Case List: Doctrine of desuetude

Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd. Vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. AND Abhijeet Infrastructure Ltd. Vs. Chief Secretary, State of Jharkhand(2012) 11 SCC 1

“The doctrine of desuetude denotes principle of quasi repeal but this doctrine is ordinarily seen with disfavour. Although doctrine of desuetude has been made applicable in India on few occasions but for its applicability, two factors, namely, (i) that the statute or legislation has not been in operation for very considerable period and (ii) the contrary practice has been followed over a period of time must be clearly satisfied. Both ingredients are essential and want of anyone of them would not attract the doctrine of desuetude. In other words, a mere neglect of a statute or legislation over a period of time is not sufficient but it must be firmly established that not only the statute or legislation was completely neglected but also the practice contrary to such statute or legislation has been followed for a considerable long period.” (Para 167)

Maharashtra Vs. Narayan Shamrao Puranik and Ors.(1982) 3 SCC 519

“A statute can be abrogated only by express or implied repeal; it cannot fall into desuetude or become inoperative through obsolescence or by lapse of time.”

City of Pune Vs. Bharat Forge Company Ltd., 1995 (3) SCC 434

“Though in India the doctrine of desuetude does not appear to have been used so far to hold that any statute has stood repealed because of this process, we find no objection in principle to apply this doctrine to our statutes as well.”

MHOW and Anr. v. M.P. State Road Transport Corporation(1997) 9 SCC 450

“To apply principle of desuetude it was necessary to establish that the statute in question had been in disuse for long and the contrary practice of some duration has evolved.”



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