The High Court cannot in guise of exercising its jurisdiction under Article 227 convert itself into a Court of appeal

In Bathutmal Raichand Oswal vs. Laxmibai R. Tarta and another, (1975) 1 SCC 858, this Court held :

“The High Court cannot in guise of exercising its jurisdiction under Article 227 convert itself into a Court of appeal when the Legislature has not conferred a right of appeal and made the decision of the subordinate Court or Tribunal final on facts.”

33. In State through Special Cell, New Delhi vs. Navjot Sandhu alias Afshan Guru and others, (2003) 6 SCC 641 this Court explained the power of the High Court under Article 227 thus :

“Thus the law is that Article 227 of the Constitution of India gives the High Court the power of superintendence over all Courts and Tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. This jurisdiction cannot be limited or fettered by any Act of the State Legislature. The supervisory jurisdiction extends to keeping the subordinate Tribunals within the limits of their authority and to seeing that they obey the law. The powers under Article 227 are wide and can be used, to meet the ends of justice. They can be used to interfere even with an interlocutory order. However the power under Article 227 is a discretionary power and it is difficult to attribute to an order of the High Court, such a source of power, when the High Court itself does not in terms purport to exercise any such discretionary power. It is settled law that this power of judicial superintendence, under Article 227, must be exercised sparingly and only to keep subordinate Courts and Tribunals within the bounds of their authority and not to correct mere errors. Further, where the statute bans the exercise of revisional powers it would require very exceptional circumstances to warrant interference under Article 227 of the Constitution of India since the power of superintendence was not meant to circumvent statutory law. It is settled law that the jurisdiction under Article 227 could not be exercised “as the cloak of an appeal in disguise”.”

34. The aforesaid two decisions and few other decisions, namely, Chandavarkar Sita Ratna Rao vs. Ashalata S. Guram, (1986) 4 SCC 447; State of Maharashtra vs. Milind and others (2001) 1 SCC 4, Ranjeet Singh vs. Ravi Prakash, (2004) 3 SCC 682, came to be considered by this Court in the case of Shamshad Ahmad and others vs. Tilak Raj Bajaj (Deceased) through L.Rs. and others, (2008) 9 SCC 1 and this Court held :

“Though powers of a High Court under Articles 226 and 227 are very wide and extensive over all Courts and Tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, such powers must be exercised within the limits of law. The power is supervisory in nature. The High Court does not act as a Court of appeal or a Court of error. It can neither review nor re-appreciate, nor re-weigh the evidence upon which determination of a subordinate Court or inferior Tribunal purports to be based or to correct errors of fact or even of law and to substitute its own decision for that of the inferior Court or Tribunal. The powers are required to be exercised most sparingly and only in appropriate cases in order to keep the subordinate Courts and inferior Tribunals within the limits of law.”

35. In light of the aforesaid legal position concerning jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 227, which the High Court failed to keep in mind, it must be held that in the facts and circumstances of the case and the findings recorded by the Additional Rent Controller as well as the Administrative Tribunal, High Court was not justified in interfering with the concurrent orders of eviction based on the ground of sub-letting in exercise of its power under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

Babhutmal Raichand Oswal vs. Laxmibai R. Tarta and Anr., (1975) 1 SCC 858, dealing with supervisory power of a High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution, Bhagwati, J. (as His Lordship then was) stated;

“If an error of fact, even though apparent on the face of the record, cannot be corrected by means of a writ of certiorari it should follow a fortiori that it is not subject to correction by the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 227. The power of superintendence under Article 227 cannot be invoked to correct an error of fact which only a superior court can do in exercise of its statutory power as a court of appeal. The High Court cannot in guise of exercising its jurisdiction under Article 227 convert itself into a court of appeal when the legislature has not conferred a right of appeal and made the decision of the subordinate court or tribunal final on facts”.

In Ranjeet Singh vs. Ravi Prakash, (2004) 3 SCC 682, again this Court while interpreting the provisions of the Act in question, held that the High Court, while exercising powers under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, cannot act like an appellate Court and re-appreciate or re-evaluate the evidence while exercising certiorari or supervisory jurisdiction. Only a patent error which did not require establishment by lengthy and complicated arguments or by long drawn process of reasoning is amenable to certiorari jurisdiction. If two opinions were reasonably possible, the finding arrived at one way or the other by the appellate authority, cannot be disturbed.