[Landmark Judgement] J. Mohapatra & Co. v/s State of Orissa (1984)

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: 14 October 2022 at 09:16 IST

Court – Supreme Court of India

Citation – J. Mohapatra & Co. v/s State of Orissa (1984) 4 SCC 103

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that the Lex Doctrine of Nemo Judex In Causa Sua, that is – No Man Shall Be a Judge in his Own Cause can be over ruled in extremely exceptional circumstances i.e., Lex Doctrine of In Casu Extremae Necessitatis Omnia Sunt Communia, that is – In Cases of Extreme Necessity, Everything is in Common.

It is held the doctrine of necessity applies not only to judicial matters but also to quasi-judicial and administrative matters of the State as well.

Para – 12

There is, however, an exception to the above rule that no man shall be a judge in his own cause, namely, the doctrine of necessity. An adjudicator, who is subject to disqualification on the ground of bias or interest in the matter which he has to decide, may be required to adjudicate if there is no other person who is competent or authorized to adjudicate or if a quorum cannot be formed without him or if no other competent tribunal can be constituted.

In such cases the principle of natural justice would have to give way to necessity for otherwise there would be no means of deciding the matter and the machinery of justice or administration would break down.

Thus, in The Judges v. Attorney-General for Saskatchewan the Judges of the Court of Appeal were held competent to decide the question whether Judges of the Court of Appeal, of the Court of King’s Bench and of the District Courts of the Province of Saskatchewan were subject to taxation under the Income Tax Act, 1932, of Saskatchewan on the ground that they were bound to act ex necessitate. The doctrine of necessity applies not only to judicial matters but also to quasi-judicial and administrative matters.

The High Court, however, wrongly applied this doctrine to the author-members of the Assessment Sub-Committee. It is true, the members of this Sub-Committee were appointed by a Government Resolution and some of them were appointed by virtue of the official position they were holding, such as, the Secretary, Education Department of the Government of Orissa, and the Director, Higher Education, etc.

There was, however, nothing to prevent those whose books were submitted for selection from pointing out this fact to the State Government so that it could amend its Resolution by appointing a substitute or substitutes, as the case may be. There was equally nothing to prevent such non-official author-members from resigning from the committee on the ground of their interest in the matter.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

Key Words – Justice, Proceedings, Doctrine of Necessity.

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