Dismissal of SLP under Article 136 at Preliminary Stage — Whether Immune from Passing of Speaking Orders?

Be you ever so high, the law is above you

—Thomas Fuller1

 

A reasoned order is a desirable condition of judicial disposal.2 The Supreme Court in exercise of its power under Article 136 of the Constitution dismisses the special leave petition arising out of the judgment/order of the High Court’s passed under the Income Tax Act, 1961 filed at the instance of Department/Revenue and/or the assessee by a non-speaking order in majority of the cases at the threshold. Is this course adopted by the Supreme Court not contrary to one of the facets of principles of natural justice, namely, recording of reasons in an order entailing adverse civil consequences? The present article is, therefore, a manifestation for two main reasons. The first being to try and understand the nature and power of the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India to pass orders by a non-speaking order and its effect on the justice delivery system at the hands of the High Courts in the absence of a speaking order by the Supreme Court. The second reason being to demonstrate that in view of the recognition of the principles of natural justice one of them being giving of reasons in support of an order by a administrative, quasi-judicial and judicial body, which by an interpretative process has come to be considered to be a part and parcel of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, would such a requirement be necessary by subjecting the power of the Supreme Court at the threshold while dismissing the special leave petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of the aggrieved party, whether it be the Department/Revenue or the assessee.

 

SCOPE AND POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT UNDER ARTICLE 136

Article 136 of the Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to grant special leave in its discretion against any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal except by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the armed forces. It reads as under:

  1. Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court.—(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.

(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall apply to any judgment, determination, sentence or order passed or made by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.

 

Article 136 does not define the nature of proceedings from which the Supreme Court may hear appeals, and therefore, it could hear appeals in any kind of proceedings whether civil, criminal, or relating to income tax, revenue or labour disputes, etc.3 Article 136 is worded in the widest terms possible and is discretionary in nature. It does not confer a right to appeal on a party to litigation; it only confers a discretionary power of widest amplitude on the Supreme Court to be exercised for satisfying the demands of justice. On one hand, it is an exceptional power to be exercised sparingly, with caution and care and to remedy extraordinary situations or situations occasioning gross failure of justice; on the other hand, it is an overriding power where under the Court may generously step in to impart justice and remedy injustice.4 Noticeably, the provisions of Article 136 of the Constitution opens with a non-obstante clause viz. “Notwithstanding anything in this chapter”. The power conferred on the Supreme Court by Article 136 is plenary in the sense that there are no words in Article 136 qualifying that power. It is a sweeping power, exercisable outside the purview of ordinary law to meet the purpose of satisfying the demands of justice.5 The scope of this special appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is very flexible. There are no words in Article 136 itself qualifying the power of the Supreme Court. The matter lies within the complete discretion of the Supreme Court and the only limit upon it is the “wisdom and good sense of the Judges” of the Supreme Court.6 As rightly pointed out by Krishna Iyer, J.7, when extraordinary power under Article 136 chases injustice, sky is the limit. Thus, the Supreme Court while exercising power under Article 136, not only acts as a “court of law” but also as a “court of equity”8; and such a power is exercised for doing full and complete justice.

 

The jurisdiction conferred by Article 136 is divisible into two stages: first stage is up to the disposal of prayer for special leave to file an appeal and the second stage commences if and when the leave to appeal is granted and special leave petition is converted into an appeal. The legal position as summarised by the Supreme Court in Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala9 regarding the scope of two stages reads as under:

(a) While hearing the petition for special leave to appeal, the Court is called upon to see whether the petitioner should be granted such leave or not. While hearing such petition, the Court is not exercising its appellate jurisdiction; it is merely exercising its discretionary jurisdiction to grant or not to grant leave to appeal. The petitioner is still outside the gate of entry though aspiring to enter the appellate arena of the Supreme Court. Whether he enters or not would depend on the fate of his petition for special leave.

(b) If the petition seeking grant of leave to appeal is dismissed, it is an expression of opinion by the Court that a case for invoking appellate jurisdiction of the court was not made out.

(c) If leave to appeal is granted, the appellate jurisdiction of the court stands invoked; the gate for entry in appellate arena is opened. The petitioner is in and the respondent may also be called upon to face him, though in an appropriate case, in spite of having granted leave to appeal, the Court may dismiss the appeal without noticing the respondent.

(d) In spite of a petition of special leave to appeal having been filed, the judgment, decree or order against which leave to appeal has been sought for, continues to be final, effective and binding as between the parties. Once leave to appeal has been granted, the finality of the judgment, decree or order appealed against is put in jeopardy though it continues to be binding and effective between the parties unless it is a nullity or unless the Court may pass a specific order staying or suspending the operation or execution of the judgment, decree or order under challenge.10

 

The Supreme Court in Mathai v. George11 referred the matter to a Constitution Bench for laying guidelines governing its discretionary power under Article 136 of the Constitution by making the following observations:

  1. Article 136, no doubt, states that the Supreme Court may in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India. However, it is not mentioned in Article 136 of the Constitution as to in what kind of cases the said discretion should be exercised. Hence, some broad guidelines need to be laid down now by a Constitution Bench of this Court otherwise this Court will be flooded (and in fact is being flooded) with all kinds of special leave petitions even frivolous ones and the arrears in this Court will keep mounting and a time will come when the functioning of this Court will become impossible. It may be mentioned that Article 136, like Article 226, is a discretionary remedy, and this Court is not bound to interfere even if there is an error of law or fact in the impugned order.

 

In the aforesaid case of Mathai11, the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down the following circumstances under which power under Article 136 of the Constitution could be exercised:

(a) All matters involving substantial questions of law relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of India;

(b) All matters of national or public importance;

(c) Validity of laws, Central and State;

(d) To settle differences of opinion on important issues of law between High Courts;

(e) Where the Court is satisfied that there has been a grave miscarriage of justice; and

(f) Where a fundamental right of a person has prima facie been violated.

However, the Division Bench also mentioned in the order11 of reference clarifying that — it is for the Constitution Bench to which we are referring this matter to decide what are the kinds of cases in which discretion under Article 136 should be exercised.

 

The Constitution Bench12 subsequently while reiterating that the powers conferred under Article 136 of the Constitution are discretionary, while declining to lay down any guidelines in view of its earlier decisions13, observed:

  1. Upon perusal of the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid judgments, in our opinion, no effort should be made to restrict the powers of this Court under Article 136 because while exercising its powers under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, this Court can, after considering facts of the case to be decided, very well use its discretion. In the interest of justice, in our view, it would be better to use the said power with circumspection, rather than to limit the power forever.
  2. In the circumstances, we do not see any reason to answer the issue which has already been answered in the aforesaid judgments. We are of the opinion that no further elaboration is required on the issue involved in this case. The special leave petition is dismissed as infructuous.14

(emphasis supplied)

 

DOCTRINE OF MERGER

The Supreme Court in Kunhayammed15 while referring to the stages governing the power to be exercised under Article 136 of the Constitution also dealt with the issue of merger vis-à-vis the question as to whether the dismissal of special leave petition would be construed as affirmation of the judgment of the High Court by the Supreme Court for which special leave petition was sought for, laid down the following principles by holding that:

(a) Where an appeal or revision is provided against an order passed by a court, tribunal or any other authority before superior forum and such superior forum modifies, reverses or affirms the decision put in issue before it, the decision by the subordinate forum merges in the decision by the superior forum and it is the latter which subsists, remains operative and is capable of enforcement in the eye of the law;

(b) Doctrine of merger is not a doctrine of universal or unlimited application. It will depend on the nature of jurisdiction exercised by the superior forum and the content or subject-matter of challenge laid or capable of being laid shall be determinative of the applicability of merger. The superior jurisdiction should be capable of reversing, modifying or affirming the order put in issue before it. Under Article 136, the Supreme Court may reverse, modify or affirm the judgment, decree or order appealed against while exercising its appellate jurisdiction and not while exercising the discretionary jurisdiction disposing of petition for special leave to appeal. The doctrine of merger can, therefore, be applied to the former and not to the latter;

(c) An order refusing special leave to appeal may be a non-speaking order or a speaking one. In either case it does not attract the doctrine of merger. An order refusing special leave to appeal does not stand substituted in place of the order under challenge. All that it means is that the Court was not inclined to exercise its discretion so as to allow the appeal being filed;

(d) If the order refusing leave to appeal is a speaking order i.e. gives reasons for refusing the grant of leave, then the order has two implications. Firstly, the statement of law contained in the order is a declaration of law by the Supreme Court within the meaning of Article 141. Secondly, other than the declaration of law, whatever is stated in the order are the findings recorded by the Supreme Court which would bind the parties thereto and also the court, tribunal or authority in any proceedings subsequent thereto by way of judicial discipline, the Supreme Court being the Apex Court of the country. But, this does not amount to saying that the order of the court, tribunal or authority below has stood merged in the order of the Supreme Court rejecting special leave petition or that the order of the Supreme Court is the only order binding as res judicata in subsequent proceedings between the parties; and

(e) Once leave to appeal has been granted and appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has been invoked, the order passed in appeal would attract the doctrine of merger; the order may be of reversal, modification or merely affirmation.16

Thus, where special leave petition is dismissed at the very first stage i.e. in limine, by non-speaking order under Article 136 of the Constitution, it does not constitute any law within the meaning of Article 141 of the Constitution of India and there is no merger of the order against which appeal had been preferred. However, where special leave petition is dismissed after assigning reasons, by virtue of the rule of discipline there is a declaration of law thereby attracting Article 141 of the Constitution of India without there being any merger. In case where leave is granted under Article 136 of the Constitution and upon conversion of civil appeal, the dismissal with or without reasons a binding precedent of the Supreme Court would come surface and merger takes place.

 

NEED OF RECORDING OF REASONS

Article 136 of the Constitution does not expressly provide for giving of reasons in support of an order passed by the Supreme Court at the first stage and/or at the second stage not to talk of any stage. Is the power of dismissal exercised by the Supreme Court by not passing a speaking order i.e. by not assigning reasons which is considered to be a third principle of natural justice, howsoever brief they may be in support thereof, at the first stage in particular, justified in law.

 

One of the fundamental maxims of natural justice which has taken its firm roots in Indian Law is audi alteram partem which has many facets. Two of them are: (a) notice of the case to be met; and (b) opportunity to explain which means opportunity of hearing. Due to rapid development and growth of constitutional law as well as administrative law, another principle of natural justice has also emerged; (c) speaking orders or reasoned decisions: all orders should be supported by reasons. Recording of reasons is a sole of justice and every order be it passed in exercise of the power which may be judicial, administrative or quasi-judicial must contain reasons in support thereof. Giving of reasons in support of an order is considered to be third principle of natural justice. An aggrieved party has a right to know the reasons in support of the decision. This is one of the cardinal principles of natural justice. Thus, it is the basic principle of law that every order passed by any administrative body or any quasi-judicial body and/or even by the judicial body must disclose the reasons. Summarising the law with regard to recording of reasons, in Kranti Associates (P) Ltd. v. Masood Ahmed Khan17, it was pronounced by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that:

(a) Insistence on recording of reasons is meant to serve the wider principle of justice that justice must not only be done it must also appear to be done as well.

(b) Recording of reasons also operates as a valid restraint on any possible arbitrary exercise of judicial and quasi-judicial or even administrative power.

(c) Reasons reassure that discretion has been exercised by the decision-maker on relevant grounds and by disregarding extraneous considerations.

(d) Reasons have virtually become as indispensable a component of a decision-making process as observing principles of natural justice by judicial, quasi-judicial and even by administrative bodies.

(e) The ongoing judicial trend in all countries committed to the rule of law and constitutional governance is in favour of reasoned decisions based on relevant facts. This is virtually the lifeblood of judicial decision-making justifying the principle that reason is the soul of justice.

(f) Judicial or even quasi-judicial opinions these days can be as different as the Judges and authorities who deliver them. All these decisions serve one common purpose which is to demonstrate by reason that the relevant factors have been objectively considered. This is important for sustaining the litigants’ faith in the justice-delivery system.

(g) Insistence on reason is a requirement for both judicial accountability and transparency.

(h) If a Judge or a quasi-judicial authority is not candid enough about his/her decision-making process then it is impossible to know whether the person deciding is faithful to the doctrine of precedent or to principles of incrementalism.

(i) Reasons in support of decisions must be cogent, clear and succinct. A pretence of reasons or “rubber-stamp reasons” is not to be equated with a valid decision-making process.

(j) It cannot be doubted that transparency is the sine qua non of restraint on abuse of judicial powers. Transparency in decision-making not only makes the Judges and decision-makers less prone to errors but also makes them subject to broader scrutiny. (See David Shapiro in Defence of Judicial Candor18.)

(k) Since the requirement to record reasons emanates from the broad doctrine of fairness in decision-making, the said requirement is now virtually a component of human rights and was considered part of Strasbourg Jurisprudence. See Ruiz Torija v. Spain19, EHRR at 562, para 29 and Anya v. University of Oxford20, wherein the Court referred to Article 6 of European Convention of Human Rights which requires, “adequate and intelligent reasons must be given for judicial decisions”.

(l) In all common law jurisdictions judgments play a vital role in setting up precedents for the future. Therefore, for development of law, requirement of giving reasons for the decision is of the essence and is virtually a part of “due process”.21

 

Thus, the principles of natural justice have in recent years found an important place in Indian jurisprudence22 and in foreign jurisdictions23 as well, calculated to invest law with fairness and to secure justice; and have at the same time come to be recognised as being a part of the guarantee contained in Article 14 of the Constitution because of the new and dynamic interpretation given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to the concept of equality which is the subject-matter of that article. The pertinent observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Union of India v. Tulsiram Patel24 deserves to be noticed which reads here as under:

  1. 95. Shortly put, the syllogism runs thus: violation of a rule of natural justice results in arbitrariness which is the same as discrimination; where discrimination is the result of State action, it is a violation of Article 14; therefore, a violation of principle of natural justice by a State action is a violation of Article 14. Article 14, however, is not the sole repository of the principles of natural justice. What it does is to guarantee that any law or State action violating them will be struck down. The principles of natural justice, however, apply not only to legislation and State action but also where any tribunal, authority or body of men, not coming within the definition of “State” in Article 12 is charged with the duty of deciding a matter. In such a case, the principles of natural justice require that it must decide such matter fairly and impartially.25

(emphasis supplied)

 

The principles of natural justice which have taken deep root in the judicial conscience of our people are now considered so fundamental as to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty and therefore, implicit in every decision-making function, call it judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative. This principle holds good insofar as the statutory authorities are functioning under the Act and would also equally be applicable to the Supreme Court discharging judicial functions by virtue of the constitutional power under Article 136 while deciding a lis in any matter as it is its duty to uphold constitutional values and to enforce constitutional limitations, which being the essence of the rule of law stands stamped with natural justice.26

 

The applicability of Article 14 of the Constitution governing the judicial function performed by the Supreme Court although is a debateable issue27 on account of the fact that Supreme Court did not fall within the ambit of “State” or “Other Authorities” under Article 12 so as to attract Article 14 of the Constitution of India but irrespective of the controversy of application of Article 14 to judicial decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, the inviolable fundamental rights one of them being natural justice which is a part of basic structure of the Constitution would govern the very exercise of judicial power by the Supreme Court and as a result thereof the self-imposed limitation on the exercise of such a power would inhere in itself and subject to the principles of natural justice.

 

There is another aspect of the matter. Article 145 of the Constitution of India, inter alia, confers power on the Supreme Court to frame Rules with the approval of the President of India for regulating the practice and procedure regarding hearing of appeals and other matter pertaining to appeals including making rules as to the proceedings in the Court for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution of India. The Rules framed under Article 145 and the provisions of Article 136 are silent about the observance of principles of natural justice and the silence is taken to imply compliance with the principles of natural justice i.e. speaking order to be passed under Article 136 by the Supreme Court as the orders entail civil consequences. By necessary implication in the absence of express exclusion of principle of natural justice i.e. speaking order governing the exercise of power either by the provisions of Article 136 or the Rules made under Article 145, the power in view of the principle of law enunciated in a catena of cases28 decided by the Hon’ble Supreme Court would be read into the interstices of the provisions of an enactment whereunder orders are passed which entails civil consequences. The said principle would equally be applicable for regulating a discretionary power conferred on an authority discharging judicial functions like the Supreme Court. A citizen is entitled to be under “the Rule of law and not the rule of discretion” and “to remit the maintenance of constitutional right to judicial discretion is to shift the foundations of freedom from the rock to the sand”.29

 

The following emphatic observations of Chinnappa Reddy, J., who delivered a concurrent judgment in National Textile Workers’ Union v. P.R. Ramakrishnan30 reinforce the necessity of speaking orders by Courts:

  1. Can courts say natural justice need not be observed by them as they know how to render justice without observing natural justice? It will surely be a travesty of justice to deny natural justice on the ground that courts know better.… Courts even more than administrators must observe natural justice.31

 

Thus, a non-speaking order passed by the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution affects the fundamental right of the affected party against whom an adverse order has been passed and, therefore, the unrestricted discretionary power in the Supreme Court would indeed be subject to passing of speaking order being an inherent constitutional limitation of such a power for maintaining rule of law in the sense that everything they did was within the framework of law thereby preventing not only abuse of discretionary power but uncertainty in law.

 

EFFECT OF NON-SPEAKING ORDERS OF THE SUPREME COURT

Non-speaking orders passed by the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution have adverse effect on the ongoing litigation in income tax matters. There are instances where the Supreme Court on the same substantial question of law where a view has been expressed by the High Court in favour of the assessee has dismissed the appeal of the Department/Revenue and in another case view taken by the High Court in the favour of Department/Revenue, the appeal of the assessee has been dismissed by the Supreme Court on a same very substantial question of law by a non-speaking order.

 

In CIT v. Orient Craft Ltd.32, a Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi expressed opinion in favour of the assessee on the question as to whether the assessing officer in the absence of any tangible material could reopen the assessment made under Section 143(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The Department preferred a special leave petition against the said judgment before the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution which was dismissed33 by a non-speaking order. Subsequently, in Krishna Developers & Company v. CIT34, the High Court of Gujarat dissented from the view which had been expressed by the High Court of Delhi in Orient Craft Ltd.32 The assessee preferred special leave petition against the said view expressed by the High Court of Gujarat and the same was dismissed35 by the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India by a non-speaking order. Such like cases are numerous particularly another set of cases where the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution dismisses the appeal of the Department/Revenue by leaving the question of law open which too leads to uncertainty.36

 

The necessity of adhering to the passing of a speaking order under Article 136 of the Constitution stems from another aspect namely, that the Supreme Court time and again has emphasised that the High Court while entertaining an appeal under Section 260-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 must first formulate the substantial questions of law for admission of the appeal and if the High Court is of the view that the appeal did not involve any substantial question of law, it should record a categorical finding to the effect that no substantial question of law is involved for its admission; and if the questions formulated fall in the category of substantial question of law, the appeal is to be heard on merits on the framed questions after admitting the appeal.37 In principle, the same procedure as is contemplated by the provisions of Section 260-A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which is para materia with the provisions of Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 should be read into the interstices of the provisions of Article 136 of the Constitution more so when two stages of consideration govern the discretionary exercise of power under Article 136 of the Constitution.

 

EPILOGUE

When a special leave petition is filed and the same is dismissed, reasons howsoever brief in conformity with the reasons contained in the judgment/order passed by the High Court answering the substantial question of law should be assigned by the Supreme Court while exercising power under Article 136 of the Constitution being a declaration of law under Article 141 of the Constitution would settle the ongoing controversy pending consideration before the High Courts, Tribunals including authorities under the Income Tax Act. No doubt the untrammelled reservoir of power conferred incapable of being confined to definitional bounds which is discretionary is subjected to only one limitation, that is, the wisdom and the good sense of justice would be more effective instilling confidence in the judicial system if such a power is effectuated by the third principle of natural justice i.e. giving of reasons in support of the order passed under Article 136 of the Constitution. As righty pointed out in C.B. Gautam v. Union of India38 by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that the recording of reasons, which lead to the passing of the order is basically intended to serve a twofold purpose, firstly, a “party aggrieved” acquires knowledge of the reasons and that the obligation to record reasons and convey the same to the party concerned operates as a deterrent against possible arbitrary action. The requirement of recording reasons would introduce clarity, exclude arbitrariness, unconscious bias thereby satisfying the aggrieved party concerned against whom the order is passed under Article 136 of the Constitution at the first stage by that the Supreme Court. Maintaining of institutional integrity is of utmost importance after all as rightly said in principle by Lord Denning39 — “the giving of reasons is one of the fundamentals of good administration” and in addition thereto keeping in mind the following apt observations40 made by the Hon’ble Judge (D.A. Desai, J.):

… to give reasons which appealed to us though drawn up by one of us would any day provide a better choice than not to give reasons because it would always annoy and distress the party who lost the legal battle whether there are legal or logical reasons in support of the order or it is merely an arbitrary exercise of power.41 The age-old principle that “justice should not only be done but seem to be done”42 in its true spirit and command must govern the exercise of power by a speaking order at the hands of the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India after all justice is a virtue which transcends all barriers and is the constant and perpetual purpose of rendering each man his due which inheres rendering of speaking orders making the discretionary power under Article 136 of the Constitution enriched with fairness.

 


Senior Advocate, High Court of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh

*The article has been published with kind permission of Eastern Book Company. Cite as (2021) 2 SCC J-25

1Quoted by Lord Denning in Gouriet v. Union of Post Workers, [1977] Q.B. 729, 762 (CA); P.N. Duda v. P. Shiv Shanker, (1988) 3 SCC 167.

2M.P. Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, AIR 1966 SC 671.

3Pritam Singh v. State, 1950 SCR 453 : AIR 1950 SC 169.

4 See: Narpat Singh v. Jaipur Development Authority, (2002) 4 SCC 666; Durga Shankar Mehta v. Raghuraj Singh, AIR 1954 SC 520.

5 See: Narendra Nath Khaware v. Parasnath Khaware, (2003) 5 SCC 488.

6Penu Balakrishna Iyer v. Ariya M. Ramaswami Iyer, AIR 1965 SC 195.

7P.S.R. Sadhanantham v. Arunachalam, (1980) 3 SCC 141.

8 See: Shivanand Gaurishankar Baswanti v. Laxmi Vishnu Textile Mills, (2008) 13 SCC 323; Rashpal Malhotra v. Satya Rajput, (1987) 4 SCC 391; Bharat Bank Ltd. v. Employees, 1950 SCC 459 : AIR 1950 SC 188; Chandra Bansi Singh v. State of Bihar, (1984) 4 SCC 316.

9(2000) 6 SCC 359; affirmed by the co-equal Bench of the Supreme Court in Khoday Distilleries Ltd. v. Mahadeshwara Sahakara Sakkare Karkhane Ltd., (2019) 4 SCC 376.

10 Id, 372, para 14.

11(2010) 4 SCC 358.

12Mathai v. George, (2016) 7 SCC 700.

13Pritam Singh v. State, 1950 SCR 453 : AIR 1950 SC 169; Penu Balakrishna Iyer v. Ariya M. Ramaswami Iyer, AIR 1965 SC 195; Union Carbide Corpn. v. Union of India, (1991) 4 SCC 584.

14Mathai v. George, (2016) 7 SCC 700, 702, paras 6-7.

15Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala, (2000) 6 SCC 359.

16Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala, (2000) 6 SCC 359, 383-84, para 44.

17(2010) 9 SCC 496.

18(1987) 100 HLR 731.

19(1995) 19 EHRR 553.

202001 EWCA Civ 405.

21Kranti Associates (P) Ltd. v. Masood Ahmed Khan, (2010) 9 SCC 496, 510-12, para 47.

22Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978) 1 SCC 248; Swadeshi Cotton Mills v. Union of India, (1981) 1 SCC 664; Woolcomber of India Ltd. v. Workers’ Union, (1974) 3 SCC 318; Sahara India (Firm) (1) v. CIT, (2008) 14 SCC 151; C.B. Gautam v. Union of India, (1993) 1 SCC 78; Union of India v. Mohan Lal Capoor, (1973) 2 SCC 836.

23 In R. v. Civil Service Appeal Board, ex p Cunningham, (1991) 4 All ER 310 (CA), Lord Donaldson, Master of Rolls, opined very strongly in favour of disclosing of reasons in a case where the Court is acting in its discretion. See also: North Range Shipping Ltd. v. Seatrans Shipping Corpn., [2002] 1 WLR 2397 (CA); Cullen v. Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, [2003] 1 WLR 1763 (HL).

24(1985) 3 SCC 398; See also: Swadeshi Cotton Mills v. Union of India, (1981) 1 SCC 664; Dev Dutt v. Union of India, (2008) 8 SCC 725.

25Union of India v. Tulsiram Patel, (1985) 3 SCC 398, 476, para 95.

26 See: Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commr., (1978) 1 SCC 405; Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India, (1980) 3 SCC 625.

27 See: H.M. Seervai, Constitutional Law of India (3rd Edn., Vol. 1) pp. 225 to 236.

28State of Orissa v. Binapani Dei, AIR 1967 SC 1269; A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India, (1969) 2 SCC 262; Rajesh Kumar v. CIT, (2007) 2 SCC 181.

29Union Carbide Corpn. v. Union of India, (1991) 4 SCC 584.

30(1983) 1 SCC 228.

31 Id, 260 para 16.

322012 SCC OnLine Del 6386 : (2013) 354 ITR 536.

33CIT v. Orient Craft Ltd., 2014 SCC OnLine SC 1807.

342017 SCC OnLine Guj 2495 : (2018) 400 ITR 260.

35Krishna Developers & Co. v. CIT, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 3647.

36 Special leave petition preferred by the Union of India against the judgment of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana reported as Adfert Technologies (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 5701, was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by a non-speaking order, reported as Union of India v. Adfert Technologies (P) Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1064, however, on the same very issue special leave petition stands granted by the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Brand Equity Treaties Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1065 against the judgment rendered by the High Court of Delhi in Brand Equity Treaties Ltd. v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1698.

37 See: CIT v. A.A. Estate (P) Ltd., (2019) 14 SCC 99; Ryatar Sahakari Sakkare Karkhane Niyamit v. CIT, (2019) 5 SCC 706; M. Janardhana Rao v. CIT, (2005) 2 SCC 324.

38(1993) 1 SCC 78.

39Breen v. Amalgamated Engg. Union, [1971] 2 Q.B. 175  :  [1971] 2 WLR 742 (CA).

40Ram & Shyam Company v. State of Haryana, (1985) 3 SCC 267.

41 Id, 271, para 2.

42Lord Chief Justice Hewart in R. v. Sussex Justices, [1924] 1 K.B. 256

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