Judicial order cannot be passed on application requesting hearing of review by a particular judge; It’s Chief Justice’s administrative call: SC  

Supreme Court: In an interesting question raised before it that compelled the bench of Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath*, JJ to reserve the judgment and give a serious thought to the issue, it has been held that once an application is preferred by any of the parties that a review may be heard by the Judge who had decided the matter and had passed the order from which the review arose, the Court must refrain from passing an order on the judicial side and should place the matter before the Chief Justice on the administrative side.

In the case at hand, one of the parties in a case before the Bombay High Court had sought for the review to be heard by Justice GS Patel who had heard and decided the second appeal in the matter relating to declaration and permanent injunction. Justice Prithviraj K. Chavan, however, rejected this application, which led to the case travelling to the Supreme Court.

At the outset the Supreme Court clarified that normally the names of the judges may not be required to be mentioned in the order but nature of the issue involved was such that it was necessary to mention the names.

The Court took note of Chapter XXX Rule 3(1) of the Rules of the Court applicable for the Bombay High Court which provide that it should be heard by the same Judge, however, subject to certain situations where such Judge has ceased to be Judge of the High Court or have ceased to sit at the particular Bench, in that event, it would be placed before the Regular Court of the single Judge dealing with that category of the matters.

While the Court refused to go into the issue of interpreting the Rules in order to hold as to whether the review should be heard by Judge ‘A’ or any other Judge, it observed that considering the overall facts and circumstances of the case at hand, once an application was preferred by any of the parties that a review may be heard by the Judge who had decided the matter and had passed the order from which the review arose, the matter ought to have been placed before the Chief Justice on the administrative side rather than order being passed on the judicial side.

“The proviso to Rule 3(1) of Chapter XXX of the Rules confers this power on the Chief Justice to assign a particular matter to a single Judge for hearing of the review application where the single Judge concerned was not available for the time being by reason of being on leave or otherwise as aforesaid i.e. where he had ceased to sit at a particular Bench.”

Hence, the Chief Justice, being the master of roster and being conferred with specific powers of assigning review petitions in given circumstances under the Rules, the single Judge ought not to have dealt with the application but should have referred the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice.

The Court, hence, set aside the impugned order and directed the registry of the Bombay High Court to place the application on the administrative side before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders.

[Suresh G. Ramnani v. Aurelia Ana De Piedade Miranda, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1556, decided on 10.11.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Vikram Nath


For appellant: Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi

For Respondents: Senior Advocate Nakul Dewan

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