Government Of NCT Of Delhi vs BSK Realtors LLP 2024 INSC 455 – Article 142 and Doctrine Of Merger – Res Judicata

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 142- Doctrine Of Merger- The doctrine of merger is not of universal or unlimited application and that the nature of jurisdiction exercised by the superior forum and the content or subject matter of challenge laid or which could have been laid shall have to be kept in view. The exception that has been carved out in Kunhayammed and others. V. State of Kerala (2000) 6 SCC 359, will only be permissible in the rarest of rare cases and such a deviation can be invoked sparingly only- Among such exceptions, the extraordinary constitutional powers vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, which is to be exercised with a view to do complete justice between the parties, remains unaffected and being an unfettered power, shall always be deemed to be preserved as an exception to the doctrine of merger and the rule of stare decisis. (Para 33)

Res Judicata– Res judicata, as a technical legal principle, operates to prevent the same parties from relitigating the same issues that have already been conclusively determined by a court. However, it is crucial to note that the previous decision of this Court in the first round would not operate as res judicata to bar a decision on the lead matter and the other appeals; more so, because this rule may not apply hard and fast in situations where larger public interest is at stake. In such cases, a more flexible approach ought to be adopted by courts, recognizing that certain matters transcend individual disputes and have far-reaching public interest implications. (Para 25)

Practice and Procedure- Supression of Fact– The fact suppressed must be material in the sense that it would have an effect on the merits of the case. The concept of suppression or non-disclosure of facts transcends mere concealment; it necessitates the deliberate withholding of material facts—those of such critical import that their absence would render any decision unjust. Material facts, in this context, refer to those facts that possess the potential to significantly influence the decision-making process or alter its trajectory. This principle is not intended to arm one party with a weapon of technicality over its adversary but rather serves as a crucial safeguard against the abuse of the judicial process. (Para 30)

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