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Curative Petition in Supreme Court

In India, a curative petition serves as a legal remedy that individuals can use to seek a review of a final judgment or order issued by the Supreme Court. This option is available even after their initial review petition has been dismissed. It is typically pursued as a last resort when someone believes that the original judgment resulted in an unjust or wrongful outcome.

The Supreme Court of India introduced the curative petition concept in the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002). It acknowledged the need for a mechanism to rectify its own rulings in exceptional cases, to prevent misuse of legal processes, and to address significant miscarriages of justice.

Here are some key features of a curative petition in India:

There are several grounds that may warrant the filing of a curative petition. These include proving a violation of natural justice, demonstrating that the petitioner was not given an opportunity to be heard prior to the judgment, or establishing a serious error evident in the record.

The petitioner must include a statement in the curative petition, confirming that the grounds mentioned in the petition were already raised in the review petition, which was previously filed and dismissed. This statement should be certified by a senior advocate.

After filing, the curative petition is circulated among the three most senior available judges of the Supreme Court. Additionally, if they are still in service, it is also sent to the judges who delivered the original judgment being challenged.

Curative petitions are not commonly entertained by the Supreme Court. They are meant to be exceptional remedies, reserved for cases where there is a compelling reason to review the judgment.

The Supreme Court of India has the authority to review its own judgments and orders, as granted by Article 137 of the Indian Constitution. This includes the power to consider curative petitions.

A curative petition serves as a final legal remedy in India, specifically intended to rectify serious errors or injustices in Supreme Court rulings when all other options have been exhausted. This safeguard guarantees that justice is upheld, even in situations where previous legal avenues have been explored.

In the Indian legal system, a curative petition serves as a final recourse for individuals seeking justice under the Constitutional rights of India. It allows the court to reevaluate its own decision, even after a review petition has been dismissed. The significance of curative petitions came to light during the infamous Nirbhaya Case when two convicts filed such a petition following the rejection of their mercy and review petitions.

The first recorded instance of a curative petition was in the Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra case in 2002. This raised an important question: Can the aggrieved party seek relief concerning the Supreme Court's final judgment? To prevent any misuse or miscarriage of justice, it was decided that the Supreme Court would reexamine its judgement within its defined powers.

Particularly when all other avenues have been exhausted or dismissed, the Curative Petition exists as a final recourse for seeking redress against perceived injustices within the legal system. The case of Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra and Anr formed the basis for this landmark concept in India. In 2002, the Supreme Court addressed an important question: can people affected by a Supreme Court decision receive help after a review petition has been denied?

The Court concluded that it can still reconsider its verdicts under certain circumstances, such as when there is a risk of gross injustice or misuse of its procedures. To achieve this objective, the curative petition was introduced by the court.

The petitioner must articulate that the reasons presented were previously raised in a review petition that was denied and backed by a senior advocate. Subsequently, the curative petition is shared with the top three judges, along with judges responsible for the controversial verdict. Article 137 of the Indian Constitution grants authority to the Supreme Court to review its own judgments and orders through a legal process called a curative petition. Importantly, there is no specific deadline for filing such a petition.

The Indian legal framework has two petitions available - the review petition and the curative petition. However, the review petition is enumerated in the Indian Constitution, whereas the curative petition originated from the Supreme Court's construal of the provisions in Article 137 pertaining to the review petition. It's important to note this difference.

The concept of a "curative petition" emerged with the aim of preventing injustice and abuse within legal processes.

Conditions for Curative Petition

The Supreme Court has established certain conditions for considering curative petitions. According to the court's ruling, a curative petition can be considered if the petitioner can prove that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice and that they were not given an opportunity to be heard by the court before an order was passed. Additionally, a curative petition may be admitted if it is shown that a judge failed to disclose facts that create concerns about bias.

Who hears Curative petitions?

To file a curative petition, it must first be presented to a bench comprising the three most senior judges, as well as the judges who delivered the original judgment if they are available. Only if a majority of these judges deem it necessary will the matter be listed before the same bench whenever possible.

Typically, curative petitions are decided by judges in chambers unless there is a specific request for an open-court hearing. The bench may also invite a senior counsel to provide assistance as amicus curiae during any stage of considering the curative petition. If, at any point, the bench determines that the petition lacks merit and is frivolous, they have the authority to impose significant costs on the petitioner.

Grounds for Rejection of Curative Petition

If the Bench determines at any point that the curative petition lacks merit, it has the authority to dismiss the petition and potentially impose a penalty on the petitioner.

Difference between Review Petition and Curative Petition
One key distinction between the review petition and curative petition lies in their origins. While the review petition is an inherent provision in the constitution of India, the curative petition emerges from the interpretation of the review petition by the Supreme Court, as stated in article 137.

A curative petition can be filed subsequent to a dismissed review plea against a final conviction. Its purpose is to safeguard against any miscarriage of justice and prevent misuse of the legal process. Normally, judges make decisions on curative petitions in chambers, unless there is a specific request for an open-court hearing.

The Supreme Court's decision in the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra & another, 2002, set forth the principles that guide the determination of curative petitions. In this specific case, the court was presented with a marital dispute where the validity of a divorce decree was questioned. This occurred after the woman withdrew her consent for a mutual divorce.

The court ruling emphasized the importance of addressing errors in judgments that could potentially affect the administration of justice, despite the technical challenges and concerns about reopening cases. It stressed the need to prioritize a final platform for rectifying these errors.

The Supreme Court considers curative petitions to be exceptional and not a routine occurrence. They should be approached with caution. A curative petition must have certification from a senior advocate, highlighting valid reasons for considering it. Initially, it is circulated among a bench consisting of the three most senior judges and the judges who made the original judgment, if possible. The petition will only be listed for hearing when a majority of the judges believe it warrants consideration, preferably by the same Bench that initially handled the case.

According to the court ruling, the judges have the power to call upon a senior counsel as an "amicus curiae" to offer guidance when evaluating a curative petition. Furthermore, if the Bench finds that the petition lacks validity and is merely an attempt to waste time, they have the authority to impose substantial penalties on the petitioner as a means of discouragement.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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