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CONCEPT OF EQUALITY, JURISDICTION, WRONGS AND MISTAKES DISCUSSED WITH CITATIONS BY JUSTICE M SHARMA & JUSTICE A.R. DAVE

In Sarup Singh and Anr. Vs. UOI and Anr. – Decided on Nov 25 2010 The Hon’ble Judges of Supreme court: Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Justice Anil R. Dave, delivering judgement in Civil Appeal No. 3568 of 2005 quoted following judgements of supreme court
In Chiranjilal Shrilal Goenka (deceased) Through Lrs. v. Jasjit Singh and Others reported in (1993) 2 SCC 507 this Court stated thus: "18. It is settled law that a decree passed by a court without jurisdiction on the subject-matter or on the grounds on which the decree made which goes to the root of its jurisdiction or lacks inherent jurisdiction is a coram non judice. A decree passed by such a court is a nullity and is non est. Its invalidity can be set up whenever it is sought to be enforced or is acted upon as a foundation for a right, even at the stage of execution or in collateral proceedings. The defect of jurisdiction strikes at the very authority of the court to pass decree which cannot be cured by consent or waiver of the party.............."

In the case of Dwaraka Das v. State of M.P. and Another reported in (1999) 3 SCC 500 this Court described the scope of Section 152, C.P.C. thus: "6. Section 152 CPC provides for correction of clerical or arithmetical mistakes in judgments, decrees or orders of errors arising therein from any accidental slip or omission. The exercise of this power contemplates the correction of mistakes by the court of its ministerial actions and does not contemplate of passing effective judicial orders after the judgment, decree or order. The settled position of law is that after the passing of the judgment, decree or order, the court or the tribunal becomes functus officio and thus being not entitled to vary the terms of the judgments, decrees and orders earlier passed. The corrections contemplated are of correcting only accidental omissions or mistakes and not all omissions and mistakes which might have been committed by the court while passing the judgment, decree or order. The omission sought to be corrected which goes to the merits of the case is beyond the scope of Section 152 for which the proper remedy for the aggrieved party is to file appeal or review application. It implies that the section cannot be pressed into service to correct an omission which is intentional, however erroneous that may be. It has been noticed that the courts below have been liberally construing and applying the province of Sections 151 and 152 of the CPC even after passing of effective orders in the lis pending before them. No court can, under the cover of the aforesaid sections, modify, alter or add to the terms of its original judgment, decree or order.............."
There are number of decisions of this Court wherein it has also been held that a wrong judgment given by the High Court cannot be taken as precedence for perpetrating such wrong. In the case of State of Haryana and Others v. Ram Kumar Mann reported in (1997) 3 SCC 321 held as follows: - "3. The question, therefore, is whether the view taken by the High Court is correct in law. It is seen that the respondent had voluntarily resigned from the service and the resignation was accepted by the Government on 18-5-1982. On and from that date, the relationship of employer and the employee between the respondent and the State ceased and thereafter he had no right, whatsoever, either to claim the post or a right to withdraw his resignation which had already become effective by acceptance on 18-5-1982...The doctrine of discrimination is founded upon existence of an enforceable right. He was discriminated and denied equality as some similarly situated persons had been given the same relief. Article 14 would apply only when invidious discrimination is meted out to equals and similarly circumstanced without any rational basis or relationship in that behalf. The respondent has no right, whatsoever and cannot be given the relief wrongly given to them, i.e., benefit of withdrawal of resignation. The High Court was wholly wrong in reaching the conclusion that there was invidious discrimination. If we cannot allow a wrong to perpetrate, an employee, after committing mis-appropriation of money, is dismissed from service and subsequently that order is withdrawn and he is reinstated into the service. Can a similarly circumstanced person claim equality under Article 14 for reinstatement? The answer is obviously "No".. A wrong decision by the Government does not give a right to enforce the wrong order and claim parity or equality. Two wrongs can never make a right. Under these circumstances, the High Court was clearly wrong in directing reinstatement of the respondent by a mandamus with all consequential benefits."


In the case of State of Bihar and Others v. Kameshwar Prasad Singh and Another reported in (2000) 9 SCC 94 this Court held thus: - "30. The concept of equality as envisaged under Article 14 of the Constitution is a positive concept which cannot be enforced in a negative manner... Benefits extended to some persons in an irregular or illegal manner cannot be claimed by a citizen on the plea of equality as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution by way of writ petition filed in the High Court. The Court observed: (SCC p. 465, para 9) "Neither Article 14 of the Constitution conceives within the equality clause this concept nor Article 226 empowers the High Court to enforce such claim of equality before law. If such claims are enforced, it shall amount to directing to continue and perpetuate an illegal procedure or an illegal order for extending similar benefits to others. Before a claim based on equality clause is upheld, it must be established by the petitioner that his claim being just and legal, has been denied to him, while it has been extended to others and in this process there has been a discrimination."
Again in Secy., Jaipur Development Authority v. Daulat Mal Jain reported in 1996 (7) SCALE 135 this Court considered the scope of Article 14 of the Constitution and reiterated its earlier position regarding the concept of equality holding: (SCC pp. 51-52, para 28) "Suffice it to hold that the illegal allotment founded upon ultra vires and illegal policy of allotment made to some other persons wrongly, would not form a legal premise to ensure it to the respondent or to repeat or perpetuate such illegal order, nor could it be legalised. In other words, judicial process cannot be abused to perpetuate the illegalities. Thus considered, we hold that the High Court was clearly in error in directing the appellants to allot the land to the respondents."

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