Report No. 45
10. Wide scope of substantial question of law.-
If the question is of general public importance, then certainly it would be substantial. But, if it directly and substantially affects the right of the parties,1 then also it would be substantial, provided it is either an open question, in the sense that it has not been settled by the Supreme Court, Privy Council or Federal Court, or is not free from difficulty, or calls for alternative views.
The Supreme Court2 has, after reviewing the various shades of view prevalent in the High Courts3 on this point, observed-
"The proper test for determining whether a question of law raised in the case is substantial would, in our opinion, be whether it is of general public importance or whether it directly and substantially affects the rights of the parties, and if so, whether it is either an open question in the sense that it is not finally settled by this Court or by the Privy Council or by the Federal Court or is not free from difficulty or calls for discussion of alternative views. If the question is settled by the highest Court or the general principles to be applied in determining the question are well settled and there is a mere question of applying those principles or that the pleas raised is palpably absurd, the question would not be a substantial question of law."4
1. See Chunilal Mehta v. C.S. & M. Co. Ltd., AIR 1962 SC 1314 (1318), para. 6: 1962 (Supp) SCR 549.
2. Chunilal Mehta v. C.S. & M. Co. Ltd., AIR 1962 SC 1314 (1318): 1962 (Supp) SCR 549.
3. (a) Kaikushroo v. C.P. Syndicate, AIR 1949 Born 134.
(b) Dinkar Rao v. Ratten Singh, AIR 1949 Nag 300 (301-302), paras. 7 to 10.
(c) Subba Rao, AIR 1951 Mad 969 (FB).
4. Chunilal Mehta v. C.S. & M. Co. Ltd., AIR 1962 SC 1314 (1318): 1962 (Supp) SCR 549.
For this reason, the mere appreciation of the effect of documentary evidence or the meaning of entries and terms in a document does not raise a substantial question of law.1
1. Lachmanlal, 1895 ILR 22 Cal 609 (617, 618).