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So long as there is some evidence on the basis of which the Trial Court entered its findings, the High Court would not re-appraise the evidence: High Court of Delhi

In proceedings under Article 227 of the Constitution, the High Court is on duty to keep inferior courts and tribunals within the bounds of their authority in a legal manner. Exercise of this power and interfering with the orders of the courts or tribunals is restricted to cases of serious dereliction of duty and flagrant violation of fundamental principles of law or justice, where if the High Court does not interfere, a grave injustice would remain uncorrected. The High Court while acting under this article cannot exercise its power as an appellate court or substitute its own judgment in place of that of the subordinate court to correct an error, which is not apparent on the face of the record. These were stated by High Court of Delhi consisting, Justice Prateek Jalan in the case of Smt. Usha Rani vs. Shri Anil Singh Kushwah [CM(M) 76/2022] on 21.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the plaintiff claimed a decree for possession of the suit property. On the plaintiff’s application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC, an interim order dated 08.07.2009 was passed. The plaintiff thereafter filed an application under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC stating therein that some part of the suit property had been demolished by the defendant from inside. Evidence was led by the plaintiff and her son, as well as by the defendant. On the maintainability of the application, it was decided in favour of the plaintiff. However, on the merits, it was decided against the plaintiff. It is in these circumstances, that this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution was filed by the petitioner.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the finding in the impugned order, to the effect that the order of status quo granted would not encompass an injunction against the renovation of the property is erroneous. It was further submitted that that changes were made to the suit property during the pendency of the suit and the subsistence of the interim order.

The learned Counsel for defendant submitted that the contention that defendant had demolished some rooms is established upon comparison of the report of Local Commissioner with the contents of the plaint, wherein the plaintiff had specifically averred that there were 14 rooms each on the ground floor and first floor and 2 rooms on the second floor of the suit property. He contended that the said pleading of the plaintiff was not specifically traversed in the written statement.

The High Court of Delhi held that the term “status quo” is one of ambiguity and can give rise to doubts and difficulty in interpretation. In such circumstances, it was open to the Trial Court, particularly in proceedings under Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the CPC, to interpret the order narrowly. While considering an application under Order 39 Rule 2-A, the court cannot construe the order in regard to which disobedience/breach is alleged, as creating an obligation to do something which is not mentioned in the “order”. In proceedings under Article 227 of the Constitution, so long as there is some evidence on the basis of which the Trial Court could have entered its findings, the High Court in its supervisory jurisdiction would not re-appraise the evidence. The exercise of power under this article involves a duty on the High Court to keep inferior courts and tribunals within the bounds of their authority in a legal manner. Exercise of this power and interfering with the orders of the courts or tribunals is restricted to cases of serious dereliction of duty and flagrant violation of fundamental principles of law or justice, where if the High Court does not interfere, a grave injustice remains uncorrected. It is also well settled that the High Court while acting under this article cannot exercise its power as an appellate court or substitute its own judgment in place of that of the subordinate court to correct an error, which is not apparent on the face of the record. For the aforesaid reasons, the Court held that the impugned order of the Trial Court does not warrant the exercise of the supervisory jurisdiction of this Court. Therefore, the petition was accordingly dismissed.

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Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman.

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