By: Priyanka Agarwal
The Supreme Court gave a split decision on the issue of review of judgements based on precedents, when precedents are later on overruled.
The Division Bench, consisting of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, was hearing a group of review applications filed under Article 137 of the Constitution of India, 1950 read with Section 47 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as ‘CPC’). The Applications were filed by the Government of NCT of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
While relying on the Supreme Court judgement in Pune Municipal Corporation v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, (2014) 3 SCC, respective High Courts have interpreted Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and concerned land was handed over to the DDA. But subsequently in Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra (dead) through Lrs. & Others, (2018) 3 SCC 412, while rendering the decision in Pune Municipal (Supra) to be per incuriam, the Court also observed that the decisions rendered on the basis of Pune Municipal (Supra) are open to be reviewed in appropriate cases on the basis of the said decision.
Contention of the applicants
The applicants pleaded that Order 47 Rule 1 of the ‘CPC’ allows review orders or judgements on several grounds, one of them being ‘sufficient reason’. They also relied on Mathura Prasad Bajoo Jaiswal & Others v. Dossibai N.B. Jeejeebhoy, (1970) 1 SCC 613 in which it was held that the earlier decision will not operate as res judicata where the decision on question of law has already been altered with. Hence, they pleaded that the respective appeals should be open for review, or else, they would suffer as they would have to handover the land to the original owners, which would be against public interest.
Contentions of the respondents
The respondents stated that when a judgement is overruled it merely loses its precedential value and will not affect the binding nature of the decision between the party to the lis. They submitted that Order 47 of the Supreme Court Rules states that “no application for review will be entertained in a civil proceeding except on the ground mentioned in Order 47 Rule 1 of the ‘CPC’. Hence, unless grounds of Order 47 Rule 1 of the ‘CPC’ are not made out, the review petition is not be maintainable
Decision of the Court
Justice M.R. Shah
Justice M.R. Shah noted that in Indore Development Authority (Supra), the decision in Pune Municipal (Supra) was overruled and it was specifically observed that all other decisions in which Pune Municipal Corporation (supra) has been followed, are also overruled. He observed that the possession of the lands in question have been taken over and in many cases it might have been utilised/used by the beneficiary authorities, hence, it is not possible to return the land already used. Hence he allowed the review applications.and ordered respective appeals to be considered and decided afresh.
Justice B.V. Nagarathna
Justice B.V. Nagarathna, considered the issue of maintainability of review petition on ground of Order 47 Rule 1 read with Explanation to Rule 1, of the ‘CPC’ She observed that the Explanation is in the nature of exception intending to restrain enacting clauses to particular cases, thus indicating the principle of putting an end to litigation. Review can only be allowed where the main section is satisfied and will not be allowed where the Explanation applies. Hence, she refused to allow the Special Leave Petition.