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Appeals before the Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court is the apex judicial forum and the highest Court of Appeal in the hierarchy of judicial set up in India. It has original, advisory and appellate jurisdiction.

The Appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked by a certificate granted by the High Court concerned under Article 132(1), 133(1) or 134 of the Constitution in respect of any judgement, decree or final order of a High Court in both civil and criminal cases, involving substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

Appeals to the Supreme Court in Civil Matters:

As per Article 133 of the Constitution of India, Appeals also lie to the Supreme Court in civil matters if the High Court concerned certifies-

  1. that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance; and

  2. that, in the opinion of the High Court, the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Limitation period is 60 days from the date of grant of the certificate by the High Court.

Appeals to the Supreme Court in Criminal Matters:

As per Article 134 of the Constitution of India, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court in criminal cases if the High Court-

  1. has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or to imprisonment for life or for a period of not less than 10 years; or

  2. has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any Court subordinate to its authority and has in such trial convicted the accused and sentenced him to death or to imprisonment for life or for a period of not less than 10 years; or

  3. certified that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court.

Limitation period is 60 days from the date of grant of the certificate by the High Court.

Special Leave Petition (SLP):

The Supreme Court has also a very wide appellate jurisdiction over all Courts and Tribunals in India in as much as it may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any Court or Tribunal in the territory of India.

The Rules governing SLP are contained in order XVI of the Supreme Court Rules 1966. Under the said rules, SLP can be filed against either the order of High Court rejecting petition for leave to appeal to Supreme Court of India; i.e. on High Court refusing to grant certificate of fitness for leave to appeal to Supreme Court or against the order/ judgement itself. If the petition is filed against the judgement of the High Court, the time limit is 90 days from the date of judgement/order and if the petition is filed against the order of High Court refusing to grant certificate of fitness for appeal, the time limit is 60 days from the date of order refusing to grant certificate.

Finality of Supreme Court Judgements/Orders:

The Supreme Court is the highest court of land and no appeal lies from its judgement and order to any Court or Forum. But Supreme Court has power to review its own judgement.

Curative Petition:

In the Curative petition, the petitioner is required to aver specifically that the grounds mentioned therein had been taken in the review petition filed earlier and that it was dismissed by circulation. This has to be certified by a Senior Advocate. The Curative petition is then circulated to the three senior most judges and the judges who delivered the impugned judgement, if available. No time limit is given for filing Curative petition.


- As on 1st July 2019