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Judicial Discipline Requires Promptness in Delivery Of Judgments - SC

Balaji Baliram Mupade & Anr. V. The State of Maharashtra & Ors

Civil appeal no.3564/2020 [@ SLP [C] NO.11626/2020]

29th October 2020.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy in this present case has reminded the High Courts that delay in the Reasoned Judgments is violative of Right to Life under Art.21 of the Indian Constitution while considering an appeal filed against an order of Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court which was passed on 21.1.2020 having only the operative part and the reasons being published on 9.10.2020, after about nine months. The court on the aforesaid ground stayed the operation of the impugned order.

This court in State of Punjab & Ors. v. Jagdev Singh Talwandi, 1984 (1) SCC 596, drew the attention of the High Courts to the serious difficulties which were caused on account of a practice which was increasingly being adopted by several High Courts, that of pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment.

Further, this Court in Anil Rai v. State of Bihar, 2001 (7) SCC 318 deemed it appropriate that the judgment is expected within two months of the conclusion of the arguments, and on expiry of three months any of the parties can file an application in the High Court with prayer for early judgment. If, for any reason, no judgment is pronounced for six months, any of the parties is entitled to move an application before the then Chief Justice of the High Court with a prayer to re-assign the case before another Bench for fresh arguments.

The aforementioned principle has been forcefully restated by this Court on several occasions including in Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh & Ors. v. State of Gujarat & Ors., AIR 2004 SC 3467, Mangat Ram v. State of Haryana, (2008) 7 SCC 96 and most recently in Ajay Singh & Anr. v. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr., AIR 2017 SC 310.

The appellant is said to have been undoubtedly prejudiced by the impugned order and is unable to avail the legal remedy before this court which really amounts to the defeat of the appellant's rights to challenge the order on merits and even the succeeding party in unable to obtain the payoff of the success of the litigation. The court held that since recently a number of such orders have come to its notice, it is time to send a reminder to the High Courts.

The Court observed that

Judicial discipline requires promptness in delivery of judgments – an aspect repeatedly emphasized by this Court. The problem is compounded where the result is known but not the reasons. This deprives any aggrieved party of the opportunity to seek further judicial redressal in the next tier of judicial scrutiny. (Para 1)"

The Court held

To 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 finally disclosed in respect of the impugned order. (Para 14)

Hence, the appeal stands allowed.

M. Maheswari



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