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Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala, 2000 (3) KLT354


  • Can the high court entertain a prayer for review of its order if such a review can disturb the order earlier passed by the Supreme court?
  • When the orders of HC and SC have merged by affirmation, can a review petition be filed against the order of the High Court?


  • Order 47 Rule 1 subrule (1) (a) of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 states that an Application for review of judgment can be filed by Any person considering himself aggrieved by a decree or order from which an appeal is allowed but from which no appeal has been preferred.


  • The Kerala Private Forests Act, 1971 was enacted by the State of Kerala to provide for the vesting in the Government of private forests for the assignment thereof to agriculturists.
  • The Act stated that anyone could object to any decision of the Tribunal within 60 days by an appeal against such decision to the High Court under Section 8A of the Act.
  • A family raised a dispute before the Forest Tribunal, Kozhikode, related to 1020 acres of land.
  • The Tribunal held that the land did not vest in the Government, and subsequently, An appeal was filed by the State of Kerala before the High Court of Kerala, which was dismissed.
  • There was no statutory remedy of appeal, revision or review provided against the order of the High Court.
  • The State of Kerala filed a petition for special leave to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution, and the SC dismissed the same.
  • But later on, the high court allowed the hearing of the review petition for its earlier order, aggrieved by the same; the petitioners appealed in the SC.


  • The supreme court held that review could be preferred in the High Court before the special leave is granted, but not after it is granted as once special leave is granted, the jurisdiction to consider the validity of the High Courts order vests in the Supreme Court and the High Court cannot entertain a review thereafter.
  • The court further stated that once leave to appeal has been granted and appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has been invoked, the order passed in appeal would attract the doctrine of merger; the order may be of reversal, modification or merely affirmation.