"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recent Judgments

Whether a society registered under the Societies Registration Act is a `State' within the meaning of Article 12

State of U.P. & Anr. v. Radhey Shyam Rai. CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1572 OF 2009. Date of Judgment 06-03-09

Held to be a state and amenable to writ. This judgment written by S.B. Sinha, comprehends the developments in the field of interpretation of the term ‘other authorities in Art. 12 of the Constitution of India.

Court observes as follows:
“Law in this behalf has developed a lot. With the changing societal conditions, a large number of bodies exercising public functions have been brought within the purview of the definition of `State'. We need not dilate on the development of law in this regard in view of the decisions rendered by this Court beginning from Rajasthan State Electricity Board v. Mohan Lal [(1967) 3 SCR 377], Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi [(1981) 1 SCC 722] and other decisions including a Seven - Judge Bench decision of this Court in Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology [(2002) 5 SCC 111]”.

… And the case goes back to HC after its life of more than 10 years

Nawab Shaqafath Ali Khan & Ors. v. Nawab Imdad Jah Bahadur & Ors. CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 846-847 OF 2001. Date of Judgment 05-03-09

When it is a case that involves the inheritance of the properties of the Nizam of Hyderabad and with the complicated questions involved, may be, the case is still in its cradle.

Be careful when applying precedent

State of A.P. v. M. Radha Krishna Murthy. CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 386 OF 2002. date of Judgment 06-03-09

The judicial decision should not be interpreted like statues. A judicial utterance is made in the setting of facts of the particular case.

While deciding a case based on an earlier precedent, care should be taken to “avoid the temptation to decide cases (as said by Cordozo) by matching the colour of one case against the colour of another. To decide therefore, on which side of the line a case falls, the broad resemblance to another case is not at all decisive … Precedent should be followed only so far as it marks the path of justice, but you must cut the dead wood and trim off the side branches else you will find yourself lost in thickets and branches. My plea is to keep the path to justice clear of obstructions which could impede it." (Lord Denning).

In the instant case the HC wrongly applied a precedent which acquitted an accused from corruption charges because, a part of the case was not proved therefore the whole case stood failed. The present case is that of demand of bribe which was paid of in two instalments and payment of the second instalment was proved but not the first.

It is held that ‘circumstantial flexibility, one additional or different fact may make a world of difference between conclusions in two cases. Disposal of cases by blindly placing reliance on a decision is not proper.’

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