The Revival of Ray XXIV

XYZJustice Krishna Iyer delivered a concurring opinion in Sushil Kumar Sen v. State of Bihar, (1975) 1 SCC 774, expressing a thought process which would be of significant relevance to the issue in hand.

The humanist rule that procedure should be the handmaid, not the mistress, of legal justice compels consideration of vesting a residuary power in Judges to act ex debito justitiae where the tragic sequel otherwise would be wholly inequitable. I must sound a pessimistic note that it is too puritanical for a legal system to sacrifice the end product of equity and good conscience at the altar of processual punctiliousness and it is not too radical to avert a breakdown of obvious justice by bending sharply, if need be, the prescriptions of procedure. The wages of procedural sin should never be the death of rights.

True, the judicial function is not to legislate but in a situation where the call of justice and that too of a large number who are not parties to the lis before the Court, demands expression of an opinion on a silent aspect of the statute, such void must be filled up not only on the principle of ejusdem generis but on the principle of imminent necessity with a call to the Legislature to act promptly in the matter.

The fundamental right to privacy cannot be construed as absolute and but must bow down to compelling public interest. We refrain from any further discussion and consider it appropriate not to record any further observation on an issue not specifically raised before us.”

Hon’ble Justice Ranjan Gogoi [CJI], Ritesh Sinha v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 1318 of 2013].