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Punjab and Haryana High Court

Punjab and Haryana High Court

Punjab and Haryana High Court is a common High Court for both the States of Punjab and Haryana and Union territory of Chandigarh.

It is situated at Chandigarh, the capital of the States of Punjab and Haryana. The sanctioned strenghth of this High Court is 68 judges consisting of Chief Justice, 36 Permanent Judges and 31 Additional Judges. As on 9th July 2012, there are 41 Judges (including the Acting Chief Justice) working at High Court. There are 46 judges on the strength of the High Court.

The High Court of judicature for the provinecs of Punjab and Delhi to be called ' The High Court Judicature at Lahore' was established through a Letters Patent dated March 20, 1919 issued by the Grorge the Fifth by virtue of the powers conferred by Section 113 of the Government of India Act, 1915. The High Court of juducature at Lahore was a court of record. Earlier the said provinecs were subject to the jurisdication of the Chief Court of the Punjab established by an Act of the Governer General of India in Council, being Act No. XXIII of 1865. The Letters Patent has been amendend from time to time.

After the partition of the country, the Constitution of India conferred original writ jurisdiction underf Article 226 of the Constitution of Inia upon the High Court. No other Court subordinate to High Court has got the power to issue such prerogative writs.. Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has got the power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises its jurisdiction, to issue to any person or

authority, including in appropriate cases,any Government, within those territories, directions, orders or writs including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari or any of them for the enforcement of fundamental rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution and for any other purpose. In fact, the power of the High Court to issue writs is larger than that of Hon'ble Supreme Court as Hon'ble Supreme Court can issue writs under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in cases where the fundamental rights of a person have been violated, whereas the High Court can issue writs in respect of the violation of fundamental rights or in respect of cases where the legal rights of the persons have been jeopardized. Article 226 read as under:-

226. Power of High Courts to issue certain writs. (1) Notwithstanding anything in article 325, every High Court shall have powers, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including (writs in the nature of, habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibitions, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.)

(2) The power conferred by clause (1) (to issue directions, orders or writs to any Government, authority or person) may also be exercised by any High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to the territories within which the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises fors the exercise of such power, notwithstanding that the seat of such Government or authority or the residence of such person is not within those territories.

(3) Where any party against whom an interim order, whether by way of injunction or stay or in any other manner, is made on, or in any proceedings relating to, a petition under clause (1), without -

(a) furnishing to such party copies of such petition and all documents in support of the plea for such interim order; and

(b) giving such party an opportunity of being heard, makes an application to the High Court for the vacation of such order and makes an application to the High Court for the vacation of such order and furnishes a copy of such application to the party in whose favour such order has been made or the counsel of such party, the High Court shall dispose of the application within a period of two weeks from the date on which it is received or from the date on which the copy of such application is so furnished, whichever is later, or where the High Court is closed on the last day of that period, before the expiry of the next day afterwards on which the High Court is open; and if the application is not so disposed of, the interim order shall, on the expiry of that period, or, as the case may be, the expiry of the said next day, stand vacated.

(4) The power conferred on a High Court by this article shall not be in derogation of the power conferred on the Supreme Court by clause (2) of article 32.

The High Court also exercises superintendence over all Subordinate Courts situated within its jurisdiction by virtue of Article 227 of the Constitution. As per Article 227, the High Court may call for returns from such courts; make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of the such courts and prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts shall be kept by the officers of any such courts. Article 227 read as under:-


227. Power of Superintendence over all courts by the High Court. -(1) Every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction.
(2) Without prejudice to the generally of the foregoing provisions, the High Court may-

(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.

(3) The High Court may also settle tables of fees to be allowed to the sheriff and all clerks and officers of such courts and to attorneys, advocates and pleaders practising therein.

Provided that any rules made, forms prescribed or tables settled under clause (2) or clause (3) shall not be inconsistent with the provision of any law for the time being in force, and shall require the previous approval of the Governance.
(4) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to confer on a High Court powers of superintendence over any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.

The Public Interest Litigation has opened new gates for the litigants to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court. Now, any public spirited person or a social activist group can invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court by filing a Public Interest Petition. The filing of these petitions is now regulated by the Rules farmed by the High Court. The High Court has also exercised jurisdiction on the basis of news items published in the newspapers and on the basis of the letters written by the aggrieved persons to it.

Appellate and Revisional Jurisdiction
Under various Central and State enachments, the High Court has been conferred with appellate as well as revisional jurisdiction.l. An appeal is a creation of the statute and can be filed by a person only in case the law provides for the same. No one has got a right to file an appeal. As per Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, an aggrieved party can file an appeal to the High Court from every decree passed in appeal by any court subordinate to the High Court, if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law. Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads as under:-

100. Second appeal.(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in the body of this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, an appeal shall lie to the High Court from every decree passed in appeal by any Court subordinate to the High Court, if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law.

(2) An appeal may lie under this section from appellate decree passed ex parte.

(3) In an appeal under this section, the memorandum of appeal shall precisely state the substantial question of law involved in the appeal.

(4) Where the High Court is satisfied that a substantial question of law is involved in any case, it shall formulate that question.

(5) The appeal shall be heard on the question so formulated and the respondent shall, at the hearing of the appeal, be allowed to argue that the case does not involve such question:

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to take away or abridge the power of the Court to hear, for reasons to be recorded, the appeal on any other substantial question of law, not formulated by it, if it is satisfied that he case involves such question.

Even under the fiscal statutes, such as Income-tax Act, the High Court exercises appellate jurisdiction. Section 260A of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 confers the right of an appeal against any order passed in appeal by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of Law.

Further, under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the High Court may call for the record of any case, which has been decided by any court subordinate to the High Court and in which no appeal lies thereto, if it appears to the High Court that the subordinate court has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law or has failed to exercise the jurisdiction so vested or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. The High Court can also withdraw any suit, appeal or other proceeding pending in any court subordinate to it and try or dispose of the same or transfer the same for trial or disposal to any court subordinate to it and competent to try or dispose of the same or re-transfer the same for trial or disposal to the court from which it was withdrawn. Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure is as under:-

115.Revision.- (1) The High Court may call for the record of any case which has been decided by any Court subordinate to such High Court and in which no appeal lies thereto, and if such subordinate Court appears-

(a) to have exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or

(b) to have failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or

(c) to have acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity,

the High Court may take such order in the case as it thinks fit:

Provided that the High Court shall not, under this section, vary or reverse any order made, or any order deciding an issue, in the course of a suit or other proceeding, except where the order, if it had been made in favour of the party applying for revision, would have finally disposed of the suit or other proceedings.

2. The High Court shall not, under this section, vary or reverse any decree or order against which an appeal lies either to the High Court or to any Court subordinate thereto.

3. A revision shall not operate as a stay of suit or other proceeding before the Court except where such suit or to her proceeding is stayed by the High Court.)

Explanation,- In his section, the expression," any case which has been decided" includes any order made, or any order deciding an issue, in the course of a suit or other proceeding.)

Subordinate Civil Courts
The Punjab Courts Act, 1918 determines the jurisdiction of the civil courts subordinate to the High Court. The said Act has been amended from time to time by the present States of Punjab and Haryana. The Union Territory of Chandigarh generally adopts the Laws enacted by State of Punjab under the Provisions of Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. The civil judges in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction i.e that any suit of any value can be instituted before the civil judge. The District Judges including Additional District Judges have power to hear appeals aganist the judgment and decree granted by civil judges under the Code of Civil Procedure. However, certain statues confer jurisdiction of first appeal before the High Court as well. The High Court has power to interfere with the judgment and decree if the civil court in second appeal if the findings recorded give rise to substantial question law.

Criminal Court Administration
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, also the High Court has got appellate and revisional jurisdiction. Under Section 377 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the State Government may in any case of conviction on a trial held by any court other than a High Court, direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court against the sentence on the ground of its

inadequacy. As per Section 378 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the State Government may in any case, direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court from an original or appellate order of acquittal passed by any court other than a High Court. As per Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the High Court can call for an examine the record of any proceeding before any inferior Criminal Court situate within its local jurisdiction for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order, recorded or passed and as to the regularity of any proceedings of such inferior court.

Further under Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the High Court can transfer any particular case, or appeal, or class of cases or appeals, from a Criminal court subordinate to its authority to any other Criminal Court of equal or superior jurisdiction.

It would be in the fitness of things in case the particular enactment is perused before filing any case in the High Court.

Historical Background
After the partition of India, the Constitution of India was framed. However, before the partition, there was the Government of India Act, 1915. By virtue of the powers conferred by Section 113 of the Government of India Act,1915, the Crown by Letters Patent dated March 20, 1919 had established at Lahore, the High Court of judicature for the provinces of Punjab and Delhi to be called 'the High Court of judicature at Lahore'. The High Court of judicature at Lahore was a court of record.

Lahore High Court
On the establishment of the Lahore High Court, the Chief Court of Punjab, which was functioning for the last 53 years, was abolished. The High Court at Lahore by virtue of Letters Patent and Section 106 and 113 of the Government of India Act, 1915 was vested with all the appellate and superintending powers, authority and jurisdiction of the Chief Court. The Lahore High Court by its Letters Patent was also vested with original jurisdiction in certain special matters as were possessed by the Chief Court. These special matters included disciplinary action against Advocates (Clause 8); Guardianship (Clause 12); testamentary and intestate (Clause 24)and matrimonial matters (Clause 22). The High Court had no ordinary original civil jurisdiction. However, it had ordinary original criminal jurisdiction to a limited extent. The original criminal jurisdiction of the Lahore High court was co-extensive with that of the chief court of Punjab which had no original criminal jurisdiction to try any person, except European British subjects. As per Clause 9 of the Letters Patent, it was empowered to remove, try and determine any civil case from courts subordinate to it. In exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the Lahore High Court was authorized to hear appeals from the decisions of all the criminal and other courts of the provinces of Punjab, Delhi and all other Courts subject to its superintendence. It could hear appeals in Benches of two or more Judges of its own Court sitting on the civil side.

It was also declared to be Court of reference and revision from the criminal courts subject to its appellate jurisdiction. It had the powerto transfer any criminal case or appeal from any court to any other court of equal or superior jurisdiction. It had no power to issue writs except to the extent as it was empowered to issue orders in the nature of habeas corpus under Section 491 of the Code of Criminal Procedure along with other High Courts.

Post Independence scenario
After independence of India, the old province of Punjab was divided into West Punjab (Pakistan) and East Punjab (India). The High Court at Lahore being in Pakistan, ceased to have jurisdiction over Delhi and East Punjab. The question of location of the new High Court for these provinces arose. Shimla was selected as the seat of the new High Court.

The East Punjab High Court of judicature was established at Shimla on August 15, 1947 by the Governor General's High Court (Punjab) Order 1947 issued under Section 9 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 229 (1) of the Government of India Act, 1935, the High Court of East Punjab was also made a court of record and as provided by Clause 5 of the said order, it had in respect of the provinces of Punjab and Delhi, all such original, appellate and other jurisdictions as under the law in force immediately before the August 15, 1947, was exercisable in respect of those territories by the High Court at Lahore. The East Punjab High Court was the successor and continuation of the High Court at Lahore. The decisions of Lahore High Court were binding on the Punjab High Court on the principle of stare decisis. The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The State of East Punjab came to be known as the Punjab now. Accordingly, the name of the High Court was also changed. As per Article 214(2) of the Constitution of India, the High Court was to be continued along with other High Courts. The Constitution of India also conferred on the Punjab High Court, along with all other High Courts, the power to issue directions, orders including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warranto and certiorari in the enforcement of fundamental rights or for any other purpose. The East Punjab High Court did not have the power to issue writs. However, the seat of the High Court continued to remain at Shimla.

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Law Maxims

# Acta exteriora iudicant interiora secreta - Outward acts indicate the inward intent
# Boni judicis lites dirimere est - It is the duty of a good judge to prevent litigation
# Conventio et modus vincunt legem - A contract and agreement overcome the law
Damnum sine injuria - damage without legal injury.
Ex facie - On the fact of it.
Faciendum - Something which is to be done.
Injuria non excusat injuriam - A wrong does not excuse a wrong.
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