The Hon’ble Madras High Court has held that a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India is maintainable irrespective of whether the proceedings are civil or criminal. Article 227 confers on the High Court power of superintendence over the courts and tribunals in the state or within its jurisdiction. A petition was filed before the Hon’ble Madras High Court seeking to close proceedings initiated under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Registry of the court refused to number the petition quoting that the petition under Article 227 was not maintainable.
The Hon’ble Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice GR Swaminathan, considering the petition, held that regardless of whether the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 proceeding is civil or criminal, powers under Article 227 of the Constitution are available against it. The Hon’ble Bench observed that Article 227 is “forum neutral”, which sees no difference between civil court and criminal court.
Further, the Hon’ble Bench opined that the Registry took such a stance owing to diverse views adopted in various precedents dealing with proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act. In Dr.P. Padmanathan&others Versus. V. Monica & others, it was held that proceedings instituted under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are civil and lie against the powers under Article 227. On the other hand, it was held that Domestic Violence Act proceedings filed are criminal proceedings in P. Arun Prakash&others Versus. S, Sudhamary.
The Hon’ble Court clarified that regardless of the nature of proceedings, Article 227 was available against them as the power of superintendence is forum neutral. The Court further said that the Registry cannot decide the issue of maintainability since it was a judicial function referring to its earlier decision in P. Surendran Versus. State by Inspector of Police.