Judgment writing

The aspect of concise judgment writing is a matter of critical concern and there is enough literature, both Indian and foreign, on this subject (Editorial page, “The art of writing a judgment”, July 24). Judgment writing is part of the syllabus for examinations held to select judicial officers. What the aspirants are expected to know is nothing more than the format of a judgment. No attempt is made to assess their judgment writing skills which include appreciation of evidence and application of the law. The appellate court is the place where only the correctness of a judgment is challenged and it is not the forum to test a judge’s writing skills. Since some judicial officers are not fluent in English, the judiciary has permitted judgments in the vernacular. But even this has not enhanced the value of their judgments.

There is a way out. During the selection process, selected candidates should be given factual and legal situations of a litigation and asked to write an entire judgment. Their final selection should be based on this.

V. Lakshmanan,

Tirupur, Tamil Nadu

The issue raised actually transcends the boundaries of the judiciary and encompasses all fields of higher education in India. Tertiary education has a wrong assumption that a university needs to teach students only “contents and ideas” (legal nuances, technical aspects of engineering) rather than the art and science of communicating them to a specific audience effectively. Writing is a skill that needs to be taught and learned. Universities in North America have writing courses for college students regardless of their specialty. Later on, other writing courses tailored to a student’s specialisation (such as writing for specific purposes) are also offered.

There is no disagreement in the academia that the content and ideas are not separate from the skills needed to communicate them in the written medium. It’s high time writing was introduced in college education in India.

Rizwan Ahmad,

Doha, Qatar

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:06:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/judgment-writing/article24506506.ece

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