Speech on Article 136 of the Constitution of India

The scope of Article 136 (1) is very wide and comprehensive and it invests the Supreme Court with a plenary jurisdiction to hear appeals. Its broad and overriding nature will be evident from its following features:

(1) Under it, in suitable cases. Supreme Court can even disregard the legislations contained in Articles 132 to 134 on its appellate Jurisdiction and hear appeals which it could not otherwise hear under these Articles.

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(2) Articles 132 to 135 deal with the right of appeal against final decision of the High Courts. Article 136 (1), on the other hand, uses the words, “any court” and thus empowers the Supreme Court to grant special leave to appeal from judgments not only of High Courts but also from lower courts in India, even without having the recourse to the usual procedure of filing an appeal in the High Court.

(3) The word, “order” In Article 136 (1) has not been qualified by the adjective “final”. It is thus clear that the Supreme Court can hear an appeal even from Interlocutory order.

(4) Article 136 (1) does not define the nature of proceedings from which Supreme Court may hear appeals. Therefore, such appeals may be heard by the court in any kind of proceedings, whether civil, criminal, or relating to Income Tax, labour disputes, etc.

(5) Article 136 (1) confers on the Supreme Court power to grant special leave against orders and determination, etc. of any tribunal, which is very important aspect as a matter of right of the Supreme Court.

(6) Under Article 136 (1), the Supreme Court may hear appeal even though the ordinary law pertaining to the disputes, makes no provision for such an appeal.

(7) Being a jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution, it cannot be touched by ordinary legislative process. It can be affected only by constitutional process.

(8) The scope of this special appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is very flexible. The matter lies within complete discretion of the Supreme Court.

Thus, Article 136 (1) vests the Supreme Court a plenary jurisdiction in the matter of entertaining and hearing appeals by granting special leave against any kind of Judgment or order made by any court or Tribunal (except a Military tribunal) in any proceedings and the exercise of this power is entirely left to the discretion of the court.

In Haripada Dey vs. State of West Bengal, AIR 1956 S.C. 757, it has been held that Supreme Court will grant special leave only where there has been gross miscarriage of justice or departure from legal procedure such as, which vitiates the whole trial or If the finding of fact were such as shocking to the Judicial conscience of the court.

In Management of Delhi Transport Corporation v. Majalay, AIR 1978 S.C. 764, Supreme Court has laid down that in petty matters the court may refuse to decide on a question of law. It is not as if once special leave is granted, the court is bound to decide every question of law, be it big, small or petty.

In Vijai Kumar v. State of Haryana, AIR 1983 S.C. 622. Supreme Court has held that where special leave has been obtained by making false representation, it will be dismissed. Likewise, where the petitioner is found guilty of suppression of material fact, the petition to special leave will be rejected.

In R.V. Patel v. Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation, AIR 1985, the Supreme Court has held that the petitioner must come with clean hands for redressal of his grievance under special leave to appeal In this court.

However, Article 136 vests In the Supreme Court a plenary jurisdiction in the matter of entertaining and hearing appeals by granting special leave against any kind of Judgment or order made by any court or Tribunal (except a Military Tribunal) in any proceedings and the exercise of this power is left entirely to the discretion of the Court unfettered by any restrictions and this power cannot be curtailed by any legislation short of amending the Article itself.

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