Despite High Courts are independent and co-equal institutions, till they are ‘judicial authority’ u/a 144 of Constitution to act in aid of the Supreme Court – Explain

Law

Supreme Court, as the highest Court of Justice in the Sovereign Republic of India; a pillar of the body politic, established under the Constitution, conferred with plenary powers under Article 141,142 and 144 of the Constitution. We appreciate and value their advice. We would rather remain advised on a matter like this, for then we are on sure ground.

The Article above referred to arc reproduced hereafter as a reminding exercise:

Article 141:

“LAW DECLARED BY SUPREME COURT TO BE BINDING ON ALL COURTS – The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory. of India.”

Article 142:

“ENFORCEMENT OF DECREES AND ORDERS OF SUPREME COURT AND ORDERS AS TO DISCOVERY, ETC. (1) The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as it necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory Of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.
(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.”

Article 144:

“CIVIL AND JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES TO ACT IN AID OF THE SUPREME COURT. – All authorities, civil and judicial, in the territory of India shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.”

The singular Constitutional role of the Supreme Court under the Constitution, and correspondingly of the assisting role of all authorities – civil or judicial in the territory of India – towards it, mandate the High Court, which is one such judicial authority covered under Article 144 of the Constitution, to act in aid of the Supreme Court. While the High Court is independent, and is a co-equal institution, the Constitutional scheme and judicial discipline requires that the High Court should give due regard to the orders of the Supreme Court which are binding on all courts within the territory of India. (Spencer & Co. Ltd. and another v. Vishwadarshan Distributors (P) Ltd. : (1995) 1 SCC 259; M/s Bayer India Ltd. and others v. State of Maharashtra and others : (1993) 3 SCC 29; CCE v. Dunlop India Ltd. : (1985) 1 SCC 260; E.S.P. Rajaram v. Union of India : (2001) 2 SCC 186).

The order of the Supreme Court is a judicial order, and is otherwise enforceable throughout the territory of India under Article 142 of the Constitution. The High Court is bound to come in aid of the Supreme Court in having its order worked out. While the High Court is independent, and is a co- equal institution, the Constitutional scheme and judicial discipline requires that the High Court should give due regard to the orders of the Supreme Court which are binding on all courts within the territory of India. (Spencer & Co. Ltd. and another v. Vishwadarshan Distributors (P) Ltd. : (1995) 1 SCC 259; M/s Bayer India Ltd. and others v. State of Maharashtra and others : (1993) 3 SCC 29; E.S.P. Rajaram v. Union of India : (2001) 2 SCC 186). The High Court has an obligation, in carrying out the Constitutional mandate, maintaining the writ of the Supreme Court running large throughout the country. (M/s Bayer India Ltd. and others v. State of Maharashtra and others : (1993) 3 SCC 29; E.S.P. Rajaram v. Union of India : (2001) 2 SCC 186; Spencer & Co. Ltd. and another v. Vishwadarshan Distributors (P) Ltd. : (1995) 1 SCC 259). Acting in aid of the Supreme Court, the High Court should ensure that the orders of the Supreme Court are adhered to by all, both in letter and spirit.

Supreme Court in M/s. Bayer India Ltd. and others v. State of Maharashtra and others [1993(3) SCC 29] had occasion to strike a sad note in the following words:

“5. We are saddened to notice that in spite of the Court’s request contained in this order dated February 6, 1991, the High Court has not disposed of the review petition till now. The High Court was requested to dispose of the said writ petition within four months from the date of the said order and, at any rate, by September 30, 1991. It is more than two years since the order was made. While we certainly respect the independence of the High Court and recognise that it is a co-equal institution, we cannot but say, at the same time, that the constitutional scheme and judicial discipline requires that the High Court should give due regard to the-orders of this Court which are binding on all courts within the territory of India. The request made in this case was contained in a judicial order. It does no credit to either institution that it has not been heeded to. We hope and trust that the delay in the disposal of the review is either accidental or on account of some or other procedural problem. Be that as it may, the present situation would not have arisen if only the review petition had been disposed of within the time contemplated in the order dated February 6, 1990. “

“The High Court is one such judicial authority covered under Article 144 of the Constitution is beyond question.  High Court is bound to come in aid of Supreme Court when it  required the High Court to have its order worked out. The language of request often employed by Supreme Court in such situations is to be read by the High Court as an obligation, in carrying out the constitutional mandate, maintaining the writ of Supreme Court running large throughout the country”.

 


%d bloggers like this: