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Doctrine of Priority of Crown Debts

By Dr. Kotagiri Srinivasa Rao

Published In

Air 1998

By this article, I would like to discuss as to the extent of the priority of the debts due to the Government, as recognised by the Indian Courts, and the related issues. The common law of the England as adopted by the Indian Courts, is "Law in force in India" Under Article 372(1) of the Constitution of India, unless the same is contrary to the Constitution of India or the Act passed by the Parliament of India or the State Legislatures. One such Common Law Principle of England as adopted by the English Courts as well as the Indian Courts and has become "Law in Force in India" under Article 372(1) of the Constitution of India, is "Doctrine of Priority of Crown Debts" (See AIR 1965 SC 1061). The theory of "priority of crown debts" is based on the principle of "Law of Prerogative" which is the baby of Law of necessity and good sense. Because, unless the revenues of the Government are collected, the primary Sovereign funct ....

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