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Articles 226 and 227: How are they different?

Can the decision of a High Court in a revision application be challenged? If yes, how? A
decision or order of the High Court in a revision application is not an appealable order under
Order 43 of the CPC nor can it be appealed as a decree (under Sections 96 or 100) because
the order of the High Court in the revision application is not a decree. Therefore, for a remedy
against the order of a Court under Section 115, one has to look beyond the CPC. This would
mean the Constitution, but would it be Article 226 or 227?
Article 227 vests the Court with supervisory jurisdiction which it can exercise
over subordinate Courts. Since the High Court is not subordinate to itself, I am assuming
Article 226 would be the right provision to invoke in such situations. Of course, I am not very
sure of this conclusion, but it seems plausible.
The question itself has a flaw because instead of seeking a remedy from the rejection of the
revision application, one must look for an alternative to the revision application, which may
be used despite the rejection of the revision application. To rephrase the question accurately
now, one must ask if a writ under Articles 226 or 227 may lie from the order of a subordinate
Court after the rejection of a revision petition under Section 115 of the CPC?
The answer is in the affirmative, but which of these is technically the correct provision to be
invoked needs to looked into carefully since Courts have often used them interchangeably,
and have blurred subtle yet definite distinctions between the two. A 2003 judgment of the
Supreme Court compares the two Articles to explain the powers vested in a High Court under
each of them.
I am still not clear in my own head, which explains all the more why one needs to think it
aloud. The Court in this case has drawn from several sources, commentaries and judgments,
to understand the scope of Art.226. The Court observed that a writ of certiorari is but one of
the writs that may be issued under Art.226. This writ is employed to keep authorities and
Courts subordinate to a High Court within their limits.
This writ may lie from the order of any authority where the authority in question has acted in
a judicial or quasi-judicial manner. Further, the Court plays a supervisory role and not an
appellate role, therefore it cannot embark on reviewing findings of fact unless theres a patent

error i.e. error which is grossly against the provisions of law. The Courts primary function is
to set right jurisdictional wrongs and to verify if principles of natural justice have been
observed where the Court has rightly seized itself of the matter.
In contrast, Art.227 is wider in scope in that it is not bound by technicalities which limit the
working of Art.226. Art.227 vests the Court with the power of superintendence which exists
independent of its revisional powers under any other law (i.e. CPC). While Art.226, which is
the Original jurisdiction of the High Court, may be set into motion only by a party, Art.227
gives a High Court power to call for records suo motu. It can be invoked regardless of a
possible alternative to the High Court in the form of an appeal or revision.

Under Art.226, the Court may merely quash the order of the sub-ordinate Court, whereas
under Art.227, the Court may direct the sub-ordinate Court as to its proper course of action or
may pass an order which replaces the subordinate Courts order. This explains why a High
Court, under Art.227, exercises powers which are similar to appellate powers and hence uses
it in parsimony. Only if an appeal is proved to be less efficacious than a writ under Art.227,
may the Court entertain such a petition.

That said the situations where Art.227 may be validly raised are similar to the specific
situations where a revision may lie before a High Court under section 115(1). This answers
our question- when a revision petition is rejected by a High Court, a party may choose to file
a writ under Art.226 or a petition under Art.227 depending upon the kind of relief he seeks to
elicit from the Court. If he wants the Court to merely set aside the order of the subordinate
Court, he may file for a writ of certiorari under Art.226, however if he wants the Court to reappreciate the case on merits, legal not factual, and chart a course for the sub-ordinate Court,
he may file a petition under Art.227.
Case : Surya Dev Rai vs Ram Chander Rai & Ors on 7 August, 2003

SUBMITTED BY
ANANYA MOHAPATRAX