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An Overview of Special Leave Petition

A Special Leave Petition (SLP) is one of the important provisions of the Indian legal system. The Supreme Court has been granted a residuary power by the Constitution of India which can only be exercised when there is a substantial question of law or gross injustice has been committed.

The party who is aggrieved is provided with special permission to be heard before the Supreme Court in the form of an appeal made against any order or judgement passed by a lower court or tribunal in India. Such a petition is filed for an appeal. After the petition has been filed and heard in the Supreme Court, the court can grant leave and convert such a petition to an appeal if the court deems fit. After the special leave petition has been converted to an appeal, the court hears the matter and passes a valid judgement to serve justice.

What is “Special” about SLP?

There are several features which make a Special leave petition different from other appeals stated under Articles 132 to 135. These are as follows:

  • The appeal can be made against the order, decree or judgement passed by any court or tribunal, be it a High Court or other subordinate courts or tribunals and is not restricted to appeals against High Court only.
  • Article 136 is more fluid and flexible as compared to other articles for appeal such as 132 to 135.
  • A judgement, decree or order need not be final for an SLP, an interim or interlocutory order, decree or judgement can also be challenged.
  • An SLP can be filed for any civil or criminal matter, etc.
  • It is usually preferred that the party should have exhausted other remedies available before approaching the Supreme Court for an SLP.
  • There are no provisions which limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for matters related to Special leave petitions.

When can an SLP be made?

For filing an SLP, a person needs to fulfill the below-mentioned pre-requisites:

  • An SLP for appeal can only be made where a substantial question of law is involved or gross injustice has been done to an individual.
  • The appeal for challenging the decree, order or judgement must bear the attribute of being judicially adjudicated. The decision which is being challenged must not be an executive or purely administrative order.
  • The authority passing the order which is being appealed before the apex court must fall under the meaning of a court or tribunal in India.
  • A person is not allowed to file a special leave petition against judgement or order passed by a court or tribunal that is involved in settling disputes related to armed forces. This is an exception to the special leave petition and is mentioned under Clause of the Article 136 of the Indian Constitution.

Circumstances under which a Special Leave Petition can be filed

There are pre-defined circumstances or situations under which a party can file a Special leave petition in the Supreme Court. These are:

  • It must be filed against an order, decree or judgement passed by any court or tribunal established within the territory of India for a civil or criminal matter.
  • It can also be filed before the Supreme Court if the High Court has rejected the application for a grant of Certificate of Fitness which is required to file an appeal before the Supreme Court made by the aggrieved party under provisions of the Constitution.
  • The above two stated conditions are not applicable to a court or a tribunal which has been established under a law related to armed forces.
  • For filing a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, an aggrieved party is given a time period of 90 days starting from the day on which the challenged order was passed by the competent court or tribunal.
  • The time period of 90 days mentioned in the above point can be reduced to 60 days if the respective High Court has refused to provide the Certificate of Fitness to appeal to the aggrieved party.

Rules to be followed while filing a Special Leave Petition

Many landmark judgements passed by the Supreme Court have laid down certain rules related to a special leave petition. These rules are:

  • Under the power given to the Supreme Court under Article 136, the Supreme Court can grant special leave in matters related to civil, income tax, criminal aspects, etc or any matters decided by a tribunal.
  • An aggrieved party has the right guaranteed under the Indian Constitution to approach the Supreme Court for filing an SLP even when the respective High Court does not issue a Certificate of Fitness for an appeal to such an aggrieved.
  • Under the law, A private party to a certain matter who has been aggrieved from an order or judgement passed by a subordinate court is permitted to file an SLP for appeal.

Time limit to file SLP

  • An SLP can be filed against any judgement or order passed by any court or tribunal within 90 days from the date on which the said judgement was passed, or

An SLP can also be filed against the order of the concerned High Court which has refused to grant a Certificate of Fitness for an appeal to the Supreme Court to the aggrieved party within 60 days of passing of such order of refusal.

Powers conferred to the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution

Article 136 of the Indian Constitution is one of the important articles which provide power to the Supreme Court. These powers are as follows:

  • Article 136 empowers the Supreme Court to exercise its residual power to step up whenever it feels that there has been some gross injustice or when a substantial question of law is involved in a specific case.
  • This article also provides an extraordinary jurisdiction to the Supreme Court under which an aggrieved party can approach the court if there has been a serious miscarriage of justice. The court has the power to rectify such issues and pass necessary judgement to provide justice to the aggrieved party.
  • As the Supreme Court does not function like a regular court where a person aggrieved from the decision of the court can approach the Supreme Court and file an appeal against the order, judgement, or decree passed by the High Court or any lower court or tribunal.

Therefore, an aggrieved party should only approach the court during some exceptional situations and not during the regular course of litigation.

The power provided to the Supreme Court under Article 136 is discretionary in nature. It means that when an aggrieved party approaches the Supreme Court by filing a special leave petition requesting the Hon’ble Court to allow such a party to file an appeal and be heard, even though it is not a regular course of action.

Procedure for filing a Special Leave Petition

A party willing to file a Special Leave Petition must follow the below-mentioned steps. The steps are as follows:

  1. There is a pre-defined format of an SLP provided by the Supreme Court in Form No. 28.
  2. The party who is willing to file an SLP must mention all the facts clearly to convince the Supreme Court to consider that the SLP is maintainable and the aggrieved party must be given a right to be heard by the Supreme Court.
  3. All personal details such as the name, age and address of the parties to an SLP along with the details of the court or the tribunal whose order, decree or judgement has been impugned.
  4. The necessary paper of the petition must clearly specify the involved substantial question of law which has been aroused in the case.
  5. The grounds on which the party wishes to make an appeal must be clearly specified.
  6. The prayer clause mentioned at the end of the petition must clearly specify the relief which the party wants to claim from the Supreme Court.
  7. If the party wants an interim relief during the pendency of the petition, he/she is required to mention the relief along with mentioning the grounds on which such interim relief is being sought from the Supreme Court.
  8. The aggrieved party is also required to affix a declaration that the aggrieved party has not filed any petition for appeal against any order or decree passed by a court or a tribunal. It is also mandatory to mention the attached annexure to the SLP.
  9. It is mandatory for the parties to get the petition signed by an Advocate-on-record.
  10. The draft of SLP must be filed with the registry along with 7 copies of it with payment of necessary fees.
  11. After considering the facts and circumstances of the petition, the Supreme Court has the authority to decide whether a special leave can be granted or not.
  12. After the leave to file an appeal has been granted, the Supreme Court has to exercise its appellate jurisdiction and pass the decision. Such a decision is binding on the parties to the appeal.

Frequently Asked Questions

A party who has been dissatisfied with the order passed by a court or tribunal or where the High Court has refused to grant the certificate of fitness for appeal can file an SLP against such order or refusal. It is mandatory for the party to mention all the necessary facts which can help the court to determine whether the court can grant an SLP or not. An SLP must be mandatorily signed by an Advocate on record.

An aggrieved party must file an SLP within the time period of 90 days from the date on which the judgement, decree or order has been passed by a Court or tribunal or within the time period of 60 days from the date on which the High Court refused to issue the certificate of fitness for appeal to Supreme Court.

A party who has been aggrieved from the decision of a court or tribunal can file an SLP under Article 136 if it involves a substantial question of law or when a situation of gross injustice has occurred.

The right to file a review petition or appeal is retained even when an SLP has been dismissed by the court without granting a leave to appeal.

Yes, a person is allowed to withdraw an SLP filed in the Supreme Court by submitting a withdrawal application stating a sufficient cause.

Whenever a person is aggrieved by the decision passed by a court or tribunal, he/she can take special permission from the Supreme Court to be heard in the way of an appeal made against the decision of the High Court, court or tribunal. An SLP is not an appeal but a petition made for granting leave for appeal.

The Supreme Court has been provided with a discretionary power to issue a special leave to make an appeal against the decree, order or judgement passed by a court or tribunal established in the territory of India under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution.

In a broad manner, there are basically two major grounds on which a party can file an SLP in the Supreme Court. These are:

  • When the matter involves a substantial question of law in the appeal made before the Supreme Court and the same has to be  A substantial question of law must be involved in the appeal, which is brought before the Supreme Court, and the same has to be determined by the Supreme Court itself.
  • When it has been found that gross injustice has been made in an order or a decree violating the basic principles of fair trial and principles of natural justice.

It is a legal instrument available to the parties to seek justice by making a special permission. The process of filing and approaching the court is very flexible for the parties. An SLP can be filed for challenging an order passed by the High Court, other subordinate courts, quasi-judicial bodies and tribunals. A party can approach the Supreme Court under Article 136 for challenging the interim orders made by a subordinate court or tribunal as well. Thus, it implies that the parties are not required to wait until the final decision has been passed. This article has been mentioned in the Indian Constitution for ensuring speedy and effective justice to an aggrieved party.

No, a person aggrieved can file an SLP for various matters related to civil, criminal, taxation, etc.

Yes, as per the law prevailing in India, it is mandatory to get the signature of an Advocate on record in an SLP.

Yes, the cost of filing an SLP has been defined under the rules made by the legislature.

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