2 Sep 2023 9:30 AM GMT
The Calcutta High Court has recently held that, as a Court of record, a High Court can review and correct its own orders by invoking its jurisdiction under Article 215 of the Constitution.In upholding the maintainability of the present review application, a single-bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya held:It is important to demarcate the source if invocation of the power of review and the...
The Calcutta High Court has recently held that, as a Court of record, a High Court can review and correct its own orders by invoking its jurisdiction under Article 215 of the Constitution.
In upholding the maintainability of the present review application, a single-bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya held:
It is important to demarcate the source if invocation of the power of review and the power to enter into a substantive review of the order on merits. Article 215 of the Constitution declares High Courts to be Courts of records. Being Courts of records, the High Courts are invested with inherent powers to correct the records. The term “Courts of records” does not simply mean keepers of records but that the High Courts have an obligation, indeed a duly, to maintain correct records within its jurisdiction in accordance with law. The power to correct orders, including where there is an apparent error on the face of the record, falls within the plenary powers of the High Court as a Court of record.
Brief Facts of the Case
These observations came in a review application filed on the grounds that an earlier judgement delivered on 26th June 2023 for appointment of an arbitrator, suffered from an “error apparent on the face of record” and that the applicants had discovered new and important evidence which could not have been produced at the time of delivery of the impugned judgement.
It was argued by the respondents that the present application was not maintainable on the grounds that the applicant could not seek review of the judgement as the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (“1996 Act”) was a “complete code within itself” and did not provide for review of orders passed by a Court under it.
Respondents also argued that Order XLVII Rule I of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (“CPC”) which stipulates the threshold benchmark for a Court entertaining a review application, had not been met in the present case.
It was submitted that while a High Court could its exercise plenary jurisdiction to recall an order, that cannot be assumed to include the power to review a judgement, unless specifically provided for in the concerned statute.
Applicants on the other hand argued that Article 215 of the Constitution vests the High Court with to the power to correct its records, which would include review of its judgements & orders.
Observations of the Court
Upon hearing the arguments of the parties, the Court perused its powers under Article 215 of the Constitution, and observed that in accordance with the Supreme Court judgement in the case of MM Thomas v State of Kerala, errors apparent on the face of record noticed by the High Court in respect of an order passed by it would be within its competence to review.
In further dismissing the respondent’s contentions and upholding the maintainability of the present review application, the Bench held:
The High Court, in exercise of its plenary powers, cannot be fettered by the limitations of the 1996 Act in respect of review or be hemmed-in by the strictures of Order XLVII Rule 1 of The Code of Civil Procedure at the stage of allowing the application to enter through the gates. The first, that is invocation of the powers under Article 215 of the Constitution is a question of maintainability which is answered in the affirmative; the second that is Order XLVII Rule 1 of The Code of Civil Procedure is a question on merits which will determine the review-ability of the order within the contours of Order XLVII Rule 1 of The Code of Civil Procedure. This Court is therefore of the view that the present application succeeds in clearing the threshold test and entering the arena of review. The Court will consider whether the application succeeds on the merits and the tests of Order XLVII Rule 1 once the matter is taken up for hearing.
Case: Radha Bhattad v Rashmi Cement Limited
Coram: Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 258
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment