Normally, the decision of the Supreme Court enunciating a principle of law is applicable to all cases irrespective of stage of pendency thereof

M A Murthy vs State of Karnataka

Supreme Court

02/09/2003

(2003) 7 SCC 517 : 2003 SCC (L&S) 1076 : AIR 2003 SC 3821

About/from the judgment:

Applicability of - Case law discussed - Law declared - Law declared by Supreme Court - Retrospective or prospective - Held, normally it has to be assumed to be the law from inception - Prospective overruling is only an exception to this normal rule - A decision of Supreme Court, unless indicated therein to be operative only prospectively, held, cannot be treated to be so - More so when it was a review judgement overruling the earlier judgement as in such a case only the review judgement was the effective judgement for all purposes and the earlier judgement stood erased.

 

Normally, the decision of the Supreme Court enunciating a principle of law is applicable to all cases irrespective of stage of pendency thereof because it is assumed that what is enunciated by the Supreme Court is, in fact, the from inception. The doctrine of American jurisprudence is an exception to the normal principle of law. (Para 8).

 

Prospective overruling is a part of the principle of constitutional interpretation and principles of constitutional interpretation and can be resorted to by the Supreme Court while superseding the law declared by it earlier. It is a device innovated to avoid reopening of settled issues, to prevent multiplicity of proceedings, and to avoid uncertainty and avoidable litigation. In other words, actions taken contrary to the law declared prior to the date of declaration are validated in larger public interest. The law as declared applies only to future cases. (Para 8)

Read the Judgment

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