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Supreme Court: Even Small Judgements of Apex Court Passed After Grant of Special Leave Are Binding

Author: Ankita Karn (REVA University, Bangalore)

Supreme Court has ruled that its judgments which are passed in exercise of appellate jurisdiction are binding precedents even if they are brief. The Court observed that once a special leave petition has been granted the doors for exercise of appellate jurisdiction of this Court have been let open.

The bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi observed in the case of S.E. Graphites Private Limited v. State of Telangana that:

After the grant of special leave, the order impeach in the Supreme Court will become an order appealed against and any order passed further will become an appellate order and attract the doctrine of merger irrespective of the fact that order speaking or non-speaking is of reversal or of modification or of affirming the order appealed against.

The bench was considering the matter which was appealed against a judgment of High Court which dismissed some of the writ petition by following the decisions of the coordinate bench of the High Court in Ankamma Trading Company v. Appellate Deputy Commissioner(CT), Guntur and anr, and the other decisions also by taking the same instances, despite noticing that the Supreme Court has impliedly overruled it in M/s. Innovatives Systems v. State of Andhra Pradesh. The case involves interpretation of the provisions of APGST Act, 1957 or AP VAT Act, 2005 or Telangana State VAT Act, 2005.

Reckoning on the judgment in Kunhayammed Vs. State of Kerala, the appellant argued that when a special leave petition is granted the appellate jurisdiction of this court gets open and any order passed further would be an appellate order and would attract the doctrine of merger. Further, it was argued that there would not be any difference whether the order is one of reversal or of modification or of dismissal, or of affirming the order appealed against and it would also not make any difference if the order is a speaking or a non-speaking one.

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