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What is a review petition?

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is a review petition?


Context:

The Supreme Court has fined senior advocate Prashant Bhushan Re 1 in the contempt case for his tweets on the judiciary.

  • He will be imprisoned for three months and will be debarred from practicing for three years if he defaults on the payment of the penalty.

Background:

  • On August 25, the court had reserved its ruling after numerous arguments as Bhushan refused to apologise.

What next?

He has agreed to pay the fine but has said that he will file a review petition against the conviction.

What is a review petition and when can it be filed?

A judgment of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land, according to the Constitution. It is final because it provides certainty for deciding future cases.

However, the Constitution itself gives, under Article 137, the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders. This departure from the Supreme Court’s final authority is entertained under specific, 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.

When can a review petition be accepted?

In a 1975 ruling, Justice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted “only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility”.

A review is by no means an appeal in disguise.

  • That means the Court is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

Filing Review Petition:

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

  • A Review Petition has to 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.

The procedure to be followed:

  1. The rules state that review petitions would ordinarily be entertained without oral arguments by lawyers. It is heard “through circulation” by the judges in their chambers.
  2. 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.
  3. If a judge has retired or is unavailable, a replacement is made keeping in mind the seniority of judges.
  4. In exceptional cases, the court allows an oral hearing. In a 2014 case, the Supreme Court held that review petitions in all death penalty cases will be heard in open court by a Bench of three judges.

Option after Review Petition Fails:

In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra case (2002), the Court evolved the concept of a curative petition, which can be heard after a review petition is dismissed.

  • A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition and is generally not granted an oral hearing.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Review vs Curative petition.
  2. Procedure to be followed.
  3. Who can file?
  4. Time- period within which a review petition should be filed?
  5. What is Section 497 of IPC?
  6. What is Article 137?

Mains Link:

What is a review petition? What is the procedure to be followed? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.