Per Incuriam

My Lord, What is meant by the ‘per incuriam’ principle?

In Mamleshwar Prasad, (1975) 3 SCR 834, Krishna Iyer, J., succinctly laid down what is meant by the ‘per incuriam’ principle. He stated:We do not intend to detract from the rule that, in exceptional instances, whereby obvious inadvertence or oversight a judgment fails to notice a plain statutory provision or obligatory authority running counter to the reasoning and result reached, it may not have sway of binding precedents. It should be a glaring case, an obtrusive omission. No such situation presents itself here and we do not embark on the principle of judgment per incuriam.” An interesting application of the said principle is contained in Synthetics & Chemicals Ltd., (1991) 3 SCR 64, where a Division Bench of this Court held that one particular conclusion of a Bench of 7 Judges was per incuriam. See the discussion at pages 80, 81 and 91 of the said judgment.”

– Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, M/s. Fibre Boards Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore v. Commissioner of Income Tax, Bangalore, [Civil Appeal Nos. 5525-5526 of 2005].

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