Judicial Update -
Supreme court rules out revision petitions against rejection of review applications for appealable decrees.
In the case of S. Narahari & Ors. v. S.R. Kumar & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. of 2023 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 8428 OF 2018)], the Hon’ble Supreme Court clarified the maintainability of revision petitions under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’) against rejection of review applications of appealable decrees by subordinate courts on merits.
The Supreme Court held that a revision petition under Section 115 of the CPC cannot be entertained against an order of a subordinate court rejecting a review application of an appealable decree on merits. The Supreme Court reasoned that the proper remedy for a party whose review application of an appealable decree has been rejected on merits is to file an appeal against the decree. If the appeal is barred by time, the time spent in diligently pursuing the review application can be condoned by the court to which the appeal is filed. The Court also observed that if the revisional court (High Court) modifies the order of the subordinate court rejecting the review application, an anomalous situation would arise. The decree passed by the subordinate court would stand modified by the High Court. Therefore, if the defendant(s) against whom the decree is passed were to challenge the same, they would be at a disadvantage on account of the merger.
If the revisional court sets aside/modifies/alters the subordinate court's decree, the decree of the subordinate court would merge with the one passed by the revisional court. As a result, the right of the party aggrieved by the subordinate court's decree to file an appeal would get affected. The Court also added that if the revisional court's order is allowed to stand, owing to modification of the decree by the revisional court, to which in normal course an appeal would lie, the right of an appeal to the aggrieved party would get seriously prejudiced. Finally, the Court observed that in a case where review is allowed and the decree is reversed/modified, the decree so vacated/reversed/modified is the one effective for further appeal. But if the review petition is dismissed, the aggrieved party will have to challenge the same within the time stipulated for the original decree, since there is no merger of decrees as in the previous scenario.
The Supreme Court's judgment is a significant development in the law of civil procedure. It clarifies that revision petitions under Section 115 of the CPC cannot be entertained against rejection of review applications of appealable decrees by subordinate courts on merits. This judgment will help to reduce the number of frivolous revision petitions and ensure that the courts are able to focus on more important matters.