Division Bench of High Court has no power of superintendence under Article 227 over its own Single Bench

Patna High Court:  Deciding the moot question as to whether a Division Bench of a High Court can exercise its power of superintendence under Article 227 of the Constitution  against an order made in a suit by a Single Bench, the Court held that a Single Judge or a Single Bench of a High Court is not a court subordinate to the Division Bench and, therefore, the power of superintendence vested in a High Court by Article 227, is not exercisable against an order or decision of its own Single Bench. The order under challenge in the present petition was the Single Judge’s order dated 29-10-2015 wherein the Court, in exercise of its original jurisdiction had dismissed an application in a testamentary suit  as not maintainable.

The Division Bench comprising of  I.A. Ansari, Actg. C.J. And  Chakradhari Sharan Singh, J.in the course of tracing the history of Article 227 observed that while Section 107 of the Government of India Act, 1915 vested in the High Courts, the power of superintendence over all the “courts”  subject to its appellate jurisdiction, Article 227  has vested in the High Courts, the power of superintendence not only over the courts subject to its territorial jurisdiction, but also over all the tribunals in relation to which the High Court exercises territorial jurisdiction. A Single Bench of the High Court does not fall within the expressions “courts” and “tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises  jurisdiction”. Clause (2) of Article 227 empowers a High Court to:

(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.

 Dismissing the petition as misconceived and not maintainable, the  Court observed that all the powers, which are given to the High Court under sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c)  of Article 227(2) are in respect of courts and tribunals which are subordinate to the territorial jurisdiction of a High Court and a Single Bench is not a court subordinate to the Division Bench meaning thereby that as against the order passed in a suit, such as the present one, by a Single Judge of this Court, no application/petition under Article 227  is maintainable. [Anil Kumar Shrivastava  v. Shaurya Sunil2016 SCC OnLine Pat 21 decided on January 20, 2016]

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