TRIBUNALS WHETHER BOUND BY THE DECISIONS OF SC AND HC?

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Article 141 of the Indian Constitution declares that “the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all court within the territory of India.”  Undoubtedly, the scope of Article 141 is very wide and it would apply to ordinary courts as well as administrative tribunals. There is no provision corresponding to Article 141 with respect to the law declare by the High Court.

The question, therefore, arises whether the law declared by a High Court has a similar binding effect over all subordinate courts and inferior tribunals within the territories in relation to which it exercise jurisdiction.

Generally, in the absence of specific provisions, the same principle applies to judgment of a High Court. Again, as the Supreme Court is the Apex Court in the Country, the High Court is the Apex court in the State. Moreover, like the Supreme Court and High Court, over and above writ jurisdiction has also supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate courts and inferior tribunals within the territories in relation to which it exercise its jurisdiction.

Therefore, if any administrative tribunal acts without jurisdiction exceeds its power or seek to transgress the law laid down by the High Court, the High Court can certainly interfere with the action of the tribunal.

This question directly arose before the Supreme Court in East India Commercial Co. Ltd v. Collector of Customs (1962). The Court observed that under Article 227 the HC has jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. The Court therefore held that the law declared by the highest court in the State is binding on authorities or tribunals under its superintendence and they cannot ignore it either in initiating a proceeding or deciding on the rights involved in such proceeding.

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