Whether Judgment delivered by the court without hearing another side/ exparte is binding as precedent?

Also, in Municipal Corpn. of Delhi v. Gurnam Kaur,

(1989) 1 SCC 101 at 110, this Court stated:

“11. Pronouncements of law, which are not

part of the ratio decidendi are classed as

obiter dicta and are not authoritative. With all

respect to the learned Judge who passed the

order in Jamna Das case [Writ Petitions Nos.

981-82 of 1984] and to the learned Judge who

agreed with him, we cannot concede that this

Court is bound to follow it. It was delivered

without argument, without reference to the

relevant provisions of the Act conferring

express power on the Municipal Corporation

to direct removal of encroachments from any

public place like pavements or public streets,

and without any citation of authority.

Accordingly, we do not propose to uphold the

decision of the High Court because, it seems

to us that it is wrong in principle and cannot be

justified by the terms of the relevant

provisions. A decision should be treated as

given per incuriam when it is given in

ignorance of the terms of a statute or of a rule

having the force of a statute. So far as the

order shows, no argument was addressed to

the court on the question whether or not any

direction could properly be made compelling

the Municipal Corporation to construct a stall

at the pitching site of a pavement squatter.”

(Emphasis Supplied)


It is clear, therefore, that where a matter is not argued at

all by the respondent, and the judgment is one of

reversal, it would be hazardous to state that the law can

be declared on an ex parte appraisal of the facts and the

law, as demonstrated before the Court by the appellant’s

counsel alone. That apart, where there is a detailed

judgment of the High Court dealing with several

authorities, and it is reversed in a cryptic fashion without

dealing with any of them, the per incuriam doctrine kicks

in, and the judgment loses binding force, because of the

manner in which it deals with the proposition of law in

question. Also, the ratio decidendi of a judgment is the

principle of law adopted having regard to the line of

reasoning of the Judge which alone binds in future cases.

Such principle can only be laid down after a discussion of

the relevant provisions and the case law on the subject. If

only one side is heard and a judgment is reversed,

without any line of reasoning, and certain conclusions

alone are arrived at, without any reference to any case

law, it would be difficult to hold that such a judgment

would be binding upon us and that we would have to

follow it. In the circumstances, we are of the opinion that

the judgment in Yasangi Venkateswara Rao (supra)

cannot deter us in our task of laying down the law on the








Author: R.F. NARIMAN, J.

Dated: February 16, 2018.

Citation: 2018(4) SCC 743

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