A curative petition is the last judicial corrective measure which can be pleaded for in any judgment or decision passed by the Supreme Court which is normally decided by Judges in-chamber. It is only in rare cases that such petitions are given an open-court hearing. Therefore, it is considered as the last and final option available for redressal of grievances.
Article- 137 of the Constitution of India, 1950 subjects to the provisions of the guidelines made under Article 145, by which it is clear that the Supreme Court has the ability to review any judgment declared by it. This petition needs to be filed within 30 days from the date of the impugned order.
The objective behind allowing such a petition is only to minimize any abuse of the processes of law and to cure gross miscarriage and lapses in the system of justice.
Once the Supreme Court decides the issue, an interesting doctrine of ‘interest Republicaeut sit finis litium’ finds worth. This phenomenon states that it is for the public good that there should be an end of litigation after a long hierarchy of appeals. However, in the interest of justice the founding fathers and mothers inserted Article 137 of the Constitution, which allows a review of orders passed by the Supreme Court.
A logical question arises, what if even after disposal of a review petition, injustice survives? Can an aggrieved person say that I am affected by a judicial order of the Supreme Court and claim issuance of a writ against it?
Can the Supreme Court issue a writ to itself? Considering that there is no intra court appeal in the Supreme Court and there is an accepted legal doctrine i.e., ‘actus curiae neminem gravabit’, which suggests that the act of court shall prejudice no one, it becomes imperative to find a solution.
The concept of curative petition was first evolved by the Supreme Court in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002) where the question was whether an aggrieved party is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/ order of the Supreme Court after the dismissal of a review petition.
The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this purpose the Court has devised what has been termed as a “curative” petition.
As with review petitions, curative petitions are not heard in open court unless judges first decide that there’s some merit in the case and therefore, they should be heard in open court.
Moreover, almost every curative petition is rejected by the Supreme Court after reading through the petition, without even hearing the lawyers. This is quite a reasonable process since the required grounds in curative petitions are extremely narrow and are highly unlikely to be made out during the course of argument if they aren’t made out in the text of the curative petition itself.