The Supreme Court reiterated that a special leave petition against only a review order passed by High Court is not maintainable.
In this case, the SLP against the original order passed by the Allahabad High Court was dismissed by the Apex Court on 18.12.2020 without granting any specific liberty to file a review application before the High Court. The petitioners thereafter filed a review application which was dismissed by the High Court.
It is not possible for the petitioner to assail only the review order and a Special Leave Petition against only a review order would not be maintainable, the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh observed.
The court also observed that the petitioner cannot challenge the substantive order as the Special Leave Petition against the same was even earlier dismissed.
In this order, the court has referred to an earlier judgment in Municipal Corp.Of Delhi vs Yashwant Singh Negi in which it was held thus: "Once the High Court has refused to entertain the review petition and the same was dismissed confirming the main order, there is no question of any merger and the aggrieved person has to challenge the main order and not the order dismissing the review petition because on the dismissal of the review petition the principle of merger does not apply.
The said judgment also refers to DSR Steel (Private) Limited v. State of Rajasthan and others (2012) 6 SCC 782, which had laid down the following principles
- One of the situations could be where the review application is allowed, the decree or order passed by the court or tribunal is vacated and the [pic]appeal/proceedings in which the same is made are reheard and a fresh decree or order passed in the same. It is manifest that in such a situation the subsequent decree alone is appealable not because it is an order in review but because it is a decree that is passed in a proceeding after the earlier decree passed in the very same proceedings has been vacated by the court hearing the review petition.
- The second situation that one can conceive of is where a court or tribunal makes an order in a review petition by which the review petition is allowed and the decree/order under review is reversed or modified. Such an order shall then be a composite order whereby the court not only vacates the earlier decree or order but simultaneous with such vacation of the earlier decree or order, passes another decree or order or modifies the one made earlier. The decree so vacated reversed or modified is then the decree that is effective for the purposes of a further appeal, if any, maintainable under law
- The third situation with which we are concerned in the instant case is where the revision petition is filed before the Tribunal but the Tribunal refuses to interfere with the decree or order earlier made. It simply dismisses the review petition. The decree in such a case suffers neither any reversal nor an alteration or modification. It is an order by which the review petition is dismissed thereby affirming the decree or order. In such a contingency there is no question of any merger and anyone aggrieved by the decree or order of the Tribunal or court shall have to challenge within the time stipulated by law, the original decree and not the order dismissing the review petition. Time taken by a party in diligently pursing the remedy by way of review may in appropriate cases be excluded from consideration while condoning the delay in the filing of the appeal, but such exclusion or condonation would not imply that there is a merger of the original decree and the order dismissing the review petition."
Case name and Citation: Bechai (Dead) vs Jag Ram LL 2021 SC 563
Case no. and Date: SLP(C) 15810/2021 | 8 October 2021
Coram: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh