The agency, which has sought restoration of charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder which attracts maximum 10 years jail term, said it was not an "ordinary case" in which delay in filing the curative petition will come in the way of providing justice to the victims of the disaster.
"This is not an ordinary case as so many people lost their lives. Justice cannot be denied just on the ground of delay. We made a mistake," Attorney General G E Vahanwati told a five-judge special bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.
"I don't know why it was not filed by CBI but a review petition was filed in the case by someone else and it was dismissed," he said as the bench questioned CBI for delay in approaching it after 15-16 years.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by CBI seeking to recall the apex court's 1996 judgement that had diluted the charges against the accused who were prosecuted just for the offence of being negligent.
The Attorney General was also asked "why CBI had not filed the review petition".
He said the review petition filed by an NGO was dismissed and it was also a "mistake" that CBI also did not opt for it.