The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next Article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.
- Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court.—(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.
(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to any judgment, determination, sentence or order passed or made by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.
Under article 136, the Supreme Court, at its discretion, may grant special leave to appeal from any judgement, decree, determination, sentence or order, in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India. These powers of the Supreme Court to grant special leave to appeal are far wider than the High Courts’ power to grant certificates to appeal to the Supreme Court under article 134A. The Supreme Court can grant special leave against judgments of any court or tribunal in the territory, except the military courts, and in any type of cases, civil, criminal or revenue. But, the Supreme Court has itself said that it will grant special leave to appeal only in cases where there has been gross miscarriage of justice or where the High Court or Tribunal is found to have been grossly wrong in law. If the judgment of the court below shakes the conscience and shocks the sense of justice, the Supreme Court shall interfere.
The principle governing the exercise of power by the Supreme Court under article 136 has been summed up by the Court itself in Ganga Kumar v. State of Bihar, AIR 2005 SC 3123: (2005) 6 SCC 211: JT 2005 (6) SC 356 as follows:
(i) The powers of the Supreme Court under article 136 of the Constitution are very wide but in criminal appeals the Supreme Court does not interfere with the concurrent findings of the fact save in exceptional circumstances.
(ii) It is open to the Supreme Court to interfere with the findings of fact given by the High Court if the High Court has acted perversely or otherwise improperly.
(iii) It is open to the Supreme Court to invoke the power under article 136 only in very exceptional circumstances as and when a question of law of general public importance arises or a decision shocks the conscience of the Court.
(iv) When the evidence adduced by the prosecution falls short of the test of reliability and acceptability and as such it is highly unsafe to act upon it.
(v) The appreciation of evidence and finding is vitiated by any error of law of procedure or found contrary to the principles of natural justice, errors of record and misreading of the evidence, or where the conclusions of the High Court are manifestly perverse and unsupportable from the evidence on record.
Source: Subhash C Kashyap: Constitutional Law of India