This article is written by Anusua Debbarma, pursuing a Executive Certificate Course in Introduction to Legal Drafting from LawSikho.


This article focuses on the procedure involved in the revision of judgement and provides clarity on the basic classification between Appeal, Review and Revision.

Appeal, Review and Revision are legal terms that seem to be similar but are different in context. They are all different legal resorts that are available to the aggrieved person. Appeal is a continuation of proceeding which signifies the right of carrying out a particular case from an inferior court to the superior court, with a view to ascertain whether the judgement of the lower court is sustainable. An appeal is substantial and statutory right. Revision is a power of superior courts; it re-examines the jurisdiction of an inferior court or the legality of a judgement exercised in that jurisdiction by the inferior court. The court can exercise the power of revision to ascertain whether there are some illegalities involved in the judgement of the inferior court or the inferior court has exceeded its power of jurisdiction. Review is another legal procedure available to aggrieved parties, given specifically under section 114 of Civil procedure Code, 1908. Review is generally done to recheck the facts of a case.

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Appeal and revision

In appeal, the superior courts can re-examine the facts as well as questions of law involved in a case but in revision, court can examine only the legality involved in a jurisdiction of a case. A right to appeal is statutory and substantial right while revision is not a statutory right. In the judgement of Gordhan Das, Baldev Das v. The Governor-General In Council[i]. It was held that right to appeal is commonly regarded as a creature of the statute because it is not an inherent or natural right but a legislative privilege given to the aggrieved party, it may be conferred or withheld at the discretion of the law-making authority. According to Section 401(4) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 when a party is entitled to appeal against an order, it is not entitled to apply in revision without first appealing against such order. Most importantly, in appeal, if the superior court decides to set aside the previous judgement given by the lower court, it has the full jurisdiction to do so, but in case of revision, the superior court does not have this power, though it may order a retrial it cannot impose a new verdict on the case. In State of Himachal Pradesh v. Nirmala Devi,[ii] the Court observed that section 386(b)(i) in an appeal from a conviction, uses the phrase “reverse the finding and sentence whereas sub-clause (iii) uses the phrase alter “alter the nature and extent of the sentence”. There is a difference between the word “reverse” and “alter” both have been made, contemplating different consequences and circumstances.

In State vs Kalu S/O Girdhari and Anr.[iii], the Court observed, “As the question is of interpretation of Section 423 which defines the powers of the appellate Court in disposing of appeal, the word ‘alter’ has been used above always in juxtaposition with ‘reverse’ to indicate that “reversal of a finding” is different from “alteration of a finding” which is definitely a weaker term. ‘Reversal’ connotes the complete annulment or revocation, or abrogation of a finding of a guilt or innocence (as the case may be) by the trial court so as to convert a decision that a man is innocent into a finding of guilty or vice versa. It means turning into something completely opposite in character.”

Review and revision

In legal sense review is different from Revision, review is the re-examination of a judgement by the same court and the same judge while revision can be done only by the superior court for a judgement passed by an inferior court. The review petition can be filed even where the right to appeal lies which is not the case for revision. In Usha Rani Banik v. Hardas[iv]the Court held that power of review is available only when there’s an obvious or an apparent mistake on the face of the record and not on the inaccurate call. In revision, facts of the case cannot be re-examined.

Grounds for revision

Revision can be filed in superior court by the aggrieved party of any judgement passed by the subordinate court where no appeal lies. Revision is discretionary and supervisory power of the superior court, it does not warrant any statutory right to the aggrieved party, unlike appeal. To further understand the conditions or grounds on which revision petition can be filed is discussed below.

Civil revision

Under Civil Procedure, 1908, section 115 explains Revision in civil matters. Earlier, there was a definition of the term “case decided” in CPC. After the Amendment Act, 1976, an explanation was added to Section 115 of CPC which defined the term “case decided” includes any order issued, or any order that resolves an issue, in the course of a lawsuit or any other proceeding. It is also to be noted that only the High court can pass a stay order in any suit or other proceeding for revision.

According to section 115 of CPC following are the conditions for revision:

  1. When a subordinate court has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law.
  2. When a subordinate court has failed to exercise its jurisdiction vested in it by law.
  3. When a subordinate court has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

There are some exceptions to the discretionary power of the High Court in case of revisions:

  1. The High Court shall not exercise revisional jurisdiction except where the order, if it was made in the favour of the party applying for the revision, would have finally disposed of the suit or other proceeding.
  2. The High Court shall not exercise revisional jurisdiction on any order or decree, against which an appeal lies to the High Court or to any subordinate court.

It can be inferred from the case, Dinshaw Iron Works vs. Miakhan Adamji & Co.[v]  High Courts while exercising revisional jurisdiction shall not check the merits of the evidence but it shall check if there is any irregularity or illegality involved in the judgement of an inferior court. In Rajaram Nathu Ji Pathode v. Maniran Samantha Kose,[vi] the Court held that mere erroneous judgement or if it is not in accordance with law does not count to be an illegality or material irregularity for High Courts to exercise its revisional power unless the lower court has exercised its jurisdiction where it had none.

Interlocutory order

A case can be wide enough to include an interlocutory order but those orders can only be revised where there is no right to appeal lies. In Major S.S. Khanna v. Brig. FJ. Dhillon[vii], the Supreme Court held that a ‘case’ to be interpreted as an entire proceeding and not part of the proceeding which may result in denying justice to the aggrieved.  A suit to recover money advanced to the defendant was not maintainable, the apex court held this interlocutory order to be a case decided and further held there is restriction or limitation imposed on the revisional power of the High Courts if there is no right to appeal lies. In Baldevdas Shivlal v. Filmistan Distributors (India) Pvt. Ltd. & Ors[viii], the Court held that a case can be said to be decided, if it adjudicates the rights and obligations of the parties or aspects of the case.


According to article 131 of Limitation Act, revision petition against a decree or order passed by subordinate court can be filed in High Court within 90 days from such decree or order. In certain cases, the court can entertain the civil revision where there appears no negligence on the part of the revisionist. In Shomurunessa v. Md. Musa Mia,[ix] the petitioner failed to prove that the negligence was not intentional and merely gave general explanation which is not a sufficient ground under section 5 of the Limitation Act.

Criminal revision

Under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 Revision is explained for criminal matters in section 397. Under CrPC revisional jurisdiction can be exercised by the High Court as well as Sessions Judge. As per section 397 of CrPC, to check the correctness or legality of any finding, sentence or order or proceeding, the Court may call for such record or direct the execution of any sentence or order to be suspended and if the accused is in jail a bail be released or on a bond, while the examination of the record is pending in the court. The word “proceeding” includes a pending case.

Some exceptions to discretionary powers of the court:

  1. The power of revision shall not be exercised in relation to any interlocutory or interim order passed in appeal, inquiry, trial or other proceedings. An interim order is a temporary order passed by a Court during pendency of a trial.
  2. High Court of Session Judges shall not entertain an application for revision by a person who has already applied for the same in either of them.

Interlocutory order

In the famous case of Amar Nath[x] decided by the Supreme Court, it was observed that interlocutory orders are of a purely interim or temporary nature which do not decide or touch the important rights or the liabilities of the parties. But the orders which affect or adjudicate the rights of the accused or a particular aspect of the trial, then it cannot be said to be an interlocutory order as to bar revision.

Interlocutory which are not subject matter of revision:

  1. Order to frame charge- Since such an order does not decide the question of guilt or innocence of the accused, it is interlocutory in nature. This order merely keeps the proceedings alive.
  2. Show cause order requiring execution of bond for keeping the peace under section 111 of CrPC- This is also an interlocutory order as it is passed only on certain information received by the Magistrate. At this stage of the proceedings, neither the rights of the parties are decided nor is the disputed matter finally disposed of.
  3. An order refusing the application for summoning witnesses- It is an order made at an intermediate stage of the commencement and termination of a case.
  4. Order summoning accused under section 204 of CrPC- It is an intermediate stage of criminal proceedings.
  5. Order under section 306 and 307 granting pardon- In Manoj Kumar Agarwal State of UP[xi], the High Court held that remanding accused to custody by a Magistrate is an interlocutory order, cannot be revised.

An order which cannot be held as interlocutory but to be final order which is the subject matter of revision:

  1. Order allowing cross-examination of a witness summoned to produce document under section 94 of CrPC- A person who is summoned only to produce a document, cannot be cross-examined unless and until he has been called as a witness. If a Magistrate allows such a person to be cross-examined it adversely affects the appellant.
  2. Final order under section 145 of CrPC- When a final order is passed by an Executive Magistrate, the proceeding is finally disposed of and nothing remains to be done.
  3. Order under section 210 of CrPC- This provision empowers the Court to stay the proceedings initiated on the basis of complaint when there is police investigation is going on for the same offence against the same party. The dismissal of an application under section 210 amounts to adjudication of the case finally as far as the relief for stay is concerned.
  4. Order under section 167 of CrPC- When Magistrate passes an order on an application for bail by the accused made 60 days after his arrest for failure of prosecution to prepare a charge sheet within that time, there is a final determination of the right of the accused, as to whether he is entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right. It is a final order
  5. Order extending period of limitation under section 473.


According to article 131 of Limitation Act provides criminal revision to be filed by the aggrieved party within 90 days from the decree or order passed. Section 50 of the Act provides the Court to allow criminal revision application after expiry of limitation period on sufficient cause shown for condonation for delay. According to the judgement of Sh. Salekh Chand vs. Sh. Deepak Sharma[xii], the Sessions Court held that the period of limitation shall commence from the date of knowledge of the impugned order by the revisionist. (In this case the revisionist got the knowledge on receipt of summons on 08.11.2013 and filed on 23.01.2014 while the date of impugned order was 16.08.2013.)

Suo motu exercise of power

Suo motu power of a court refers to the power vested in the court to act on its own accord or decision without being approached by the parties. Even the small courts can exercise suo motu revisional power in the interest of justice in civil cases within its jurisdiction. While in matters of greater public interest the High Court can exercise revisional power on its own. In Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Girdharilal Sapuru[xiii], it was held that revision cannot be dismissed by High Court due to technical ground of limitation, it should exercise its suo motu power of revision to prevent illegality and miscarriage to perpetuate. However, in criminal matters suo motu power cannot be extended to convert the revision into appeal against acquittal and then convict the accused but the order of acquittal can be set aside by High Court and retrial can be remitted.

Procedure for revision

The court may initiate revisional power by suo motu or by the application of the aggrieved party within the limitation period. However, a court can only exercise revisional when the subordinate court has not exercised its jurisdiction or exceeded its power of jurisdiction. Revision petition is allowed only at the discretion of the Court, which means it can also be denied if the court is satisfied that substantial justice has been delivered. Once the revision petition is accepted, the jurisdictional error is corrected, hence revised and the reasons are recorded. In civil proceedings of revision, it is not abated even by the death of the applicant but the order is transferred in the name of legal representative of the applicant.


Revisional powers are granted to the Court to correct the jurisdictional error or it acted illegally or with material irregularity in the exercise of that jurisdiction in a sentence or an order or proceeding in case. The High court cannot exercise the revisional power, against which appeal lies to the High Court. Courts may exercise suo moto power for revision for the interest of justice. In civil matters, interlocutory order can come under the purview of revision but in criminal matters interlocutory order which affects the rights of the party or particular aspect of the case comes under the purview of revision. Revisional Jurisdiction is limited in power and discretionary in nature.


[i] (1952) 54 PLR 1

[ii] AIR 2017 SC 1981 : [2017] 3 MLJ (CrL) 70 : LNIND 2017 C 189

[iii] 1952 CriLJ 887

[iv] AIR 2005 Gau 1

[v] (1943) Bom. 33

[vi] AIR 1975 Bom. 11

[vii] AIR 1964 SC 497

[viii] AIR 1970 SC 406

[ix] 58 DLR 228

[x] Amar Nath And Others vs. State Of Haryana & Others, 1977 AIR 2185, 1978 SCR (1) 222

[xi] 1995 Cr.LJ 646 (AIL)

[xii] (2015) Criminal Revision No. 10/2014

[xiii] AIR 1981 SC 1169 : 1981 Cr LJ 632 : (1981) 2 SCC 758

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