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Indian Case Summary

Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & Anr on 10 April, 2002 – Case Summary

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In the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & Anr on 10 April 2002, the Supreme Court of India was confronted with a significant constitutional question. The case was presided over by a bench consisting of S.P. Bharucha CJI, S.S.M. Quadri, U.C. Banerjee, S.N. Variava, and S.V. Patil. The question at hand was whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against a final judgment/order of the Supreme Court, after the dismissal of a review petition, either under Article 32 of the Constitution or otherwise.

Facts of the Case

The case arose from a series of writ petitions that were referred to a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court. The primary writ petition sought to question the validity of a judgment of the Supreme Court dated March 10, 1997, in Civil Appeal No.1843 of 1997. The petitioners argued that the judgment could be regarded as a nullity and questioned whether a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution could be maintained to challenge the validity of a judgment of the Supreme Court after the petition for review of the said judgment had been dismissed.

Issues Raised

The case raised the following constitutional question of considerable significance: whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against a final judgment/order of the Supreme Court, after the dismissal of a review petition, either under Article 32 of the Constitution or otherwise.

Court’s Observations

The Court observed that the Supreme Court of India is established by Article 124 of the Constitution, which specifies its jurisdiction and powers and enables Parliament to confer further jurisdiction and powers on it. The Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court original jurisdiction (Articles 32 and 131); appellate jurisdiction both civil and criminal (Articles 132, 133, 134); discretionary jurisdiction to grant special leave to appeal (Article 136) and very wide discretionary powers, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, to pass decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, which shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in the manner prescribed (Article 142).

The Court further observed that a writ of certiorari to call for records and examine the same for passing appropriate orders, is issued by a superior court to an inferior court which certifies its records for examination. However, on principle, a writ of certiorari cannot be issued to coordinate courts and a fortiorari to superior courts. Thus, it follows that a High Court cannot issue a writ to another High Court; nor can one Bench of a High Court issue a writ to a different Bench of the same High Court; much less can writ jurisdiction of a High Court be invoked to seek issuance of a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court.

The Court concluded that a final judgment/order passed by the Supreme Court cannot be assailed in an application under Article 32 of the Constitution of India by an aggrieved person, whether he was a party to the case or not. However, the Court did acknowledge that even after exhausting the remedy of review under Article 137 of the Constitution, an aggrieved person might be provided with an opportunity under inherent powers of the Court to seek relief in cases of gross abuse of the process of the Court or gross miscarriage of justice.