Euclid’s Theorem III

This Court has held that Judgments of Courts are not to be construed as statutes, neither are they to be read as Euclid’s theorems. All observations made must be read in the context in which they appear. This Court in Amrit Lal Manchanda, (2004) 3 SCC 75 held as follows:

“Judges interpret words of statutes. Their words are not to be interpreted as statutes.”

Judgments must be read as a whole, so that conflicting parts may be harmonized to reveal the true ratio of the Judgment. However, if this is not possible, and it is found that the internal conflicts within the Judgment cannot be resolved, then the first endeavour that must be made is to see whether a ratio decidendi can be culled out without the conflicting portion. If not, then, as held by Lord Denning in Harper v. National Coal Board, (1974) 2 All ER 441 the binding nature of the precedents on the point on which there is a conflict in a Judgment, comes under a cloud.”

Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, BGS SGS Soma JV v. NHPC Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 9307 of 2019].