Difference between ‘Reference’ and ‘Review’ under Civil Procedure Code

A Subordinate Court can make reference to High Court on the following grounds:

(i) There must be a pending suit or appeal in which the decree is not subject to appeal or a pending proceeding in execution of such decree;

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(ii) A question of law or usage having the force of law must arise in the course of such suit, appeal or proceeding; and

(iii) The Court trying the suit or appeal or executing the decree must entertain a reasonable doubt on such question.

Questions of law on which a Subordinate Court may entertain a doubt may be divided into two classes:

(a) Those which relate to the validity of any Act, Ordinance or Regulation; and

(b) Other questions.

In the latter case, the reference is optional but in the former case it is obligatory if the following conditions are fulfilled-

(i) It is necessary to decide such question in order to dispose of the case;

(ii) The Subordinate Court is of the view that the impugned Act, Ordinance or Regulation is ultra vires, and

(iii) There is no determination by the Supreme Court or by the High Court to which such Court is subordinate, that such Act, Ordinance or Regulation is ultra vires.

The object of the proviso is to see that the Act or legislature should be interpreted by the highest Court in the State.

B. Review:

Section 114 of the Code gives a substantive right of review in certain circumstances and Order 47 provide the procedure there for, the provision relating to review constitutes an exception to the general rule that once the judgment is signed and pronounced by the Court it has no jurisdiction to alter it.

1. Who may apply for review:

Any person aggrieved by a decree or order may apply for a review of judgement where no appeal is allowed or where appeal is allowed but no appeal has been filed against such decree or order.

2. To whom a review shall lie:

An application for review should be made to the very judge who passed the decree or made the order. But if that judge is not available, it will be heard by another judge or his successor in office.

3. Grounds for review:

An application for review of a judgement may be made on any of the following grounds-

(i) Discovery of new and important matter or evidence; or

(ii) Mistake or error apparent on the face of the record; or

(iii) Any other sufficient reason.