New Delhi: Judicial orders of civil courts cannot be interfered with by the High Courts while exercising writ jurisdiction relating to their power to quash orders of inferior courts, the Supreme Court has held.
"We are of the view that judicial orders of civil courts are not amenable to a writ of certiorari (writ issued by SC or HCs for quashing orders of inferior courts, tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies) under Article 226 (power of High Court to issue certain writs)," a three-judge bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and justices A K Sikri and Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The decision came on a reference sent to the CJI for an authoritative pronouncement by a two-judge bench of the apex court which had raised the question as to whether the view taken in the Surya Dev Rai (verdict) that a writ can be issued under Article 226 of the Constitution even against a judicial order of a civil court.
The two-judge bench had differed with the earlier verdict on the issue and had referred the matter to the CJI for decision by a larger bench.
The three-judge bench, in its verdict, said, "We are also in agreement with the view of the referring Bench that a writ of mandamus (orders from SC/HCs to lower courts to perform statutory duty) does not lie against a private person not discharging any public duty.
"Accordingly, we answer the question referred as follows : (i) Judicial orders of civil court are not amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution;.. Contrary view in Surya Dev Rai is overruled."
Referring to various case laws, Justice Goel, writing the judgement for the bench, said, "It is necessary to clarify that expression 'judicial acts' is not meant to refer to judicial orders of civil courts...
"In fact, when the question as to scope of jurisdiction arose in subsequent decisions, it was clarified that orders of judicial courts stood on different footing from the quasi- judicial orders of authorities or tribunals."