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Speedy delivery of judgement comes under fundamental right to life: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court contended that there must not be any delay while imparting judgement on the concerned matter and any delay would lead to violation of Fundamental Rights of the individual under the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This exceptional judgement was disposed of by the Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in the matter concerning Balaji Baliram Mupade & anr. Versus The State of Maharashtra & ors. [Civil Appeal No.- 3564/2020].

The court reiterated that “Judicial discipline requires promptness in delivery of judgement”. Thus the speedy disposition of judgement would allow the unhappy party to seek the higher court falling under the tier system. The court mentioned one of the oldest judgement passed in the year 1984 by this court in the matter of State of Punjab & Ors. V. Jagdev Singh Talwandi- 1984 (1) SCC 596 where the court recorded major issues concerned on account of a practice which was increasingly being adopted by several High Courts, that of pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment.

The court relied on the guidelines laid down to pronounce judgements in the case of Anil Rai v. State of Bihar- 2001 (7) SCC 318 stating that it is “deemed it appropriate to provide some guidelines regarding the pronouncement of judgments, expecting them to be followed by all concerned under the mandate of this Court. It is not necessary to reproduce the directions except to state that normally 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 court was of the view that “We must note with regret that the counsel extended through various judicial pronouncements including the one referred to aforesaid appear to have been ignored, more importantly where oral orders are pronounced.”

Also that “The delay in delivery of judgments has been observed to be a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India in Anil Rai’s case (supra) and as stated aforesaid, the problem gets aggravated when the operative portion is made available early and the reasons follow much later.”

The court felt that the High Courts need to be reminded that there is a need to limit their power of writing and provide shorter judgements stating the following lines “We are constrained to pen down a more detailed order and refer to the earlier view on account of the fact that recently a number of such orders have come to our notice and we thought it is time to send a reminder to the High Courts.”

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