HC Cannot Convert Itself into Court of Appeal While Considering Petitions Under Article 227

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The Hon’ble Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice B.R. Gavai while hearing a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India in the matter of Mohd. Inam vs. Sanjay Kumar Singhal & Ors. vide judgment dated 26th June 2020 reiterated that a High Court cannot convert itself into the court of appeal.

In the present case, the landlord of the property had applied to the Rent Controller and Eviction Officer, Mussoorie for the tenant to vacant the property. While going through the application, the officer had passed a final order and declared the suit premises vacant under Section 16 of U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent, and Eviction) Act, 1972. Further being aggrieved by the said order, the tenant had filed a revision petition before the District Judge for setting aside the said order and the same was allowed. Thereafter, the landlord had filed a petition under Article 227 of the constitution before the High Court of Uttaranchal at Nainital to set aside the order passed by the District Judge. The said petition was allowed by the Hon’ble High Court of Uttaranchal on the ground that the learned District Judge had committed illegality in entertaining the joint revision filed against the vacancy order as well as the final order.

Further, the tenant had filed an appeal before Supreme Court against the order of High Court of Uttaranchal and while going through the appeal the Hon’ble bench observed that the High Court while referring the judgment of Supreme Court in the matter of Achal Misra vs. Rama Shankar Singh had ignored the relevant legal position of the case wherein it is specifically held, that even if a party does not challenge the vacancy order by way of the writ petition, it is still open to it to challenge the same order along with the final order passed under Section 16 in the revision under Section 18. The Hon’ble bench had also observed that, in that view of the matter, the learned District Judge was wholly justified in interfering with the order passed by the Rent Controller and Eviction Officer.

The Hon’ble bench while allowing the petition and setting aside the High Court order also observed that the High Court has also erred in interfering with the well-reasoned order passed by the learned District Judge while exercising the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. Further, it was also observed that “It is a well-settled principle of law, that in the guise of exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court cannot convert itself into a court of appeal. It is equally well settled, that the supervisory jurisdiction extends to keeping the subordinate tribunals within the limits of their authority and seeing that they obey the law. It has been held, that 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.”

The court said that the exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court under Article 227 in the present case was patently unwarranted and unjustified.

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