notification will be “conclusive evidence” that rules have been duly made in accordance with the provisions of the parent Act.

The effect of such a clause on judicial review of the validity of delegated legislation is not very clear. According to one view, such a clause cannot oust judicial review on the ground of substantive ultra vires, or where there is complete lack of jurisdiction in the rule-making authority to make rules in question.[27] If the parent statute prescribes some procedure for the making of rules, and the rule-making authority fails to take some of the steps in the prescribed procedure, the ‘conclusive evidence’ clause may be invoked to protect the rules from being invalidated only if the steps not taken are of a “minor” or “directory” nature.

The clause does not appear to protect the rules from judicial review if the deviation from the stipulated procedure is of a fundamental nature, or the breach is of a “mandatory” provision,[28] or when there is complete lack of jurisdiction in the rule-making authority. From this point of view, the ‘conclusive evidence’ clause does not appear to be of much efficacy in immunizing the rules from judicial review for, even in the absence of such a clause, the courts would not quash delegated legislation when only directory, and not mandatory, procedural norms are ignored by the rule-making authority.

But there is another view as well which supports a wider connotation of the ‘conclusive evidence’ clause. For example, in Maunath Bhanjan Municipality v. S.C. Mills, [29] the Supreme Court considered the scope of a provision in the parent Act saying that a notification published under it would be “conclusive proof” that the tax has been imposed in accordance with the provisions of this Act. The Supreme Court stated, expounding the significance of this clause, that “when a probative effect had been given by law making the notification of the imposition of the tax as ‘conclusive proof’ that the tax had been imposed ‘in accordance with the provisions of this Act’, no evidence could be allowed to combat that facr, and we have no hesitation in holding that the imposition was according to law”.[30]

In B.K. Srinivasan v. State of Karnataka,[31] the Supreme Court gave a very liberal connotation to the ‘conclusive evidence’ clause by calling it metaphorically as “Ganga” clause; just as a dip in the Ganga washes all sins, so this clause cures all defects.[32]

This formulation as regards the effect of the “conclusive evidence” clause appears to be much broader than the judicial statements made earlier and noted above.

The truth is that the question of the fact of “conclusive evidence” clause on judicial review of delegated legislations remains enigmatic. The courts do not appear to be clear on the point.

It is necessary to remember that to give a broad connotation to the clause, as has been done in Maunath’s and Srinivasan’s case, would be tantamount to destroying the efficacy of the doctrine of ultra vires as well as of all substantive and procedural safeguards which may be woven into the fabric of the parent statute. Broad interpretation is also against the general judicial policy of preserving judicial review and interpreting exclusionary clauses restrictively. The courts should therefore confine the clause in question to curing only minor defects of procedural nature and not beyond that. Further, it is also advisable that the Legislature avoids using such clauses in Statutes seeking to exclude judicial review. If the clause in question is interpreted restrictively, then the clause serves no purpose for the delegated legislation is in any case immune against the breaches of directory procedural norms. If the clause is interpreted broadly, it becomes objectionable as it negatives mandatory procedural requirements and other substantive restrictions contained in the law. What purpose is served by laying down, on the one hand, procedural and substantive safeguards and on the other hand, making the courts powerless to take cognizance of breaches of such safeguards in making delegated legislation.

It also needs to be pointed out that judicial review has now been placed on the high pedestal of being a “basic feature” of the Constitution.[33] This means that a statutory provision excluding judicial review may even be declared ultra vires.


In Delhi Development Authority v. M/s UEE Electricals Engg. Pvt. Ltd.[34], the Supreme Court made the following observations:

  1. “One can conveniently classify under three heads the grounds on which administrative action is subject to control by judicial review. The first ground is “illegality”, the second “irrationality”, and the third “procedural impropriety”. Courts are slow to interfere in matters relating to administrative functions unless decision is tainted by any vulnerability such as, lack of fairness in the procedure, illegality and irrationality. Whether action falls in any of the categories has to be established. Mere assertion in this regard would not be sufficient. The law is settled that in considering challenge to administrative decisions courts will not interfere as if they are sitting in appeal over the decision. He who seeks to invalidate or nullify any act or order must establish the charge of bad faith, an abuse or a misuse by the authority of its powers. It cannot be overlooked that burden of establishing mala fides is very heavy on the person who alleges it. The allegations of mala fides are often more easily made than proved, and the very seriousness of such allegations demands proof of a high order of credibility”.

  2. The doctrine of ‘legitimate expectations’ which has traditionally been used in litigation between private parties has also been recognized in the public law setting. In the U.K., this concept made its appearance in Schmidt v. Secy. of State,[35] where it was held that an alien who had been granted permission to enter the U.K. for a limited period had a legitimate expectation for being allowed to stay for the permitted period. This doctrine is based on the premise that a person may have an expectation of being treated in certain way by an administrative authority even though he has no legally protected right to receive such treatment. In this respect, Wade has emphasized the importance of this doctrine in the following words:[36]

  3. “In many cases legal rights are affected, as where property is taken by compulsory purchase or someone is dismissed from a public office. But in other cases, the person affected may have no more than an interest, a liberty or an expectation … a ‘legitimate expectation’ which means reasonable expectation, can equally well be invoked in any of many situations where fairness and good administration justify the right to be heard.”

  4. However, it must be kept in mind that the legitimacy of a particular expectation and the related claim is a question of fact which can be decided in light of larger public policy related concerns. It is open to the government to frame and reframe its policies, which may result in denying certain individuals or a class of persons the benefits which they had been previously receiving.

  • Upto 1947 the law in England was that the courts could interfere only with judicial or quasi-judicial decisions and not with administrative decisions. This legal position changed after the famous decision of Lord Greene in Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corp.,[37] which recognized that courts could indeed examine the process by which administrative decisions were arrived. The Wednesbury standard has often been misunderstood to mean that any administrative decision which is regarded by the Court as unreasonable can be struck down. However, the court’s primary concern should be with the fairness of the process by which an administrative decision is made and not necessarily with the substantive outcome of the same. A decision is unreasonable in the Wednesbury sense if:-

  • Firstly, it is based on wholly irrelevant material or on wholly irrelevant considerations,

  • Secondly, it has ignored relevant materials which should have been taken into consideration,

  • Lastly it is so irrelevant that no reasonable man could ever have arrived at the same.

This test made it clear that ordinarily an administrative action cannot be struck down merely because the judge disagrees with the final outcome of the administrative act. There must be a substantial degree of unreasonableness in the manner in which such an act took place. However, the application of the Wednesbury standard has been haphazard and there are competing views on its proper application.

The ‘doctrine of proportionality’ is another important basis for exercising judicial review. This entails that administrative measures must not be more drastic than what is necessary for attaining the desired result. The doctrine operates both in procedural and substantive matters. This principle contemplates scrutiny of whether the power that has been conferred on an executive agency is being exercised in proportion to the purpose for which it has been conferred. Thus, any administrative authority while exercising a discretionary power will have to necessarily establish that its decision is balanced and in proportion to the object of the power conferred.


In France, the procedure followed for annulling administrative action is known as the recours an annulation pour exces de pouvoir. The object of this procedure is to quash an administrative act or decision which is improper. The test of reasonableness is much broader in France than what it has been possible to achieve in the common law system. It is an overriding principle of the French administrative law that an administrative act is proper and, therefore, lawful only if it is reasonable, the opposite of capricious or arbitrary, and further, the administrator must produce the reason before the tribunal (Counseil d’Etat) whenever it thinks that there is sufficient ground for producing the reason. Thus, an administrative action can be brought to the test of reason. Whatever grounds of quashing an administrative action are available in England are available in France also but superadded to those is the test of reasonableness. In France, the ground of detournement de puvoirmeans that though the public authority has presented the external legal formalities, yet it has public authority has presented to it to secure recognition in India as well to some extent as discussed earlier, though in France it is used much more liberally by confining an unlimited discretion to a special and limited purpose and quashing as a detournement de pouvoir the use of the power or discretion not clearly directed to the attainment of that purpose so read into the statute by the Conseil d’Etat.

Further, in France, beyond this, there is the much developed ground of la violation de la loiwhich goes much further and is vastly multifarious. The implications are that the Conseil d’Etat can quash an administrative action which appears to it not to be in accord with the French legal system thought it does not infringe any positive enactment. Thus, the Conseil imposes on the administration conformity to a standard of conduct not enacted as obligatory by any statue.[38]


The administrative actions of public authorities often affect the legal rights of citizens. The courts are long used to dealing with citizen complaints. From the early days of the common law, the superior courts developed a number of remedies to supervise the decisions, proceedings and other actions of the inferior courts. With the growth in bureaucratic power the superior courts extended their supervisory jurisdiction to public authorities and expanded the remedies available for the purpose. Although the procedures for obtaining these remedies are different in many ways, they are all part of a process by which the courts control the actions of inferior courts and public.

While exercising ‘Judicial Review’, the courts do not exercise ordinary appellate powers. The intention is not to take away the powers and discretion that is properly vested with administrative authorities by law and to substitute the same with judicial determinations on specific facts. Judicial review is a protection and not an instrument for undue interference in executive functions. Any administrative action can only be set aside when it is arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable or perverse. In many administrative decisions and orders, proper reasons are not adduced for a given course of action, for instance actions such as those relating to dismissals from service, the awarding of a contract of the selection of a bidder from among several competitors. The absence of reasoned orders and the proper maintenance of records add to the burden of courts that are later called on to examine such decisions. Sometimes, considerations of expediency may only permit the decision-makers to produce a brief record of reasons for choosing a particular course of action. However, the promotion of such practices is an effective check against arbitrariness and it makes it easier to resolve grievances that might arise in the future.

The Judicial Review procedure should allow the court to protect the legal rights of individual citizens and control the illegal action of public authorities while taking into account the public interest in good administration. The procedure should enable the court to hear the evidence and arguments relevant to a claim for relief. Where a case for relief is made out, the court should be empowered to grant the most appropriate relief, be it prerogative or non-prerogative. The claim should not be defeated merely because the applicant applies for the wrong remedy. The procedure should accommodate individual cases while remaining as simple, expeditious and inexpensive as possible. Notice provisions and other safeguards should be fair to both applicants and respondents.

Judicial review thus, is the most potent weapon in the hands of the judiciary for the maintenance of the rule of law. It is the power of the courts to pronounce upon the constitutionality of legislative acts which fall within their normal jurisdiction to enforce and the power to refuse to enforce such as they find to be unconstitutional and void. In Keshavananda Bharati’s case, it has been held that Judicial Review is the basic feature of the Indian Constitution. The object of judicial review of administrative action by the courts is to keep the administrative authorities within the bounds of their powers under the law. Without the power of Judicial Review, there will be no government laws and the rule of law would become a teasing illusion and a promise of unreality. In recent times, judicial review of administrative action has become extensive and expensive. The traditional limitations have vanished and the sphere of judicial scrutiny is being expanded. Under the old theory, the courts used to exercise power only in cases of absence or excess or abuse of power. As the State activities have become pervasive and giant public corporations have come in existence, the stake of public exchequer justifies larger public audit and judicial control. It is fundamental principle of law that every power must be exercised within the four corners of law and within the legal limits. Exercise of administrative power is not an exception to that basic rule. The doctrines by which those limits are ascertained and enforced form the very marrow of administrative law. Unfettered discretion cannot exist where the rule of law reigns. Again, all power is capable of abuse, and that the power to prevent the abuse is the acid test of effective judicial review. In this paper, we discuss the general principle of Judicial Review on Administrative action in Indian legal system. Further, we analyze the nature, scope and limitations of judicial review in administrative action. Finally, a brief comparison is made between Indian legal system and foreign legal system with regard to the power of judicial review of administrative action.


[1] Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th ed., p 864.

[2] S.P. Sathe, Administrative Law, Lexis Nexis, 7th ed., 2010, p385.

[3] Dicey, AV, Law of the Constitution, Macmillan, 1952.

[4] (1994) 6 SCC 651 (680): AIR 1996 SC 11, 13.

[5] AIR 1996 Gau 17.

[6] (1996) 5 SCC 510.

[7] Delhi Development Authority v. Skipper Corporation AIR 1996 SC 715.

[8] Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. India (1996) 5 SCC 281

[9] Workmen of M/s Rohtas Industries v. Rohtas Industries AIR 1996 SC 467.

[10] [1947] 1 All ER 498.

[11] (1972) 2 QB 455, 492-93.

[12] [1977] AC 1014, (1976) 3 WLR 641. See comment 93 LQR, p 4 (1977).

[13] [1968] AC 997.

[14] Hemalatha Devi, Administrative Discretion and Judicial Review, Mittal Publications, 1994.

[15] (1894) AC 347.

[16] Schwartz, Administrative Finality in England, 26 Can BR 1072 (1948).

[17] (1931) AC 494.

[18] (1980) AC 718.

[19] (1969) 2 AC 147.

[20] R. Subba Rao v. CIT, AIR 1956 SC 604, para 15: 1956 SCR 577; Orient Weaving Mills v. Union of India, AIR 1963 SC 98: 1962 Supp(3) SCR 481.

[21] Chief Commissioner of Ajmer v. Radhey Shyam, AIR 1957 SC 304, para 14: 1957 SCR 68.

[22] AIR 1965 SC 1585, para 14: (1965) 1 SCR 601.

[23] Per Shah and Sikri, J.J., AIR 1965.

[24] AIR 1988 SC 876: (1988) 2 SCC 351, para 18.

[25] AIR 1989 SC 1829 at 1831: 1989 Supp(1) SCC 541; Jain, Cases, I, 179.

[26] Chief Inspector of Mines v. Karan Chand Thapar, AIR 1961 SC 838, para 14 at p. 844: (1962) 1 SCR 9. See further Prithvi Pal Singh Bedi v. Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 1413, para 15 at p. 1423: (1982) SCC 140; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief v. Subhas Chandra Yadav, AIR 1988 SC 876 p. 879: (1988) 2 SCC 351; See Justice G.P. Singh’s, Principles of Statutory Interpretation, 10th ed., 2006, p. 943.

[27] Trust Mai Lachmi Sialkot Bradari v. Chairman, Amritsar Improvement Trust, AIR 1963 SC 976, para 10: (1963) 1 SCR 242.

[28] Raza Buland Sagar Co., Rampur v. Municipal Board, Rampur, AIR 1965 SC 895, para 10: (1965) 1 SCR 970; Hapur Municipality v. Raghavendra, AIR 1966 SC 693: (1966) 1 SCR 950; See further S. N. Jain, Imposition of a new tax by a municipality: Procedural problems in Law, 3 Nagarlok 21 (1971); M. P. Jain, Administrative Law, VI ASIL 77-80 (1970).

[29] AIR 1977 SC 1055, paras 8, 9: (1977) 1 SCC 875.

[30] AIR 1977 SC 1055 at 1059: (1977) 2 SCR 865.

[31] AIR 1987 SC 1059: (1987) 1 SCC 658; Jain, Cases, I, 327. See also, BSNL v. BPL Mobile Cellular Ltd., (2008) 13 SCC 597, para 56: (2008) 7 SCJ 427.

[32] Also see, Berar Swadeshi Vanaspati v. Shegaon Municipality, AIR 1962 SC 420: (1962) 1 SCR 596, para 5.

[33] M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, Ch.XLI, 5th edition, 2006.

[34] (2004) 11 SCC 213.

[35] (1969) 1 All ER 904.

[36] Wade and Forsyth, Administrative Law, 7th ed. (Oxford University Press, 1994).

[37] (1947) 2 All ER 6801.

[38] Pan Faiz (October 2007), Unreasonable exercise of Discretion or violation of Wednesbury Principle, available at, accessed on 04 August 2012.


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