A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Vikram Nath held that an application that seeks to assign a review petition to a particular judge of a High Court should be placed before the Chief Justice of that High Court, and should not be dealt with on the judicial side.

The Court observed, "once an application was preferred by any of the parties that a review may be heard by the Judge who had decided the matter and had passed the order from which the review arose, the matter ought to have been placed before the Chief Justice on the administrative side rather than order being passed on the judicial side."

Senior Counsel Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the Appellant, while Senior Counsel Nakul Dewan appeared for the Respondents.

In this case, a Judge of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court had reserved a second appeal for judgment, and it was delivered through the virtual mode by the Judge while sitting at Bombay. Thereafter, the Respondent filed a review petition, which came to be listed and admitted before another Judge. The other party filed an application praying for the review petition to be transferred and placed before the previous judge for final disposal. This application was rejected by the High Court.

Aggrieved, the party approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court made the observation that the matter did not raise any factual issue, and only was a question of the interpretation of the Rules of the Court, the Court's propriety, and jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court noted that in Rule 3(1) of Chapter XXX of the Rules of the Court applicable for the Bombay High Court, the Chief Justice has the power to assign a particular matter to a single Judge for hearing of the review application, where the single Judge concerned, was not available for the time being by reason of being on leave or otherwise.

In the same vein, the Court further said that "The Chief Justice, being the master of roster and being conferred with specific powers of assigning review petitions in given circumstances under the Rules, the learned single Judge ought not to have dealt with the application dated 16.07.2009 (Misc. Civil Application No.526 of 2019), but should have referred the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice."

Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and directed the registry of the High Court to place the concerned application on the administrative side before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders.

Cause Title: Suresh G Ramnani v. Aurelia Ana De Piedade Miranda @ Ariya Alvares (Dead Thr. LRS) & Ors.

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