Supervisory Jurisdiction of High Court


A high court has the authority to supervise all courts and tribunals operating within its territorial jurisdiction and supervisory jurisdiction of high court, with the exception of military courts and tribunals. Thus, it could be:

  1. Request their return;
  2. Create and publish general regulations and specify forms for governing their actions and practices;
  3. Provide the formats for books, entries, and accounts they will maintain; and
  4. Pay the sheriff, clerks, officers, and legal expenses that are due their practitioners.

This high court’s authority to supervise is fairly extensive due to the fact that:

  • It applies to all courts and tribunals, regardless of whether it is or is not within the high court’s appellate jurisdiction;
  • Includes both judicial and administrative supervision ,
  • it can be a revision jurisdiction,
  • It has supervisory authority, and it can be suo-motu (on its own), and not always in response to the use of a party.

This authority does not, however, grant the high court any unrestricted power over the inferior tribunals and courts. It is a remarkable power that must be utilized with extreme caution and only under proper circumstances. In most cases, it is restricted to:

  • excess of jurisdiction,
  • a flagrant miscarriage of natural justice,
  • a legal error,
  • contempt for superior court law,
  • erroneous findings
  • obvious injustice.

A key component of a High Court’s function within the judicial systems of many nations, including India, is its supervisory jurisdiction. Because of its authority, the High Court is able to monitor and regulate the judgments and activities of lesser courts and administrative agencies, ensuring that the rule of law is upheld and that justice is administered equitably.

The issuance of writs, which are legal orders that direct inferior courts, tribunals, or public officials to take certain actions or refrain from others, is one of the supervisory jurisdiction’s main duties. The most typical writs are:

  1. Habeas Corpus: The writ of habeas corpus is used to defend a person’s right to personal liberty. It forces authorities to present a person held against their will in court and establishes the legitimacy of their custody.
  2. Mandamus: A public official or body is given a mandate (mandamus) to carry out a certain task or act within the scope of their jurisdiction. It guarantees that government representatives carry out their duties and don’t go beyond their authority.
  3. Certiorari: If a lower court or tribunal’s ruling is deemed to be outside of its purview, unlawful, or inconsistent with natural justice, a writ of certiorari may be issued to overturn it. It supports the upkeep of the law.
  4. Prohibition: This writ forbids a lower court from carrying out a matter if it falls outside of its purview. It guards against possible injustices.
  5. Quo Warranto: Quo warranto is used to look into the legitimacy of someone holding a position of authority in the public sector. This writ can result in someone being fired if it is discovered that they are holding an office without the required credentials.

In order to make sure that lesser courts and tribunals adhered to due process and correctly interpreted the law, the supervisory jurisdiction also includes reviewing appeals from these bodies.

High Courts also have the authority to examine administrative decisions in order to make sure that government agencies and employees follow the law. This acts as a check on the use of executive power, guarding against excesses and promoting accountability.


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