Judicial Dictionary

Prerogative

In Center for PIL and Others Versus Union of India and Others-11/04/2011

“We are of the view that the expression “prerogative” cannot be used in the context of a statutory provision. Under our Constitutional and statutory framework, there is nothing known as prerogative. In this connection, we may usefully recall what was said by the eminent jurist N.A. Palkhivala in his treatise “Our Constitution: Defaced and Defiled” (Macmillan: December 1974).

The relevant portion reads as follows:

Our Constitution recognizes no prerogative whatsoever; it recognizes merely rights, duties and discretions. The difference between “prerogative” and “discretion” is clear. A person who has a prerogative can act arbitrarily or irrationally and yet his decision must be treated as legal and valid. On the other hand, if a person has the discretion, and not the prerogative, to make a decision, the discretion can only be exercised fairly and reasonably; otherwise his act is void on the ground that there was no valid exercise of discretion in the eyes of law. (page 103)”


Prerogative – Privilege of a high ranking man

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