Power of Superintendence:
A High Court has the power of Superintendence over all Courts and Tribunals, except those dealing with the armed forces functioning in the State.
In exercise of this power it may:-
- Call for return from such Courts.
- May issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of such Courts, and
- Prescribe forms in which books and accounts are being kept by the Officers of any Court.
This power has made the High Court responsible for the entire administration of Justice in the State. It is both judicial as well as administrative in nature.
The Constitution does not place any restriction on its power of superintendence over the subordinate Courts. It may be noted the Supreme Court has no similar power vis-a-vis the High Court.
Power of Transfer of Cases to High Court
If the High Court is satisfied that a case pending in a Court subordinate to it involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution the determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the case, it shall withdraw the case and may :-
- Either dispose of it, or
- Determine the said question of law and return the case to the Court from whom it had been withdrawn together with a copy of its judgment on such a question, and the said Court shall on receipt thereof proceed to dispose of the case in conformity with such judgment.
By vesting these powers in the High Court the framers of our Constitution have safeguarded the possible multiplicity of constitutional interpretation at the level of subordinate Court.
The High Court has also got ample powers to call for the records of any case from any subordinate Court to satisfy itself about the correctness and legality of the orders passed by the subordinate Courts.
The High Court may either be moved by any interested party to exercise its power of revision. Even without being so moved, it can suo moto call for records and pass necessary order.
Control over its Officers and Employees
The High Court has complete control over its officers and employees. Appointments of officers and servants are to be made by the Chief Justice or such other Judge or Officer of the High Court as the Chief Justice may direct.
However, the Governor of the State may by rule require that in such cases as may be specified in the rule no person not already attached to the Court shall be appointed to any office connected with the Court except after consultation with the State Public Service Commission.
Subject to any of the Act of the State Legislature, the conditions of service of those officers and servants of the High Court are to be such as may be prescribed by rules made by the Chief Justice of the High Court or by some other Judge or Officer of the High Court authorised by the Chief Justice to be make such rules.
The power of appointment also includes powers to suspend or dismiss. The administrative expenses of the High Court, including all salaries, allowances and pension’s payable to its officers, are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the State.
Court of Record
Finally, a High Court is also a court of Record. Its decision will be binding on its subordinate Courts.
Its proceedings and decisions have evidential value and they cannot be questioned by the subordinate Courts. Further, it can punish for contempt of itself.
Some High Courts exercise jurisdiction over the Union territories. To make the exercise of this jurisdiction effective, the restrictions are imposed on the power of the State Legislatures to make law with respect to that jurisdiction. When a High Court exercises jurisdiction in relation to a Union territory, the Legislature of that State has no power to increase, restrict or abolish that jurisdiction of the High Court.