Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Timeline For Pronouncement Of Judgment Prescribed In Order XX CPC Does Not Apply To High Courts: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
16 Feb 2021 5:24 AM GMT
Timeline For Pronouncement Of Judgment Prescribed In Order XX CPC Does Not Apply To High Courts: Supreme Court
x

The Supreme Court observed that timeline for pronouncement of judgment prescribed in Order XX of the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to the High Court.In this case, the Division Bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court set aside a judgment of the single judge on the ground of delay in delivery of judgment. The Division bench noted that the arguments in this case were finally concluded...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Supreme Court observed that timeline for pronouncement of judgment prescribed in Order XX of the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to the High Court.

In this case, the Division Bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court set aside a judgment of the single judge on the ground of delay in delivery of judgment. The Division bench noted that the arguments in this case were finally concluded on 24.12.2019 and thereafter judgment was pronounced after more than nine months on 30.09.2020. To hold thus, the Division bench relied on proviso of Order 20 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which says that judgment should be delivered within 30 days of reserving the same:­

Order 20, Rule 1 CPC reads as follows :

"The court, after the case has been been heard, shall pronounce judgment in an open Court, either at once, or as soon thereafter as may be practicable and when the judgment is to be pronounced on some future day, the Court shall fix a day for that purpose, of which due notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders: Provided that where the judgment is not pronounced at once, every endeavour shall be made by the Court to pronounce the judgment within thirty days from the date on which the hearing of the case was concluded but, where it is not practicable so to do on the ground of the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances of the case, the Court shall fix a future day for the pronouncement of the judgment, and such day shall not ordinarily be a day beyond thirty days from the date on which the hearing of the case was concluded, and due notice of the day so fixed shall be given to the parties or their pleaders. "

In appeal, the bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai noted that in Anil Rai Vs. State of Bihar ­2001 (7) SCC 318, it was observed that that Order 20 of the CPC does not apply to the High Court. The bench

"A reading of our judgment in Anil Rai vs. State of Bihar, (2001) 7 SCC 318 and, para 9 in particular, makes it clear that Order 20 of the CPC does not apply to the High Court. In fact, para 10 then goes on to lay down a series of guidelines which ought to be imposed for the High Court in which, inter alia, it is mentioned that only after six months hiatus between reserving a judgment and delivering it, either party can move an application to the Chief Justice of the High Court, who may then decide that the matter be heard afresh. No such application has been presented in the present case."

Observing thus, the bench set aside the order of the Division Bench and directed it to consider the matter on merits.

In Anil Rai, the Supreme Court had observed thus:

It is true, that for the High Courts, no period for pronouncement of judgment is contemplated either under the Code of Civil Procedure or the Criminal Procedure Code, but as the pronouncement of the judgment is a part of justice dispensation system, it has to be without delay. In a country like ours where people consider the Judges only second to God, efforts be made to strengthen that belief of the common man. Delay in disposal of the cases facilitates the people to raise eye-brows, some time genuinely which, if not checked, may shake the confidence of the people in the judicial system. A time has come when the judiciary itself has to assert for preserving its stature, respect and regards for the attainment of the Rule of Law. For the fault of a few, the glorious and glittering name of the judiciary cannot be permitted to be made ugly. It is the policy and purpose of law, to have speedy justice for which efforts are required to be made to come to the expectation of the society of ensuring speedy, untainted and unpolluted justice.

The following directives were also issued:

(i) The Chief Justices of the High Courts may issue appropriate directions to the Registry that in case where the judgment is reserved and is pronounced later, a column be added in the judgment where, on the first page, after the cause-title, date of reserving the judgment and date of pronouncing it be separately mentioned by the court officer concerned.

(ii) That Chief Justice of the High Courts, on their administrative side, should direct the Court Officers/ Readers of the various Benches in the High Courts to furnish every month the list of cases in the matters where the judgments reserved are not pronounced within the period of that months.

(iii) On noticing that after conclusion of the arguments the judgment is not pronounced within a period of two months, the concerned Chief Justice shall draw the attention of the Bench concerned to the pending matter. The Chief Justice may also see the desirability of circulating the statement of such cases in which the judgments have not been pronounced within a period of six weeks from the date of conclusion of the arguments amongst the Judges of the High Court for their information. Such communication be conveyed as confidential and in a sealed cover.

(iv) Where a judgment is not pronounced within three months, from the date of reserving it, any of the parties in the case is permitted to file an application in the High Court with prayer for early judgment. Such application, as and when filed, shall be listed before the Bench concerned within two days excluding the intervening holidays.

(v) If the judgment, for any reason, is not pronounced within a period of six months, any of the parties of the said lis shall be entitled to move an application before the Chief Justice of the High Court with a prayer to withdraw the said case and to make it over to any other Bench for fresh arguments. It is open to the Chief Justice to grant the said prayer or to pass any other order as deems fit in the circumstances.


CASE: SJVNL VS. M/S CCC HIM JV  [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 494 OF 2021]
CORAM: Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai
COUNSEL: SG Tushar Mehta, Adv Jayant K. Mehta
CITATION: LL 2021 SC 87

Click here to Read/Download Order

Read Order



Next Story
Share it