Supreme Court in S.P Gupta v. President of India, 1981 (Sup.) SCC 87 -. writ petitions were filed in various High Courts challenging a letter issued by the then Law Minister asking Chief Ministers of the States of India to obtain consent from additional judges of the High Courts for transfer to other High Courts as a move was afoot to have 1/3rd strength of Judges of High Courts from outside the States. A similar consent was also required to be submitted by persons recommended to be elevated as additional Judges. Senior lawyers of various High Courts had filed the writ petitions which were ultimately transferred to the Supreme Court and on behalf of the respondents therein, preliminary objection of locus standi was raised as none of the writ petitioners had been adversely affected in any manner by the communication nor any of their rights had been violated. If at all, it was submitted, rights of additional Judges had been violated who were not the writ petitioners. The concept was discussed thus, by the Constitution Bench.
‘14. The traditional rule in regard to locus standi is that judicial redress is available only to a person who has suffered a legal injury by reason of violation of his legal right or legal protected interest by the impugned action of the State or a public authority or any other person or who is likely to suffer a legal injury by reason of threatened violation of his legal right or legally protected interest by any such action. The basis of entitlement to judicial redress is personal injury to property, body, mind or reputation arising from violation, actual or threatened, of the legal right or legally protected interest of the person seeking such redress. This is a rule of ancient vintage and it arose during an era when private law dominated the legal scene and public law had not yet been born. The leading case in which this rule was enunciated and which marks the starting point of almost every discussion on locus standi is Ex parte Sidebotham (1980) 14 Ch D 458. There the Court was concerned with the question whether the appellant could be said to be a ‘person aggrieved' so as to be entitled to maintain the appeal. The Court in a unanimous view held that the appellant was not entitled to maintain the appeal because he was not a ‘person aggrieved' by the decision of the lower Court. James, L.J. gave a definition of ‘person aggrieved' which, though given in the context of the right to appeal against a decision of a lower Court, has been applied widely in determining the standing of a person to seek judicial redress, with the result that it has stultified the growth of the law in regard to judicial remedies. The learned Lord Justice said that a ‘person aggrieved' must be a man “who has suffered a legal grievance, a man against whom a decision has been pronounced which has wrongfully deprived him of something or wrongfully refused him something or wrongfully affected his title to something.” Thus definition was approved by Lord Esher M. R. in In Re Reed Bowen & Co. (1887) 19 QBD 174 and the learned Master of the Rolls made it clear that when James L. J. said that a person aggrieved must be a man against whom a decision has been pronounced which has wrongfully refused him of something, he obviously meant that the person aggrieved must be a man who has been refused something which he had a right to demand. There have been numerous subsequent decisions of the English Courts where this definition has been applied for the purpose of determining whether the person seeking judicial redress had locus standi to maintain the action. It will be seen that, according to this rule, it is only a person who has suffered a specific legal injury by reason of actual or threatened violation of his legal right or legally protected interest who can bring an action for judicial redress. Now obviously where an applicant has a legal right or a legally protected interest, the violation of which would result in legal injury to him, there must be a corresponding duty owed by the other party to the applicant. This rule in regard to locus standi thus postulates a right-duty pattern which is commonly to be found in private law litigation. But, narrow and rigid though this rule may be, there are a few exceptions to it which have been evolved by the Courts over the years.'
S.P Gupta v. President of India, 1981 (Sup.) SCC 87.