The real difficulty with reference to this matter, however, is not so much in the statement of the principle as in its application to the facts of a particular case.
When does an error cease to be mere error and become an error apparent on the face of the record? No clear-cut rule by which the boundary between the two classes of errors can be demarcated can be suggested. The test that no error can be said to be apparent on the face of the record if it is not self- evident and if it requires an examination of argument to establish it, may afford a satisfactory basis for decision in the majority of cases. But there must be cases in which even this test may break down, because judicial opinions also differ, and an error that may be considered by one Judge as self-evident may not be so considered by another.
The fact is that what is an error apparent on the face of the record cannot be defined precisely or exhaustively, there being an element of in- definiteness inherent in its very nature and it must be left to be determined judicially on the facts of each case. One of the grounds on which the jurisdiction of the High Court on certiorari may be invoked, is an error of law apparent on the face of the record and not every error either of law or fact, which can be corrected by a superior court in exercise of its statutory powers as a court of appeal or revision. The Court exercising its powers under Art. 226 cannot quash an order of an inferior tribunal on the grounds of mistake of fact apparent on the face of the record. In order to attract such jurisdiction, it is essential that the error should be something more than a mere error of law, that is, that it must be one which is manifest on the face of the record.
In this respect, the law in India and England is the same. It was held that- (a) In regard to a finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal, a writ of certiorari can be issued if it is shown that, in recording the said finding, the Tribunal had: (i) Erroneously refuse to admit admissible and material evidence, or (ii) Erroneously admitted inadmissible evidence which has influenced the improper finding. (b) Similarly if a finding of fact is based on evidence that would be regarded as an error of law which can be corrected by a writ of certiorari.