The question which, therefore, requires consideration is whether the appellant has made out any ground for exercising discretion in his favour of not striking out his defence. According to Black’s Law Dictionary “judicial discretion” means the exercise of judgment by a judge or Court based on what is fair under the circumstances and guided by the rules and principles of law; a Court’s power to act or not act when a litigant is not entitled to demand the act as a matter of right.
The word “discretion” connotes necessarily an act of a judicial character, and, as used with reference to discretion exercised judicially, it implies the absence of a hard-and-fast rule, and it requires an actual exercise of judgment and a consideration of the facts and circumstances which are necessary to make a sound, fair and just determination, and a knowledge of the facts upon which the discretion may properly operate. (See 27 Corpus Juris Secundum page 289).
When it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice and not according to private opinion; according to law and not humour. It only gives certain latitude or liberty accorded by statute or rules, to a judge as distinguished from a ministerial or administrative official, in adjudicating on matters brought before him.
M/s. Aero Traders Pvt. Ltd. -AIR 2005 SC 15 : (2004) 8 SCC 307 : JT 2004 (9) SC 283 : (2004) 9 SCALE 95