. A high court has the power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals functioning in its territorial jurisdiction (except military courts or tribunals). Thus, it may:
- call for returns from them;
- Make and issue, general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of them;
- prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts are to be kept by them; and
- settle the fees payable to the sheriff, clerks, officers and legal practitioners of them.
This power of superintendence of a high court is very broad because, (i) it extends to all courts and tribunals whether they are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the high court or not; (ii) it covers not only administrative superintendence but also judicial superintendence; (iii) it is a revisional jurisdiction; and (iv) it can be suo-motu (on its own) and not necessarily on the application of a party.
However, this power does not vest the high court with any unlimited authority over the subordinate courts and tribunals. It is an extraordinary power and hence has to be used most sparingly and only in appropriate cases. Usually, it is limited to, (i) excess of jurisdiction, (ii) gross violation of natural justice, (iii) error of law, (iv) disregard to the law of superior courts, (v) perverse findings, and (vi) manifest injustice.