All Ceylon Commercial & Industrial Workers Union v.
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Another
ALL CEYLON COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL WORKERS UNION
CEYLON PETROLEUM CORPORATION AND ANOTHER
SUPREME COURTG. P. S. DE SILVA, C.J,
S.C. 21/95C.A. 702/93
Revisionary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to review its Judgments – InherentPowers of the Superior Courts – Decisions made per incuriam
An application in Revision was made to revise a Judgment entered by theSupreme Court. It was contended that, the finding is likely to lead to a situation inwhich the Wages Board Ordinance would be violated in the future; as theJudgment does not indicate that in the determination of the matter court has takeninto consideration very material facts.
Supreme Court has inherent powers to correct its errors which aredemonstrably and manifestly wrong and where it is necessary in the interestof justice;
Decisions made per incuriam can be corrected. However a decision perincuriam is one given when a case or a statute has not been brought to theattention of Court and it has given the decision in ignorance or forgetfulnessof the existence of that case or statute.
The inherent powers to correct its errors are adjuncts to existing jurisdictionto remedy injustice – they cannot be made the source of New jurisdiction torevise a judgment rendered by that court.
The application made in the instant case does not fall within the principlesset out, in the relevant decisions of this court and other jurisdictions.
Cases referred to:
Hettiarachchi v. Seneviratne S.C. Appln. 127/94 – SCM 04.07.94.
Senarath v. Chandraratne, Commissioner of Excise S.C. Appln. 231/95 – SCM24.8.95
Ganeshananthan v. Goonewardene 1984 1 Sri LR 321
Alasupillaiv. Yapetipillai – 39 CLW 107
Huddersfield Police Authority v. Watson – 1947 2 AER 193
Sri Lanka Law Reports
 2 Sri L.R.
APPLICATION in Revision.
Batty Weerakoon with Ramani Muttetuwegama for Petitioner.
Cur. adv. vult.
This is an application seeking to revise the judgment of this Courtdelivered on 27.07.95 whereby the appeal of the appellant wasallowed. The present application which has been filed on 14.08.95 isitself described as an “application in revision”. Paragraph 6 of thepetition states, by way of submission, that the judgment of this Courtdoes not indicate that in the determination of the matter the Court hastaken into consideration the very material fact namely, that theSpecial Security Force/Unit (established at Sapugaskanda) had beenconstituted of persons who had already been in the employ of theappellant as persons in the Security Service Trade and that in thatcapacity these persons were admittedly governed by the WagesBoard Regulations for the Security Service Trade. The petitionproceeds to contend that in the circumstances, the finding in thiscase is likely to lead to a situation in which the Wages BoardOrdinance would be flagrantly violated in the future.
Next, paragraph 11 of the petition states, by way of furthersubmission, that the failure to take into consideration the mattersadverted to is a matter of error which should be rectified by thisCourt, acting in revision. Paragraph 12 emphasizes the relief soughtand states that the matters urged in the petition warrant the review ofthe judgment of this Court acting in revision.
We are satisfied that this Court has not been vested withrevisionary jurisdiction to review its judgments, in the manner urged inthe petition presented to this Court. The extraordinary jurisdiction ofthis Court to correct its own errors and revise or modify its judgmentshas been set out in numerous reported judgments and referred to intwo recent judgments namely, Hettiarachchi v. Seneviratne(,) andSenarath v. Chandraratne, Commissioner of Excise™.
All Ceylon Commercial & Industrial Workers Union v.
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and Another (Kulatunga, J.)
In Ganeshananthan v. Goonewardena(3) (a Bench of 7 Judges) itwas held that as a Superior Court of Record, the Supreme Court hasinherent powers to correct its errors which are demonstrably andmanifestly wrong and where it is necessary in the interest of justice.Decisions made per incuriam can be corrected. These powers areadjuncts to existing jurisdiction to remedy injustice – they cannot bemade the source of new jurisdictions to revise a judgment renderedby that Court.
In regard to the submission made by the learned Counsel at thehearing before us that we should consider whether our judgment wasper incuriam, it has been held in Alasupillai v. Yapetipillaiw, perBassnayake J. following the case of Huddersfield Police Authority v.Watson <5) “A decision per incuriam is one given when a case or astatute has not been brought to the attention of the Court and it hasgiven the decision in ignorance or forgetfulness of the existence ofthat case or statute".
We are of the view that the application made in the instant casedoes not fall within the principles set out in the relevant decisions ofthis Court and other jurisdictions. In the circumstances, we areunable to accede to the prayer for review of the judgment of thisCourt, by way of revision. We accordingly refuse notice and reject theapplication.
For completeness sake we would add that the point raised bylearned Counsel has received the attention of this Court; hence thereis no injustice which calls for the exercise of the inherent powers ofthis court.
G. P. S. OE SILVA C.J. -1 agree.
RAMANATHAN J. -1 agree.