Decided on October 23,1953



Rajamannar, C.J. - (1.) S. R. No. 23086 of 1953 relates to a civil revision petition purporting to be filed under Article 227, Constitution of India against the decree and judgment of the District Collector of East Godavari at Kakinada in summary Appeal No. 41 of 1952. That appeal was against the order of the Deputy Collector, Peddapuram, in S. S. No. 11 of 1949, which was instituted for the recovery of emoluments attached to the office of the barber service in Tendapalli village of Pithapuram taluk. The suit was filed under Section 13 of Madras Act III of 1895 and the appeal was under Section 23 of that Act. S. R. NO. 17106 ol 1953 relates to a similar appeal under Section 23 of Madras Act III of 1895. The question is whether Article 237 of the Constitution enables a person aggrieved by an order of a tribunal like the District Collector to invoke the revisional powers of this court, or in other words, whether Article 227 of the Constitution confers on the High Court the power to interfere with the order of judicial or quasi-judicial tribunals. The answer to the question depends entirely on a construction of Article 227 which runs thus: "227. (1) Every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the High Court may- (a) call for returns from such courts,-- (b) make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of such courts; and (c) prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts shall be kept by the officers of any such courts; (3) The High Court may also settle tables of fees to be allowed to the sheriff and all clerks and officers of such courts and to attorneys, advocates and pleaders practising therein: Provided that any rules made, forms prescribed or tables settled under Clause (2) or Clause (3) shall not be inconsistent with the provision of any law for the time being in force, and shall require the previous approval of the Governor. (4) Nothing in this Article shall be deemed to confer on a High Court powers of superintendence over any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces." The contention on behalf of the petitioners is that the power of superintendence conferred on the High Court under Article 227(1) over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction includes the power to revise the judgments and orders of any such tribunal,
(2.) The origin of this Article goes back to the Charter Act of 1881 (24 and 25 Vict. Ch. 104), Section 15 of that Act in so far as it is material, ran thus: "Each of the High Courts established under this Act shall have superintendence over all courts which may be subject to its appellate jurisdiction ...... ...... ......" It wilt be noticed that there is no reference to tribunals in this section and the courts are described as courts subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court.
(3.) Section 107, Government of India Act, 1915, was an almost exact reproduction of Section 15, so far as this part is concerned. Section 224, Government of India Act of 1935, which is the corresponding provision in that Act however contained an important qualification. Section 224(1) was identical with Section 107(1) of the 1915 Act, but Section 224(2) was in the following terms: "Nothing in this section shall be construed as giving to a High Court any jurisdiction to question any judgment of any inferior court which is not otherwise subject to appeal or revision." In Article 227 of the Constitution which corresponds to Section 224 of the Government of India Act, 1933, there are two significant changes. One is that Tribunals have been added along with "Courts" as subject to the superintendence of the High Court. There is nothing corresponding to Section 224(2) in Article 227. There is another change too, namely, for the words "for the time being subject to its appellate jurisdiction", the following words have been substituted "throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction." A change in the Marginal Note may also be noticed, though it may not be very conclusive of the matter. The Marginal Note for Section 224 of the Government of India Act of 1935 was: "Administrative functions of High Courts," while the Marginal Note of Article 227 of the Constitution is: "Power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court." The corresponding headnote for Section 107, Government of India Act of 1915 was "Powers of High Court with respect to subordinate courts.";

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