The Constitution of India grants the Supreme Court with exclusive power to
provide special leave for appeal against any judgment, order, or decree made
by any Court/tribunal within Indian Territory (Article 136).
The Supreme Court of India holds a special power as the country's apex court.
It has the authority to grant leave to appeal in cases involving substantial
constitutional questions or instances of gross injustice. This bestowed power
allows the court to carefully consider and review judgments, ensuring justice
Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) hold a significant role within the Indian
judicial system. They grant the aggrieved party a unique opportunity to
present their case before the Apex court, appealing any judgment or order
issued by a Court or tribunal in India.
To verify if the Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed or not, it is
advisable to visit the official website of the Supreme Court.
The Parties who can file SLP
Any party who feels aggrieved can file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against
a judgment or order of any Court or Tribunal ion India.
Circumstances under which SLP can be filed
You can file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against any judgment, decree, or
order issued by a High Court or tribunal in India.
Alternatively, if the High Court denies granting the certificate of fitness
for appeal to the Supreme Court of India, SLP can be filed.
SLP filing time frame
You can file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against any judgment of the High
Court within 90 days from the date of the judgment.
Alternatively, an SLP (Special Leave Petition) can be filed within 60 days if
the High Court denies granting a certificate of fitness for appeal to the
You can file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) even after 90 days from the date
of judgment, as long as you provide valid reasons for the delay to the court.
The court will then evaluate those reasons and determine if they are
satisfactory before accepting your SLP.
Contents of SLP
The petition must include all relevant facts that would assist the court in
deciding whether to grant the Special Leave Petition (SLP). It should be
signed by an Advocate on record. Additionally, the petition should state that
the petitioner has not filed any other petition in the High Court.
When filing an appeal, it is important to include a certified copy of the
judgment that is being appealed against. The petitioner should also provide an
affidavit verifying this copy. Additionally, all the documents that were
submitted in the lower court should be included with the appeal.
Supreme Court's power under Article 136
The Indian constitution grants the Supreme Court of India with discretionary
power. This means that the Supreme Court has the ability to decide whether or
not to grant special leave to appeal against any judgment, decree, or order
made by any court or tribunal in India. The Supreme Court also has the
discretion to refuse such leave if it deems necessary.
A party who is dissatisfied with a judgment or decree from the high court does
not have an automatic right to claim special leave to appeal. It is a
privilege that only the Supreme Court of India has, and it can grant this
leave to appeal if deemed appropriate.
If an aggrieved party has a constitutional or legal issue that needs
clarification, they can approach the Apex Court under Article 136. The Supreme
Court of India can then hear the case as either a civil or criminal appeal,
depending on the nature of the matter.
Supreme Court of India has this residual power.
High Court can initiate contempt proceedings if there is no stay order in SLP
In certain cases, the High Court has the authority to initiate contempt
proceedings even if there is no stay order in the Supreme Court's Special
Leave Petition (SLP). This decision depends on the specific details and
circumstances surrounding the case.
SLP filed can be withdrawn
If the Supreme Court admits a special leave petition and valid reasons are
presented, the petitioner has the option to withdraw it. The court
understands that all available options regarding the cause of action mentioned
in the SLP have been exhausted by the petitioner.
SLP can be filed by a Private Party
In the case of Ramakant Rai v. Madan Rai and Ors,
it was established that a
private party can appeal under Article 136 if there are errors in the
decision made by the High Court and the state has not appealed against those
SLP cannot be filed for infringement of fundamental rights
You cannot file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court for the
infringement of fundamental rights. Instead, you must file a writ petition
under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution to address any such infringement.
High Court can review its own order even after the Supreme Court rejects the
Special Leave Petition (SLP)
Even if the Supreme Court rejects the special leave petition (SLP), high
courts retain the power to review their judgments.
Writ Petition can be filed after the SLP is dismissed by the Apex Court
If the special leave petition is dismissed, there is still an option to file a
writ petition before the High Court. Therefore, the court should not reject a
writ petition solely because the Supreme Court dismissed a Special Leave
Petition (SLP) without giving reasons.
Court Judgments on SLP
There have been numerous judgments discussing the scope of power of the
Supreme Court under Article 136 and the issue of maintainability of special
leave petitions (SLPs). Here are some noteworthy judgments that address these
In the case of Narpat Singh v. Jaipur Development Authority
(2002) 4 SCC 666,
the Supreme Court made the following observation:
The power granted to the Supreme Court by Article 136 of the Constitution is
not a right of appeal for parties involved in litigation, but rather a
discretionary power that allows the Court to ensure justice is served. This
power is exceptional and should be used sparingly, only in cases where there
is a significant failure of justice or extraordinary situations. Alternatively,
it can also be used as an overriding power to rectify injustice and deliver
According to a Supreme Court case, Ashok Nagar Welfare Association v. R.K.
AIR 2002 SC 335, the Court has the authority to exercise its discretion
even after granting special leave and when the appeal is heard.
The Supreme Court has clarified that a Special Leave Petition (SLP) cannot be
filed to challenge an order passed by the High Court on its administrative side.
Livelaw.in, 8 September, 2023
In the case of Tirupati Balaji Developers Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Bihar
, AIR 2004
SC 2351, the Supreme Court emphasized the significance of Article 136 of the
Constitution, which grants the court exceptional authority and discretion. The
court highlighted that this power should be exercised with utmost care and
caution, ensuring fairness and justice in the process. It's important to note
that Article 136 does not grant an automatic right of appeal to any party;
instead, it places trust in the Supreme Court to use its discretion for
upholding justice and rectifying injustices.
In the case of Jamshed Hormusji Wadia v. Board of Trustees, Port of Mumbai
2004 SC 1815, para 33), the Court stated that the Supreme Court's
discretionary power is extensive and cannot be defined by specific words in
Article 136 itself. This discretionary power can only be invoked in
exceptional circumstances, such as when a question of law with general public
importance arises or when a decision being challenged before the Supreme
Court is particularly egregious. The exercise of this overriding and
exceptional power should be rare and limited to cases where special
circumstances have been demonstrated and it serves to uphold justice in
Although Article 136 grants the Supreme Court discretionary power without any
apparent limitation, the Court itself has placed certain restrictions on this
power. In cases like Ram Saran Das and Bros. v. Commercial Tax Officer, Calcutta
& Ors. AIR 1962 SC 1326(1328) and Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala 2000(6) SCC 359
(para 13), the Supreme Court has emphasized that this power should be used
sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances. The Court has also asserted
that a more or less consistent approach should be taken when granting special
leave in the wide range of matters covered under Article 136 (as stated in
Pritam Singh v. The State AIR 1950 SC 169).
N. Suriyakala v. A. Mohan doss and Others (2007) 9 SCC 196
The Supreme Court, when discussing the purpose of Article 136, acknowledged
that it is not a common avenue for appeals. Instead, it is considered a
"residual" provision that grants the Supreme Court discretionary power to
review and overturn judgments or orders made by any court or tribunal in
Columbia Sportswear Company v. Directorate of Income Tax
(Judgment of Supreme
Court of India in SLP no 31543 of 2011)
The issue in the current case before the Supreme Court revolves around
whether an SLP (Special Leave Petition) can be filed to challenge a decision
or order made by the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR); the Authority for
Advance Rulings (AAR) was established under the Income Tax Act and the Finance
Act of 1993 to provide rulings on tax liabilities for specific categories of
taxpayers involved in certain transactions. These rulings held a binding
effect on taxpayers.
In this case, the Petitioner appealed to the Supreme Court of India against
the ruling of AAR through an SLP (Special Leave Petition).
The Supreme Court has the authority to deny special leave to appeal, even if
there are valid grounds for challenging the Ruling of AAR. This discretion
allows them to refuse an appeal and suggest pursuing a writ petition under
Article 226/227 in the High Court as an alternative method to challenge the
decision made by AAR.
Mathai @ Joby v. George [ (2010) 4SCC 358]
The court made an observation that Article 136, similar to Article 226, is a
discretionary remedy. This means that the court has the choice to intervene
or not, even if there is an error of law or fact in the order being
Article 136 does not grant any party the right to appeal. It is clear from the
language used that Article 136 simply gives the Supreme Court the authority to
intervene in exceptional cases at its discretion.
The court also highlighted the need for a constitutional bench to establish
general guidelines on which types of cases should be brought under Article
The inclusion of the phrase "in its discretion" in Article 136 makes it clear
that this article does not grant an automatic right of appeal to any party.
Instead, it gives the Supreme Court the power to intervene in exceptional cases.
This point has been highlighted in previous cases such as:
M/s. Bengal Chemical &
Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Their Employees (AIR 1959 SC 633), Kunhayammed &
Ors v. State of Kerala & Anr (2000(6) SCC 359), and State of Bombay v. Rusy
Mistry (AIR 1960 SC 391). It was further emphasized in Municipal Board,
Pratabgarh & Anr v. Mahendra Singh Chawla & Ors [1982(3) SCC 331] and Chandra
Singh v. State of Rajasthan (AIR 2003 SC 2889), where it was noted that the
Court is not bound to overturn an order just because it does not comply with the
law, as the power granted by Article 136 is discretionary.
The Special Leave Petition (SLP) holds a significant position in the Indian
judicial system. It serves as a "residual power" granted to the Supreme Court
of India and is only exercised when there is a substantial question of law or
when gross injustice has occurred. The Supreme Court of India has discretionary
power to grant leave to appeal, and it has the authority to refuse such leave
if deemed necessary. The party seeking redress cannot demand special leave
to appeal under certain circumstances.
Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9836576565