(1.)These writ petitions have come up before us as a Bench of three learned Judges of this Court referred the first mentioned writ petition to a Constitution Bench observing thus :
"Whether the judgment of this Court dated March 10, 1997 in Civil Appeal No. 1843 of 1997 can be regarded as a nullity and whether a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution can be maintained to question the validity of a judgment of this Court after the petition for review of the said judgment has been dismissed are, in our opinion, questions which need to be considered by a Constitution Bench of this Court."
The other writ petitions were tagged to that case.
(2.)In these cases the following question of constitutional law of considerable significance arises for consideration : whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against a final judgment/order of this Court, after dismissal of review petition, either under Article 32 of the Constitution or otherwise.
(3.)In our endeavour to answer the question, we may begin with noticing that the Supreme Court of India is established by Article 124 of the Constitution which specifies its jurisdiction and powers and enables Parliament to confer further jurisdiction and powers on it. The Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court original jurisdiction (Articles 32 and 131); appellate jurisdiction both civil and criminal (Articles 132, 133, 134); discretionary jurisdiction to grant special leave to appeal (Article 136) and very wide discretionary powers, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, to pass decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, which shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in the manner prescribed (Article 142); powers like the power to withdraw any case pending in any High Court or High Courts to itself or to transfer any case from one High Court to another High Court (Article 139) and to review judgment pronounced or order made by it (Article 137). Conferment of further jurisdiction and powers is left to be provided by Parliament by law (Article 138). Parliament is also enabled to confer further powers on the Supreme Court (Articles 134(2), 139, 140). Article 141 says that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all Courts within the territory of India and Article 144 directs that all authorities civil and judicial, in the territory of India, shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. It is a Court of record and has all the powers of such a Court including power to punish for contempt of itself (Article 129).