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Explanation given by Supreme court regarding administrative act and quasi judicial act

Dr V S Prasanna Rajan

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Dr V S Prasanna Rajan

The Supreme court in Appeal (civil) 3320-21 of 2001 - INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (I) Vs. INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL WELFARE & ORS.DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/05/2002 explained in detail between an administrative act and quasi judicial act.


The Supreme court held -


The legal principles laying down when an act of a statutory authority would be a quasi-judicial act, which emerge from the aforestated decisions


are these :


Where -


(a) a statutory authority empowered under a statute to do any act


(b) which would prejudicially affect the subject


© although there is no lis or two contending parties and the contest is between the authority and the subject and


(d) the statutory authority is required to act judicially under the statute, the decision of the said authority is quasi-judicial.


Applying the aforesaid principle, we are of the view that the presence of a lis or contest between the contending parties before a statutory authority, in the absence of any other attributes of a quasi-judicial authority is sufficient to hold that such a statutory authority is quasi judicial authority.


However, in the absence of a lis before a statutory authority, the authority would be quasi-judicial authority if it is required to act judicially.



Mere presence of one or two attributes of quasi judicial authority would not make an administrative act as quasi-judicial act.


In some case, an administrative authority may determine question of fact before arriving at a decision which may affect the right of an appellant but such a decision would not be quasi-judicial act.


It is different thing that in some cases fair-play may demand affording of an opportunity to the claimant whose right is going to be affected by the act of the administrative authority, still such an administrative authority would not be quasi-judicial authority.



What distinguishes an administrative act from quasi-judicial act is, in the case of quasi-judicial functions under the relevant law the statutory authority is required to act judicially.


In other words, where law requires that an authority before arriving at decision must make an enquiry, such a requirement of law makes the authority a quasi-judicial authority.



It must be borne in mind that another test which distinguishes administrative function from quasi-judicial function is, the authority who acts quasi-judicially is required to act according to the rules, whereas the authority which acts administratively is dictated by the policy and expediency.



Based on the clarifications provided by the supreme court it can be concluded that


(a) The First appellate authority is a quasi-judicial authority.


(b) A public information officer, who is bound by the statutory third party procedure under the RTI act, 2005, when dealing with third party information issues a notice of hearing to third party, thereby becomes a quasi judicial authority.


The decision of the supreme court is attached with this post.

Apex court - Explanation of the terms administrative function and quasi judical function.pdf

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