Decided on June 14,1963



- (1.) These fifteen petitions have been filed by the archakas of various temples in the Kurnool district, invoking the power of judicial superintendence of this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution, to set aside the orders passed' by the Revenue Court (the Court of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Nandyal) under section 3 (4) of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Inams (Abolition ani Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act"), on appeal from the orders passed by the Inams Deputy Tahsildar, Nandyal, on inquiries conducted by the latter in accordance with the provisions of sections 3(1) (2) and (3) of the Act. In twelve out of these fifteen cases, the Revenue Divisional Officer concurred with and confirmed the decision of the Deputy Tahsildar, while in the remaining three, concerned in C.R.P. Nos. 1173, 1381 and 1641 of 1960, the Revenue Divisional Officer disagreed with and reversed the decision of the Deputy Tahsildar. The result was, that in all these cases, the Revenue Divisionall Officer decided that the inam lands in question were held by the respective temples, and not by the archakas. In reaching this conclusion, the Revenue Divisional Officer relied on the relevant entries in the Inam Fair Register and gave reasons either for concurring with the findings of the Deputy Tahsildar or for disagreeing with him. In these revision petitions the orders of the Revenue Divisional Officer are challenged on the ground that he has taken an erroneous view of the recitals in the Inam Fair Register and has put a wrong interpretation upon them.
(2.) As the facts in all these cases are almost identical and as a common argument was advanced in all these cases, they can all be disposed of by one judgment. Before going into the merits of these cases, it is necessary to refer to Some of the leading decisions of the Supreme Court, which delineate and delimit the powers of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution. The first of these decisions; is in Waryam Singh v. Amarnath, 1954 S.C.J. 290. Das, J. (as he then was), while pointing out that Article 227 confers on the High Court not only administrative but also judicial superintendence over the subordinate Courts and tribunals, observed : "This power of superintendence conferred by Article 227 is, as pointed out by Harries, C.J. in Dalmia Jain Airways, Ltd. v. Sukumar Mukhcrjee, AIR 1951 Cal 193 to be exercised most sparingly and only in appropriate cases in order to keep the subordinate Courts within the bounds of their authority and not for correcting, mere errors."
(3.) In the Calcutta case referred to, Harries, C.J. elucidated the position thus : "Though this Court has a right to interfere with decisions of Courts and Tribunals under its power of superintendence, it appears to me that that right must be exercised most sparingly and only in appropriate cases. The matter was considered by a Bench of this Court in Manmathanath v. Emperor, 1932 37 CWN 201. In that case, a Bench over which Sir George Rankin, C.J., presided, held that section 107, Government of India Act (which roughly corresponds to Article 227 of the Constitution) does not vest the High. Court with limitless power which may be exercised at the Court's discretion to remove the hardship of particular decisions. The power of superintendence it confers is a power of a known and well-recognised character and should be exercised on those judicial principles which give it its character. In general; words, the High Court's power of superintendence is a power to keep subordinate Courts within the bounds of their authority, to see that they do what their duty requires and that they do it in a legal manner.;

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