Foreign entity not amenable to writ jurisdiction under Constitution: Delhi HC
New Delhi, Jul 27 (PTI)The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that a foreign entity is not amenable to its writ jurisdiction under the Constitution and dismissed an appeal against a single judge's order refusing to entertain allegations of racial discrimination and harassment by a foreign news agency.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, while dealing with the appeal by an aggrieved employee of the foreign news agency, said that the entity—which has its headquarters in France and was constituted by the Act of Parliament of France -- was not “State” under the Indian law.
Asserting that “writs are issued for the performance of public duties”, the court observed that the complaint of harassment by the appellant arose from the “internal working” of the news agency and the complaint against the said news agency is not in the course of its performance of its duty as a news agency.
“The complaint against Respondent No.2, which is a foreign entity, is not amenable to the writ jurisdiction as there is an employer-employee relationship which by no jurisdiction can be termed as a public function,” said the bench also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.
“The Respondent No.2 is an entity of France and even if the contention of the Petitioner is taken into account that the said news agency has been constituted by the Act of Parliament of France and is engaged in the activity of public function, it still cannot be termed as a State under Article 12 of the Constitution of India,” the court said.
The court also said that “in view of the frivolous petition and appeal”, which resulted in wastage of precious judicial time, it was “inclined to impose” costs of Rs 50,000 on the appellant.
On June 6, the single judge dismissed the appellant's writ petition, saying that it was not maintainable and that the newspaper or an agency engaged in the dissemination of news cannot be viewed as performing a public function.
The single judge had said, “Regard must be had to the fact that the expression 'public function' and 'public duty' have been understood to be those which are akin to functions performed by the State in its sovereign capacity. The court further notes that the contract of service between the petitioner and the second respondent is not imbued with any statutory flavour”. PTI ADS RKS RKS
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