"Reason is the very life of law. When the reason of a law once ceases, the law itself generally ceases (Wharton's Law Lexicon). Such is the significance of reasoning in any rule of law. Giving reasons furthers the cause of justice as well as avoids uncertainty. As a matter of fact it helps in the observance of law of precedent. Absence of reasons on the contrary essentially introduces an element of uncertainty, dissatisfaction and give entirely different dimensions to the questions of law raised before the higher/appellate courts. In our view, the court should provide its own grounds and reasons for rejecting claim/prayer of a party whether at the very threshold i.e., at admission stage or after regular hearing, howsoever concise they may be. We would reiterate the principle that when reasons are announced and can be weighed, the public can have assurance that process of correction is in place and working. It is the requirement of law that correction process of judgments should not only appear to be implemented but also seem to have been properly implemented. Reasons for an order would ensure and enhance public confidence and would provide due satisfaction to the consumer of justice under our justice dispensation system. It may not be very correct in law to say, that there is a qualified duty imposed upon the courts to record reasons."


The Hon'ble Sri Justice C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy

Writ Petition No.21602 of 2012

18-7-2012

G.Prabhakar and 14 others.

Collector (Civil Supplies), Karimnagar District and 3 others.

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

Counsel for the petitioners:            Sri T.Mahender Rao

Counsel for the respondents:            AGP for Civil Supplies

?CASES REFERRED:    
1. AIR 1966 S.C. 671
2.  (2010) 2 SCC 497
3.  (2010) 3 SCC 732
4.  (2010) 4 SCC 785

Order:
This Writ Petition is filed for a Mandamus to set aside the orders in
proceedings No.F/809/2012 of respondent No.2.
The petitioners are fair price shop dealers of Sircilla Town, Karimnagar
District.  On certain allegations levelled against them regarding the improper
distribution of essential commodities, respondent No.1 directed respondent No.2
to initiate appropriate action against them.  Accordingly, respondent No.2
issued separate but identical show cause notices, dated 28-05-2012, to the
petitioners.  The sum and substance of the said showcause notices is that the
petitioners have distributed PDS rice to the persons, whose names were not in
existence in dynamic key register but were found in the manual key register, and
that they have not distributed PDS rice to the genuine card holders on the
ground that their names do not exist in the manual key register.
The petitioners filed separate explanations wherein they have denied these
allegations.  By the impugned orders in proceedings No.F/809/2012, which are
almost proto-type, respondent No.2 has cancelled the authorisations of the
petitioners.  The main ground on which these orders are questioned by the
petitioners is that they are shorn of any reasons.
A perusal of the impugned orders would show that respondent No.2 has stated
therein that on the abovementioned allegations, show cause notices were issued
and the dealers filed their explanations (in some cases within the stipulated
period and in some other cases beyond the stipulated period).  On noting the
above facts, respondent No.2 has stated as under:
"The explanation submitted by the dealer is not maintainable & convinced, as
such it is construed that, the dealer has involved in misappropriate of PDS Rice
that is diversion of PDS Rice and contravened the clause 17 (a) (b) (c) of
APSPDS (Control) Order, 2008."

I am in complete agreement with the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the
above-extracted part of the impugned orders hardly contains any reason for
visiting the petitioners with the extreme penalty of cancellation of their
authorisations.  The law is well settled that the duty to record reasons by any
authority dealing with the rights of a citizen constitutes an integral part of
principles of natural justice.
In Madhya Pradesh Industries Ltd. Vs. Union of India and others1, the Supreme
Court, while dealing with an order passed by the Central Government under Rule
55 of the A.P. Mineral Concession Rules 1960, emphasized on the need for giving
reasons in support of the order.  The Supreme Court inter alia held that the
condition to give reasons introduces clarity and excludes or at any rate
minimises arbitrariness; it gives satisfaction to the party against whom the
order is made; and it also enables an appellate or supervisory Court to keep the
Tribunals within bounds.
In G. Vallikumari Vs. Andhra Education Society and others2, the Supreme Court,
at para-19, held:
"...The requirement of recording reasons by every quasi-judicial or even an
administrative authority entrusted with the task of passing an order adversely
affecting an individual and communication thereof to the affected person is one
of the recognised facets of the rules of natural justice and violation thereof
has the effect of vitiating the order passed by the authority concerned."

        In Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall Vs. Howrah Ganatantrik
Nagrik Samity and others3, the Supreme Court held at paras 40, 41 and 42, as
under:
"It is a settled legal proposition that not only an administrative but also a
judicial order must be supported by reasons, recorded in it.  Thus, while
deciding an issue, the court is bound to give reasons for its conclusion.  It is
the duty and obligation on the part of the court to record reasons while
disposing of the case.  The hallmark of an order and exercise of judicial power
by a judicial forum is to disclose its reasons by itself and giving of reasons
has always been insisted upon as one of the fundamentals of sound administration
of justice-delivery system, to make known that there had been proper and due
application of mind to the issue before the court and also as an essential
requisite of the principles of natural justice.  "The giving of reasons for a
decision is an essential attribute of judicial and judicious disposal of a
matter before courts, and which is the only indication to know about the manner
and quality of exercise undertaken, as also the fact that the court concerned
had really applied its mind." (Vide State of Orissa v. Dhaniram Luhar (2004) 5
SCC 568 and State of Rajasthan v. Sohan Lal (2004) 5 SCC 573)
        Reason is the heartbeat of every conclusion.  It introduces clarity in an
order and without the same, it becomes lifeless.  Reasons substitute
subjectivity by objectivity.  Absence of reasons renders the order
indefensible/unsustainable particularly when the order is subject to further
challenge before a higher forum. (Vide: Raj Kishore Jha v. State of Bihar (2003)
11 SCC 519, SCC p.527, para 19; Vishnu Dev Sharma v. State of U.P. (2008) 3 SCC
172; SAIL v. STO ((2008) 9 SCC 407, State of Uttaranchal v. Sunil Kumar Singh
Negi (2008) 11 SCC 205, U.P. SRTC v. Jagdish Prasad Gupta (2009) 12 SCC 609, Ram  
Phal v. State of Haryana (2009) 3 SCC 258, Mohd. Yusuf v. Faji Mohammad (2009) 3
SCC 513 and State of H.P. v. Sada Ram (2009) 4 SCC 422).
        Thus, it is evident that the recording of reasons is a principle of
natural justice and every judicial order must be supported by reasons recorded
in writing.  It ensures transparency and fairness in decision making.  The
person who is adversely affected may know, as to why his application has been
rejected."

        In Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Tax Department, Works Contract and  
Leasing, Kota Vs. Shukla and Brothers4, the Supreme Court has reiterated the
importance of giving reasons by a public authority.  It is apt to quote the
relevant part of the Judgment hereunder:
        "Reason is the very life of law.  When the reason of a law once ceases,
the law itself generally ceases (Wharton's Law Lexicon).  Such is the
significance of reasoning in any rule of law.  Giving reasons furthers the cause
of justice as well as avoids uncertainty.  As a matter of fact it helps in the
observance of law of precedent.  Absence of reasons on the contrary essentially
introduces an element of uncertainty, dissatisfaction and give entirely
different dimensions to the questions of law raised before the higher/appellate
courts.  In our view, the court should provide its own grounds and reasons for
rejecting claim/prayer of a party whether at the very threshold i.e., at
admission stage or after regular hearing, howsoever concise they may be.
        We would reiterate the principle that when reasons are announced and can
be weighed, the public can have assurance that process of correction is in place
and working.  It is the requirement of law that correction process of judgments
should not only appear to be implemented but also seem to have been properly
implemented.  Reasons for an order would ensure and enhance public confidence 
and would provide due satisfaction to the consumer of justice under our justice
dispensation system.  It may not be very correct in law to say, that there is a
qualified duty imposed upon the courts to record reasons."

        In the light of the well settled legal principles as discussed above, the
impugned orders cannot be sustained as they are shorn of any reasons whatsoever.
They are accordingly set-aside.  The matter is remitted to respondent No.2 for
considering the explanations of the petitioners by giving them an opportunity of
personal hearing and passing a detailed order.
The Writ Petition is, accordingly, allowed to the extent indicated above.
        As a sequel, WPMP.No.27693 of 2012, filed by the petitioners for interim
relief, is disposed of as infructuous.
_____________________  
C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy, J
18th July, 2012

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