article 14
Image source - https://bit.ly/2FbDq2s

This article is authored by Miran Ahmed who is a student of BBA.LLB(H) at Amity Law School, Kolkata; and deals with the revision of cases in the High Courts under the Code of Civil Procedure.

Introduction

The judgements given by any court can be a result of inadvertent mistakes or human errors which can slip into the proceedings despite due diligence. The law provides for an application to challenge the decision of a subordinate court if the court exceeds its judicial authority or refuses to exercise the powers under its jurisdiction vested by law. Or may decide to revise a case on its own accord if it is felt that a subordinate court has not acted under its jurisdiction. After revision, the court may revise its decision and implement changes. This provision is put in place to maintain fairness and guarantee the accuracy of justice. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is a procedural law related to the administration of civil proceedings in India. It defines the circumstances under which civil cases can be revised by the High Court and lays down the procedure for revision. Revision of a case is different from the review, which is the re-analysing of a case; and appeal, which is the application challenging the judgement of a court.

Meaning

Revision means to go through something carefully, thoroughly and diligently. Cases can be revised by the High Court as it possesses revisional jurisdiction as defined under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The High Court has the right to revise cases decided by subordinate courts to ensure delivery of justice and maintenance of fairness.

Nature, Scope and Object

The primary objective of a revisional authority of the High Court empowered by Section 115 is to ensure that no subordinate court acts arbitrarily, illegally, capriciously, irregularly or exceeds its jurisdiction; and allows the High Court to guarantee the delivery of justice while ensuring that the proceedings are conducted in accordance with the rule of law and furtherance of fairness. It must be noted that the judges of subordinate courts have the absolute authority to decide on cases. They do not commit any “jurisdictional error” even when they wrongfully or extra-judicially decide a case. The High Court has the power to revise these jurisdictional errors committed by subordinate courts. This provides an opportunity to any aggrieved party to rectify a non-appealable order by a subordinate court.

The High Court can revise any case by a subordinate court in which no appeal lies when:

  1. The subordinate court has exercised jurisdiction not vested in it by law.
  2. The subordinate court has failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in it by law.
  3. The subordinate court exercises its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity or in breach of some provision of the law or by committing some errors of procedure in the course of the trial which may have affected the ultimate decision.

Who may file?

The application for revision can be filed by any aggrieved party once the case is decided, provided that there is no appeal against the case presently. The High Court may then decide to revise the case if the proper cause is discovered such as extra-judicial activity or illegal and erroneous procedure practised by the subordinate court. The High Court may also exercise revisional jurisdiction suo moto under the Code of Civil Procedure.

In the case of S.Muthu Narayanan V. Paulraj Naicker, 2018, the revision petition is dismissed and the order passed previously is confirmed as the revision petitioner has no right to challenge the executability of the decree.

Conditions for Revision

The conditions when the High Court can exercise its revisional jurisdiction is laid down in Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure. All these conditions must be met for the High Court to exercise its revisional jurisdiction. These are as follows:

Precedents

The case must have already been decided and judgement declared by the subordinate court. A case cannot be revised if it has not been decided in the first place and no judgement is given. The expression “case decided” was not defined in the CPC, 1908. This gave rise to a number of conflicting decisions on the question of whether the said expression included an interlocutory order also. This conflict was resolved in the case of Major S.S. Khanna V. Brig. F.J. Dillon, 1963 which declared that Section 115 applies even to interlocutory orders. It was observed by Shah J.,“The expression ‘case’ is a word of comprehensive import; it includes civil proceedings other than suits, and is not restricted by anything contained in Section 115 to the entirety of the proceedings in a civil court. To interpret the expression “case” as an entire  proceeding only and not a part of the proceeding would be to impose an unwarranted restriction on the exercise of powers of superintendence and may result in certain cases in denying relief to the aggrieved litigant where it is most needed and may result in the ‘perpetration of gross injustice.”

In the case of Baldevdas Shivlal V. Filmistan Distributors (India) (P) Ltd., 1969, the Supreme Court held that a case may be said to have been decided if the court adjudicates for the purpose of the suit some right or obligation of the parties in controversy. Every order in the suit cannot be recorded as a case decided.

An explanation was added to Section 115 by the Amendment Act of 1976, on the recommendation of the Joint Committee of Parliament. This makes it clear that the expression, “case decided” includes any order made, or any order deciding an issue, in the course of a suit or any other proceeding. Thus, “any case which has been decided” means each decision which terminates a part of the controversy involving the question of jurisdiction.

       Click Above

No appeal lies

There must not be any appeal lying against the case decided by the subordinate court. The High Court cannot revise a case if there is a pre-existing appeal against the case as the revision interferes with the appeal and vice-versa. The revision can only be filed once the appeal is dismissed. The word “appeal” includes both the first appeal and second appeal. Therefore, the revision can only lie when the appeal is dismissed or does not lie.

Jurisdictional error

The revisional jurisdiction can be applied by the High Court when the subordinate court appears to have:

  1. Acted in excess of jurisdiction vested in it by law, or
  2. Failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it by law, or
  3. Displayed material irregularity and exercised its power illegally or in breach of the provisions of law.

Subordinate court

The High Court cannot exercise revisional jurisdiction unless a case is decided by a court which is subordinate to the High Court. Only a court of civil judicature is considered and this does not include any person acting in an administrative capacity. As a general rule, where it is provided that a matter should be decided by a particular court, the presiding officer of such court will act as a court. But where it is provided that a particular judge should decide a matter, the provisions of the statute will have to be considered for determining whether the judicial officer acts as a court or as a persona designata. The revision by the High Court is mainly done to rectify the jurisdictional or procedural errors caused by subordinate courts in the course of proceedings in any case when an application is filed by an aggrieved party.

Alternative remedy

The power of revisional jurisdiction and its application lies under the discretion of the High Court and cannot be claimed as a right by any aggrieved party. Several factors are considered before the authority of revisional jurisdiction is exercised. If there is the presence of an efficacious or alternate remedy available to the aggrieved party, the court may not exercise its revisional jurisdiction and instead suggest the alternate remedy and relief to the aggrieved party. This is done to prevent the misuse of revisional jurisdiction and make it applicable only in cases where necessary.

Limitations on revisional jurisdiction

Article 131 of the Schedule of Limitation Act provides a limitation period of 90 days for filing the revision under the Code of Civil Procedure from the date of decree or order or sentence sought to be revised. Thus, the limitation period prescribed for filing the revision against the impugned order is 90 days. The application for revision must be filed with the High Court within the limitation period.

In the case of Salekh Chand V. Deepak Sharma 2015, During the pendency of the revision petition, an application was filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act by the revisionist. But it was declared by the Court that Article 131 of the Schedule of Limitation Act stated that the limitation period to file for revision is 90 days. Thus, the revision petition was not barred by limitation and allowed to proceed.

In the case of Samudrala Nagabhushanam V. Venkana Raghavayy, 1966, the Court decided that the petition for revision in this particular case was governed under Section 22 of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings Control Act, 1960 and not Role 41-A(2) of the Appellate Side Rules of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. Thus, the revision is not barred by limitation.

Suo moto exercise of power

The term ‘suo moto’ means on its own motion or self-decision. The judiciary has the power to revise cases suo moto. This means that the small court has the authority to make its own decision to exercise the power of revision and takes the decision to revise any case on its own accord, i.e. without any application filed by any aggrieved party. The sole decision as to the exercise of the power of revision rests with the court and the aggrieved party is not entitled to receive it. The judiciary takes up a matter on its own on grounds of blatant violation of the law, to maintain public order, to prevent the gross constitutional violation, to remedy grave injustice. This assumes the public at large as one of the parties. Usually, an amicus curiae is appointed in such matters to assist the court. A great amount of public interest rests in suo moto exercise of revisional powers by the High Court.

In the case of Chimanbhai G. Patel V. D.Y. Collector, 1999, it was stated by the Court that a Deputy Collector or Assistant Collector cannot exercise the powers of revision suo moto. Therefore, the order was set aside as there was no jurisdiction in the exercise of revisional powers.

Interlocutory Orders

The Interlocutory order which is often called interim order is a decision of the court given during the proceedings and before the finality of a case to ensure that the interest of either party is not harmed due to or during the process of justice. It settles subordinate issues related to the main subject due to the time-sensitive nature of those issues. Section 94 of Part VI of the Code of Civil Procedure lists the ‘Supplemental Proceedings’ which mentions how the court can issue interlocutory orders to prevent the ends of justice from being defeated. The court can:

  1. Issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant or if he fails to comply with any order for security, commit him to the civil prison.
  2. Direct the defendant to produce any property belonging to him and furnish it as security by placing it at the disposal of the Court.
  3. Grant temporary injunction and commit a guilty person to a civil prison in case of disobedience, and order his property to be attached and sold.
  4. Appoint a receiver of any property and enforce the performance of his duties by attaching and selling his property.
  5. Make any such interlocutory orders as may appear before the Court to be just and convenient.

A few examples of interlocutory orders are as follows:

  1. Appointment of a Commissioner to conduct search and seizure.
  2. Temporary Injunctions.
  3. Appointing a Court Receiver to collect any payments or rent.
  4. Assign security to maintain a cause.

In the case discussed in Sub-Committee on Judicial Accountability V. Union Of India, 1991, it was held that the Supreme Court will refrain from passing any interlocutory order which has the potential to and may interfere with or has an effect of pre-judgement on any delicate issue on the mail matter.

Death of Applicant

The death of an applicant does not abate the proceedings of the application of revision as revision is not governed under Order 22 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Once the application for revision is filed, the proceedings shall continue despite the death of the applicant and the order shall be given to the legal representative of the applicant.

Doctrine of Merger

The doctrine of merger is neither a doctrine of constitutional law nor a doctrine statutorily recognised. It is a common law doctrine founded on principles of propriety in the hierarchy of justice delivery system. It can be observed when litigants agree to a settlement and seek to have their settlement incorporated in a court order. The doctrine of merger cannot be applied universally. It will depend on the nature of jurisdiction exercised by the superior authority and the subject-matter in challenge laid shall determine the applicability of merger. The superior jurisdiction should be capable of reversing, modifying or affirming the order put in issue before it. The High Court possesses the authority to reverse or modify the judgment of a subordinate court in case of a violation of jurisdiction or failure to comply with the jurisdictional rules. The doctrine of merger is based on the principle of union of two conflicting interests which cannot be held by one person at the same time. As observed in Section 111(h) of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 leasehold rights in favour of the appellants are extinguished under the doctrine of merger.

Procedure of Revision

Revisional jurisdiction of the High Court can be exercised suo moto to ensure the delivery of justice. The authority to revise a case of jurisdictional error of subordinate courts lies with the High Court and cannot be demanded as a right by any aggrieved party. This brings us to the second method which involves an application filed by the aggrieved party for revision. This merely brings the jurisdictional error of the subordinate court to the attention of the High Court which may then decide to revise the case. The application may also be denied if the High Court feels that substantial justice has been done. 

Once the High Court initiates the proceedings, the case is revised to ensure jurisdiction is not exceeded by the subordinate court. But no changes can be made with regards to any decision of the subordinate court even if unlawful, as long as the decision lies within its jurisdiction. After a decision has been made and if there is extra-jurisdictional action by the subordinate court, it is rectified and the reasons are recorded.

Recording of Reasons

The reasons for the dismissal of a case or changes to be applied in case of extra-jurisdictional activity by a subordinate court are to be filed for record. The recording of reasons is done to ensure the court can show cause or prove the basis of its decision for changes made or refusal to make any change with regards to the jurisdiction of the subordinate courts.

Letters Patent Appeal

Letter patent appeal (LPA) is an appeal by a petitioner against a decision of a single judge by another bench of the same court. There are chances that a single judge can go wrong when dealing with facts or laws. Thus, a remedy is provided to challenge the decision of that single judge by a bench of more than one judge of the same court. An LPA petitioner can save costs by challenging the single judge this way rather than move the Supreme Court. Usually, judgment and order passed under Article 226 of the constitution is appealable as LPA, but judgment and order passed under Article 227 is not appealable under this category.

The rules regarding the application of the Letter Patent Appeal is as follows:

  1. Letter patent appeal can be filed in the High Court and only in such High Courts that have been established by the letter patent.
  2. Division bench can file a letter patent appeal to the Supreme Court. It means it will also include a full bench of 5 judges, 7 judges and also the Supreme Court.
  3. Letter patent appeal is the only court established by a letter patent under the constitution and it is called the second appeal.

Distinctions

Revision and Appeal

Sr. No.

Revision 

Appeal

(1)

An application for revision can only be made in the High Court.

An appeal can be made in any court superior to the one that passed the order or decree.

(2)

An application for revision can only be made to the High Court challenging any decision of the subordinate court when no appeal lies against the decision in the specified case.

An appeal can be made on a superior court after a decree or order is passed by a lower court.

(3)

The revisional power is under the discretion of the High Court and cannot be claimed as a right by any aggrieved party.

The right to appeal has been provided as a substantive right by the statue.

(4)

Any case can be revised on the grounds of jurisdictional error by the subordinate court.

An appeal can be made against a judgement on the question of fact, or law, or both.

(5)

The High Court can exercise the powers of revision by suo moto and filing an application is not necessary.

An appeal can only take effect after a memorandum of appeal is filed by the aggrieved party before a superior court.

Revision and Second Appeal

Sr. No.

Revision 

Second Appeal

(1)

Revision is defined under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure

The second appeal is defined under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(2)

Revision of case lies on the ground of jurisdictional error of the subordinate courts.

A second appeal lies in the High Court on the ground of substantial question of law.

(3)

A revision can be invoked only when no appeal (either first or second) lies in the High Court or any subordinate court.

A second appeal lies in the High Court when the first appeal is dismissed by a lower court.

(4)

The High Court cannot interfere with an order passed by the subordinate court even if it is unlawful and wrong as long as it lies under the court’s jurisdiction.

The High Court has the power to interfere with a decree passed by a lower appellate court if it is unlawful or against the rule of law.

(5)

A question of fact cannot be decided during the exercise of revisional jurisdiction.

A question of fact can be decided in a second appeal under certain circumstances.

(6)

The High Court may decide to decline an application for revision if it is felt that substantial justice has been done.

The High Court does not have discretionary powers in a second appeal and cannot refuse to grant relief on equitable grounds.

Revision and Reference

Sr. No.

Revision 

Reference

(1)

Revisional proceedings can begin either by an application filed by an aggrieved party or suo moto by the High Court.

A case is transferred by a subordinate court to the High Court for reference.

(2)

Revision is done on the grounds of jurisdictional errors committed by a subordinate court which is to be rectified by the High Court.

A case can be referred to a higher court on the grounds of reasonable doubt in question of law by the subordinate court.

Revision and Review

Sr. No.

Revision 

Review

(1)

The authority of revision can only be exercised by the High Court under which revisional jurisdiction lies.

A review can be done by any court that passes the decree or order itself.

(2)

Revisional power can only be exercised when no appeal lies against the order or decree.

Review of a decree or order can be done even if an appeal lies against the decree or order.

(3)

The revisional power of the High Court can be exercised suo moto without any application by an aggrieved party.

An application must be filed by the aggrieved party for review in the court that passed the order or decree.

(4)

Jurisdictional error by a subordinate court is mainly the ground of revision.

The grounds are laid down under Rule 1 of Order 47 of CPC, on which an application can be made for the review of a judgement.

(5)

The order passed to exercise revisional jurisdiction is non-appealable and cannot be challenged.

The order granting a review can be appealed against in the court granting the review.

Revision and Writ

Sr. No.

Revision 

Writ

(1)

Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 defines revisional jurisdiction.

Article 226 in the Constitution of India, 1949 mentions the writ jurisdiction of the High Court.

(2)

A revision application can be filed by the aggrieved party.

A writ petition can be filed by any party completely unrelated to the issues.

(3)

A party can invoke revisional jurisdiction after filing a writ in the High Court.

Any party cannot invoke a writ after an application for revision.

Revision and Power of Superintendence

Sr. No.

Revision

Power of Superintendence

(1)

Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 defines revisional jurisdiction of the High Court.

Article 227 of the Constitution of India, 1949 mentions the power of superintendence of the High Court.

(2)

Power of revision is only judicial and not administrative.

Power of superintendence is both judicial and administrative.

(3)

Power of revision is statutory and can be abolished by the new legislation.

Power of superintendence is constitutional and cannot be curtailed or abolished by the statute.

(4)

Revisional powers have less application and cannot be exercised in all conditions as Section 115 is restricted.

Power of superintendence has a wider application as compared to the revisional powers of the High Court.

Conversion of Revision into Appeal

The nature and scope of revisional jurisdiction is different from appellate jurisdiction. If an order impugned is revisable, it cannot be converted into an appeal if there is no presentation of appeal in the eyes of law; as seen in the case of Munshi Singh v. Tula Ram (1980 MPLJ SN 61). The second appeal cannot be converted into revision in exercise of discretion, as seen in the case of T.K. Ramanujam Pillai v. Subramaniam (AIR 1967 Mad 298). If the revision is not maintainable, the petitioner can file appeal explaining the delay by filing an application under Section 14 of the Limitation Act along with memo of appeal, as seen in the case of Om Prakash V. Dwarka Prasad, 2004.

Law commission’s view on Revision

The Law Commission states that the following should be kept in mind while exercising the revisional powers of the High Court:

  • The ruling of the Court is absolute unless the party to whom it applies can show cause why it should not apply. This is Rule Nisi and should not be issued except under careful and strict scrutiny.
  1. The record of the subordinate court should not be called for where no stay in granted. And where it is necessarily required copies are to be produced.
  2. All efforts should be made to dispose of the revision within two to three months where a stay is granted.

Conclusion

The power of revision of the High Court is exceptional and should be exercised when necessary in cases where there is a defect in the proceedings due to jurisdictional error in the subordinate courts which may result in a miscarriage of justice and beats the purpose of the rule of law. The revisional powers are granted to the High Courts to ensure that there is a remedy to the aggrieved party in case the system of justice falters due to jurisdictional errors. The High Court has been granted the power to revise a case if it is observed that a subordinate court has not acted according to the power vested in it by law under its jurisdiction.

References


Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skill.

LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:

https://t.me/joinchat/J_0YrBa4IBSHdpuTfQO_sA

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here