The Supreme Court today said mere observations made by it cannot be treated as a law or a precedent and a review petition in exceptional circumstances can be filed in High Courts even after the apex court had dismissed a special leave petition.
A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra said in a judgement that the apex court court cannot take affront if the high court entertains a review petition even after the Supreme Court had dismissed a special leave petition.
"In our opinion, the above observations cannot be treated as a precedent at all. We are not afraid of affronts. What has to be seen is whether a legal principle is laid down or not. It is totally irrelevant whether we have been affronted or not."
"A mere stray observation of this court, in our opinion, would not amount to a precedent. The above observation of this court is, in our opinion, a mere stray observation and hence not a precedent, " the bench said.
The apex court passed the ruling while upholding an appeal by Gangadhara Rao challenging the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to dismiss his petition in a property dispute on the ground that his SLP was already dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Rao had contended his SLP was dismissed without assigning any reason by the apex court and hence a review petition before the high court was maintainable.
Agreeing with the view, the apex court said "by a judicial order, the power of review cannot be taken away as that has been conferred by the statute or the Constitution. This court by judicial orders cannot amend the statute or the Constitution."
The apex court said a special leave under Article 136 of the Constitution of India is a discretionary remedy and, hence, it can be dismissed for a variety of reasons and not necessarily on merits.
"We cannot say what was in the mind of the court while dismissing the special leave petition without giving any reason. Hence, when a special leave petition is dismissed without giving any reason, there is no merger of the judgment of the High Court with the order of this Court. Hence, the judgment of the High Court can be reviewed since it continues to exist, though the scope of the review petition is limited to errors apparent on the face of the record," the bench said.
HCs Can Hear Petitions Even After We Dismiss It: SC
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