Don’t Keep Review Petitions Pending For Long: SC Tells High Courts [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed high courts to dispose of review petitions as expeditiously as possible.
“We request the High Courts not to keep the applications for review pending as that is likely to delay the matter in every court and also embolden the likes of the petitioner to take a stand intelligently depicting the same in the application for condonation of delay,” said a two-judge bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar.
The bench was considering a special leave petition challenging an order dated March 9, 2012, passed by a single judge of the High Court of Kerala in R.S.A. No.345 of 2012 and an order dated October 26, 2016, passed in review petition No.886 of 2012.
The bench found that the review petition preferred in 2012, was kept pending for almost four years and, thereafter, the high court dismissed the same by observing that an effort was made to seek review of the main judgment as if the high court was expected to exercise appellate jurisdiction while dealing with an application for review.
Justice Misra observed that an application for review, with regard being to its limited scope, has to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible.
“Though we do not intend to fix any time limit, it has to be the duty of the Registry of every High Court to place the matter before the concerned Judge/Bench so that the review application can be dealt with in quite promptitude. If a notice is required to be issued to the opposite party in the application for review, a specific date can be given on which day the matter can be dealt with in accordance with law. A reasonable period can be spent for disposal of the review, but definitely not four years,” it said.
The bench also issued the following directions:
- An endeavour has to be made by the high courts to dispose of the applications for review with expediency.
- It is the duty and obligation of a litigant to file a review and not to keep it defective, as if a defective petition can be allowed to remain on life support, as per his desire.
- It is the obligation of the counsel filing an application for review to cure or remove the defects at the earliest.
- The prescription of limitation for filing an application for review has its own sanctity.
- The registry of the high courts has a duty to place the matter before the judge/bench with defects, so that there can be pre-emptory orders for removal of defects.
- An adroit method cannot be adopted to file an application for review and wait till its rejection and, thereafter, challenge the orders in the special leave petition and take specious and mercurial plea asserting that delay had occurred because the petitioner was prosecuting the application for review.
- There may be absence of diligence on the part of the litigant, but the registry of the high courts is required to be vigilant.
Read the Judgment here.