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Corrective remedies under Civil Procedure Code, 1908

As per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, when a party is not satisfied by the decree passed by the court, it can approach the higher court by way of appeal, against the decree passed by the trial court. Generally, under appeal, the whole matter in dispute is heard again by the appellate court but in cases where there are technical/procedural errors, the aggrieved party rather than going to the higher court and contesting another suit that is in the form of appeal.

For the same purpose, can seek the corrective remedies provided under the Code through the concepts called Reference, Review and Revision under Sections 113, 114 & 115 respectively. An application for Reference, Review and Revision can be filed in the concerned courts as mentioned by the Code and the proceedings under these applications are solely based on technical grounds.

Section 113 of the Code provides for reference, Order XLVI deals with the procedure.
A subordinate court refers matter to High Court regarding validity of a law or a statute. In matters where the subordinate court has a doubt regarding a law it can refer it to High Court in order to prevent misinterpretation of law. This right in vested only with court and not with parties to the suit

Order XLVI of the Code provides the conditions that should be satisfied by the subordinate court while making a reference to the High court. They are:
  1. The suit or appeal must be pending and no further appeal lies from decree or order of such suit or appeal respectively
  2. The question of law must arise during the course of proceedings, i.e., the pendency of the suit
  3. The court must be entertaining the suit from which such doubt regarding the question of law has arisen
The decision of subordinate court is always contingent on High Court's decision i.e. the subordinate court while making decision has to make it taking into consideration High Court's decision. If the following conditions are fulfilled reference is obligatory:
  1. It is necessary to decide such question to dispose off the case.
  2. The subordinate court is of the view that the impugned Act, ordinance, regulation is ultravires.
  3. There is no determination by Supreme Court or High Court to which such court is a subordinate that such Act, ordinance or Regulation is ultravires.
Any tribunal or persona designate is not considered as a court. As held in the case of Ramakant Bindal v. State of U.P.[1] , no reference can be made by a tribunal.

In Banarsi Yadav vs Krishna Chandra Dass[2] it was held that the question of law about which the subordinate court is doubtful, then a subordinate court may refer a case to the High Court when there is reasonable doubt regarding the constitutional validity of an Act and it shouldn't be a hypothetical question. Therefore, no reference can be made on a hypothetical question or a point that may or may not arise in future but if the situation arises it may be considered for reference.

Section 114 of the Code provides for reference, Order XLVII deals with the procedure.
An application for review can be filed by affected party in the same court where the decree has been passed. By way of this provision the court can review its own judgement in case of any error or mistake made in its decision and can rectify the same.

The application for Review can be filed under the circumstances where:
  1. A decree or order is appealable as provided by the law, but no such appeal has been preferred
  2. There is no provision for appeal from certain decree or order
  3. A decision is passed by the court of Small Causes

The grounds for filing review application are:
  1. Discovery of new facts when there is no knowledge about the same or could not produce the same due to negligence, prior to the time when the decree was passed
  2. The error apparent on the face of the record which means errors which do not give rise to re-arguments of the whole case and those which are not related to erroneous decisions
  3. Any other sufficient grounds as provided by the Code, wherein the misconception of the court can be considered as sufficient ground.

The application for review shall be filed within 30 days from the date of order/decree. The order passed shall be final and in force. The review petition is discretionary of a court, meaning, it can either choose to entertain or reject the application.

Supreme Court can also review its own decisions under Article 137 of the Constitution of India. As per Supreme Court Rules, 1966, the review petition should be filed within thirty days from the date of judgment.

Section 115 of the Code provides for revision.
The High court has the power to call for a re-examination of any case which has been decided by the subordinate court without appropriate jurisdiction. This power of the High court is called Revisional Jurisdiction of only High court which is mentioned under Section 115 of the Code. The revisional jurisdiction is not a substantive right but is merely a privilege given to the applicant. Revision is done mainly on jurisdictional errors by the subordinate Court an application for revision can be made by the parties to the suit under the following circumstances where the subordinate court has:
  1. Not exercised jurisdiction as conferred by law (wrongful assumption of the court regarding the jurisdiction)
  2. Failed to exercise jurisdiction that is vested in it (non-exercise of jurisdiction by the court)
  3. Illegally exercised its jurisdiction (irregular exercise of jurisdiction by the court)
  4. The High court cannot reverse a judgement where
  5. The whole suit has been disposed of by the parties
  6. The reversal of such judgement shall cause irreparable injury/loss against whom it was made

Since the High court only possesses the Revisional jurisdiction, the order made from the exercise of such power is not appealable.

As seen in the case of Salem Advocates Bar Assn v. Union of India, the Supreme Court considered the scope of Section 115 of the CPC and observed that the scope of section 115 is limited and the revisional court should only be satisfied that the orders passed is within the jurisdiction of Section 115.

Further in the case of Radhe Shyam v. Chhabi Nath, the Supreme Court held that even though the scope of section 115 has been curtailed by the CPC (Amendment) Act, 1999, as a result, the power of superintendence of the High Court does not extend.

Major. S.S. Khanna v. Brig. F.J. Dillion when an alternative and efficacious remedy is available to the aggrieved party, then the court may not exercise its revisional power under section 115 of the Code.

The provisions for reference, review and revision provided under the Code of Civil Procedure are corrective remedies available to the aggrieved party where right to appeal is not available or not preferred.

Whenever a matter is decided and the Court and the judge passes a decree or order such circumstances whereby there is any mistake or error, or a party is aggrieved by the order or decree or, the subordinate court is doubtful on such question of law. And, a general rule once a judgement is pronounced it cannot be altered by the same court. So the provision of review, reference and revision has been inserted under the Code to ensure justice.

  1. AIR 1973 All 23
  2. 1971 Pat. L.J.R. 518

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