NEW DELHI: The Chief Justice of India has constituted a five-judge bench to put an end to the controversy regarding conflicting judgments of three-judge benches of the Supreme Court and to decide whether a three-judge bench can declare “per incuriam” (without due regard to law) a judgment delivered by another bench of similar strength.CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan will be the part of the constitution bench that will hear the matter on March 6.
The controversy erupted over a judgment passed on February 8 by a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, A K Goel and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar saying a land acquisition cannot be cancelled on the grounds that the compensation was not availed within the five-year stipulated time.The bench led by Justice Mishra, in a majority 2:1 judgment, ruled that a 2014 verdict in a case regarding the Pune Municipal Corporation was ‘per incurium’.
However, on February 21, a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, while hearing a case related to the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, criticised the judgment delivered by Justice Mishra and said the ruling was against the principles of law. The bench asked the other SC benches and high courts not to deal with any cases relating to the interpretation of or concerning Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The Bench raised the question as to how a three-judge bench could declare the judgment of another bench of equal strength ‘per incuriam’ . On February 22, Justice Mishra referred the matter to the CJI, requesting him to constitute a larger bench to decide whether the verdict on the land acquisition matter should be enforced.