Curative Jurisdiction: Balancing Act of Judicial Oversight

Curative Jurisdiction: Balancing Act of Judicial Oversight


The Supreme Court of India incorporates a unique ability to correct its own judgments through the exercise of Curative Jurisdiction.

  • This article delves into the ramifications of this judicial power, focusing on a recent judgment and its implications for the legal landscape.

GS-02 (Judiciary)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Understanding Curative Jurisdiction
  • The Delhi Metro Rail Judgment
  • Implications and Critiques
  • Challenges

Understanding Curative Jurisdiction:

  • Curative jurisdiction is a unique power held by the Supreme Court of India.
  • It allows the Court to rectify its own final judgments if errors are found, even after the case has concluded.
  • This distinguishes it from regular review powers, which permit all courts to correct errors within their own judgments.

The Delhi Metro Rail Judgment:

  • A recent ruling by a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in a curative petition involving Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (DMRC) vs. Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) reignites the debate surrounding the Court’s exercise of Curative Jurisdiction.
  • DAMEPL alleges that DMRC violated their contract terms, justifying termination. An arbitration panel ruled in favor of DAMEPL, prompting DMRC’s disagreement. They appealed to the Supreme Court, which, contrary to its usual practice, altered the arbitration decision.

Implications and Critiques:

  • This decision sets a precedent for future cases, but it also introduces uncertainty.
  • It raises questions about whether the Supreme Court might prioritize rectifying individual grievances over upholding broader legal principles.
  • Critics argue that this could undermine confidence in the legal system and create inconsistencies.


To ensure fair and judicious use of curative jurisdiction, several measures can be considered:

  • Restricting Usage: Limiting the application of curative jurisdiction to significant legal discrepancies.
  • Clarity in Guidelines: Establishing clear criteria for when curative jurisdiction is appropriate.
  • Exploring Alternatives: Encouraging parties to seek alternative dispute resolution methods before resorting to the Supreme Court.
  • Training and Education: Providing judges with comprehensive training on the prudent application of curative jurisdiction.


Curative jurisdiction serves as a valuable tool for addressing legal oversights, but its judicious utilization is essential to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the judicial system. By employing it thoughtfully and transparently, the Supreme Court can uphold justice while preserving public trust in the legal framework.