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The Final Judgment Of The Final Court Is Not Final


BENCH: Chief Justice of India, Justice S.P. Bharucha, and his companion justices, Justice S.M. Qadri, Justice U.C. Banerjee, Justice S.N. Variava and Justice S.V. Patil.

FACTS: The case is related to matrimonial discord where the Petitioner had filed a Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India after the Review Petition being dismissed by the Supreme Court.


Your lordship discussed the doctrine of Ex Debito Justitiae, with reference to Article 137 and 145 in view of Article 32. Article 137 and 145 confers the power on the Supreme Court to review its judgment, while Article 32 invokes the writ jurisdiction in the nature of Habeas Corpus, Quo Warranto, Mandamus, Prohibition and Certiorari. These Articles are based on the fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.

The counsel, Mr. Ranjit Kumar appearing on behalf of the Petitioner argued that in cases where there are illegality and injustice, the Supreme Court can consider its final judgment under the inherent power of Article 32.

The counsel, Dr. Rajiv Dhavan defended the petitioner’s argument on the ground that the final judgment of the final court is final and the corrective power of the Supreme Court has to be derived from the provisions of the Constitution, i.e. through Articles 32 and 129 to 140, not from abstract jurisdiction as being a creation of the Constitution.

Your lordship relying on the arguments presented by the parties held that:

Judges are human beings which means that they can also do mistakes while pronouncing judgments or orders, and when these judgments or orders cause violation of natural justice and seriously affect the parties or such order or judgment makes a mockery of justice then it needs to be dealt with care and caution; that is where the principle of ex debito justitiae comes into play. This principle is founded on a debt that the justice delivery system owes the litigant to correct an error in a judicial dispensation, but only in situations where it adversely affects the public confidence in the justice delivery system. Thus, to prevent abuse of power and gross miscarriage of justice the judgment (final) of the Supreme Court can be reconsidered. Such rectification is not to be used to disturb finality, but it stems from the fundamental principle that justice is above all.

The petitioner was not able to prove miscarriage of justice as founded by the Bench further the Petitioner himself stated that he was heard by the bench at some length. Therefore, it makes it very clear that the matter was heard duly and that the mere fact that the order does not discuss the contentions or give reasons cannot entitle the petitioner to have what is the second review. Thus, it was held that the petition is not maintainable and dismissed at no cost.

Lastly, it held that the curative petition ought to be treated as a rarity rather than regular and the appreciation of the Court having regard to three basic features of our justice delivery system:

  1. the order being in contravention of the doctrine of natural justice or;

  2. without jurisdiction or;

  3. in the event of there is even a likelihood of public confidence being shaken by reason of the association or closeness of a judge with the subject matter in dispute.


Mohd Asad is a 2nd year Law student, currently pursuing Law (5-year course) from Shambhunath Institute of Law, Jhalwa, Prayagraj.

Edited by Rudra Prasad

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