Tamil Nadu

Chief Justice wants to cut excessive delay in judgments

S.K. Kaul

S.K. Kaul

Implementing a 13-year-old Supreme Court order to cut excessive delay in pronouncing judgments after conclusion of arguments, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul has made it mandatory to mention on the first page of every judgment the date on which it was reserved followed by the date on which it was pronounced.

In a circular, as directed by the Chief Justice, to court officers in the Principal Seat of the High Court in Chennai and its Bench here, Registrar-General P. Kalaiyarasan has directed them to create a separate column in the judgments, immediately after the cause title (containing the names of petitioners and respondents), to mention the two crucial dates.

“The above instructions shall have to be followed scrupulously, and any deviation will be viewed seriously,” the circular read.

It also said the Chief Justice had issued the directions in light of orders passed by the Supreme Court on August 6, 2001, in a case accusing a Division Bench of the Patna High Court of having taken two years to pass judgment on a criminal appeal.

Expressing anguish at some High Court judges causing “inordinate delay in pronouncing judgments, unmindful of their obligation and oath of office they had taken solemnly,” the then Supreme Court judges K.T. Thomas and R.P. Sethi had said the Chief Justices of all High Courts could direct their Registry to print the two crucial dates on the judgments.

The other remedial measures suggested by the court included a directive by the Chief Justices to make it mandatory for the court officers to furnish him every month with a list of cases in which judgments were not pronounced within a month from the date on which they were reserved, and take it to the notice of the judges concerned.

“The Chief Justice may also see the desirability of circulating among the judges of the High Court for their information the statement of such cases in which judgments have not been pronounced within six weeks from the date of conclusion of arguments. Such communication should be conveyed as confidential and in a sealed cover,” the Supreme Court had said.

If the judges do not pronounce judgment even after three months, the parties in the case could be permitted to file an application with a prayer for an early order, and such an application should be listed before the judges within two days.

“If the judgment, for any reason, is not pronounced within six months, any of the parties shall be entitled to moving an application before the Chief Justice with a prayer to withdraw the case and make it over to any other Bench for fresh arguments. It is open to the Chief Justice to grant the prayer or pass any other order as he deems fit,” it added.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 2:51:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/chief-justice-wants-to-cut-excessive-delay-in-judgments/article6398588.ece