Curative Petition: The last Judicial Resort in India

What is Curative Petition?

A curative petition is the last judicial corrective measure which can be pleaded for in any judgement or decision passed by the Supreme Court and normally decided by Judges in-chamber. It is so seldom happen that cases go to open-court hearing. That is why it is called as the last judicial resort available for grievances redressal.

Supreme Court has the ability to review any judgement declared by it under Article-137 of the constitution of India, 1950 subjects to provisions of the guidelines made under Article 145, and it needs to be filed within 30 days from the date the impugned order.

What is the objective behind curative petition?

The objective behind allowing such a petition is only to minimize any abuse of the processes of law and to cure gross miscarriage and lapses in the system of justice.

Curative Petition: The last Judicial Resort in India

Once the Supreme Court decides the issue, an interesting doctrine of ‘interest republicaeut sit finis litium’ finds worth. This phenomenon states that it is for the public good that there should be an end of litigation after a long hierarchy of appeals. However, in the interest of justice the founders of constitution inserted Article 137 in it, which allows a review of orders passed by the Supreme Court.

Now the logical question arises, what if even after disposal of review petition, injustice survives? Can an aggrieved person say that I am affected by the judicial order of the Supreme Court and claim issuance of the writ against it?

Can the apex court issue a writ to itself? When you consider this there is no appeal within the Supreme Court and there is an accepted legal doctrine i.e., ‘actus curie neminem gravabit’, which suggest that the act of court shall prejudice no one, it becomes imperative to find a solution.

How did it come into existence?

The concept of curative petition was first evolved by the Supreme Court in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002) where the question before the court was whether an aggrieved party is entitled to any relief against the final judgement or order of the Supreme Court after the dismissal of a review petition.

The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross breakdown of Justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this sole purpose court has invented what has been termed as a “curative” petition.

Curative Petition: The last Judicial Resort in India

What are the grounds for filing a curative petition?

  1. The petitioner will have to certify and confirm that there was a genuine infringement of principles of natural justice and that there has been a bias of the judge and judgement that affected him.
  2. The petition shall state expressly that the grounds mentioned under review petition were dismissed by circulation.
  3. The Curative Petition must come with the certification of a senior Advocate for fulfilling the above requirements.
  4. The Petition is to be sent to the 3 senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement, if available.
  5. If the majority of the Judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs a hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench.
  6. The Court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

Why are Curative Petitions not heard in the Apex Court?

Unlike that of review petition, the curative petition was heard in open court but first judges decide that there’s some merit in the case.

In addition, almost every curative petition is rejected by the Supreme Court after reading through the petition, without even hearing the advocates. As the grounds in curative petition are quite narrow and are highly unlikely to be made out during the course of argument if they aren’t made out in the text of the curative petition itself, so it seems quite reasonable.