Jurisdiction of High Court

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    10th Sep, 2019

Context

Bureaucrat­turned­politician Shah Faesal contended that the Delhi High Court has the territorial jurisdiction to hear his habeas corpus plea as he was detained at the IGI Airport and was forcibly taken to Srinagar.

ABOUT

Habeas Corpus

  • A writ of habeas corpus (which literally means to "produce the body") is a court order demanding that a public official (such as a warden) deliver an imprisoned individual to the court and show a valid reason for that person's detention.
  • The procedure provides a means for prison inmates, or others acting on their behalf, to dispute the legal basis for confinement.
  • The court then examines the cause and legality of detention.
  • It would set the detained person free, if the detention is found to be illegal. Thus, this writ is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detention.
  • The writ of habeas corpus can be issued against both public authorities as well as private individuals.
  • The writ, on the other hand, is not issued where the
    1. detention is lawful
    2. the proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court
    3. detention is by a competent court
    4. detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Jurisdiction of High Court

  • The High Court is the highest court of appeal in the state. It is the protector of the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. It is vested with the power to interpret the Constitution. Besides, it has supervisory and consultative roles.
  • However, the Constitution does not contain detailed provisions with regard to the jurisdiction and powers of a high court.
  • At present, a high court enjoys the following jurisdiction and powers:
    1. Original jurisdiction.
    2. Writ jurisdiction.
    3. Appellate jurisdiction.
    4. Supervisory jurisdiction.
    5. Control over subordinate courts.
    6. A court of record.
    7. Power of judicial review

Writ Jurisdiction of High Court

  • Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warrento for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.
  • The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right.
  • The high court can issue writs to any person, authority and government not only within its territorial jurisdiction but also outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction (15th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1963).
  • In the Chandra Kumar case (1997), the Supreme Court ruled that the writ jurisdiction of both the high court and the Supreme Court constitute a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Hence, it cannot be ousted or excluded even by way of an amendment to the Constitution.
  • In Shah Faesal’s Case, his case is justified because cause of action was happend in Delhi and then he was taken to outside the territory of Delhi.
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