Indian Law/Art of Writing Judgment

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Subordinate Judiciary usually deals with two types of cases such as

Criminal and Civil

So Subordinate Judicial Officers delivered judgments in Civil and Criminal disputes.

Before writing judgment in these two type of disputes the Judicial Officer must know that what the judgment ought not to contain.

(a) Judgment should not be prolix (tediously long writing) or verbose (using many unnecessary words ). A prolix judgment is “a torture to write, and a torture to read”. There should be no repetition of ideas and expressions in the judgment.

(b) The Civil Justice Committee, presided over by the Hon'ble Mr. Justice George Claus Rankin of the Calcutta High Court, have thought that no exact instructions can be given as to how a judgment should be prepared, but a judgment should not be too long or too laboured.

(c) The judgment should not be sketchy (incomplete or lacking details) or superficial.Judgment is said to be sketchy when the Judge takes a few points here and a few points there, puts them together and records his findings in a vague, haphazard and imperfect form.

(d) There should not be Laconic (using few words) judgment. A laconic judgment is one that does not tell the losing litigant why and how he has lost his case. It is the worst form of a judgment which result in a remand of the case by the appellate court to the trial Court for re-writing the same. Brevity does not, therefore, permit the Judge making his judgment so short that it will be difficult on the part of the litigants to comprehend the reason of their failure and success in the case.

(e) The judgment should not contain abbreviations or code words. The use of abbreviations or code words in the judgment should be strictly avoided. Justice Lahiri said in Corporation of Calcutta Vrs. Padma Devi “I must place on record my emphatic protest against the use of abbreviations in public documents which have the only effect of making them unintelligible.”

(f) Judgment should not contain sentiment or emotion of Judge. Sentiment is a dangerous will-o'-the-wisp that misguides the adjudicating authority to go away from the evidence and constrains the Judge to decide a case being carried by his sympathy for either party.

(g) There should not be Lopsidedness in the judgment. If all the issues involved relating to fact or law of a particular incident should not receive equal consideration and the judge develops some points in the judgment and ignores other vital points in the judgment, then such judgment is called a lopsided judgment.

(h) There should not be any discussion purely hypothetical questions in a judgment.[1]

Particulars[edit | edit source]

  1. Judgment has to contain the following particulars in both these two matters.
  2. A judgment is to be balanced. The Judge should be balanced not only in ideas but also in arrangement of different topics discussed therein.
  3. All aspects of the judgment is to be discussed. While discussing each aspects the Court should be careful to avoid repetition of the similar evidence. To do so first the court has to make a synopsis of similar kind of evidence of different witnesses and put them together.
  4. A judgment is to be strictly based on the evidence on record. The court should avoid discussions of any evidence which is beyond the record.
  5. While making reference to a party or a witness, the Judge is to be particular in his judgment. For example if a witness Mohan Lal was examined as a a witness for the plaintiff, he may be referred as Mohan Lal or P.W.3 or Mohan Lal (P.W.3).
  6. In the judgment all care should be taken to spell proper nouns, name of the persons and places, in the same manner throughout the judgment.
  7. Documents should be referred to in the judgment by their Exhibit marks with specification that is to say the mortgage deed, Ext. 2. The letter dated 5.3.2010 (Ext .A) .
  8. While referring to judicial precedents, reported in different law journals , the court has to refer the relevant journal by the name of the parties, the volume and page of the report.
  9. If either party fails to appraise the court on correct law , still then the Judicial Officer has to apply correct law on a given disputed fact.
  10. The language of the judgment should be sober. In no case it should be satirical.
  11. If the judgment will contain sarcastic language then there will be the impression that either the judge had made up his mind before initiation of proceedings or he had identified himself with a case to an extent that he was unable to appreciate the case or weigh the evidence before him impartially and without any bias.

Decision Making[edit | edit source]

More important in judgment writing is that the court has to arrive at just decision in the case whether civil or criminal . For doing so the Judge or Magistrate will have to take all the material facts, alleged or brought out in evidence into consideration, analyse the entire material before him in proper perspective by constantly keeping in view the onus for the proof of different disputed facts.

The manner of presentation of the above narrated points while preparing a judgment.

(a) Judgment is to be written in simple language. It means to say each sentence has to contain one subject, one verb and one predicate.

(b) It is to be written in active voice. Root words are to be used as far as practicable while writing judgment. Adjective and adverb are to be avoided if not required.

N.B:-(The author of this article is a senior civil judge from the state of Odisha in the Republic of India)

References[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Judgment (law)