The High Court – Procedures, Jurisdiction, and Types of Cases

The High Court is the second highest judicial authority in the country. It comes next to the Supreme Court of India. All the States have their respective High Courts, but in some cases, their maybe a single High Court for two or more states.

For example for the Bombay High Court has different Rules for the Appellate and Original Jurisdictions of the High Court. The Bombay High Court (Original Side) Rules, 1980 govern the matters coming up under the original jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court whereas for the matters which come via an appeal are governed by the Bombay High Court (Appellate Side) Rules, 1960.

 

Bombay High Court Building since 1879

Bombay High Court Building since 1879

 

TYPES OF JURISDICTIONS:

Original Jurisdiction: These are the matters that can be directly brought to the High Court. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, a High Court can handle all civil suits unless barred by some act or law. Generally it is the High Court Rules of the respective High Courts which specify these details.

For example, all the matters that exceed Rs. 1 crore can be brought to the High Court of Bombay. This has been mentioned in the Bombay High court (Original Side) Rules, 1980.

 

Appellate Jurisdiction: This includes the matters that come up to the High Court via an appeal against a decree or judgement of a subordinate court.

While making an appeal it is to be made sure that the amount in concern is within the monetary limits on which the court can entertain a petition. These monetary values for appeals to High Court are specified in the High Court Rules of different High Courts. These High Court Rules also specify the types of orders against which these appeals can be made to it.

For a clearer understanding refer to The Code of Civil Procedure Part VII – Appeals and the ‘Chapter LII – Appeal’ of the Bombay High Courts (Original Side) Rules, 1908.

 

Writ Jurisdiction: The Constitution of India grants the High court the power to issue writs. This jurisdiction can be invoked if there is a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens. There are five types of writs:

1. Habeas Corpus:

High Court can cause any person who has been detained or imprisoned (this means violation of his fundamental right to liberty) to be physically brought before the court. The court then examines the reason of his detention and if there is no legal justification of his detention, he can be set free.

2. Mandamus:

The High Court orders a person, corporation, lower court, public authority or state authority to do something which is their duty to do.

3. Quo Warranto:

High Court may issue the writ which restrains the person or authority to act in an office which he/she is not entitled to. This writ is applicable to the public offices only.

4. Certiorari:

By this writ the High court can transfer a matter from a lower court to a higher court.

5. Prohibition:

The High Court may prohibit the lower courts such as special tribunals, magistrates, commissions, and other judiciary officers who are doing something which exceeds to their jurisdiction or acting contrary to the rule of natural justice.

 

GROUNDS FOR AN APPEAL:

1. A judgement/decree can be challenged in the first appeal on varied grounds both on basis of facts of the case and as well the legal interpretation of various legal provisions involved.

 

2. The second appeal can be filed only if there exists a substantial question of law. In the case the question of law would be substantial if it is of general public importance or which directly and substantially affects rights of the parties.

 

No Appeal Can Be Filed in the Following Situations:

1. Against a decree/judgement which has been passed by the court with the consent of the parties

2. From a decree in any suit of the courts of small causes, when the value of the subject matter of the suit is less than Rs. 3000/-, unless it is a question of law

3. Where a decree/judgement is passed by a single judge of the High Court in second appeal, the said decree/judgement is not appealable.

 

High Court Building between 1862 and 1879

High Court Building between 1862 and 1879

 

APPLICATION FOR A STAY:

A stay on the execution of a decree can be granted, against the court which passed the decree, if an application is made to the effect before the expiration of the time allowed for filing an appeal against it. Such an application must disclose sufficient cause for granting the stay.

 

APPLICATION FOR A REVIEW:

1. A person aggrieved of a decree of a court may instead of filing an appeal seek review of the decree and judgement from the same court, which has made it. A Review can be sought in cases where no appeal is allowed from the original decree/judgement.

2. The procedure for making an application for review is similar to that of making an appeal. If it appears to the court that there is no sufficient ground for a review it can reject the application. But where the court opines that the application for review should be granted, it could grant the same and review its judgement after giving notice to the opposite party and enabling him to appear before it and submit its objections against the review.

3. An order of the court rejecting the review application is not appealable but an order granting such an application is appealable. The order or decree finally passed after a review is also appealable.

 

APPLICATION FOR A REVISION:

1. The High Court in exercise of its revisionary powers can call for the record of any case which has been decided by any of its subordinate courts in which no appeal lies thereto if it appears that the subordinate court has exercised:

    1. A Jurisdiction not vested in it by law or
    2. failed to exercise a jurisdiction vested in it by law or
    3. acted in the exercise of its Jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

2. The High Court in exercise of its revisionary powers can make any orders, as it thinks fit, but the High Court cannot vary or reverse any order deciding an issue unless such order is unjust or has a material and decisive bearing in the case of party applying for revision.

 

LIMITATION PERIOD:

Any appeal made to the High Court has to be brought to it within a specific duration after the passing of the order against which the appeal has been made. The various types of limitation periods are:

1. The appeal to a High Court from any decree or order of a subordinate court has to be filed within 90 days from the date of decree or order,

2. The appeal to a High Court against a decree or order of that High Court has to be filed within 30 days of the date of decree and order,

3. The period of limitation for seeking review is 30 days and

4. For revisionary jurisdiction of the High Court is 90 days.

 

COURT FEES:

The court fee in High Courts is specified in their respective High Court Rules and also in the Court Fees Act, 1870.

For the example the court fees to be paid in the Courts of Mumbai is specified in the Schedules in the Bombay Court Fees Act, 1959. The court fees to be paid depends on the total amount which has been claimed in the suit.

 

PROCEDURE AND DOCUMENTS:

The procedure of filing various documents in different courts is again specified in their High Court Rules. There are separate procedures for suits filed under Original and Appellate jurisdiction of the High Court.

For example for the Bombay High Court has different procedures for the Appellate and Original Jurisdictions of the High Court. For civil suits under the Original Jurisdiction of the High Court, ‘Chapter IV – Institution of the suit’ of The Bombay High Court (Original Side) Rules, 1980 lays down the elaborate procedure and also the documents required. The matters which come as an appeal, for them the procedure of filing an appeal is given in ‘Part II – Procedure and Practice’ of the Bombay High Court (Appellate Side) Rules, 1960.

The formats of various forms that need to be submitted can be found in the Schedules appended to the High Court Rules. For example: For the Bombay High Court, there is a ‘Schedule of Forms’ appended to the Bombay High Courts (Original Side) Rules, 1980.

 

This information was provided by ALMT Legal.

 

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