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Letters Patent Appeal

Updated on:  

08 min read

An appeal is generally made when a party is unhappy about the verdict that has been arrived at. Through the appeals process, the chance for redemption may present itself to the aggrieved party by way of the case being retried. A Letters Patent Appeal, on the other hand, is an appeal that is made by the petitioner (aggrieved party) against the decision of a single judge to another bench in the same court.

The idea behind the Letters Patent Appeal is that judges could get their verdicts wrong due to either a mistake of fact or a mistake of interpretation of the law. The Letters Patent Appeal is the only remedy available to the petitioner against the decision of a single judge in the High Court. In all other respects, the remedy would lie with the Supreme Court.

Letters Patent Appeal and Documents Required

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 tells us that an intra-court appeal is an appeal filed before the High Court against the order of that particular High Court itself. An inter-court order, on the other hand, is where an appeal is filed in the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court. The time limit for an intra-court appeal is 30 days, whereas the limit for an inter-court appeal is 90 days.

Letters Patent Appeal is an intra-court appeal. In 1965, when the High Courts in India were first created, the provision was made for this remedy. While making the appeal, the requisite fee has to be submitted to the court along with the following documents:-

  • Certified copy of the judgement and decree appealed from.
  • Certified copy of the certificate granted by the High Court.
  • Certified copy of the order granting the aforesaid certificate.

However, it is to be noted that since the procedure for writs is likely to differ from state to state, it is recommended to familiarise oneself with the Letters Patent Rules applicable to the High Courts of that particular state.

Basis on which Appeal is made 

Question of Law

In a situation where the case involves a substantial question of law, that is to say, it affects the rights and duties of the parties involved, either directly or indirectly, an appeal may be preferred.

Wrong Interpretation

Where there arises a situation wherein the Constitution has been interpreted wrongly or where any legal provision has been wrongly inferred, an appeal may be preferred.

The legal provisions that involve the Letter Patents Appeal are the provisions of Article 226 and 227 of the Indian Constitution.

Writs have been a form of security and armour in order to uphold the rights and liberties of the people. Article 226 has bestowed upon the High Court the power to issue directions, orders or writs in order to enforce fundamental rights or any other purposes.

The party may enforce his legal right under Article 226 provided that he/she is able to show sufficient interest in the subject matter at hand. The principle for the same has been established by the Supreme Court in S. P. Gupta vs. President of India where it held that – 

“The traditional rule in regard to locus standi is that judicial redress is available only to a person who has suffered a legal injury by reason of violation of his legal right or legal protected interest by the impugned action of the State or a public authority or any other person or who is likely to suffer a legal injury by reason of threatened violation of his legal right or legally protected interest by any such action. The basis of entitlement to judicial redress is personal injury to property, body, mind or reputation arising from violation, actual or threatened, of the legal right or legally protected interest of the person seeking such redress.” 

Article 227 lays down the power of superintendence of the High Court over all other courts of law that are within its jurisdiction. In other words, the High Court may – 

  • Call for returns from other courts.
  • Issue general rules and prescribe the necessary forms.
  • Prescribes the manner in which books and records are to be maintained by those courts.
  • Fees to be allowed to all the officers and other members of the court.

Cases Where Letters Patent Appeal is not Maintainable

The Arbitration Act

Case → Conros Steel Co Ltd vs. Lu Qin (Hong Kong) Co Ltd

A three judge bench of the Bombay High Court noticed that an application under Section 8 of the Act is an application under part I of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act. This means that the bar under Section 37 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act would apply to an appeal from an order passed under Section 8 of the Act. Thus, it was held that for an order passed under Section 8 of the Act, the Letters Patent Appeal is not maintainable.

Criminal Proceedings

Clause XV of the Letters Patent lays down that any appeal can be made to the High Court provided it is not a sentence or order passed or made in the exercise of criminal jurisdiction. In other words, the Letter Patent Appeal is not maintainable under criminal proceedings.

The letter patent appeal is a remedy that is provided to the party in the instance where he/she is not satisfied with the decision of the High Court. The Letter Patent Rules, however, may differ on a state to state basis.

Disclaimer:The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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