(2) J., in R. v. Manchester Legal Aid

(2) The authority should be given to determine questions affect­ing the rights of subjects, and (3) They should have a duty to act judicially. The question whether an act is a judicial act or an administrative one arises ordinarily in the context of the proceedings of an ad­ministrative tribunal or authority. Therefore, the fact that an order was issued or an act emanated from an administrative tribunal would not make it any the less a quasi-judicial acts if the aforesaid tests were satisfied.

The concept of a quasi-judicial act has been conceived and developed by English Judges with a view to keep the administrative tribunals and authorities within bounds. Parker J., in R. v.

Manchester Legal Aid Committee, [1952] 2 Q.B. 413: [1952] 1 All E.R.

480, brought out the distinction between judicial and administrative acts very vividly in the following pas­sage:— “The true view, as it seems to us, is that the duty to act judicial­ly may arise in widely different circumstances which it would be im­possible, and indeed inadvisable, to attempt to define exhaustively. When, on the other hand, the decision is that of an administrative body and is actuated in whole or in part by question of policy, the duty to act judicially may arise in the course of arriving at that decision. Thus, if, in order to arrive at the decision, the body concerned had to consider proposal and objections and consider evidence then there is the duty to act judicially in the course of that inquiry Further, an administrative body in ascertaining facts of law may be under a duty to act judicially notwithstanding that its proceedings have, none of the formalities of, and are not in accordance with the practice of a court of law. If, on the other hand, an administrative body in arriving at its decision at no stage has before it any form of lis and throughout has to consider the question from the point of view of policy and ex­pediency, it cannot be said that it is under a duty at any stage to act judicially.” The relevant principles have been succinctly stated in Halsbury’s Laws of England, Third Edition, Vol. II at pages 54 and 56 thus: “Is is not necessary that it should be a court.

An administrative body in ascertaining facts or law may be under a duty to act judicial­ly notwithstanding that its proceedings have none of the formalities of, and are not in accordance with the practice of, a Court of law. It is enough if it is exercising, after hearing evidence, judicial functions in the sense that it has to decide, on evidence between a proposal and an opposition. A body may be under a duty, however, to act judicial­ly (and subject to control by means of these orders) although there is no form of lis inter parties before it, it is enough that it should have to determine a question solely on the facts of the particular case, solely on the evidence before it, apart from question of policy or any other extraneous considerations.

Moreover, an administrative body whose decision is actuated in whole or in part by questions of policy may be under a duty to act judicially in the course of arriving at that decision. If on the other hand an administrative body in arriving at its decision has before it at no stage any form of lis and throughout has to consider the question from the point of view of policy, and expediency, it cannot be said that it is under a duty at any time to act judicially.” There are innumerable decisions of the Supreme Court where it issued a writ of certiorari to quash a quasi-judicial act of administra­tive tribunal or authority. The Supreme Court set aside- (i) The other of the Andhra Pradesh State Government approving the order of nationalization of road transport made by the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Undertaking in the case of Nageswara Rao v.

Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, A.I.R. 1959 S.C. 308: [1959] l.

S.C.R. 319; (ii) The order of the Examination Committee cancelling the ex­amination results.

On the ground that it did not give opportunity to the examinees to be heard before the order made in the case of Board of High School and Intermediate Education U.P. v. Ghanshyam Das Gupta, A.

I.R. 1962 S.C. 110: [1962] 3 S.C.

R. 35; and (iii) The order of the Revenue Board made in a revision petition against the order of the Deputy Commissioner impounding the docu­ment without hearing the aggrieved party in the case of Board of Revenue U.P. v. Sardarni Vidyawati, A.I.R. 1962 S.

C. 1217: [1962] 3 S.C.R. 50. In all these cases the Government, the Examination Committee and the Board of Revenue were administrative bodies, but the acts impugned were quasi-judicial one, for they had a duty to act judicial­ly in regard thereto. The law on the subject may be briefly stated thus: The provisions of a statute may enjoin on an administrative authority to act administratively or judicially.

If the statute expressly imposes a duty on the administrative body to act judicially, it is a clear case of judicial act. But the duty to act judicially may not be expressly conferred but may be inferred from the provisions of the statute. It may be gathered from— (i) The cumulative effect of the nature of the rights affected, (ii) The manner of the disposal provided, (iii) The objective criterion to be adopted, (iv) The phraseology used, (v) The nature of the power conferred, (vi) The nature of the duty imposed on the authority, and (vii) Other indicia afforded by the statute.

In short, a duty to act judicially may arise in widely different circumstances and it is not possible or advisable to lay down a hard and fast rule or an inflexible rule of guidance. Now the question arises whether the order of the Commissioner of Income-tax, in the exercise of the re visional power, as a judicial or a quasi-judicial or a quasi-judicial act subject to the prerogative writ of certiorari. The Commissioner exercising revision jurisdiction under sec­tion 264 of the Income-tax Act does not function in an administrative capacity and writ of certiorari is maintainable to quash his orders. Prima facie the jurisdiction conferred under this section is a judicial one. The order that is brought before the Commissioner affects the rights of the assessee. It is implicit in revision jurisdiction that the revising authority shall give an opportunity to the parties affected to put forward their case in the prescribed manner.

The nature of the jurisdiction and the rights decided carry with them necessarily the duty to act judicially in disposing of the revision. The fact that the Commissioner cannot make an order to the prejudice of an assessee does not possibly change the character of the proceeding. Though the Commissioner may not change the order of the inferior authority to the prejudice of the assessee, he may not give the full relief asked for by the assessee.

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