Explained: When the Supreme Court reviews a decision

News:Recently,a number of review petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a review of its delivered decisions.


About Review Petition:

  • According to the constitution,the judgment of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land.It is final because it provides certainty for deciding future cases. 
  • However,the Constitution under Article 137 gives the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders. 
  • This departure from the Supreme Court’s final authority is entertained only under specific and narrow grounds.
  • So, when a review takes place,the law is that it is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

Grounds for Review:In a 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court itself had laid down three grounds for seeking a review of a verdict it has delivered:

  • The discovery of new and important matter or evidence which after the exercise of due diligence was not within the knowledge of the petitioner or could not be produced by him.
  • Mistake or error apparent on the face of the record or 
  • Any other sufficient reason.Any sufficient reason means a reason that is analogous to the other two grounds.

Who can file a review petition?

  • It is not necessary that only parties to a case can seek a review of the judgment on it. 
  • As per the Civil Procedure Code and the Supreme Court Rules, any person aggrieved by a ruling can seek a review. 

Procedure for review petition:

  • As per 1996 rules framed by the Supreme Court,a review petition must be filed within 30 days of the date of judgment or order.
  • In certain circumstances,the court can condone the delay in filing the review petition if the petitioner can establish strong reasons that justify the delay.
  • Review petitions are also heard as far as practicable by the same combination of judges who delivered the order or judgment that is sought to be reviewed.

What if a review petition fails?

  • In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra (2002), the court itself evolved the concept of a curative petition which can be heard after a review is dismissed to prevent abuse of its process. 
  • A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition, and is generally not granted an oral hearing.