What is the Doctrine of Merger?

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What is the Doctrine of Merger? Blog Image


The Supreme Court recently observed that the extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India is an exception to the doctrine of merger and the rule of stare decisis to do complete justice between the parties.

About Doctrine of Merger:

  • It is a common law doctrine founded on the principle of maintenance of decorum and propriety in the functioning of courts and tribunals.
  • The doctrine of merger provides that when an appellate court passes an order, the order passed by the lower court is merged with that order.
  • The underlying logic is that there cannot be more than one decree or operative order governing the same subject matter at a given point of time.
  • The doctrine solves the issue of which order must be enforced and given importance if there are multiple orders passed by both subordinate and superior courts on a single issue. 
  • It clarifies and provides that in this situation, the order passed by the superior court or the successive order would prevail and that the order of the lower court would be merged with the order passed by the superior court.
  • The doctrine is not recognized statutorily but is a statement of judicial propriety and seeks to instil discipline in the functioning of subordinate adjudicating authorities, whether judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative.

What is the Doctrine of Stare Decisis?

  • The doctrine of Stare Decisis refers to the concept that courts must follow previously made judicial decisions in cases where the same legal issues are brought before them in subsequent matters.
  • It means that courts refer to previous, similar legal issues to guide their decisions.
  • Such previous decisions that courts refer to are known as “precedents”.
  • Precedents are legal principles or rules that are created by the decisions given by courts.
  • Such decisions become an authority or an example for the judges to decide similar legal cases/issues in the future.
  • The doctrine of Stare Decisis creates an obligation on courts to refer to precedents when taking a certain decision.

Q1: What is Article 142 of the Indian Constitution?

It deals with the Supreme Court's power to exercise its jurisdiction and pass an order for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it. It provides the apex court with a special and extraordinary power and is meant to provide justice to litigants who have suffered traversed illegality or injustice in the course of legal proceedings.

Source: "To Do Complete Justice": Supreme Court Says That Its 'Article 142' Power Is An Exception To Doctrine Of Merger & Rule Of Stare Decisis