Prima Impressionis

Prima Impressionis

Literal Meaning

First Impression

Explanation & Origin

Prima means first and impressionis means impression. The words together mean first impression or impression of the case at first in the legal view. It can also be said that the case directly is seen by the principle of law. A case which seen in the court of law for issue of law which has never been raised before.

Prima Impressions (of the first Impression) is a case of a new kind, to which no established principle of law or precedent directly applies, and which must be decided entirely by reason as distinguished from authority. A case in which a question of interpretation of law is presented which has never arisen before in any reported case.Sometimes, it is only of first impression in the particular state or jurisdiction, so decisions from other states or the federal courts may be examined as a guideline. A court case that presents a new questions or issue for legal interpretation or at least new within that court’s jurisdiction. The question may concern recently passed or rarely used legislation. In making its decision, the court may consider — but is not bound by — decisions from other state or federal courts or commentaries by legal scholars, as well as the arguments and briefs submitted by lawyers in the case.


If a law for certain offense is not made and one day there is a case for that particular offense  in the court then it will be the case of first impression.

Case Reference

In the case of  Lachmi And Ors. vs Military Secretary[1] facts of this case are claim to have been dismissed not because that they were guilty of not doing their duties, but because they refused to do private work of their immediate superior officers, and that being so, their dismissal was not justified, more specially when there has been a direction by the Government through a letter of the Chief Secretary, Mr. L. P. Singh, prohibiting officers from employing peons as domestic servants. This, in short, is the case of these petitioners.

It was observed that this case was really a case of first impression, and the main point for decision is if the four petitioners are entitled to the benefit of Clause (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution. The stated clause reads as follows :

“No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank until he has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the action proposed to be taken in regard to him.”

The expression “no such person as aforesaid” has reference to Clause (1) of Article 311, which clause states inter alia that no person who is a member of a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. Therefore, the persons who are entitled to the protection of Article 311 of the Constitution are, so far as this case is concerned, persons who are members of a civil service of a State or hold a civil post under a State.

In the case of Amritdhara Pharmacy vs Satyadeo Gupta[2] in this case it was observed that resemblance is necessary to deceive or cause confusion must the nature of things be incapable of definition a priori. As to the decisions in annexure ‘A’, it has been argued before us that they were not at all admissible by reason of Sec. 40 to 43 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. On behalf of the appellant it has been contended that they were admissible under s. 13 of the Evidence Act as showing the particular instances in which the appellant claimed his right under s. 21 of the Act. We consider it unnecessary to decide this question for the purposes of this case because those decisions even if they are admissible under s. 13 do not throw any light on the question whether ‘Amritdhara’ and ‘Lakshmandhara’ so nearly resemble each other as to cause deception or confusion. That is a, question which we must determine as a case of first impression and irrespective of the earlier decisions.

In the case of Peeriakaruppan And Sobha vs State Of Tamil Nadu[3] it was observed In these two petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution the petitioners who could not succeed in admission to certain Medical Colleges in the State of Tamil Nadu have asked for a writ of mandamus to direct the State of Tamil Nadu to allot to each one of them a seat in one of the Government Medical Colleges in that State and for consequential orders. Earmarking 75 marks out of 275 marks for interview as interview marks prima facie appears to be excessive. It is not denied that the interview lasted hardly for three minutes for each candidate. In the course of three minutes interview it is hardly possible to assess the capability of a candidate. In most cases the first impression need not necessarily be the best impression. But under the existing conditions in this country we are unable to accede to the contention of the petitioners that the system of interview, as in vogue in this country is so defective as to make it useless. It is true that various researches conducted in other countries particularly in U.S.A. show that there is possibility of serious errors creeping in interviews made on haphazard basis. C.W. Valentine on “Psychology and its Bearing on Education” refers to the marks given to the same set of persons interviewed by two different competent Boards and this is what is stated in his book.

Also there is law commission report (Constitutional Division With Supreme Court)on the the case of first impressions the report is as follows the emphasis on certain aspects of constitutional adjudication should not be understood as, In any manner, attributing a lesser importance to law, to the adjudication of questions of ordinary law. Nor is the preceding discussion to be taken as implying that the aspects detailed above do not have their importance in the determination of ordinary legal issues. Specialization may become desirable even in some branches of non–constitutional law. Consistency in adjudication and the evolution of a coherent body of doctrine have their importance in several fields of non-constitutional law (e.g. commercial law).  Social wisdom and an ability to project oneself into the future are qualities highly to be prized in any area where the law is not yet codified (e.g. the law of torts) or where the law, though codified, must leave a wide discretion to the judge (e.g. the grant of appropriate relief in matrimonial causes, or sentencing in criminal law.) It is also not to be overlooked that the element of choice, to which we have made a reference above while discussing the salient ‘features of constitutional law, may be a crucial factor in many cases of first impression, including cases involving the interpretation of a statutory provision. The literature of the law is replete with landmark decisions where the question being of the first impression, the decision could have gone one way or the other without violating the traditional norms of judicial law-making. The judges, it has been said, are gatekeepers of the status quo. Outside the gates, a host of horses are galloping on the outskirts. But each must win its spurs. It is, then, the judge who decides which horse won its spurs. This is true of judicial law-making in the sphere of ordinary law, as it is of constitutional adjudication. We are not unaware of this reality, and have no intention of under-rating the importance of the questions of non-constitutional law. But, at the same time, as we have pointed out, the decision of a constitutional question may have far–reaching repercussions, both in point .Of time and in point of space. Besides this, an expounding to the Constitution is an expounding of the basic document of society, of a law which is fundamental of principles which are paramount to those of ordinary law. This “higher law” status of constitutional law renders it desirable that the aspects of specialization, consistency, evolution of a coherent doctrine and time for reflection and mature collective judgment, should be given special attention in constitutional adjudication, because, in such adjudication, they are more eminently needed than everywhere else.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] AIR 1956 Pat 398, 1955 (3) BLJR 477

[2] 1963 AIR 449

[3] AIR 1971 SC 2303