Apex Court reprimands the practice of pronouncing Final Orders without passing detailed & reasoned judgments
It is common knowledge that the Courts sometimes pronounce final orders at the time of hearing of the case but do not pass detailed & reasoned judgements immediately thereafter. Such a practice is detrimental as the aggrieved party is unable to avail further legal remedy as it is oblivious of the reasons of the refusal of relief sought for in the said court.
Recently on December 11, 2020 in the case of ORIENTAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. vs. ZAIXHU XIE [SLP(C) Diary No(s). 21991/2020], the bench of the Apex Court headed by Justice S. K. Kaul disapproved and criticised the practice of pronouncing the final orders without giving detailed & reasoned judgments. The Apex Court while setting aside an unreasoned order passed by the Delhi High Court held that if a judgment cannot be delivered on the same day, the same ought to have been at least ‘reserved’ to facilitate the Judge/Bench to pen down the order.
The brief facts of the case are that the Delhi High Court dictated only the operative part of the order and the detailed and reasoned judgment was not delivered even after a long span of 9 months due to some personal difficulties of the said Judge. The Court deprecated such careless & callous attitude of the judge for not following the requisite process as set out in the earlier judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court in Balaji Baliram Mupade vs. State of Maharashra & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 3564 of 2020] dated 29.10.2020 wherein the Apex Court had emphasized that judicial discipline requires promptness in delivery of judgments, an aspect repeatedly emphasized by this Court when this problem gets compounded where the result may be known but not the reasons depriving the aggrieved party of opportunity to seek further judicial redressal. The Court also referred to the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in State of Punjab & Ors. vs. Jagdev singh Talwandi (1984) 1 SCC 596, which drew the attention of the High Court to serious difficulties caused on account of practice which was being increasingly adopted by several High Courts of pronouncing the final orders without reasoned judgments.
Showing disapproval of the said practice rampant in the courts, the Apex Court set aside the impugned order of the Delhi High Court and remitted the matter back for reconsideration of the High Court on merits.
FULL TEXT OF THE SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT
We have heard learned counsel for the appellant and learned counsel for respondent Nos. 1 and 2/ the petitioner claimants. We have also perused the report of the Registrar General placed before us in compliance of the order dated 16.11.2020.
On the basis of the report what emerges is that the file was received in the Chamber of the learned Judge on 11.07.2019 whereafter the matter was taken up on different dates but arguments were only heard on 30.07.2019 in part. It is stated that on 31.07.2019 at about 2.15 p.m. after hearing the further arguments the operative portion/conclusion of the decision was ‘indicated’ in the Court itself in the presence of the counsel for the parties. Thus, it appears that even the concluding paragraph was not penned down. The judgment is stated not to have been reserved.
The file was, however, sent back to the Registry after 9% months on 15.05.2020 and the judgment was uploaded on the same date.
The certified copy of the order was applied on 29.01.2020 (it is the say of the appellants that there was no pronouncement of any order on 31.07.2019). There was some lapse in preparation of the certified copy due to Covid.
It is stated that from the report received from the Court Master of the concerned Court, some aspects of the different number of cases dealt with by the learned Judge have been set out as also some personal difficulty of the Judge for some period of time.
In a recent judgment in Balaji Baliram Mupade & Anr. v. The State of Maharashra & Ors. [Civil Appeal No. 3564 of 2020] dated 29.10.2020, we had been called upon to comment on a similar scenario. We had emphasized that judicial discipline requires promptness in delivery of judgments, an aspect repeatedly emphasized by this Court when this problem gets compounded where the result may be known but not the reasons depriving the aggrieved party of opportunity to seek further judicial redressal. We have also referred to the Constitution Bench judgment of this Court delivered as far back as in 1983 in State of Punjab & Ors. vs. Jagdev singh Taiwandi (1984) 1 SCC 596, which drew the attention of the High Court to serious difficulties caused on account of practice which was being increasingly adopted by several High Courts of pronouncing the final orders without reasoned judgments. We have also referred to the subsequent judgments even delivered by this Court in our aforesaid judgment but there is no purpose in repeating the same.
We appreciate that the learned Judge may have delivered a number of judgments and dealt with many cases and in the interregnum period may have even faced some personal difficulty as set out in the report but that does not take away from the fact that the process which was required to be followed as set out in the judicial pronouncements has not been followed in the present case. If a judgment cannot be delivered on the same date or immediately thereafter, logically the judgment ought to have been at least reserved to facilitate the Judge to pen down the order. Result of not doing so is that the appellant being the aggrieved party, is unable to avail of the legal remedy.
We have to follow the same course of action as in the judgment referred to aforesaid and thus set aside the impugned order and remit the matter back for reconsideration of the High Court on merits, uninfluenced by the reasons which have been set out in the impugned order.
Needless to say the matter would be taken up by a Bench not consisting of the member who constituted the bench earlier.
The appeal is allowed in the aforesaid terms leaving the parties to bear their own costs.