Heralding the Supreme Court Cases|
Cite as : (1969) 1 SCC (Jour) 2
The dawn of 1969 has seen the birth of THE SUPREME COURT CASES. The importance of such a series cannot be minimised as the constitutional provision in Article 141 postulates that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.
It is admitted that in common law countries, the doctrine of precedents has come to stay. In the Lord Chancellor's Committee on Law Reporting (U.K.) 1940para 4, it has been pithily observed " . . . yet the importance of accurate and permanent reports of judicial decisions is and always has been obvious . . . . Today whatever the reasons may be, the theory of the binding force of precedent is firmly established, if not unreservedly, at least only with some such reservation as that a decision need not be followed, if it appears to have been given per incurium, e.g., by reason of a relevant statute not having been called to the attention of the court. It is today the accepted duty of a judge, whatever his opinion may be, to follow the decision of any court recognised as competent to bind him. It is his duty to administer the law which that court has declared".
The question may be posited if too many series of Reports of Supreme Court Judgments are desirable. There are the official series and the non-official series. There can be no doubt that the official series are too expensive and too delayed. Though the stringent remarks of the Law Commission of India14th Report (1958)against the utility, efficiency and cost of the official reports are in a way met, so far as the Supreme Court Reports are concerned under the new dispensation in the last few years, yet it cannot be overlooked that red-tapism cannot be altogether wiped out. Of the non-official reports as to Supreme Court decisions there are not very many. Half a dozen is not many and yet we witness, despite competition in the private sector, the Lawyer and the Judge do not have on their tables the report in less than four to six months from the actual date of the pronouncement of the judgment.
We are firmly of the opinion that the interests of administration of justice should be properly served and, to this end, the report of the judgment must be printed at least within two months of the actual pronouncement. Law by precedents has a modern habit of racing rather rapidly and if in the race, the report lags behind, that precedent will not be of much utility since in the meantime new pronouncements would have thrown fresh light on the subject. 'Justice delayed is justice denied' is the accepted proverb. Likewise report delayed is precedent denied to the lawyer and the court.
It is obvious that the pace of law reporting must necessarily be speeded up. The further requisite is that the Legal Profession must be helped with a refreshingly elucidative headnote, etc. We have, therefore, formulated our objectives for the SUPREME COURT CASES on the following lines:
(i) It will report cases within the shortest possible time from the date of the pronouncement of the judgment,
(ii) If will be a fortnightly,
(iii) It will contain full reports as also advance notes of very recent cases,
(iv) The short note and the headnote will be original, crisp; informative and to the point. (Similar to All England Reports.)
(v) There will be an editorial note whenever the occasion demands it. It will be constructive and elucidative.
(vi) It will be printed on very good paper. The print will be clear and sufficiently bold for easy reading.
(vii) It will be at a moderate price with in the reach of the legal profession at all levels.
We have named this journal as 'THE SUPREME COURT CASES' and the citation will be 1969 (1) S.C.C. Page 1, etc. We thought of dividing the reports subjectwise as (a) Constitution, (b) Criminal, (c) Tax, (d) Labour and Industry and (e) Miscellaneous but as that will render the numbering of pages rather inconvenient for purposes of citation in courts, we have stuck to the pattern of successive numbering of pages.
We have on our Editorial Board persons of renowned in the field of law, both from the Bench and the Bar. We have a reliable reporting staff and a press of our own to accomplish the work expeditiously and efficiently. We have received good wishes for this new venture from numerous gentlemen of the Bench and the Bar. We humbly set ourselves to this dedicated task with the good wishes of all. We welcome suggestions from our subscribers and friends towards the improvement of the journal. We need hardly add "our motto is service at the altar of justice".