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Report No. 95

25. Should the present practice of plurality and separate judgments be substituted by one of writing-

(a) Per curiam opinion;

(b) a single judgment representing the highest common denominator of the bench;

(c) one majority and one minority opinion?

The separate opinions delivered by the Supreme Court in Delhi Laws Act case (AIR 1951 SC 332) covering 370 pages of reports had created confusion about the ratio decidendi in the case and even Chief Justice Patanjali Sastri felt that no particular principles were laid down (Kathi Raning Rawat v. Saurashtra, AIR 1952 SC 123). It was given to Bose, J. to analyse the several situations and indicate how the judges split on each situation (Rajnarain Singh v. Chairman, Patna Administration Committee, AIR 1954 SC 569). The plurality decision regarding death penalty case gave rise to considerable difficulties in the United State of America (Gregg v. Georgia, 428 US 153; Furman v. Georgia, 408 US 238) as well as in our Supreme Court (Rajendra Prasad v. State of U.P., AIR 1979 SC 916).

In the area of obscenity confusion prevails in the U.S.A. as to whether the "prurient interest" test has been replaced by "Redeeming social value" test (Roth v. United States, 354 US 476; Fanny v. Hill, 383 US 413. United States v. Marks, decision of Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit, quoted in Columbia Law Review; May 1980 at page 777). Lord Denning was also not permitted by the other Law Lords in the Privy Council to publish his dissenting opinion [In Re: "Parliamentary Privilege Act, 1770, 1958 AC 331, Lord Denning; The Family Story, (1981), pp. 192-194].

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