Question: Is it permissible to file a review petition in the High Court against its decision if a special leave petition (SLP) against the said decision has been already dismissed by the Supreme Court in limine (at the start itself) by passing a non-speaking order?
Answer: In the circumstances mentioned by you, the answer to your question is “yes”. If the Supreme Court has dismissed SLP at the initial stage itself, i.e., without granting the leave to appeal, by a non-speaking order, that is done in the exercise of a special jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution and not in exercise of any appellate jurisdiction. It does not preclude other remedies, if any, available to the party.
In fact, in the case of Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, (1986) 4 SCC 146 : AIR 1986 SC 1780, Supreme Court held as under:
“It is not the policy of this Court to entertain special leave petitions and grant leave under Article 136 of the Constitution save in those cases where some substantial question of law of general or public importance is involved or there is manifest injustice resulting from the impugned order or judgment. The dismissal of a special leave petition in limine by a non-speaking order does not therefore justify any inference that by necessary implication the contentions raised in the special leave petition on the merits of the case have been rejected by this Court. It may also be observed that having regard to the very heavy backlog of work in this Court and the necessity to restrict the intake of fresh cases by strictly following the criteria aforementioned, it has very often been the practice of this Court not to grant special leave except where the party cannot claim effective relief by approaching the concerned High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. In such cases also the special leave petitions are quite often dismissed only by passing a non-speaking order especially in view of the rulings already given by this Court in the two decisions aforecited, that such dismissal of the special leave petition will not preclude the party from moving the High Court for seeking relief under Article 226 of the Constitution. In such cases it would work extreme hardship and injustice if the High Court were to close its doors to the petitioner and refuse him relief under Article 226 of the Constitution on the sole ground of dismissal of the special leave petition.”
Relying upon the aforesaid decision, in the case of Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala, (2000) 6 SCC 359 : AIR 2000 SC 2587, the Supreme Court held as under:
“In our opinion what has been stated by this Court applies also to a case where a special leave petition having been dismissed by a non-speaking order, the applicant approaches the High Court by moving a petition for review. May be that the Supreme Court was not inclined to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136 probably because it felt that it was open to the applicant to move the High Court itself. As nothing has been said specifically in the order dismissing the special leave petition one is left merely guessing. We do not think it would be just to deprive the aggrieved person of the statutory right of seeking relief in review jurisdiction of the High Court if a case for relief in that jurisdiction could be made out merely because a special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution had already stood rejected by the Supreme Court by a non-speaking order.”
From the above judgements of the Supreme Court, it should be quite clear that if Special Leave Petition (SLP) has been dismissed by the Supreme Court in limine, by passing a non-speaking order, against an order of the High Court, it does not preclude filing of a review petition before the High Court against its earlier order, if such review petition is otherwise admissible.
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