MILAP CHORARIA Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
UNION OF INDIA
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SWATANTER KUMAR, J. -
(1.) A Public Interest Litigation was filed in this Court by the petitioner praying to declare Section 5 (1) (c) read with Section 5 (2) of the Citizens Act, 1955 ultra vires of the Constitution as it permitted the authorities to grant and confirm citizenship of India to respondent no.6, Smt. Sonia Gandhi contrary to the fact that her allegiance to the Constitution of Italy is irrevocable, unequivocal and undoubtedly acknowledged. He further prayed that both respondents no.6 and 7 should be disqualified to be members of either House of Parliament in terms of Article 102 of the Constitution of India, besides praying for other reliefs. This writ petition came up for hearing before a Division Bench (consisting of Acting Chief Justice and Justice S.N. Aggarwal) which by a reasoned order dated 9.5.2006, dismissed the said petition with costs of Rs. 10,000/- to be paid to the Legal Services Authority.
(2.) The petitioner did not challenge the order of the Division Bench before the Supreme Court. However, he filed a miscellaneous petition CM NO. 3312/2007 stating that there could have been some linguistic communication gap between the petitioner and the Court; he might have failed to place the correct pleadings in relation to his petition and, therefore, the order dated 9.5.2006 inclusive of imposition of costs be recalled. The petitioner filed some documents on 6.12.2006 in the Registry of this Court. He also filed a copy of the judgment in the case of Rashtriya Mukti Morcha vs. Union of India and Anr. WPC NO. 2960/1999 and CM NO. 9837/2005 decided on 24.11.2006. On 8.1.2007, he filed a CM No.948/2007 seeking permission to place written submissions on record and thereafter filed the present application on 20.2.2007. In this application, he has made certain misrepresentations in regard to basic facts. Vide order dated 8.12.2006, CM Nos. 11951/2006 and 11950/2006 which were listed on that date, were adjourned to another date. Both the applications were filed after the order of dismissal. The written submissions which the petitioner claims to have filed, were directed to be placed on record vide order dated 12.1.2007. The Court had, at no point of time, issued notice on any of these applications, as is evident from the order dated 9.2.2007, still, the respondents/non-applicants referred to the judgment which had been filed by the petitioner himself i.e. in the case of Rashtriya Mukti Morcha and stated that no controversy in any case would survive after the pronouncement of the judgment whereby the same very question was answered by the Court and the writ petition was also dismissed.
(3.) The application which has been filed by the petitioner in the garb of provisions of Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure is in fact an application for review and recalling of the order dated 9.5.2006 vide which the writ petition was dismissed in limine by the Court. The correctness and legality of this order has not been questioned by the petitioner before the appropriate Court. On the basis of the averments made in the application, the same is neither maintainable in law nor would call for interference even on merits of the case. The provisions of Order 47 Rule 1 are not intended to have a rehearing of the matter on merits merely because according to the petitioner, the Court has not appreciated contentions of the petitioner in accordance with law. The application for review essentially must fall within the ambit of Order 47 Rule 1 CPC and satisfy the ingredients of a review application in consonance with the settled cannons of law. At this stage, we may also refer to a recent judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Nb. Sub. Raj Pal Singh vs. UOI and Others RP No. 307/2006 and CM Nos. 10708-10709/2006 in WP(C) No. 2745/2003 where while discussing the scope of the review, the court held as under:-
"The scope of the review jurisdiction of the Court is a very limited one. The applicant cannot pray for review of a judgment merely because some of the judgments have not been noticed by the Court particularly when the judgments were not even referred to before the Court at that stage and in any case the applicant will be in no position to say so. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of review does not extend for substituting a view taken by the Court on merits or otherwise of the contentions raised before the Court on the facts and circumstances of a case. The applicant is essentially praying before the Court that the view taken by the Court on different facets of the case - legal and factual - should be substituted primarily because another view was possible. The power to review normally is the creation of a statute. However, in exercise of powers by the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the Court can take recourse to the power of review by necessary implication. Such power of review has a limited scope and is normally used for the correction of a mistake but not to substitute a view in law. Such mistake or error contemplated under this rule must be such which is apparent on the face of the record and not a correction of an error which requires long drawn process of reasoning. The limitation on the powers of the Court under Order 47 Rule 1 are similar and applicable to the jurisdiction available to the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. With caution the Court has to ensure that such power is not exercised like entertaining an 'Appeal in disguise'. Where conceivably there may be two opinions and an error has to be established by a long drawn process it is not an error apparent on the face of the record. Reference in this regard can be made to the judgment in the case of R.S. Rajanna Vs. Sri Basavaiah and Ors., AIR 1997 Karnataka 245 Para 11 and in the case of Prem Dutt Vs. Punjab State, 1998 Vol. 1 PLR 444.
3. In the case of Parsion Devi and Ors. Vs. Sumitri Devi and Ors., JT 1997 Vol. 8 SC 480 the Supreme Court has held as under :- "It is well settled that review proceedings have to be strictly confined to the ambit and scope of Order 47 Rule 1 CPC. Under Order 47 Rule 1 CPC a judgment may be open to review inter alia if there is a mistake or an error apparent on the face of the record. An error which is not self evident and has to be detected by a process of reasoning, can hardly be said to be an error apparent on the face of the record justifying the court to exercise its power of review under Order 47 Rule 1 CPC. In exercise of the jurisdiction under Order 47 Rule 1 CPC it is not permissible for an erroneous decision to be "reheard and corrected". A review petition, it must be remembered has a limited purpose and cannot be allowed to be "an appeal in disguise".
"9. An error which is not self evident and has to be dictated by a process of reasoning can hardly be said to be an error apparent on the face of the record.
10. This principle was reiterated by the Supreme Court in the case of Lily Thomas, etc. etc. vs. Union of India and Ors., JT 2000 Vol.5 SCC 617 further with a clear caution that in exercise of power of review the Court may correct the mistake but not to substitute the view. The mere possibility of two views on the subject, is not a ground for review.
11. It is obligatory on an applicant to establish on record that there was an error or a mistake apparent on the face of the record or there was such other material available with the applicant which if not taken into consideration would cause miscarriage of justice.";
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