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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The case in reference is John Paily v. State of Kerala [WPC 428/2021] (LL 2021 SC 227)
  • The writ petition was heard by a 2 judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice D.Y Chandrachud and Justice M.R Shah.
  • The petitioner in this petition had sought certain reliefs and asked the court to issue the writ of mandamus under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution for the same.

BACKGROUND DETAILS

• The relief sought by the petitioner are highlighted below. The petitioner primarily wanted a writ of mandamus to be issued or any other appropriate writ.

  1. The petitioner wanted the court to issue a writ/order/direction for the establishment of an independent tribunal consisting of retired HC judges to look into the claims of each parish church to determine which faction will have control over each church.
  2. Further, to direct such tribunal to execute its decision by handing over the management of the church in favour of that denomination constituting majority and also to distribute all the disputed properties of the concerned church equitably by way of partition.
  3. Even issue directions to the State of Kerala for passing a law to protect the church belonging to the members of the patriarch denomination and allowing them to exercise their religious freedom.
  4. Also to ensure & protect the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 14, 21, 25 & 26 of the Indian Constitution; direction for the same should be issued to the State of Kerala.
  5. To issue a declaration that the members of the same religious sect are allowed to profess and practise their religious beliefs.
  6. Lastly, issue a declaration that no previous judgment of the apex court will operate against the belief of petitioners and members of the same sect unless the same is protected under articles 25 & 26 of the Indian Constitution.

COURT OBSERVATIONS & VERDICT

Observations

  • The court came down heavily upon the petitioner and said this petition filed under article 32 of the Indian Constitution is an absolute abuse of the process.
  • It looked quite evident to the court that the purpose of this petition as sought in one of the above relief was to obtain a direction that no previous judgment of the apex court will operate on this subject and the reason for the same is because the petitioner considers being aggrieved by a decision passed by this court in the case of K.S Varghese v/s. Saint Peter's & Saint Paul's Syrian Orthodox Church.
  • If a party is aggrieved by a decision passed by this Court it cannot institute a petition to seek a remedy under Article 32.

Verdict

  • The court said that neither it can issue a writ of mandamus to constitute a tribunal nor can it instruct or direct the legislature of a State to do so having regards to article 245 and 246 of the Indian constitution.
  • The court in its verdict said that such a petition cannot be entertained and not maintainable. Hence, this petition is dismissed.

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