Ramakrishna Mission vs Kago Kunya - Important Supreme Court Judgment 2019

Ramakrishna Mission vs Kago Kunya - Important Supreme Court Judgment 2019

On 28th February, 2019, in the case of Ramakrishna Mission & Anr. v. Kago Kunya & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 2394 of 2019], it was held that “neither the Ramakrishna Mission nor its hospital “would constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 226 of the Constitution”. It was held that “the High Court was not justified in coming to the conclusion that the appellants are amenable to the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution as an authority within the meaning of the Article.”

The Supreme Court was of the view that “in running the hospital, Ramakrishna Mission does not discharge a public function.” It was held that “before an organisation can be held to discharge a public function, the function must be of a character that is closely related to functions which are performed by the State in its sovereign capacity.” The Court observed that there was “nothing on record to indicate that the hospital performs functions which are akin to those solely performed by State authorities”. It was held that “the character of the organisation as a public authority is dependent on the circumstances of the case” and “in setting up the hospital, the Mission cannot be construed as having assumed a public function. The hospital has no monopoly status conferred or mandated by law. That it was the first in the State to provide service of a particular dispensation does not make it an ‘authority’ within the meaning of Article 226.”

The Court observed that “the mere fact that land had been provided on a concessional basis to the hospital would not by itself result in the conclusion that the hospital performs a public function” and in the present case, “the absence of state control in the management of the hospital has a significant bearing” for “coming to the conclusion that the hospital does not come within the ambit of a public authority.” It was observed that “private individuals and organizations are subject to diverse obligations under the law” “but that does not make every entity or activity an authority under Article 226.” 


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