R. Dayananda Sagar Vs. Vatal Nagaraj
 INSC 124 (23 April 1976)
KHANNA, HANS RAJ BEG, M. HAMEEDULLAH
CITATION: 1976 AIR 2183 1976 SCR 121 1976 SCC
Review of judgment of Supreme Court should
not be a routine sequel of a defeat in Court-Constitution of India, Art. 137
and order XL of the Supreme Court Rules, 1966 read with order XLVII, Rule 1 of
the Civil Procedure code
The petitioner filed a review petition on the
ground that certain observations in the judgment amounted to almost branding
him as an unindicted criminal-guilty of abetting forgery and perjury and they
should be obliterated.
Dismissing the petitions and modifying the
rigour of the observations the Court held:
^ (1) A judgment of the final Court of the
land is final.
review of such a judgment is an exceptional
phenomenon permitted only when a grave and glaring error or other well-
established ground is made out. Unfounded and indiscriminate petitions almost
as a routine sequel to defeat in court should be avoided despite the
theoretical possibility of success [121 G] Obiter Wisdom cannot be confounded
with obstinacy and a charitable construction of a situation. cannot be
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Review Petition
Nos. 43 and 44 of 1975.
Application for review of this Hon'ble
Court's Judgment dated 11th October 1974 in the matter of Civil Appeal No. 1738
A. K. Sen, M. Veerappa and Altaf Ahmed for
the Petitioners in Review Petition No. 43 of 1975.
Y. S. Desai and R. B. Datar for the
Petitioners in Review Petition No. 44 of 1975.
The order of the Court was delivered by
KRISHNA IYER, J. A judgment of the final Court of the land is final. A review
of such a judgment is an exceptional phenomenon, permitted only where a grave
and glarind error or other well-established ground is made out. Unfortunately,
the theoretical possibility, successful in a microscopic rarity, of cases, has
led to frequent, unfounded and indiscriminate petitions, almost as a routine
sequel to a defeat in Court. The present review petitions fall under the latter
category and fail by the former test and are therefore dismissed.
Shri Asoke Sen made a limited submission on
behalf of Dayananda Sagar in CMP 2095 of 1975 that certain observations in the
'Judgment almost branding his client as an unindicted criminal-guilty of
abetting forgery' and purjury-were altogether unmerited and should be
While we cannot agree to this course, we
admit that these 122 strictures are in no way integral to the decision,
although relevant if we take an overall view.
It is true that the words used are strong and
we felt then that they were warranted. After hearing both sides we deem it meet
to soften the judicial blow. Shri Sen submits that we were misled in reaching
the inference drawn. Maybe, we were. Judge Learned Hand once said that the
spirit of liberty is 'the spirit which is not too sure that it is right'. that
great Judge was 'fond of recalling Cromwell's statement: 'I beseech ye in the
bowels of Christ, think that ye may be mistaken'.' He told a Senate Committee,
'I should like to have that written over the portals of every church, every
school and every court-house, and may I say, of every legislative body in the
United States. 1 should like to have every court begin. 'I beseech ye in the
bowels of Christ think that we may be mistaken'. (Yale Law Journal: Vol. 71,
1961 November part).
In a sense, it is this likelihood of error
that persuaded Jesus Christ to caution: 'Judge not, that ye be not judged'. Our
search for truth sometimes reaches a blind alley expressed by Bacon:
"'what is truth? said Jesting Pilato: and would not stay for an
answer'." In this conspectus of great sayings, we are inclined to be
humble in spirit and free to tone down the harshness of the characterisation to
some extent. We would content ourselves by saying that the materials placed
before us in appeal, read in the light of the conclusions of the High Court,
may well lead to the inference and justify the observations made by US,
although it may not be ruled out that a more innocent inference exculpating any
role for the petitioner is possible. Thus far, we modify the rigour, but
decline to cancel, as pleaded by the petitioner. Wisdom cannot be confounded with
obstinacy and a charitable construction of a situation cannot be excluded. That
is why we have consented to the dilution.