Every action of the state must be fair: SC

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that every action of the state must be fair, failing which it will fall foul of the fundamental right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

The observation came in a judgment by a Bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat allowing an appeal filed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The apex court set aside a Patna High Court decision to shift the proposed construction of a toll plaza at the 194 km milestone of Patna-Bakhtiyarpur section of NH 30 from its present location to any other place on a new alignment. The HC said this was necessary to avoid violation of Rule 8 of the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008.

“Undoubtedly, in India, every state action must be fair, failing which, it will fall foul of the mandate of Article 14. It is, at this juncture, we may also notice that the duty to give reasons, would arise even in the case of administrative action, where legal rights are at stake and the administrative action adversely affects legal rights,” the court said.

The court held that the construction of the toll plaza at 194 km was not illegal or arbitrary.

“The direction by the High Court, to shift toll plaza, cannot be upheld and it is liable to be set aside,” the Bench held.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:30:27 AM |

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