‘Reason Is The Soul Of Justice’: Patna High Court Imposes Exemplary Cost On Govt Official For Passing Unreasoned Order
[03 November 2021]
The Patna High Court held that even administrative and quasi-judicial authorities are expected to pass reasoned orders, in support of their conclusions, to avoid any prejudice. Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, while hearing an appeal against a black-listing (unreasoned) order passed by the Chief Engineer of State’s Road Construction Department, observed, “Keeping in mind the gravity of the consequences of action of black-listing, the authority exercising such power cannot afford to adopt a casual approach. Graver is the adverse effect of an action of a quasi-judicial functionary, heavier is the obligation on the authorities exercising such power to act fairly, reasonably, in a transparent manner and in conformity with the principles of natural justice.” The Judge added, “This duty becomes very onerous in the background of grave fall out of action of black-listing on a contractor. Recording of reasons is one of the basic, but most essential requirement for a qausi judicial functionary, if its order has adverse civil/evil consequences. In the absence of this minimum basic requisite, an order of black-listing would become vulnerable.” Justice Singh heavily relied on the Supreme Court’s observations in Kranti Associates (P) Ltd. v. Masood Ahmed Khan, where the the requirement of disclosing the reasons by a quasi-judicial authority in support of its order has been exhaustively dealt with.