30 Nov 2021 3:16 PM GMT
In a significant direction, the Calcutta High Court has asked the trial courts across the state to stop the 'serious adverse trend' to rely upon the non-binding observations (obiter dicta) of the Supreme Court and the High Courts and read the entire judgments before applying the same in a case being dealt with by it.Stressing that 'cut copy paste' judgments make a serious adverse trend...
In a significant direction, the Calcutta High Court has asked the trial courts across the state to stop the 'serious adverse trend' to rely upon the non-binding observations (obiter dicta) of the Supreme Court and the High Courts and read the entire judgments before applying the same in a case being dealt with by it.
Stressing that 'cut copy paste' judgments make a serious adverse trend in subordinate judiciary, the Bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri observed thus:
"I am constrained to record that nowadays this Court comes across series of judgments delivered by the Trial Court where decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and other High Courts are cited without considering the fact as to whether some ratio decidendi is laid down in the said reports or not even the general observations (obiter dicta) having no binding force are relied upon and abruptly quoted in the judgments passed by the Trial Courts."
The Court also observed that the Judicial Officers in subordinate judiciary must understand that in cases where the Court does not lay down any general proposition of law but merely enunciates a circumstance as to the appreciation of evidence or on any other matter, such decision is applicable on fact to fact basis and not as the ratio decidendi.
This direction came from the Court while allowing an appeal filed by an accused who was found guilty by the Trial Judge for committing offence under Sections 376/511 of the Indian Penal Code in a case of attempt to commit rape of an 8-year-old girl.
The High Court noted that the statement of the victim girl had belied all evidence adduced by the prosecution in order to prove the charge. It may be noted that since the incident took place in 2011, therefore, POCSO Act, 2012 was not applicable in the instant case.
"In the instant case, leaving aside the contradictions as narrated above if we accept the evidence of the mother of the victim girl and the statement made in the FIR, it is found that she saw her daughter standing in naked condition and the teacher sitting on a chair. This specific picturization of the incident does not suggest an attempt to commit rape," the High Court observed as it allowed the appeal of the accused.
Against this backdrop, the Court came to the conclusion that the Trial Judge had failed to appreciate the evidence on record properly and the prosecution failed to bring home the charge under Sections 376/511 of IPC.
However, before parting with the case, the Court referred to the trend of the trial court relying upon non-binding observations of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
The Court also said that it had been noticing a trend that whenever a particular Section or the penal provision is noticed on the headnote of the reported judgments there is a tendency to refer such judgments by way of copying and pasting some paragraphs from the website in the body of the judgments passed by the Trial Courts.
"This trend should be stopped and the learned Judicial Officers of subordinate judiciary is advised to read the entire report before applying the same in a case in his or her hand," the Court added as it asked the Registrar (Judicial Service) of High Court to circulate this judgment to the Judicial Officers of the State through the District Judges.
Case title - Manindra Paul v. State of West Bengal
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