Actus Curiae Neminem Gravabit

There cannot be an iota of doubt that no prejudice shall be caused to anyone due to the fault of the Court, but it is to be seen in what situations the Court can invoke the maxim ‘actus curiae neminem gravabit’. In this regard, we may usefully refer to a passage from Kalabharati Advertising, (2010) 9 SCC 437:

“The maxim actus curiae neminem gravabit, which means that the act of the Court shall prejudice no one, becomes applicable when a situation is projected where the Court is under an obligation to undo the wrong done to a party by the act of the Court. In a case, where any undeserved or unfair advantage has been gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the Court, and the same requires to be neutralized, the said maxim is to be made applicable.”

The legal maxim cannot operate in a vacuum. It has to get the sustenance from the facts.

One cannot indulge in luxury of lethargy, possibly nurturing the feeling that forgetting is a virtue, and thereafter, when the time has slipped through, for it waits for none, wake up and take shelter under the maxim ‘actus curiae neminem gravabit’. It is completely unacceptable.”

Hon’ble Justice Dipak Misra, Neeraj v. State of U.P., [Civil Appeal No. 11974 of 2016].

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