Handyside V. U.: Interpreting The Wednesbury Case

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REVISITING THE WEDNESBURY PRINCIPAL
Back in the sombre days of Nov. ember 1947 in the seminal Wednesbury case, master Master of the rollsRolls, Lord Greene expounded the following classic principle of public law principle: ‘… “… a person entrusted with a discretion must, asso to speak, direct him properly in law”. When an administrative body went tries to reach beyond the four corners of thethe powers given toconferred on it from by the legislative in applying the discretion, the courts can strike down the same. This was applied widely to administrative actions based on unrelevant irrelevant considerations, actions which did not take note of relevant considerations or which are plainly beyond the powers of the particular body. This was the conventional procedural ground on which the judicial review of the administrative discretion operated and the Wednesbury decision merely reinforced it. Secondly, and most importantly, the Court could also intervene when the challenged impugned decision was so un-unreasonable that no reasonable body could actually arrive at it.
In Daly, the
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but finally decided to bifurcate usage of the test into two particles. Firstly, where administrative action was objected as discrimination under Article 14 of constitution, the proportionality doctrine could be used. Secondly, where the objection was under the head of administrative arbitration, the proportionality test would not applicable. The Court accepted that the proportionality test lay down a higher benchmark to judge administrative functions. All the same, they opiniated that in cases of challenge under the head of arbitrariness, the same would be subject to Wednesbury judgement. This squarely askewed the application of tests in favor of Wednesbury as most of the cases in public sector employment came under the head of administrative unreasonability as opposed to

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