SC to HCs: Don’t keep review pleas pending

‘They are kept on life support by litigants to delay process’

March 08, 2017 11:29 pm | Updated March 09, 2017 02:37 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court has asked High Courts to dispose of review petitions as expeditiously as possible to prevent any slow-up in the process of justice.

“We request the High Courts not to keep the applications for review pending as that is likely to delay the matter in every court and also embolden the likes of the petitioner to take a stand intelligently depicting the same in the application for condonation of delay,” a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and M. Shantanagoudar observed in a recent judgment.

The court was hearing a case in which a plea for review of an order passed by a Single Judge Bench of the Kerala High Court on March 9, 2012 took four years to be decided on October 26, 2016. “What is perplexing is that the review petition preferred in 2012 was kept pending for almost four years,” Justice Misra observed.

Guidelines issued

The court issued a slew of guidelines for High Courts, litigants and their lawyers while dealing with review petitions.

It said “an endeavour has to be made by the High Courts to dispose of the applications for review with expediency.”

The judgment observed that it was also the duty of a litigant to file his review plea against a judgment on time. The court said it was the obligation of counsel filing an application for review to cure or remove the defects at the earliest. Review petitions were often kept on “life support” by litigants and their lawyers to deliberately delay the process, it said.

“The prescription of limitation for filing an application for review has its own sanctity,” Justice Misra observed. The court said the registry of the High Courts had a duty to place the matter before the judge/Bench with defects so that there could be preemptory orders for removal of defects. An adroit method could not be adopted to file an application for review and wait till its rejection and, thereafter, challenge the orders in the special leave petition.

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