Curative petition is the last constitutional remedy available to a person whose review petition has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Though the Constitution explicitly speaks about the review power of the Supreme Court under Article 137, it is silent about ‘curative power’.
The curative petition was given shape and form in the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra & Anr.,where the apex court reconsidered its judgment in exercise of its inherent power to prevent abuse of its process and to cure a gross miscarriage of justice.
It was explained in the said decision that the curative power of the Court flows from Article 142 of the Constitution, which gives Court power to do complete justice.
“The Court, to prevent abuse of its process and to cure a gross miscarriage of justice, may re-consider its judgments in exercise of its inherent power”, observed the 5-judge bench in that case.
The apex court, in this case, observed that the powers conferred on the court by the said article is curative in nature and cannot be interpreted as powers which authorize the court to ignore substantive rights of a litigant while dealing with a case pending before it. This power of the court cannot be used to replace the essential law applicable to the case or case under consideration of the court.
” We are of the view that though Judges of the highest Court do their best, subject of course to the limitation of human fallibility, yet situations may arise, in the rarest of the rare cases, which would require reconsideration of a final judgment to set right miscarriage of justice complained of. In such case it would not only be proper but also obligatory both legally and morally to rectify the error.”
When can a person apply for curative petition?
A petitioner is entitled to relief under curative petition, if he establishes:
(i) violation of principles of natural justice where he was not a party to the lis but the judgement adversely affected his interests.
(ii) he was a party to the lis, but he was not served with notice of the proceedings and the matter proceeded as if he has the choice.
(iii) wherein the proceedings a Learned Judge failed to disclose his connection with the subject-matter.
(iv) the parties giving scope for an apprehension of bias and the judgement adversely affects petitioner.
In the curative petition thus filed, the petitioner shall assert the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation. The curative petition should also contain a certification by a Senior Advocate with regard to the fulfilment of the above requirements.
A curative petition is usually decided by judges in chamber, unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is allowed.
Another speciality is that, there is no limitation period for curative petition. But the Court has said that it must be filed within a “reasonable time”.