A review application, regard being had to its limited scope, has to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible

Supreme Court: In the case where the review petition preferred in 2012, was kept pending for almost four years and, thereafter, the High Court had dismissed the same by observing that an effort has been made to seek review of the main judgment as if the High Court was expected to exercise appellate jurisdiction while dealing with an application for review, the Court said that such situation is not acceptable. A reasonable period can be spent for disposal of the review, but definitely not four years.

The bench of Dipak Misra and M.M. Shantanagoudar, JJ said that an application for review, regard being had to its limited scope, has to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible. Without fixing any time limit, the Court said that it has to be the duty of the Registry of every High Court to place the matter before the concerned Judge/Bench so that the review application can be dealt with in quite promptitude. If a notice is required to be issued to the opposite party in the application for review, a specific date can be given on which day the matter can be dealt with in accordance with law.

The Court also said that it is the duty and obligation of a litigant to file a review and not to keep it defective and of the counsel filing an application for review to cure or remove the defects at the earliest. The prescription of limitation for filing an application for review has its own sanctity. The Registry of the High Courts has a duty to place the matter before the Judge/Bench with defects so that there can be pre-emptory orders for removal of defects. An adroit method cannot be adopted to file an application for review and wait till its rejection and, thereafter, challenge the orders in the special leave petition and take specious and mercurial plea asserting that delay had occurred because the petitioner was prosecuting the application for review.

Taking note of the fact that the petitioner had submitted that there is a delay of 1700 days in preferring the special leave petition against the principal order as he was prosecuting the remedy of review before the High Court, the Court requested 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. The Court said that there may be absence of diligence on the part of the litigant, but the Registry of the High Courts is required to be vigilant. Procrastination of litigation in this manner is nothing but a subterfuge taken recourse to in a manner that can epitomize “cleverness” in its conventional sense. [Sasi v. Aravindakshan Nair, SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. OF 2017, decided on 03.03.2017]

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