In India, a binding decision of the Supreme Court or High Court can be reviewed in Review Petition. The parties aggrieved on any order of the Supreme Court or High Court on any apparent error can file a review petition. Taking into consideration the principle of stare decisis, courts generally do not unsettle a decision, without a strong case. This provision regarding review is an exception to the legal principle of stare decisis.
Meaning of Review
The term ‘Review’ means re-examine or verification. In a legal sense filing of application before the Hon’ble court to re-examine the material of facts and verification of records relating to pronounced judgment is called as review petition. It is legally given another chance to the aggrieved parties to file review petition before the court to rectify order on an error apparent on the face of the record.
Article 137 of the Constitution provides that subject to provisions of any law and rule made under Article 145 the Supreme Court of India has the power to review any judgement pronounced (or order made) by it. Under Supreme Court Rules, 1966 such a petition needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of judgement or order. It is also recommended that the petition should be circulated without oral arguments to the same bench of judges that delivered the judgement (or order) sought to be reviewed. Review petition can also be filed against the order passed by the High Court in the revision petition. The High Court may admit / dismiss the review petition, but also has the power to reverse its earlier order after giving opportunity of hearing to the both sides.
Even after dismissal of a review petition, the Supreme Court may consider a curative petition in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice. A curative petition is a way to ask the court to review and revise their own decision even after a review petition is dismissed or used.
Conditions for applicability
An application for Review may be filed by any person, if such person perceive himself as aggrieved by–
(a) A decree or order which has been passed or made, by any civil court, And
Grounds for review
Review can be filed, if there is:
Time limit and manner of filing
A review application or petition may be filed by the affected party within 30 days of the Order passed by the High Court or Supreme Court. The decisions of both Supreme Court and High Courts can be reviewed in Review Petition. Article 137 of the Constitution provides that subject to provisions of any law and rule made under Article 145 the Supreme Court of India has the power to review any judgment pronounced (or order made) by it.
Civil litigation and Criminal litigation
A civil review petition can be moved in accordance with Order XLVII, Rule 1(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and a criminal review petition can be moved only on the ground of an error apparent on the face of the record in terms of CRPC, 1973.
Review Petition in respect of tax litigation
Review Petition in respect of tax litigation is dealt with under Section 114 and Order 47 of the CPC. Any party aggrieved by an order or judgment may apply for reviewing the said order or judgment to the same court. It can be filed where no appeal is preferred or in case there is no provision for appeal. As per Order 47 Rule 1 of CPC every Court has been conferred power to review its own decision if its decision is vitiated by a mistake or error apparent on face of record. But error on the face of record must be such error which must be evident per se from record of the case and does not require detailed examination, scrutiny and elucidation either of the facts or the legal position.
Third party can not file a Review Petition
A third party cannot file a review petition. The following are the Supreme Court case laws:
Satvir Singh v. Baldeva (1996) 8 SCC 593
Simranjit Singh Mann v. Union of India (1992) 4 SCC 653
State of Karnataka V. T. R. Dhannanjaya (1995) 6 SCC 254
Success of Review Petition
A review petition is being preferred only on limited grounds, such as an error apparent on the face of the record. Generally, review petition are hear by the same judges who had earlier decided the case. The judges may be called for records relating to the said matter during re-hearing of the case for re-examination if any mistake happened in the Order so pronounced by the court. Thus, a chance of success in a review petition is very limited.
Vodafone-Hutchison Tax Case
On 17.02.2012, Govt of India moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of its verdict holding that the Indian Income Tax Department does not have jurisdiction to impose Rs.11,000 crore as tax on the overseas deal between Vodafone and Hutchison. On 20.03.2012, Supreme Court dismissed the review petition during an in-chamber proceeding saying the petition has no merit.
It was held that the principles of judicial review, normally do not concern themselves with the decision itself, but are mostly confined to the decision making process. Such proceedings are not an appeal against the decision in question, but a review of the manner in which such decision may have been made. In judicial review, the Court sits in judgment over correctness of the decision making process and not on the correctness of the decision itself. In exercise of powers of judicial review, the Court is mainly concerned with issues like the decision making authority exceeding its jurisdictional limits, committing errors of law, acting in breach of principles of natural justice or otherwise arriving at a decision which is ex facie unreasonable or vitiated by perversity. – [JSW Energy Limited v. Union of India (2019) (17) G.S.T.L.198 (Bom.)]
It was held that Review or rehearing of case can be done only when some mistake or an error apparent on face of record is discovered or for any other sufficient reason. Further such mistake or error apparent must be prima facie visible without carrying out any detailed examination. Re-appreciation of evidence and rehearing of case without error apparent on the face of record not permissible and Challenging an order in guise of review not permissible – Section 114 and Order 47 Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 – Article 226 of Constitution of India. This view was affirmed the Apex Court. – [Principal Commissioner of Customs, v. M.S.S. Foods Processors (2017) 7 G.S.T.L. 394 (MP)]
It was held that in our judgment, therefore, a patent, manifest and self-evident error which does not require elaborate discussion of evidence or argument to establish it, can be said to be an error apparent on the face of the record and can be corrected while exercising certiorari jurisdiction. An error cannot be said to be apparent on the face of the record if one has to travel beyond the record to see whether the judgment is correct or not. An error apparent on the face of the record means an error which strikes on mere looking and does not need long-drawn-out process of reasoning on points where there may conceivably be two opinions. Such error should not require any extraneous matter to show its incorrectness. To put it differently, it should be so manifest and clear that no Court would permit it to remain on record. If the view accepted by the Court in the original judgment is one of the possible views, the case cannot be said to be covered by an error. – [ACIT v. Saurashtra Kutch Stock Exchange Ltd (2008) 230 ELT 385 (SC)]
It was held that the jurisdiction to review an order is to be conferred by the statute. Unless statute confers jurisdiction for review no review can be undertaken and no jurisdiction for review can be assumed. A piece of evidence if alleged not to have been considered and a finding has been arrived at in that event it would not be a mistake rectifiable under Section 129B(2). This is a case of review since the entire finding has to be changed and the purpose would not be served by amending the order but by replacing the order or substituting the order as a whole. The effect of review is of setting aside the order and passing a fresh order upon considering the materials alleged to have been omitted to be considered. Review and rectification cannot be treated at par. – [Commissioner of Customs v. Sunil Ghosh (2006) 199 E.L.T.587(Cal.)]
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Board of Control for Cricket in India v. Netaji Cricket Club, wherein it has been held thus:
“89. Order 47 Rule 1 of the Code provides for filing an application for review. Such an application for review would be maintainable not only upon discovery of a new and important piece of evidence or when there exists an error apparent on the face of the record but also if the same is necessitated on account of some mistake or for any other sufficient reason.
90. Thus, a mistake on the part of the court which would include a mistake in the nature of the undertaking may also call for a review of the order. An application for review would also be maintainable if there exists sufficient reason therefore. What would constitute sufficient reason would depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. The words “sufficient reason” in Order 47 Rule 1 of the Code are wide enough to include a misconception of fact or law by a court or even an advocate. An application for review may be necessitated by way of invoking the doctrine “actus curiae neminem gravabit.” – [Board of Control for Cricket in Indiav. Netaji Cricket Club, (2005) 4 SCC 741 (SC)]
A review is not an appeal in disguise and its purpose was to ensure that justice was not defeated and errors leading to miscarriage of justice were remedied. Errors requiring review were those which patent and apparent from the face of the record were errors of inadvertence, but not those that needed to be fished out
The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lily Thomas v. Union of India has laid down the law in the following terms: (SCC pp. 247-48, Para 52)
“52. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘review’ is ‘the act of looking, offer something again with a view to correction or improvement’. It cannot be denied that the review is the creation of a statute. This Court in Patel Narshi Thakershi v. Pradyumansinghji Arjunsinghji, (1971) 3 SCC 844, held that the power of review is not an inherent power. It must be conferred by law either specifically or by necessary implication. The review is also not an appeal in disguise. It cannot be denied that justice is a virtue which transcends all barriers and the rules or procedures or technicalities of law cannot stand in the way of administration of justice. Law has to bend before justice. If the Court finds that the error pointed out in the review petition was under a mistake and the earlier judgment would not have been passed but for erroneous assumption which in fact did not exist and its perpetration shall result in a miscarriage of justice nothing would preclude the Court from rectifying the error. – [ Lily Thomas v. Union of India, (2000) 6 SCC 224 (SC)]
It was held that a review petition on the ground that an earlier order had been rendered on a wrong appreciation of law, was liable to be allowed. – [Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh v. Faculty Association (1998) 4 SCC 1 (SC)]
It was held that an interpretation of statue of law at variance with the clear and simple language thereof, would be an error apparent on the face of the record warranting review. – [Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Pine Chemicals Ltd. (1995) 1 SCC 58 (SC)]
The position in English Courts is also well accepted. In R v. IRC Ex parte Preston, Lord Scarman summed up the position in English Administrative Law, thus:
“My fourth proposition is that a remedy by way of judicial review is not to be made available where an alternative remedy exists. This is a proposition of great importance. Judicial review is a collateral challenge: it is not an appeal. When Parliament has provided by statute appeal procedures, as in the taxing statutes, it will only be very rarely that the courts will allow the collateral process of judicial review to be used to attack an appealable decision. In the first part of his speech my noble and learned friend, Lord Templeman, has set out in detail the ample appeal procedures available to a taxpayer aggrieved by a decision of the commissioners to exercise their powers and duties under Part XVII of the Act of 1970 to counteract a tax advantage alleged to have been obtained by him. … But cases for judicial review can arise even where appeal procedures are provided by Parliament. The present case illustrates the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to subject a decision of the commissioners to judicial review. I accept that the court cannot in the absence of special circumstances decide by way of judicial review to be unfair that which the commissioners by taking action against the taxpayer have determined to be fair. – [R v. IRC Ex parte Preston – (1985) 4C 835 (1985) 2 A 11 ER 327 (1985) STC 282]
The scope of the power of review was explained by the Court in Northern India Caterers (India) v. Lt. Governor Of Delhi, wherein the Court held that “a party is not entitled to seek a review of a judgment delivered by this Court merely for the purpose of a rehearing and a fresh decision in the case. Normally the principle is that a judgment pronounced by the Court is final and departure from that principle is justified only when circumstances of a substantial and compelling character make it necessary to do so. If the attention of the Court is not drawn to a material statutory provision during the original hearing the Court will review its judgment. The Court may also reopen its judgment if a manifest wrong has been done and it is necessary to pass an order to do full and effective justice”. – [Northern India Caterers (India) v. Lt. Governor Of Delhi (1979)(SC)]
The court held that there was a distinction between a mere erroneous decision and a decision which could be characterized as vitiated by an “error apparent”, and a review was by no means an appeal in disguise. – [Thungabhadra Industries Ltd. V. Government of Andhra Pradesh (1964) 5 SCR 197 (SC)]