High Court Of Karnataka
Decided on March 30,1971



NARAYANA PAI, C.J. - ( 1. ) THE petitioner seeks the issue of a writ of mandamus in enforcement of a right claimed by him of inspecting certain records of the respondent, the Board of Trustees for the Improvement of the City of Bangalore, hereinafter referred to as the Board.
( 2. ) THE factual basis for the claim is that he had applied for allotment of certain sites in a lay-out of building, sites prepared by the Board, going by the name " Raj Mahal Vilas Extension", that according to his understanding of the rules governing the allotment of sites, he was entitiled to a certain preference because he had made certain provious attempts for allotment or sites in other lay-outs prepared by the Board but that no site was allotted to him and that he suspects or has reason to believe that the persons were not persons to whom, if the rules had been fully obeyed, sites could have been or would have been allotted. He claims "I have every right to get an inspection of the records perfecting to the allotment of sites in question. Such an inspection is absolutely necessary in the interests of the purity of the administration." He also adds that such inspection is directly related to his right or interest in respect of the preposed allotment of sites. It is common ground that in his application for allotment of a site, the petiitoncr had indicated his preference in respect of three sites in a certain order. It is also common ground that none of these sites was allotted to him nor any other site. The only question is whether the petitioner has made out such right as would entitle him to the issue of a mandamus of the type claimed by him. Although the prayer is worded in wide terms, it is made clear in the course of arguments by Mr. Ranga Rao, learned Counsel for the petitioner, that he would limit his claim of inspection to such papers as have a direct bearing upon the decision of the Board not to allot any site to him or to allot the sites, in respect of which he had expressed preference, in favour of other persons.
( 3. ) NEITHER the City of Bangalore Improvement Act, 1945, nor the Rules made thereunder governing the allotment of sites called the City of Bangalore Improvement (Allotment of Sites) Rules, 1964, make any provision for inspection of papers of the Board. The matter therefore has to be examined on general principles. The most obvious starting point for investigation would be the principles stated or incorporated in Ss. 74 and 76 of the Evidence Act, although the Act may not of its own force apply to the Board or any statutory functions discharged by the Board. According to these sections, the right of inspection is given or must be regarded as having been given in respect of what are called 'public documents' to persons who have an interest governed or affected by the documents or contents of such documents. For our present purpose, it is enough to note that among public documents are enumerated documents which are described as forming the acts or records of the acts of official bodies. ;

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