The Supreme Court has held that a High Court cannot convert itself into a court of appeal, while hearing a petition under Article 227 of the Indian Constitution.
A division Bench of Justices Navin Sinha and BR Gavai observed that the exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court under Article 227 in the present case was patently unwarranted and unjustified.
Article 227 of the Constitution talks about the power of superintendence of High Court over all Courts. According to the provision, High Court will have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories interrelation to which it exercises jurisdiction. The High Court may also call for returns from such courts, make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of such courts, and prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts shall be kept by the officers of any such courts
In this case, The Rent Controller and Eviction Officer, allowing the landlord’s application, passed a final order under Section 16 of U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972, and declared the premises vacant. This order was set aside by the District Judge after a revision was filed by the tenant. A petition was then filed by the landlord before the High Court under Article 227 of the Indian Constitution. The petition challenged the validity of the Order of the District Judge, contending that the District judge had committed an illegality in entertaining a petition which was for a joint revision petition filed against both vacancy order and the final order.
The Court cited the order in the case of Achal Misra vs Rama Shanker where it was held that even if a party does not challenge the vacancy order by way of writ petition, it can still challenge the same order along with the final order passed under Section 16 in the revision under Section 18. Therefore, the District Judge was justified in interfering with the order passed by the Rent Controller and Eviction Office.
The Court also observed that it is a well settled principle of law, that while exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court cannot convert itself into a court of appeal. The supervisory jurisdiction extends to keeping the subordinate tribunals within the limits of their authority and seeing that they obey the law. Even though the powers under Article 227 are wide, they must be exercised sparingly and only to keep subordinate courts and Tribunals within the bounds of their authority and not to correct mere errors.
-India Legal Bureau