Supreme & Paige

Whether High Court, in its writ jurisdiction, could entertain a purely civil dispute filed for monetary relief/damages arising from contractual obligations.


  1. Municipal Committee, Katra issued a Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) for the supply of mules and mazdoors for transporting pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi.
  2. The respondent became the highest bidder after the original highest bidder did not execute the contract.
  3.  The contract was offered to the respondent who accepted the offer.
  4. The tenure of the contract was from 1st April, 2010 till 31st March, 2011.
  5. The successful bidder was required to deposit 40% of the bid amount within 24 hours of acceptance and provide post-dated cheques and a bank guarantee for the remaining tenure of the contract.

Observations of High court:

The High Court observed that the respondent-writ petitioner participated in the tender process without raising any issues about Clause-8 of the auction notice. When the original highest bidder did not execute the contract, the respondent became the highest bidder and accepted the offer with full knowledge of the terms and conditions. However, the respondent later challenged Clause-8 in a civil suit, causing delays in issuing the work order. The High Court noted that the respondent’s actions prevented him from working for the full contract period and that seeking damages through a writ petition was not appropriate as it involved disputed factual issues best addressed in a competent court for contractual disputes. The High Court emphasized that disputes arising from purely contractual obligations should not be entertained under extraordinary writ jurisdiction.


Contentions/ Submissions of Appellants:

The appellant’s counsel contended that the respondent’s failure to adhere to Clause-8 in the NIT caused the work order delay. Despite participating in the auction, the respondent challenged the clause post-bid acceptance, leading to uncertainty. The appellants were contemplating retendering due to the respondent’s non-compliance. The counsel criticized the High Court for entertaining damages claims through a writ petition instead of a civil suit. They also questioned the illogical quantification of damages and urged the Court to overturn the judgments.


Contentions/Submissions of Respondent:

Mr. Rakesh K. Khanna, representing the respondent, argued that the appellant Municipal Committee unjustly deprived the respondent of 33 days of work despite the contract being for a full year. This resulted in the appellant profiting from the respondent’s loss. The High Court’s decision to grant equitable relief was fair and should not be interfered with, as it balanced the equities in the matter effectively.



1.The court observed that the respondent had participated in the tender process with full awareness of the terms and conditions of the auction notice. By challenging these terms in court after being awarded the contract, the respondent caused delays that deprived him of the opportunity to work for the full contractual period.

2.The court also noted that the relief sought by the respondent in the form of damages was not suitable for resolution through extraordinary writ jurisdiction, as it involved disputed factual questions better addressed in a competent court for contractual disputes.



The principle established is that a party cannot benefit from their own wrongdoing, as reflected in the maxim “nullus commodum capere potest de injuria sua propria.” The respondent participated in the tender process fully aware of its terms and later challenged these terms to avoid compliance, causing delays. Such disputes, especially those seeking damages, fall outside the High Court’s writ jurisdiction and should be addressed in a competent civil court.



Appeal Allowed.



Case tittle.  Municipal committee Katra and Others vs Ashwani Kumar

Case no. Civil Appeal no. 14970 of 2017


Jatin Jain,

S.N.B.P.Law College, Pune (Semester-6th)





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