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Fed Up Of Seeing 'Cut-Copy-Paste' Orders Of High Courts; Independent Reasons Need To Be Cited : Justice Chandrachud

Mehal Jain
5 March 2021 7:32 AM GMT
Fed Up Of Seeing Cut-Copy-Paste Orders Of High Courts; Independent Reasons Need To Be Cited : Justice Chandrachud
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"One of the problems of the computer-age is copying and pasting of orders! I am fed-up of seeing cut-copy-paste orders of High Courts", remarked Justice D. Y. Chandrachud on Friday."Independent reasons have to be cited for affirming an order! There has to be an independent application of the mind! Cut, copy, paste from the Tribunal's judgment only adds to the volume of pages but...

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"One of the problems of the computer-age is copying and pasting of orders! I am fed-up of seeing cut-copy-paste orders of High Courts", remarked Justice D. Y. Chandrachud on Friday.
"Independent reasons have to be cited for affirming an order! There has to be an independent application of the mind! Cut, copy, paste from the Tribunal's judgment only adds to the volume of pages but does not answer the core issue of appeal!", added the judge.
The bench, also comprising Justice M. R. Shah, was considering the UPSC's SLP arising out of a Orissa High Court decision upholding the order of the CAT, Cuttack Bench on the issue whether the respondent could be denied a place in the IAS owing to a disciplinary penalty imposed in 2011. Justices Chandrachud and Shah noted that it is the UPSC Rules under Article 320 and not the DoPT guidelines which would hold fort in the matter and set aside the HC order, restoring the plea before the HC.
"There is no independent application of mind by the High Court! Only the Tribunal's order has been copied!", commented Justice Chandrachud.
"The tribunal directed the appellant-UPSC to reconsider the case of the respondent for promotion to the IAS by reconvening the meeting of the Selection Committee. Consequential benefits were directed to be given to the respondent if found eligible by the Review Selection Committee. After the High Court was moved from the order of the tribunal, in its judgment, the High Court extracted the judgment of the tribunal and observed that 'the tribunal has elaborately discussed the law' and that there is no jurisdictional error and no interference is warranted", noted the apex court in its order.
Before the HC, the petitioner-UPSC had mainly contended that the Tribunal had exceeded the jurisdiction vested in it by granting the relief to the applicant, whereby it miserably failed to appreciate that the induction is not a promotion. The guidelines of DOPT are not applicable in the present case, they are applicable in the case of promotion only. It was further contended that the Tribunal had seriously committed an error in remanding the matter back for reconsideration. It was contended that the applicant has no right to be promoted to I.A.S. as he has only right to be considered for induction in I.A.S. The counsel for the petitioner contended that for the mis-conduct of the applicant, he has no right to be considered for induction in I.A.S.
In its judgment, the bench has made the following observations:

Prolific use of the 'cut-copy-paste' function should not become a substitute for substantive reasoning

Cutting, copying and pasting from the judgment of the Tribunal, which is placed in issue before the High Court, may add to the volume of the judgment. The size of judicial output does not necessarily correlate to a reasoned analysis of the core issues in a case. Technology enables judges to bring speed, efficiency and accuracy to judicial work. But a prolific use of the 'cut-copy-paste' function should not become a substitute for substantive reasoning which, in the ultimate analysis, is the defining feature of the judicial process.

Crisp reasoning is perhaps the answer

Judges are indeed hard pressed for time, faced with burgeoning vacancies and large case-loads. Crisp reasoning is perhaps the answer. Doing what the High Court has done in the present case presents a veneer of judicial reasoning, bereft of the substance which constitutes the heart of the judicial process. Reasons constitute the soul of a judicial decision. Without them one is left with a shell. The shell provides neither solace nor satisfaction to the litigant.

How judges communicate in their judgments is a defining characteristic of the judicial process.

We are constrained to make these observations since what we have encountered in this case is no longer an isolated aberration. This has become a recurring phenomenon. The National Judicial Academy will do well to take this up. How judges communicate in their judgments is a defining characteristic of the judicial process. While it is important to keep an eye on the statistics on disposal, there is a higher value involved. The quality of justice brings legitimacy to the judiciary


Case: Union Public Service Commission vs. Bibhu Prasad Sarangi [CA 821 of 2021]
Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah
Citation: LL 2021 SC 143



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