Constitutional Court Cannot Be Constrained By Procedural Law Unless There Is Specific Prohibition: Punjab & Haryana HC
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that a Constitutional Court would not be constrained by procedural law unless there is a specific prohibition.
The Single Bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal held that "It is not expected that a Constitutional Court would be constrained by procedural law unless there is specific prohibition. In order to do substantive justice, it is expected that the Court will rise above the hyper-technicalities in order to deliver justice in the real sense."
In this case, a suit for specific performance of the agreement to sell was filed. It was the case of the plaintiff that the defendant entered into an agreement to sell. During the pendency of the suit, the matter was listed before the Lok Adalat. All the parties suffered statement that the amount has been received and the sale deed would be executed.
The agreement to sell was executed and it was agreed by both the parties that they will get a consent decree passed on the basis of the compromise arrived at.
However, due to the lack of diligence of the lawyer, the suit was dismissed as withdrawn. The plaintiff filed an execution petition which was dismissed. He, thereafter, filed a contempt petition which was also withdrawn.
Thereafter, he filed a revision petition before the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
The Court found that even if the order passed by the Executing Court is required to be upheld, however, the High Court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, is empowered to ensure substantive justice between the parties.
The order passed by the Lok Adalat was set aside and the matter was remitted to the Court for passing an appropriate order.
Thereafter a review of the judgment passed by the Court was sought.
Senior Advocate, Puneet Jindal, representing the review applicant submitted that the Court has approbated and reprobated in the same order. He contended that on the one hand, the Court treated the revision petition to be filed under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, whereas, on the other hand, the Court issued directions while exercising powers under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
He argued that the Court has traveled beyond the scope of the revision petition.
The Court held that it had to devise methods to ensure substantive justice between the parties in the peculiar facts of each case. The Court observed that Constitutional Court was not constrained by procedural law unless there was specific prohibition.
The Court further held that it would rise above the hyper-technicalities in order to deliver justice in the real sense. And to that end held that "The revision petition was filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India which gives enough powers to the High Court to superintend over the working of the Courts and the Tribunals. Here is a case where the parties suffered a statement before the Lok Adalat and agreed to pray for passing a consent decree. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper advice, the aforesaid decree was not passed. Question is as to whether the Court is helpless in such a situation? In my humble opinion, the Court has sufficient powers not only under Section 115 of the CPC but also under Article 227 of the Constitution of India as well as under Section 151 of CPC which gives inherent powers to the Court to prevent the ends of justice from being defeated."
On the contention that the Court has traveled beyond the scope of the revision petition, the Bench held that the Court has wide powers to pass appropriate directions in the facts and circumstances of the case in order to deliver justice.
Accordingly, the petition to review the judgment was dismissed.