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Jurisdiction

of Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the highest appellate Court of the land. It has the following kind of jurisdiction: 1. Original jurisdiction (Arts. 71 & 131) 2. Appellate jurisdiction (Arts. 132-134) Constitutional jurisdiction Civil jurisdiction Criminal jurisdiction 3. Special Leave to Appeal (Art.136) 4. Review Jurisdiction (Art.137) 5. Advisory jurisdiction (Art.143) 6. Writ jurisdiction (Art. 32) 7. Curative Petition (Judicial innovation) Original jurisdiction: Article 71 vests all types of disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a President or Vice-President on the Supreme Court whose decision shall be final. Under Article 131 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in the following cases of disputes: Between the Government of India and one or more States or Between the Government of India and any State or States on one side and one or more other States on the other or Between two or more States.

Appellate jurisdiction: Under Article 132, an appeal shall lie to Supreme Court from any judgement, decree or final order of any High Court if it involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution. For making such appeal no certification of the High Court under Article 134A is required. (Constitutional jurisdiction) In civil matters as provided in Article 133, an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court if the High Court certifies under Article 134 A that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance and that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. (It may be noted that in the event of failure to secure required certificate from the High Court, the aggrieved party can still try for Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court by invoking Article 136 on the same matter). Under Article 134, an appeal in criminal matters shall lie to the Supreme Court if the High Court has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death, has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any court subordinate to it and convicted the accused person and sentenced him to death or certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal to the

Supreme Court. (in the first two conditions, no certificate for appeal is required from the High Court). Special Leave to Appeal (Article 136) It is a discretionary power vested with the Supreme Court to grant special leave to appeal from any judgement, decree, determination, sentence or order passed by any court or tribunal. (Excluding judgement, decree etc passed by the Armed Forces court or tribunal) Review jurisdiction (137) Under the Review jurisdiction, the Supreme Court shall have power to review any judgement pronounced or order made by it. Curative Petition A person who is aggrieved by a final judgment or order of the apex court, after a petition for `review' of the same has been dismissed is entitled to relief if he establishes: 1) Violation of principles of natural justice even though he was not a party to the legal dispute but the judgment adversely affected his interests or, if he was a party, he was not served with a notice of the proceedings and the matter proceeded as if he had notice and 2) where in the proceedings a learned judge failed to disclose his connection with the subject-matter or the parties giving scope for an apprehension of `bias' and the judgment adversely affects the petitioner. The petitioner, in the `curative petition', shall aver specifically that the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the `review petition' (filed by him after the final judgment) and that it was dismissed by `circulation' and that the curative petition shall contain a certification by a senior advocate. The curative petition has to be first circulated to a Bench of three senior-most judges and the judges who passed the judgment complained of, if available. It is only when a majority of the learned judges on this Bench conclude that the matter needs hearing that it should be listed before the same Bench (as far as possible )which may pass appropriate orders. In the event of the Bench holding at any stage that the petition is without any merit and vexatious, it may impose exemplary costs on the petitioner. (As held in Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra (2002).1 In Zakarius Lakra v. Union of India, the Supreme Court entertained a curative petition on the ground that the school certificate showed that the accused, who had been sentenced to death, was a minor when the offence was committed.

In this case the question of constitutional law of considerable significance arises for consideration had been whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against a final judgment/order of this Court, after dismissal of review petition under Article 137, either under Article 32 of the Constitution or otherwise.

The court has clarified in the above given cases that after the rejection of review petition by the Supreme Court, the same cannot be entertained under the writ jurisdiction contained in Article 32. The appropriate remedy is only to file a curative petition as per the procedure indicated by this Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra case. There was a growing tendency to challenge under Article 32 of the Constitution of India final judgments/orders of the Supreme Court after dismissal of review petitions. The reason for such an unhealthy and unconstitutional practice, common to all such petitions, was lack of a forum where the petitioners could seek appropriate relief. Recently, the Supreme Court has reopened the Bhopal gas leak disaster case after a curative petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), seeking harsher punishments for the accused. The CBI petitioned that the apex court should invoke its inherent power in public interest to address and remedy errors apparent on the face of record in the judgement and order of September 13, 1996. This is a noble way to bring justice to the aggrieved as well as last opportunity for the Supreme Court to set right miscarriage of justice. A ray of hope for the case that truly and genuinely deserves re-consideration. This judicial mechanism is being already widely in use now. However, the judiciary must ensure that curative petition is maintainable only for rarest of the rare cases and it does not become a tool in the hands of rich and powerful to deny justice to the poor by exploiting this provision.