This article has been written by Shreya Sahi.


In this case, an appeal was filed against the order of the Trial Court’s judgement to the Additional District Judge (ADJ) who reiterated that in the ejectment suit, there was no permission via oral or written contract taken by the tenant to sub-let the bungalow from the landlord under the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952. The ADJ reaffirmed the Trial Court’s verdict and the matter went as a revision before the High Court, which engaged with accessing the facts and evidence and substituted with findings of its own. When the matter reached the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Court laid down the distinction between an appeal and a revision and the powers of the High Court or superior Courts under the two. The Court also stated that the revisional jurisdiction of the High Courts does not delve into erroneous questions of law or fact at the stage of revision under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) which is inscribed in S. 115 of the Code.

Concept entailed in the case

The revisional power given to every High Court under S. 115 of the Code is to critically and carefully examine the decision of any subordinate court where no appeal lies. However, the High Court has to satisfy itself on three matters, namely:

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  1. The order by the subordinate court is within its jurisdiction;
  2. The case is where the Court had exercised its jurisdiction vested by law;
  3. That the subordinate court had not acted illegally or in breach of some provision of the law or material irregularity while exercising its jurisdiction. 

If the High Court is satisfied with these matters, it has no power to interfere in the matter, simply because it differs from the findings of the subordinate court on the questions of law or fact. However gross the findings of the trial court may be or even if there are errors of law, the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court has to be exercised when the aforementioned matters are violated. 

Object of Section 115

The object of the Section is to prevent subordinate courts from acting capriciously, arbitrarily and illegally in exercise of its jurisdiction. The High Courts are given the powers to see that the proceedings of the subordinate courts are in accordance to the procedure of law so as to prevent miscarriage of justice. The provision enables the Court to correct the jurisdictional error of the subordinate courts and provide the means to an aggrieved party to obtain rectification of a non-appealable order. The power under S. 115 that is given to the High Courts is completely discretionary and is exercised in cases from where no appeal lies (appeal includes first as well as second appeal) and on the ground of jurisdictional error. 


The revisional powers of the High Court are limited to the question of jurisdiction only and is not directed against conclusions of law or fact. The period of limitation for preferring a revision application is 90 days from the decree or order that is sought to be revised. A revision lies against interlocutory orders which are not appealable, if the conditions of S. 115 are fulfilled.

Critical analysis

The revisional jurisdiction of the High Court is a part and parcel of its appellate jurisdiction. However, there is a distinction between “revision” and “appeal”. A right of appeal is a right to rehear the case on law as well as on facts but the power of revision is generally given to the High Courts to satisfy itself that a particular case is decided according to law. Revisional jurisdiction is a conferment to keep the subordinate courts within the bounds of their authority and make them act according to procedure established by law. 

In the present case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down the distinction between an appeal and a revision. The Court stated that while an appeal is a continuation of the proceedings and evidences as well as facts and questions of law can be reheard, the revisional power of the High Courts does not allow the power to re-examine, review or reassess the evidences and to substitute its own findings with the subordinate courts. While an appeal lies only from decrees and appealable orders and is a substantive right conferred by the statute, the revisional jurisdiction of the Court lies in cases where there are no appeals and is discretionary.

The subtlety of the provisions of revision are such that a distinction is laid down between cases which are wrongly decided by the Court which has assumed jurisdiction, which is not vested with it and that where in exercise of jurisdiction, the Court arrives at an erroneous conclusion of law and fact. In the former case, the revisional power is permissible due to the jurisdictional error. 

When a subordinate court exercises jurisdiction that is not vested in it by law, a revision lies as the court had assumed the jurisdiction which it does not possess and the High Court has the power to interfere in such cases. 

When a subordinate court fails to exercise jurisdiction vested in it by law, a revision also lies. Such cases are:

  • Failure of the executing Court to construe the decree;
  • Refusal to entertain or rejection of a plaint, appeal or review on the ground that it does not have jurisdiction to entertain;
  • Refusal by Court to summon the deponent for cross-examination;
  • Failure in construing the principles for the grant of an ad interim injunction, etc.

Lastly, a revision also lies when the subordinate court has acted illegally in the exercise of its jurisdiction or with material irregularity. The expressions “illegally” and “material irregularity” pertain to errors relate to material defects of procedure and not of facts or law. Some examples are:

  • Where the Court decides the matter without considering the evidence on record, or
  • Fails to follow a precedent, or
  • Wrongly place a burden of proof while framing the issues, etc.

Latest position of law 

There has been no amendment in the provisions of S. 115 of the Code. However, under Code of Civil Procedure (Orissa Amendment) Act, 1991, the pecuniary jurisdiction in cases of revision has been laid down. The High Court may exercise its revisional jurisdiction in cases where the value of the suit exceeds one lakh rupees. This power has been extended to the District Courts where a case arises from an original suit. In such a case, the Court can exercise its revisional powers. The Act states that the provisions would apply prospectively and would not have a bearing on the cases already decided before. 


The Law Commission has laid down certain rules for the High Courts to follow while exercising revisional jurisdiction: 

  • Revisional jurisdiction must be granted after careful and strict scrutiny;
  • When a stay is granted on a revisional application, it must be disposed of within two to three months.

Owing to the increase in vexatious and frivolous litigation, it is important that cases involving revisional jurisdiction of the Court are sparingly applied and must be used to prevent the subordinate courts from illegally or arbitrarily exercising jurisdiction. 


The exercise of revisional jurisdiction is in the discretion of the Court and cannot be claimed as a right. When exercising the jurisdiction, the Court must check if there is any alternative remedy present before the aggrieved party. In case an efficacious remedy is present, the Court must not exercise its revisional jurisdiction under S. 115 of the Code.  It is in the exercise of superintending and visitorial powers that the revisional jurisdiction is conferred upon the High Courts and it must be strictly followed in accordance to the provisions laid down under S. 115 of the Code, in furtherance of expedient delivery of justice.

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