Jammu and Kashmir High Court ruled that in case a Special Leave Petition (SLP) is dismissed by the Supreme Court without granting leave to appeal and without observing anything on the merits of the case, the concerned High Court will not be precluded from exercising its review jurisdiction.
The Court relied on the Supreme Court judgment in Kunhayammed and others v State of Kerala [(2000) 6 SCC 359] to sustain that an order of the Supreme Court refusing special leave to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution does not amount to saying that the order of the court below has stood merged in the order of the Supreme Court rejecting the SLP.
Further its was added that the doctrine of merger as enunciated by the Supreme Court in Kunhayammed’s case would not come into play.
The matter concerned several writ petitioners who had challenged a notice for the cancellation of temporary liquor licenses from the Excise Commissioner dated December 14, 2005. The decision given by single- judge was challenged before a Division Bench, which confirmed the said decision in December 2020.
When the review petition came up for hearing before the High Court, it was contented that once SLP is dismissed, a review petition is not maintainable before the High Court.
The Court referred to Kunhayammed’s case and decided that the doctrine of merger as enunciated by the Supreme Court in Kunhayammed’s case would not come into play in this case since the SLP was dismissed without granting leave to appeal.
Hence, the review petitions were held maintainable.
On the merits of the review, the Court said that simply because a judge went wrong in law, it would not be a ground for a review of such judgment by the High Court nonetheless it may be a ground for appeal.
Moreover it was held that according to Rule 65 of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Rules, 1999 and Order XLVII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) review petition before the High Court is permissible only on limited grounds.
The review petitions were, therefore, dismissed.