Ayodhya review plea rejected: With a curative petition remaining, it is not the end of litigation

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Dec 13: Will the rejection of all the review petitions in the Ayodhya case give a finality to the issue.

There could be just one round of legal battle, before the issue is final. The parties who are aggrieved by the rejection of the review petitions can now file a curative plea in the Supreme Court. This is however the final round in a legal battle. It is the last resort available in a legal battle.

What is a curative petition:

The concept first came up in the Supreme Court in the Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra case in 2002. The question that came up was whether an aggrieved person was entitled for relief after a review petition was dismissed.

The court held that to cure gross miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of its process, it may reconsider its judgment in exercise of the inherent powers vested with it. For this purpose the Supreme Court said that a curative plea can be filed.

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In order to file a curative plea, a petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice. The petitioner shall also state that the grounds mentioned in the plea were taken up in the review plea and it had been rejected by circulation.

The petition is then circulated before the Bench that heard the case and also the three senior most judges of the Supreme Court. If the majority of the judges are convinced, then it would be sent to the same Bench that heard the plea. In case it is found that the case lacks merit, then exemplary costs could be imposed.

Ayodhya review petitions rejected:

All review petitions seeking a review of the Ayodhya verdict were rejected by a five judge Bench of the Supreme Court.

The new five-judge bench was headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprises Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer, D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjiv Khanna. Justice Khanna is the new judge on the bench who has replaced retired Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

A total of 18 review petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking review of its November 9 judgement.

Ayodhya: SC rejects all review petitions, Nov 9 order to continue

The Bench rejected the 18 petitions that had sought review of the verdict giving the disputed land to the Ram Temple and five acres at an alternate site to the Sunni Waqf Board. The Bench rejected the reviews of those persons who were party to any of the four titles. The Bench also declined permission to file review petitions to those including Prabhat Patnaik stating that they were not parties to the Ayodhya land dispute.

A 5-judge bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity 'Ram Lalla' and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya.

How are review petitions heard and decided?

Article 137 of the Constitutions provides that subject to provisions of any law and rules made under Article 145, the Supreme Court has the power to review any judgment pronounced or orders made by it.

Under the rules of the Supreme Court, any such petition is to be filed within 30 days from the date of the judgment.

A review petition is to be circulated without oral arguments before the same Bench. If a judge on the original Bench has retired, then a new judge shall be appointed for the purpose.

Most of the review petitions are heard in-chamber. The Bench is entitled to reject the review petition, without offering any reason. Normally, it is a one line order in which the Bench says that it finds no merit in the review petition.

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However if the Bench feels that the order needs to be reviewed, then it may take up the matter before in the open court and hear the aggrieved parties.

If the Bench has rejected a review petition, then the aggrieved parties may approach the Bench once again in the form of a curative petition.

The Ayodhya Verdict:

  • Hindus to get land subject to conditions
  • Central government to frame a scheme under Article 142
  • Trust to be formed
  • Centre must set a trust with board of trustees within 3 months
  • Inner courtyard will be handed over to the trust
  • Suitable plot of land measuring 5 acre shall be given to Sunni Waqf Board either by the state or by the Centre.
  • Nirmohi Akhara to also get representation.
  • Land to remain vested in statutory receiver till trust is formed
  • Management of construction of the temple to be monitored by the trust
  • Suit by Shia Waqf Board rejected and suit by Nimrohi Akhara not maintainable

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