MP HC | High Court’s power of superintendence under Art. 227 not curtailed by any statute as it is a part of the basic structure

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A miscellaneous petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India was allowed by Sanjay Dwivedi, J., where the petitioner challenged the order passed by Additional Commissioner under revenue proceedings.

In the instant petition, the respondent raised an objection that the petition was not maintainable under Article 227. The counsel for the respondent, D.K. Tripathi and Devika Singh, submitted that Commissioner of Revenue was not under superintendence power of the High Court and accordingly the petitioners cannot avail the superintendence jurisdiction of the High Court by filing a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. On the contrary, the petitioner submitted that in all the quasi-judicial proceedings, the High Court can entertain petition under Article 227.

The counsel for the petitioner, Sumanta Bhattacharya, relied upon Manmohan Singh Jaitla v. Commissioner, 1984 (Supp) SCC 540, in which the Supreme Court had observed that “The High Court clearly overlooked the point that Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner are statutory authorities operating under the 1969 Act. They are quasi-judicial authorities and that was not disputed. Therefore, they will be comprehended in the expression ‘Tribunal’ as under in Article 227 of the Constitution which confers power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals by the High Court throughout the territory in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction.”

The Court for the particular issue relied on the abovementioned judgment and observed that Commissioner under the present circumstances was considered to be a quasi-judicial authority as he was functioning as a statutory authority prescribed under M.P. Land Revenue Code, 1959; hence the petition was maintainable under Article 227.

Another issue disputed was related to a property which was purchased by the petitioner and on the basis of the said sale deed they moved an application for mutation of their names which was allowed in the year 2004 and accordingly, the revenue records were corrected entering the name of the petitioners in respect of the land in question. It was alleged that subsequently in 2011 an appeal was filed by the said respondents challenging the mutation on the ground that the property sold to the petitioners by respondent was a joint family property and the respondent was one of the co-sharers in the same and he had sold the land in excess of his share and no notice before the mutation had been issued by the revenue authorities to them and as such, that mutation which was executed in favor of the petitioners got set aside. Against the said order the petitioner had filed an appeal before Sub-Divisional Officer and subsequently before Additional Commissioner and both the appeals were rejected against the petitioner. Hence the petitioner had filed the petition under Article 227.

The respondent argued that petitioners failed to establish any grounds and to substantiate as to how the order passed by the Additional Commissioner was contrary to law, they were not entitled to get any relief in the petition preferred under Article 227. In Shyam Shetty v. Rajendra Patil, 2101 (4) MPLJ 590, the Supreme Court had laid down the parameters that when High Court can interfere under Article 227, it was held that “the High Court in exercise of its jurisdiction of superintendence can interfere in order only to keep the tribunals and Courts subordinate to it, `within the bounds of their authority’ or High Court can interfere in exercise of its power of superintendence when there has been a patent perversity in the orders of tribunals and Courts subordinate to it or where there has been a gross and manifest failure of justice or the basic principles of natural justice have been flouted.”

It was further observed that the Supreme Court stated that “it may be true that a statutory amendment of a rather cognate provision, like Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code by the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 1999 does not and cannot cut down the ambit of High Court’s power under Article 227. At the same time, it must be remembered that such statutory amendment does not correspondingly expand the High Court’s jurisdiction of superintendence under Article 227.” The reserved and exceptional power of judicial intervention was not to be exercised just for grant of relief in individual cases but was directed for promotion of public confidence in the administration of justice in the larger public interest whereas Article 226 was meant for protection of individual grievance. Therefore, the power under Article 227 may be unfettered but its exercise is subject to a high degree of judicial discipline.

The Court opined that it was admitted position that one of respondent executed sale deed in favor of petitioners in the year 2001 but Court was not satisfied that despite taking note of such material facts, the Sub-Divisional Officer had not given any reason as to how the mutation which took place on the basis of sale deed can be said to be illegal. The Court further observed that thereafter, the Additional Commissioner had reiterated the findings given by the Sub-Divisional Officer and rejected the appeal. None of the revenue authorities in the orders passed by them have considered the impact of the sale deed executed by the respondent in favor of the petitioners. It was noteworthy to mention that the sale deed was a valid document and was the foundation for mutating the name of the holder of the sale deed. If the document of sale is available then the revenue authorities had no option but to mutate the name of the holder of the sale deed in the revenue records and as such, mutation done in favor of the petitioners cannot be set aside unless the sale deed executed in their favor was set aside by any competent court.

The Court thus opined that all the revenue authorities committed gross and material illegality while setting aside the mutation made in favor of the petitioners which was made, based on the sale deed. It was discussed by the Court that as far as power under Article 227 of the High Court to interfere while exercising its superintendence was concerned, it was observed that from perusal of the documents and orders passed by the revenue authorities and the discussion made that was a fit case in which Court can exercise power under Article 227 for the reasons that the order impugned was apparently illegal and suffered from errors of law and fact and was a clear example of patent perversity. Thus, the petition was allowed.[Keshri Nandan v. Pradeep Kumar, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1521, decided on 03-07-2019]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.