On 28th September 2020, Justices Rajesh Bridal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani heard the case of State of J&K through Principal Secretary, Home Department vs J&K State Human Rights Commission and Ors, via video-conferencing. The Court quashed the Order passed by the J&K State Human Rights Commission as it was passed outside its jurisdiction.
Facts of the Case
J&K State Human Rights Commission (Commission) received a Complaint wherein the Complainant was entitled to arrears of rent qua land measuring 02 Kanals and 04 Marlas. The Petitioner had to pay the rent. The Commission passed an Order against the Petitioner. The Petitioner filed a Writ of Mandamus for the Court to declare the Commission’s Order dated 22nd February 2018 null and void as the same was passed without any jurisdiction. Further, the Petitioner filed a Writ of Prohibition that should restrain the Commission to give effect to the Order passed by them. Further, the Petitioner sought relief under any other Writ, Order or direction which the Court deemed fit.
Arguments of the Petitioner
The Petitioner argued that the Order passed by the Commission was bad in law. This was because the commission had no jurisdiction to pass the said Order, the same being a Civil dispute. At the most, the Commission could have forwarded the Complaint to the forum having jurisdiction. Further, the Order was passed without any authority of law by the Commission. The Commission could not have inquired into the complaint regarding a matter not falling in its jurisdiction.
The rent was being continuously paid to the Complainant w.e.f. January 2015. The pivotal issue to consider was whether or not the Commission lacked jurisdiction to entertain such a complaint. Section 13 of the Protection of the Human Rights Act, 1993 defines the functions of the Commission. Section 24 of the Act provides for matters not subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction. The current matter was not such which could be entertained by the Commission. Further, Regulation 14 of Jammu and Kashmir State Human Right Commission (Procedure) Regulations 2011 states that the Complaints that are not entertainable by the Commission clearly prohibit civil disputes. Therefore, despite the aforesaid mandate, the Commission not only entertained the Complaint but also rendered a decision. The said action of the Commission runs contrary to the settled proposition of law. Evidently, the Commission entertained the instant case without any jurisdiction.
The Court allowed the Writ Petitions filed by the Petitioner and issued the Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition and thereby quashed the Order of the Commission dated 22nd February 2018.
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