Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Vinay Kumar Shukla, J., upheld the decision of the Railway Claims Tribunal by dismissing a petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India challenging the legality and validity of an order by the Railway Claims Tribunal.

The petitioner had filed a claim petition under Section 16 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 for grant of compensation on the death of her deceased husband who died in a train accident. The petitioner, through an amendment application, wished to change of place of the accident itself and also the train number without any plausible reason. The respondent argued that if the amendment was allowed after the filing of the written statement, it would change the entire nature of the claim. Since the petitioners had already sought five adjournments in the matter, the case was fixed for evidence.

The Court did not find any illegality in the impugned order which rejected the application for amendment. The Court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Jai Singh v. MCD, (2010) 9 SCC 385 and further stated that “it is settled law that jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India cannot be exercised to correct all errors of subordinate Courts within its limitation. It can be exercised where the order is passed in grave dereliction of duty and flagrant abuse of the fundamental principle of law and justice”.

The supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India is exercised for keeping the subordinate courts within the bounds of their jurisdiction. Be it a writ of certiorari or the exercise of supervisory jurisdiction, none is available to correct mere errors of fact or of law unless the following requirements are satisfied –

(i) the error is manifest and apparent on the fact of the proceedings such as when it is based on clear ignorance or utter disregard of the provisions of law; and

(ii) a grave injustice or gross failure of justice has occasioned thereby.

In view of the aforesaid enunciation of law, the instant petition is devoid of merit and is hereby dismissed.[Narmada Bai v. Union of India, MP-4024-2019, decided on 16-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: The petitioners invoked Article 227 of the Constitution before the Bench of Sheel Nagu, J., seeking a decree of declaration of title and permanent injunction in respect of agricultural land, where they suffered dismissal of application under Order 13 Rule 1 & 2 of Civil Procedure Code by the trial Court as well as the appellate court.

It was submitted that despite prima facie case being in favour of plaintiffs due to the fact that revenue record showed the plaintiffs being in possession of land in question, the Courts below were found to have gravely erred in law in holding otherwise. It was found by the order of Trial Court that there was no documentary evidence available on record demonstrating that plaintiff had the possession of the suit property at the time of institution of suit. Court found it evident that plaintiffs failed to show a prima facie case in their favour thus, no need to look upon the aspects of the balance of convenience and irreparable loss was warranted before the trial court and appellate forum.

High Court was of the view that if the plaintiff raises a fair question as to the existence of the legal rights claimed by him then a temporary injunction can be granted after a prima facie case is established. In view of the aforementioned, the exercise of discretion by trial and appellate Court were not showing any jurisdictional error. As the view taken by trial and appellate court should not have been taken in the given facts and circumstances and merely because a different view was possible was not a good ground to interfere in the limited supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution. Therefore, this petition was dismissed. [Ram Singh Rawat v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 409, dated 28-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: An application filed before a Bench of Sheel Nagu, J., by petitioner for grant of permit for the corridor route, i.e. Narsinghgarh to Barai via specified places was dismissed by respondent, i.e. Secretary, State Transport Authority. Hence, petitioner filed this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution invoking supervisory jurisdiction.

It was found that petitioner had an alternative statutory remedy of approaching the State Transport Appellate Authority at Gwalior. Petitioner had referred to the case of Waheed Khan v. Transport Department, WP No. 7703 of 2018, and submitted that there are no disputed questions of fact involved and since the order of the Secretary, STA, Gwalior is passed in violation of the statutory provision, the High Court can interfere.

High Court was of the view that the right interpretation of the Gazette is through the attending facts and circumstances of this case and the question to be decided which in the considered opinion of the Court involves disputed questions of fact, cannot be gone into under the writ jurisdiction. Since the statutory remedy was available the Court refused to exercise its writ jurisdiction and relegated the matter to the State Transport Appellate Authority at Gwalior. [Harish Kumar v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 198, dated 24-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Bench of Sanjeev Kumar, J. dismissed a petition filed against the order of a Subordinate Civil Judge where the application of the petitioner seeking leave of the court to file additional pleas (replica) was cancelled.

The facts of the case are that a suit was filed by the petitioner for Permanent and Mandatory Injunction restraining the respondent from raising any construction illegally and unauthorizedly to the prejudice of the rights of the petitioner which was pending adjudication before the Subordinate Civil Judge. Respondent then filed his written statement in which he clearly refuted the contents of the plaint. The petitioner with a view to file additional pleading moved an application before the trial court for submitting additional pleadings (replica). The trial court did not find any substance in the application and rejected the same. The ground that was given for rejection was that the petitioner failed to demonstrate any new facts which had come in the written statement and which needed to be refuted or explained.

The Court held that no case was made out for the exercise of the power of superintendence of the Court vested by virtue of Section 104 of the J&K Constitution. The order fell in the realm of discretionary order and unless the discretion was demonstrated to have been exercised with material irregularity, and in ignorance of the settled legal principles it could not be made the subject matter of interference in supervisory jurisdiction. The Petition was thus dismissed. [Abdul Rashid Chalak v. State of J&K, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1039, decided on 24-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Dama Seshadri Naidu, J. while hearing an original petition in a debt recovery matter ruled that where a Tribunal exercises its jurisdiction over more than one State, then the High Court in the State where the first court is located has supervisory jurisdiction over the said Tribunal.

In a recovery proceeding filed by the respondent bank, petitioner purchased a secured asset brought for sale by the bank. Defaulting borrowers filed an application before Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Ernakulam which set aside the sale in favour of petitioner. Aggrieved thereby, bank filed an appeal before Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT), Chennai wherein the petitioner pleaded that he had parted with his money and purchased the property on bank officials’ assurance. But since the property was now entangled in legal proceedings, he did not wish to contest the proceedings and wanted his money back with interest and damages. In this backdrop, the present petition was filed seeking a direction to DRAT, Chennai for early disposal of the appeal.

The respondent bank raised an objection as to maintainability of the petition in view of territorial jurisdiction. Thus, the question for Court’s consideration was as to whether it could assume supervisory jurisdiction over DRAT, Chennai.

Relying on the dictum of Apex Court in Ambica Industries v. CCE, (2007) 6 SCC 769 it was held that when the High Court exercises its jurisdiction over a Tribunal extending its jurisdiction over more than one State, then the High Court in the State where the first court is located would be the proper forum. In the instant case, the primary forum was DRT, Ernakulam and as such the High Court could eminently exercise its supervisory jurisdiction over DRAT, Chennai.

The petition was allowed directing DRAT to dispose of the appeal within three months.[Thomas Chacko v. Bank of India,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 4915, decided on 01-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of H.G. Ramesh, J. while hearing a civil writ petition against an interlocutory order of the trial court in a suit pending between petitioner and respondent, held that the supervisory jurisdiction of a High Court under Article 227 can be exercised only if the inferior court has not proceeded within its jurisdiction.

In the instant case, in a suit pending between petitioner and respondent, the trial court passed an interlocutory order allowing the respondent/ plaintiff to produce certain documents through secondary evidence. Aggrieved by the said order, the petitioner/ defendant preferred the present writ petition before the Hon’ble High Court.

The Court examined the law with respect to jurisdiction of High Courts under Articles 226 and 227 and relied on the judgment of  Apex court in Raj Kumar Bhatia v Subhash Chander Bhatia, (2018) 2 SCC 87 to hold that supervisory jurisdiction conferred on High Court under Article 227 is confined only to see whether an inferior court or tribunal has proceeded within the parameters of its jurisdiction.

Having regard to facts of the case, the court declined to entertain the instant writ petition. However, liberty was granted to the petitioner to challenge the impugned order before the Appellate Court as provided under Section 105 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. [Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited v. Shankar Construction Company, WP (C) No. 46389 of 2015, decided on 05-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Court recently dismissed a revision petition assailing the order of Addl. District Judge noting that in supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court, over subordinate Courts, the scope of judicial review is very limited and narrow. The order assailed by the petitioner was a consented order and the counsel on behalf of the petitioner could not point out any error apparent on the face of record in the impugned orders so as to justify interference by the Court.

The Bench of Mahesh Chandra Tripathi, J. observed that the supervisory jurisdiction of a High Court involves a duty on the High Court to keep the inferior courts and tribunals within the bounds of their authority and to see that they do what their duty requires and that they do it in a legal manner. At the same time, he cautioned its use stating that this power does not vest the High Court with any unlimited prerogative to correct all species of hardship or wrong decisions made within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Court or Tribunal and therefore, it must be restricted to grave derelictions of duty and flagrant abuse of fundamental principle of law or justice.

The court further referred to various Apex Court judgments stating the same and relied on the case of Mohd. Yunus v. Mohd. Mustaqim,  (1983) 4 SCC 566 in which the Supreme Court observed that the supervisory jurisdiction conferred on the High Courts under Article 227 of the Constitution is limited “to seeing that an inferior Court or Tribunal functions within the limits of its authority,” and not to correct an error apparent on the face of the record, or anything that is much less than an error of law. Accordingly, the petition stood dismissed for the reason that there was no error of law much less an error apparent on the face of the record in the assailed orders. [Brij Kishor Trivedi v. Kanpur Development Authority Thru Secy,  2017 SCC OnLine All 2513, decided on 5.12.2017]