Managing a Construction Project not within jurisdiction of the Court: Supreme Court refuses to intervene in plea by disgruntled buyers

It held that day-to-day supervision of the project, including financing, permissions and execution "would be beyond the ken of judicial review and competence of the court."
Managing a Construction Project not within jurisdiction of the Court: Supreme Court refuses to intervene in plea by disgruntled buyers
Construction

The Supreme Court on Friday held that managing a construction project does not fall within its jurisdiction, and that the power to make decisions on the same cannot be taken over by the Court [Shelly Lal v. Union of India].

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna passed the order in a plea by 25 purchasers of a commercial property in Noida which never materialized from the drawing board.

"The writ petition requires the Court to step into the construction project and to ensure that it is duly completed. This would be beyond the remit and competence of the Court under Article 32. Managing a construction project is not within the jurisdiction of the court," the order said.

The petitioners, represented by advocate Shikhil Suri, urged the Court to protect the larger interests of the buyers, sought a direction for the revival of the project failing which the amounts invested by the petitioners be returned with interest, and also prayed for a court-monitored probe.

However, stating that the plea would require it to intervene in a construction project, the top court held that the same is beyond the scope of its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution.

Managing a construction project is not within the jurisdiction of the Court.
Supreme Court

The Court further observed that there are statutory bodies under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 which could look into the interests of the buyers.

"A decision of a public authority which is entrusted with a public duty is amenable to judicial review. But it is quite another hypothesis to postulate that the decision making authority should be taken over by the court. The latter is impermissible. It would be inappropriate for this Court to assume the jurisdiction to supervise the due completion of a construction project especially in facts such as those presented in the present case," the order read.

The Bench also held that drawing it into day-to-day supervision of the project, including financing, permissions and execution "would be beyond the ken of judicial review and competence of the court."

"The court must confine itself to its core competencies which consist in the adjudication of disputes amenable to the application of legal standards," the three-judge Bench concluded.

After making these observations, the Court disposed of the writ petition.

[Read order]

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