Libertatem Magazine

Being a Court of Record, High Court Can Review Its Own Judgment Under Article 226 of Indian Constitution: High Court of Kerala

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The original writ petitioner who was the landowner, moved to the court of records seeking direction to the original respondents to collect the land tax and the learned single Judge passed an order in favour of the original writ petitioner. When the original respondents did not comply with the order, civil contempt proceedings were initiated. When the contempt case was pending, the original respondents filed a review petition before the Honourable Court claiming that the original petitioners have suppressed material facts. The same was seen true by the learned single judge and allowed the review petition by passing an order dated 17/2/2020. 

The instant writ appeal is filed challenging this order allowing the review petition and the appellant/original petitioners have challenged the validity of the aforesaid order. 

Arguments before the Court

The appellants/original petitioners, represented by Advocate Shri V.B. Ramanunni Menon, filed this appeal on the grounds that a learned single judge has not complied with Article 215 of the Indian constitution in allowing the review petition and has not met the parameters while allowing the same. The counsel for the original petitioner/appellants placed importance on non-compliance with Section 141 of the Code of Civil Procedure, by the review petitioners and hence is not maintainable. 

The counsel has relied on the case of Balan v. Shyamala and argued that the Court did not have the inherent vested power in case of reviews and the point made by the review petitioners/original respondents had already been argued in the original writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.  

The original respondents were represented by Senior Government pleader, Sri V. Tek Chand, who stressed the effect of original petitioners suppressing the material facts leading to the filing of a review petition by the original respondents. 

Court’s Observation

The Court found that all the material facts required for the adjudication have been suppressed by the appellants and according to Court if the suppressed documents were produced, the judgment by the learned single judge would be contrary to the existing one. The Court relied upon various Supreme Court judgments like Arunmia Baruah v. Union of India and many other judgments by the Honourable High Court of Kerala, the significance of clean hands while approaching the court were highlighted and stressed upon. The court said that honesty, purity of mind and fairness must be the highest order and when not followed by the petitioner, the court should show the exit door to such parties at the earliest. 

The division bench also observed that the High Court is the Court of record has been vested with powers to review the judgment of its own under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The arguments by the appellant’s counsel with regard to the power and privilege of the Honourable Court was not accepted. The suppression of facts was seen as the cause due to which the learned single judge’s order was not right as the original petitioner misled the Court. 

Court’s Order

After hearing arguments of the appellants and respondents, the division bench of the Honorable high court of Kerala held that there was no reasonable point made by the appellants to consider the jurisdictional error or illegality of the learned single in allowing the review petition filed by the original respondents, as the impugned act of the learned single judge was empowered by Section 5 of the Kerala High Court Act. The court dismissed the writ appeal. 

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