Narayana Dharma-Sangam Trust Vs. Swami Prakasananda & Ors  INSC 414
(9 April 1997)
RAMASWAMY, D.P. WADHWA
O R D
E R Leave granted. This appeal, by special leave, arises from the judgment of
the Kerala High Court, made on January 16, 1996
in R.P. No.204/95 in C . R . P . No . 2724/94.
dispute has arisen with regard to the election to the Committee of Sree Narayana
Dharmasanghom Trust. The Trust is governed by the scheme framed by the High
Court in A.S. No.14/56, dated March 26, 1959.
since the term of the elected body was to expire on 10.8.94, the Trust Board on
4.7.94 decided to conduct election on 26.7.94. Disputes had arisen as to the
validity of the elections held on 26.7.94 and the suit came to be filed.
Ad-interim injunction was granted by the learned Sub-ordinate Judge, Attingal
in O.S.No.247/94 on 22.11 94. Against the interlocutory order passed by the
appellate authority in C.M.A. No.167/94, dated December 2, 1994 C.R.P. No.2727/94 came to be filed. The High Court by
judgment dated June 19,
1995 allowed the
revision, set aside the order of the appellate authority and gave certain
directions. Calling that matter in question S.L.P. (C) No.13667/95 came to be
filed in this Court, This Court on June 29, 1995 passed the following order:
do not find any ground warranting interference since it is an individual case
and that too by an interim order. The S.L.P. is dismissed. However, the trial
Court is directed to dispose of the suit as expeditiously as possible preferably
within a period of six months from the date of receipt of this order."
Thereafter, an application came to be filed to review the order passed by the
High Court in the revision, which had been dismissed by the High Court holding
that the order passed by the High Court stood merged with the order of this
Court. As a consequence, the High Court cannot review the order. Thus this
appeal, by special leave.
P.S. Poti, learned senior counsel for the appellant contends that this Court
did not decide the matter on merits. When the patent error is apparent on the
face of the record, it is always reviewable by the High Court and, therefore,
the order dismissing the S.L.P. does not operate as a final order. Therefore,
the High Court has the power to review its order. We find no merit in the
contention. In State of Maharashtra v. Prabhakar Bhimaji Ingle [(1996)
3 SCC 463] this Court has considered the similar controversy.
facts therein were that the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal passed an order
in O.A. No 1169/93 against which S.L.P. was filed in this Court. It was
dismissed by this Court on August 28, 1993.
Pending the S.L.P., a review petition was filed in the Tribunal. The Tribunal
reviewed its order. When that order came to be challenged, this Court held
But in this case, when the self-same main order was confirmed by this Court the
question arises whether the Tribunal has had power under Order 47, Rule 1 CPC
or any other appropriate provision under the Tribunals Act to review the orders
passed by it and confirmed by this Court by refusing to grant leave. We find
that the exercise of the review power is deleterious to the judicial
discipline. Once this Court has confirmed the order passed by the Tribunal,
that becomes final. Therefore, the Tribunal cannot have any power to review the
previous order which stands merged with the order passed by this Court.
is next contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that though the
Tribunal was communicated with the order of this Court dated 25.8.1995, it has
thereafter passed the order. it would mean that thought it had the knowledge of
dismissal of the order passed by this Court, the Tribunal has exercised the
power of review and that, therefore, it cannot be said to be illegal. We are
wholly unable to appreciate the contention of the learned counsel. We could
appreciate that if the Tribunal had no knowledge of dismissal of the SLP it
might, in certain circumstances, review its earlier order, e.g., if it was
found that the order was vitiated by any manifest error of law apparent on the
face of the record. But having received the communication that this Court has
already upheld its order, the Tribunal's exercise of power can be said to be
audacious and without any judicial discipline. Under those circumstances, we do
not think that the Tribunal is justified in reviewing its own order when this
Court had confirmed the order passed earlier." Therefore, once this Court
has passed an order, the order passed by the High Court stands merged with the
order passed by this Court. Thereafter, the High Court/Tribunal is devoid of
the jurisdiction to a review the order. This question also was reiterated in Yogendra
Narayan choudhary V. Union of India [(1996) 7 SSC 1] thus:
is settled law that even the dismissal of special leave petition in. limine
without assigning reasons does not operate as res judicata. Under these
circumstances, we are of the view that the view or the latter Bench of the CAT,
Calcutta and of the Cuttack Bench are
clearly consistent with the above reasoning. Therefore we do not find that
there are fit cases warranting interferences.
it is settled law that even the dismissal of special leave petition in limine
operates as a final order between the parties and any order passed by the High
Court Tribunal subsequently operates as a res judicata as far as the parties
thereto. are concerned. It is true that in Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. v. State of
Bihar [(1386) 3 SCR at 558] this Court had pointed out that when the writ
petition was dismissed by this Court in limine, the jurisdiction of the High
Court under Article 226 is not precluded. The dismissal of the writ Petition
under Article 32 does not operate as res judicata. That principle is entirely
different from the review of an order under Order 47 Rule 1.
these circumstances. we are of the view that the High Court is well justified
in refusing to review the order passed in the revision. However, since the
records have been called by the High Court and the matter is pending, the trial
Court could not dispose of the matter within the time limit, specified earlier,
by this Court.' Therefore, we cannot find fault with the trial Court for
non-disposal of the matter. However, the civil court is directed to dispose of
the suit as indicated earlier within six months from now.
appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.