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Municipal Committee Katra and Ors. Vs. Ashwani Kumar (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 398) - (Supreme Court) (09 May 2024)

Disputes arising out of purely contractual obligations cannot be entertained by High Court in exercise of the extra ordinary writ jurisdiction



The brief controversy presented for adjudication in present appeals is whether the High Court in exercise of writ jurisdiction, was entitled to entertain a dispute which was purely civil in nature filed for claiming monetary relief/damages arising from fallout of contractual obligations.

No one can be permitted to take undue and unfair advantage of his own wrong to gain favourable interpretation of law. It is a sound principle that he who prevents a thing from being done shall not avail himself of the non-performance he has occasioned. To put it differently, 'a wrong doer ought not to be permitted to make profit out of his own wrong'. The conduct of the Respondent-writ Petitioner is fully covered by the aforesaid proposition.

Once the Respondent-writ Petitioner had participated in the tender process being fully conscious of the terms and conditions of the auction notice, he was estopped from taking a U-turn so as to question the legality or validity of the terms and conditions of the auction notice. By dragging the matter to litigation, the Respondent himself was responsible for the delay occasioned in issuance of the work order which deprived him of the opportunity to work for the entire period of 365 days.

Furthermore, the relief which was sought by the Respondent in the writ petition was purely by way of damages. By no stretch of imagination, such relief could have been subject matter of extra ordinary writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The quantification of the damages would require entering into disputed questions of facts and hence, the High Court ought to have relegated the writ Petitioner (Respondent herein) to the competent Court for claiming damages, if so advised.

Law is well settled that disputes arising out of purely contractual obligations cannot be entertained by the High Court in exercise of the extra ordinary writ jurisdiction. The impugned judgments are quashed and set aside. Appeals allowed.


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