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Failure to cite a judgment does not mean that the original judgment is defective: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court has ruled that the mere failure to cite a judgment in itself does not render the original judgment defective.

The bank of Judge Shekhar B. Saraf noted that the power of review is not a panacea to address every perceived flaw or oversight in the original judgment; rather, it is a narrow path reserved for correcting errors that are obvious at first glance. Failure to cite a particular judgment does not automatically mean that the reasoning or merits of the decision in question is declared invalid.

The main question of M/S Tata Steel Ltd. (Revisionist) was “whether, having regard to the definition of ‘purchase price’ under Section 2(gg) of the Uttar Pradesh Trade Tax Act, 1948, the applicant had to pay the amount of Rs. 5,56,81,000, also for purchase of plant, machinery, appliances and equipment, the same should have been included in the ‘fixed capital investment’.

The revisionist contended that the Trade Tax Tribunal was not justified in disallowing the said amount merely on the ground that the amount was allowed as MODVAT under the Central Excise Act, 1944 (CEA). Other questions have also been raised regarding the MODVAT allowed by the excise department.

The court noted that, unlike the legendary sword of Damocles, judicial power should not be dangerously hung over the heads of litigants, endangering the delicate balance of legal certainty. Order 47 Rule 1 of the CPC, 1908, acts as a sentinel – a guardian of the gates, allowing entry only to those deemed worthy based on the strict criteria set out therein. It serves as a bulwark against the tide of whims and whims.

“What is also surprising to me is that although the reason given by the respondent for withdrawing his application for special leave before the High Court was the liberty to approach this Court since, in their view, the main question of law was not was decided by In the Court’s judgment of 15 February 2010, the said ground is not mentioned in the request for immediate review. The failure to articulate consistent reasons for seeking review casts doubt on the bona fide of the defendant’s application. One would expect that if an important aspect of the matter was not addressed in an earlier judgment, as alleged by the respondent before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, this would be the main reason advanced for seeking review . This inconsistent approach of the defendant could not be explained by them before the Court,” the court said.

While the court dismissed the review petition, it was of the view that frivolous review petitions would fuel the ‘gambling element’ in litigation, leaving the finality of awards, even by the highest court, in limbo. If each vanquished party were to attempt “revision,” and if perhaps in some cases notice were given to the adversary, the latter—and of course the former—would be confronted with great expense and anxiety. The very solemnity of finality, so crucial to judicial justice, would be frustrated if such a game were to become popular.

Counsel for the petitioner: Devashish Bharuka

Counsel for the respondent: Bipin Kumar Pandey

Case title: M/S Tata Steel Ltd. vs Commercial Tax Commissioner UP Lucknow

Case no.: Civil other. Assessment Application No. 301926 of 2010 in Sales/Trade Tax Revision No. – 225 of 2002

Click here to read the order

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