In India, a binding decision of the Supreme Court/High Court can be reviewed in
a review petition. A review petition cane be filed by the parties aggrieved by
the decisions of Supreme Court. The provision of review is an exception to the
principle of stare decisis as courts generally do not unsettle a decision,
without a strong case.
As per Article 137 of the Constitution of India and the rules made under Article
145, the Supreme Court of India has the power to review its judgment pronounced
by it. As per Supreme Court rules, 1966 such a petition is to be filed within 30
days of the pronouncement of judgment or order and that petition should be
circulated without oral arguments to the same bench that delivered the judgment.
Furthermore, if a review petition is dismissed by the Supreme Court, it may
consider a curative petition filed by the petitioner so as to prevent abuse of
process. In accordance with Order XVII, Rule1(1) of Code of Civil Procedure,
1908, a civil review petition can be moved. While a criminal review petition can
be filed only on the ground of error apparent on the face of record.
2G Spectrum Case
Government of India filed a review petition in Supreme Court on 2nd March 2012
seeking partial review of the order by the court passed on 2nd February 2012
which had quashed 122 licenses. Supreme court’s authority was questioned by the
government overruling against first-come first served policy but it stayed away
from challenging the cancellation of 122 licenses that was issued during the
tenure of A Raja as Telecom Minister.
On the very same day, Sistema who was a
majority shareholder in MTS India also filed a review petition in Supreme court.
On 4th April, 2012 the Supreme court accepted Government’s review petition on
limited grounds and dismissed all other 10 review petitions.
The Supreme court of India evolved the concept of curative petition in the
landmark case of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002)
question was raised that whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief
against the final order/judgment of the Supreme court after dismissal of review
In this case it was held by the Supreme court that so as to prevent
abuse of process as well as to cure miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider
its judgments. The court has devised a term ‘curative’ for this purpose. The
petitioner is required to aver specifically that the grounds mentioned that had
been taken in the review petition filed earlier and also it was dismissed by
A curative petition is required to be certified by a senior
advocate and then it is circulated to the three senior most judges and the
judges who delivered the impugned judgment. There is no time limit for filing a
curative petition and it is guaranteed under Article 137 of the Constitution of
The Supreme court has laid down specific conditions in order to entertain
curative petition which are as follows:
- It has to be established by the petitioner that there was a genuine
violation of principles of natural justice.
- It shall be specifically stated in the petition that the grounds
mentioned had been taken in the petition and that it was dismissed by
- The curative petition shall be certified by a senior advocate.
- The curative petition is then circulated to the three senior most judges
and also to the judges who passed the impugned judgment.
- If majority of the judges agree that the matter needs hearing, then it
would be sent to the same bench.
- Exemplary costs could be imposed by the court to the petitioner if his
plea lacks merit.
In the context of Indian Judicial System, Mercy Petition is the last resort.
When a person has lost all the remedies available to him/her under all the
prevailing laws as well as under the Constitutional remedies, he may file a
mercy petition before the President of India under Article 72 of the Indian
Constitution or the Governor of the state under Article 161 of the Indian
Constitution. Then the petition of his will be treated on mercy not on the
legality of the case.
In accordance with Article 72 of the Indian Constitution, President is empowered
to reprieve, respite or remit punishment pronounced by the Apex court i.e. the
Supreme court of India. However, the power to grant pardon is not discretionary
as any decision is reached by consulting with the council of masters.
In accordance with Article 161 of the Indian Constitution, Governor of the State
shall have the power to reprieve, respite or remit punishment of any person
convicted of any offence.
President Ram Nath Kovind said that rape convicts under the Protection of
Children from the Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) should not be allowed mercy
petition. According to him, “Women safety is a serious issue and rape convicts
under POCSO should not be allowed to file mercy petitions.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee alias Dhana v State of West Bengal, 1994
The Supreme Court held that “The power under Articles 72 and 161 of the
Constitution can be exercised by the Central and State Governments, not by the
President or Governor on their own
Nirbhaya was born in a working class family. Nirbhaya was a 23- years old
physiotherapy student. She dreamt to become a doctor. In 2003, Nirbhaya received
the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S Department of State.
the horrendous day of December 16, 2012, she was brutally raped in a bus in
Delhi, India. As per section 228-A of Indian Penal Code, 1860, no person is
allowed to print or publish any matter without the permission of the court
against whom the offence punishable committed under section 376-376D or
otherwise no person is allowed to disclose the identity of the victim or he will
be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years and shall
also liable to fine.
Two weeks after the attack, i.e on December 29, 2012, she died. She made two
police statements before she died that all the six attackers should be punished
and she should be given justice. After the death, many demonstrations and
protests spread to almost every corner of the country.
Afterwards, the five men
and the bus driver were spotted and arrested. They were charged with kidnapping,
rape and murder. One of the person (Ram Singh) arrested committed suicide in the
prison and the teenager was given three years in a reformatory.
The rest of the accused went on a trial in a fast track court. On 10 September
2013, the four remaining adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder
and three days later were sentenced to death by hanging.
In the death reference case and hearing appeals on 13 March 2014, Delhi High
Court upheld the guilty verdict and the death sentences. In 2013, the Criminal
Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee,
several new laws were passed, and six new fast-track courts were created to hear
- On July 9, 2018, the Supreme court rejected the review pleas of the
three out of four convicts awarded death penalty.
- On December 13, 2018, Nirbhaya’s parents moved to Patiala House Court in
order to seek expedition of the execution of convict.
- On October 29, 2019, Tihar jail gave seven days time to these convicts
to file the mercy petition.
- On November 8, 2019, one of the convicts (Vinay) filed a mercy petition
with Delhi Government.
- On November 29, 2019, Home Department of Delhi Government rejected this
- On December 10, 2019, one of the convicts (Akshay) filed a review
petition in Supreme court.
- On December 18, 2019, Supreme court rejected the review petition and
Akshay to file a mercy petition before President in 3 weeks’ time.
- Counsel for the convicts filed a curative petition in the Supreme court
which was rejected by the court and accordingly mercy petition was filed
which was also dismissed.
- On January 7, 2020, Delhi court on Tuesday issued a death warrant for
the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The verdict
comes during the hearing of a plea seeking the issuance of 'black warrant'
against the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
- The convicts will be hanged on January 22 at 7 am.