Supreme Court observes Plea dismissal has no consequence on question of law

Dec4,2020 #landmark case

Anushka Mansharamani 

The division bench of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Inderjit Singh Sodhi v. Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board set aside the order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court that allowed the writ petitions of the petitioners to have 9/16 years of time bound.

The division bench relied on the judgement in the case of Bhakra Beas Management Board v. Krishan Kumar Vij to conclude that the petitioners are not authorised to give any relief

The respondents contended that some employees got the benefit due to the subsequent orders that were passed by the High court and dismissal of the Special Leave Petitions.

The respondents further contended that a writ petition that was filed in the High Court by a junior employee as an Assistant Engineer was accepted by the High Court but the Special leave petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

To which the court stated that they find that although employees have been granted relief due to the orders passed by the High court the principle laid down to counter the judgement the Supreme court in the Bhakra Beas Management Board v. Krishan Kumar Vij case and therefore certain SLP’s were dismissed but this dismissal cannot have a binding precedent for this court.

A similar argument was raised in Krishan Kumar Vij case as the court had relied on the case of Kunhayammed & Ors v. State Of Kerala. Therefore, the court concluded that special leave petitions is of no consequence on the question of law.

In the Kunhayammed & Ors v. State Of Kerala, the court had considered the illegal implication and the impact of an order rejecting an SLP under Article 136 of the constitution of India and the court observed and concluded that:

A decision taken by a subordinate court merges in the decisions of a superior court and the superior court has the power of enforcement under the eyes of law.

The jurisdiction of Article 136 extends to the disposal of prayer for an SLP as well as the if the commencement of the SLP is granted and it is converted into an appeal.

The doctrine of merger depends on the nature of jurisdiction by the superior court and the content laid down would be determined by the applicability of the kind of merger.

Reversing, modifying and affirming an order can be done under article 136 of the Constitution of India by the Supreme Court only under its appellate jurisdiction and not under its discretionary power.

Rejecting an SLP can be a non-speaking order or speaking order and rejection only means that the Court did not want to exercise its special power in the appeal filed. A speaking order, however, has to give reasons for refuting the grant of leave and should comply with two implications.

The statement of law should be under the ambit of Article 141 of the constitution of India and the finding recorded should have a binding effect on both the parties. The Supreme court rejecting an SLP is not the only order binding as res judicata in proceedings between the parties is present.

Once the Supreme Court uses its appellate jurisdiction and invokes the order the doctrine of merger may come into action and once an SLP has been converted into an appeal by the Supreme Court the High Court loses its power of reviewing the petition under 1(i) of Order 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Therefore keeping in mind the order passed in case of Bhakra Beas Management Board v. Krishan Kumar Vij which relied on the judgement of the Kunhayammed & Ors v. State Of Kerala the Supreme Court of India concluded that a dismissal of an SLP has no consequence on the question of law.


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