Supreme Court Guidelines

CURATIVE PETITION

Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra, AIR 2002 SC 1771: (2002) 4 SCC 388

Question
Whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against a final judgment/ order of this Court, after dismissal of review petition, either under article 32 of the Constitution or otherwise?
Answer
1. In the cases discussed above this Court re-considered its earlier judgments, inter alia, under articles 129 and 142 which confer very wide powers on this Court to do complete justice between the parties. We have already indicated above that the scope of the power of this Court under article 139 as a court of record and also adverted to the extent of power under article 142 of the Constitution.

2. The upshot of the discussion in our view is that this Court, to prevent abuse of its process and to cure a gross miscarriage of justice, may re-consider its judgments in exercise of its inherent power.

3. The next step is to specify the requirements to entertain such a curative petition under the inherent power of this Court so that floodgates are not opened for filing a second review petition as a matter of course in the guise of a curative petition under inherent power. It is common ground that except when very strong reasons exist, the Court should not entertain an application seeking re-consideration of an order of this Court which has become final on dismissal of a review petition. It is neither advisable nor possible to enumerate all the grounds on which such a petition may be entertained.

4. Nevertheless, we think that a petitioner is entitled to relief ex debito justitiae if he establishes: (1) violation of principles of natural justice in that he was not a party to the lis but the judgment adversely affected his interests or, if he was a party to the lis, he was not served with notice of the proceedings and the matter proceeded as if he had notice; and (2) where in the proceedings a learned judge failed to disclose his connection with the subject matter or the parties giving scope for an apprehension of bias and the judgment adversely affects the petitioner.

5. The petitioner, in the curative petition, shall ever specifically that the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation. The curative petition shall contain a certification by a Senior Advocate with regard to the fulfilment of the above requirements.

We are of the view that since the matter relates to re-examination of a final judgment of this Court, though on limited ground, the curative petition has to be first circulated to a Bench of the three seniormost Judges and the Judges who passed the judgment complained of, if available. It is only when a majority of the learned Judges on this Bench conclude that the matter needs hearing that it should be listed before the same Bench (as far as possible) which may pass appropriate orders. It shall be open to the Bench at any stage of consideration of the curative petition to ask a senior counsel to assist it as amicus curiae. In the event of the Bench holding at any stage that the petition is without any merit and vexatious, it may impose exemplary costs on the petitioner.

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