The distinction between private law and public law remedy was, fairly, settled by the Apex Court in LIC vs. Escorts India Ltd [(1986) 1 SCC 264], wherein a Constitution Bench has held thus:
If the action of the State is related to contractual obligations or obligations arising out of the tort, the Court may not ordinarily examine it unless the action has some public law character attached to it. Broadly speaking, the Court will examine actions of State if they pertain to the public law domain and refrain from examining them if they pertain to the private law field. The difficulty will lie in demarcating the frontier between the public law domain and the private law field. It is impossible to draw the line with precision and we do not want to attempt it. The question must be decided in each case with reference to the particular action, the activity in which the State or the instrumentality of the State is engaged when performing the action, the pubic law or private law character of the action and a host of other relevant circumstances.
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