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Leading judgment on judgment writing

Leading judgment on Judgment writing

 
In Hindustan Times Ltd. Vs. Union of India; (1998) 2 SCC
242, this Court made pertinent observation in the context:
“In an article on Writing Judgments, Justice Michael Kirby
(1990) 64 Austr L.J p.691) of Australia, has approached the
problem from the point of the litigant, the legal profession, the
subordinate Courts/tribunals, the brother Judges and the Judge’s
own conscience. To the litigant, the duty of the Judge is to
uphold his own integrity and let the losing party know why he
lost the case. The legal profession is entitled to have it
demonstrated that the Judge had the correct principles in mind,
had properly applied them and is entitled to examine the body
of the judgment for the learning and precedent that they provide
and for the reassurance of the quality of the judiciary which is
still the centre-piece of our administration of justice. It does not

take long for the profession to come to know, including through
-
the written pages of published judgments, the lazy Judge, the
Judge prone to errors of fact, etc. The reputational
considerations are important for the exercise of appellate rights,
for the Judge’s own self discipline, for attempts at improvement
and the maintenance of the integrity and quality of our
judiciary. From the point of view of other Judges, the benefit
that accrues to the lower hierarchy of Judges and tribunals is of
utmost importance. Justice Asprey of Australia has even said in
Petit v. Dankley (1971) (1) NSWLR 376 (CA) that the failure of
a Court to give reasons is an encroachment upon the right of
appeal given to a litigant.
It was finally stated:
“In our view, the satisfaction which a reasoned judgment
gives to the losing party or his lawyer is the test of a good
judgment. Disposal of cases is no doubt important but quality of
the judgment is equally, if not more, important. There is no
point in shifting the burden to the higher Court either to support
the judgment by reasons or to consider the evidence or law for
the first time to see if the judgment needs a reversal.
In that case, the order of dismissal of the writ petition by
the High Court was affirmed by us but the task fell on the
Supreme Court, to inform the appellant why it had lost the case
in the High Court.”
11. In the present case, we have avoided to do this exercise and have not
gone into the merits of the case to find out whether the conclusion of the
High Court is correct or not, as the counsel for both the parties have agreed
for remand of the matter.

12. It is no where suggested by us that the judgment should be too
lengthy or prolix and disproportionate to the issue involved. However, it is
to be borne in mind that the principal objective in giving judgment is to
make an effective, practical and workable decision. The court resolves
conflict by determining the merits of conflicting cases, and by choosing
between notions of justice, convenience, public policy, morality, analogy,
and takes into account the opinions of other courts or writers (Precedents).
Since the Court is to come to a workable decision, its reasoning and
conclusion must be practical, suit the facts as found and provide and
effective, workable remedy to the winner.
13. We are of the opinion that while recording the decision with clarity,
the Court is also supposed to record sufficient reasons in taking a particular
decision or arriving at a particular conclusion. The reasons should be such
that they demonstrate that the decision has been arrived at on a objective
consideration.
14. When we talk of giving “reasons” in support of a judgment, what is
meant by “reasons”? In the context of legal decision making, the focus is to
what makes something a legal valid reason. Thus, “reason would mean a
justifying reason, or more simply a justification for a decision is a

consideration, in a non-arbitrary ways in favour of making or accepting that
-
decision. If there is no justification in support of a decision, such a decision
is without any reason or justifying reason.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1875/2013
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 2509/2012)
M/s. Shree Mahavir Carbon Ltd. 
Versus
Om Prakash Jalan (Financer) & Anr.
Dated:October 28, 2013
Citation:(2016) 1 SCC(Cri); (2016) 1 SCC


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Ms.Usha Kapoor (CEO)     14 November 2016

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Leading judgment on Judgment writing

 
In Hindustan Times Ltd. Vs. Union of India; (1998) 2 SCC
242, this Court \ pertinent observation in the context:
“In an article on Writing Judgments, Justice MichaelKirby
(1990) 64 Austr L.J p.691) of Australia, has approached the
problem from the point of the litigant, the legal profession, the
subordinate Courts/tribunals, the brother Judges and the Judge’s
own conscience. To the litigant, the duty of the Judge is to
uphold his own integrity and let the losing party know why he
lost the case. The legal profession is entitled to have it
demonstrated that the Judge had the correct principles in mind,
had properly applied them and is entitled to examine the body
of the judgment for the learning and precedent that they provide
and for the reassurance of the quality of the judiciary which is
still the centre-piece of our administration of justice. It does not

take long for the profession to come to know, including through
-
the written pages of published judgments, the lazy Judge, the
Judge prone to errors of fact, etc. The reputational
considerations are important for the exercise of appellate rights,
for the Judge’s own self discipline, for attempts at improvement
and the maintenance of the integrity and quality of our
judiciary. From the point of view of other Judges, the benefit
that accrues to the lower hierarchy of Judges and tribunals is of
utmost importance. Justice Asprey of Australia has even said in
Petit v. Dankley (1971) (1) NSWLR 376 (CA) that the failure of
a Court to give reasons is an encroachment upon the right of
appeal given to a litigant.
It was finally stated:
“In our view, the satisfaction which a reasoned judgment
gives to the losing party or his lawyer is the test of a good
judgment. Disposal of cases is no doubt important but quality of
the judgment is equally, if not more, important. There is no
point in shifting the burden to the higher Court either to support
the judgment by reasons or to consider the evidence or law for
the first time to see if the judgment needs a reversal.
In that case, the order of dismissal of the writ petition by
the High Court was affirmed by us but the task fell on the
Supreme Court, to inform the appellant why it had lost the case
in the High Court.”
11. In the present case, we have avoided to do this exercise and have not
gone into the merits of the case to find out whether the conclusion of the
High Court is correct or not, as the counsel for both the parties have agreed
for remand of the matter.

12. It is no where suggested by us that the judgment should be too
lengthy or prolix and disproportionate to the issue involved. However, it is
to be borne in mind that the principal objective in giving judgment is to
make an effective, practical and workable decision. The court resolves
conflict by determining the merits of conflicting cases, and by choosing
between notions of justice, convenience, public policy, morality, analogy,
and takes into account the opinions of other courts or writers (Precedents).
Since the Court is to come to a workable decision, its reasoning and
conclusion must be practical, suit the facts as found and provide and
effective, workable remedy to the winner.
13. We are of the opinion that while recording the decision with clarity,
the Court is also supposed to record sufficient reasons in taking a particular
decision or arriving at a particular conclusion. The reasons should be such
that they demonstrate that the decision has been arrived at on a objective
consideration.
14. When we talk of giving “reasons” in support of a judgment, what is
meant by “reasons”? In the context of legal decision making, the focus is to
what makes something a legal valid reason. Thus, “reason would mean a
justifying reason, or more simply a justification for a decision is a

consideration, in a non-arbitrary ways in favour of making or accepting that
-
decision. If there is no justification in support of a decision, such a decision
is without any reason or justifying reason.
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1875/2013
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 2509/2012)
M/s. Shree Mahavir Carbon Ltd. 
Versus
Om Prakash Jalan (Financer) & Anr.
Dated:October 28, 2013
Citation:(2016) 1 SCC(Cri); (2016) 1 SCC

Kumar Doab (FIN)     14 November 2016

Dear Law Web,

Thanks for sharing.

 


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