The High Court can exercise judicial review in addition to administrative control over the lower courts within its limits.
This is to ensure that there is no dereliction of duty or negation of the principles of law and justice.
Justice M. Venugopal has made the observation while allowing a civil revision petition by a person against an order of the III Assistant Judge, City Civil Court, Chennai, in December 2009 on an application in a civil suit.
In the application, K. Sarangan had sought the appointment of an Advocate Commissioner (AC) to take and present before a forensic expert an alleged promissory note for verification. He contended that his very defence lay on the expert opinion. He argued that the trial court had not become functus officio in so far as the matter was concerned. The trial court had erred in holding that there was no need for examination of the documents by an expert at this stage as the court had already sent the document for expert opinion, he said.
Already in July 2009, the court appointed an AC to take the promissory note to the Forensic Science Department and file a report. In the report, the AC said he handed over the document; but the department returned it stating that some more genuine signatures of Mr. Sarangan were required. Hence, he filed a petition before the trial court for appointing an Advocate Commissioner to present the document to the department again.
In the December 10, 2009 order on the petition, the trial judge said, “On verification, it is found that in the petition there would not be an existence of documents by ex parte at this stage. Hence, heard both by 17.12.2009.”
Mr. Justice Venugopal said that he was of the opinion that the trial court’s order “is not lucidly clear as regards the facts or otherwise of the matters in issue.” The subordinate Judge was not clear in his mind when he passed the order.
He said the High Court could interfere when an order of a subordinate court was perverse or based on no material.
He set aside the trial court order and granted liberty to the parties to move the trial court for seeking orders either in the same application or to file another application.
Keywords: court administration