Read Judgment: Indrajeet Yadav v. Santosh Singh and Anr 

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, April 20, 2022: Asking the Allahabad High Court to finally decide the appeals challenging the judgment whereby the the High Court had  acquitted the original accused for the offences punishable under Section 302 r/w Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court has held that the practice of pronouncing only the operative portion of the judgment without a reasoned judgment has to be stopped and discouraged.

Referring to the judgment of the Apex Court in State of Punjab & Ors. v. Jagdev Singh Talwandi, the Bench of Justice M.R.Shah and Justice B.V.Nagarathna said, “Despite the strong observations made by this Court as far as back in the year 1984 and thereafter repeatedly reiterated, still the practice of pronouncing only the operative portion of the judgment without a reasoned judgment and to pass a reasoned judgment subsequently has been continued. Such a practice of pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment has to be stopped and discouraged.”

The original complainant/informant had preferred the appeals in question after being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned common judgment and order dated March 30,2019 passed by the Allahabad High Court by which the High Court had allowed the said appeals preferred by the original accused and had acquitted them for the offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Counsels for the appellant (original complainant/informant) and State drew the Court’s attention to the fact that in the present case the arguments in the appeals were concluded on March 30, 2019, the High Court had allowed the said appeals on the very day and pronounced the operative portion of the order and set aside the judgment and order of conviction passed by the Trial Court. The High  Court had also directed the accused who was in jail to be released, but a reasoned judgment and order was pronounced after a period of approximately five months.

Heavy reliance was placed by the appellant’s counsel upon the recent judgment of this  Court in Balaji Baliram Mupade & Anr. versus The State of Maharashtra by which such a practice of pronouncing the final order without a reasoned judgment has been deprecated. 

The Bench also referred to the ratio laid down in Baliram Mupade’s Case(Supra), wherein the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Jagdev Singh Talwandi’s Case(Supra) ­was put forth which drew the attention of the High Courts to the serious difficulties which were caused on account of a practice which was increasingly being adopted by several High Courtsof pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment. It was observed therein that the final order which the High Court intends to pass should not be announced until a reasoned judgment is ready for pronouncement. 

Saying that such a practice of pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment has to be stopped and discouraged, the Division Bench after observing the circumstances and earlier order passed in the current appeal, held that from the record of proceedings it appeared that the reasoned judgment was pronounced and uploaded after a period of almost five months. Hence, applying the law laid down by this Court in the abovementioned decisions, the Bench set aside the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court without entering into the merits of the case nor expressing anything on merits in favor of either party.

Remanding the appeals to the High Court to decide the same afresh, the Top Court also observed that during the pendency of the appeals before the High Court the accused need not surrender and they may be treated to have been released on bail and continued to be released on bail, however subject to the ultimate outcome of the appeals before the High Court. If the conviction is sustained, the accused shall surrender within a period of two weeks from the date of the pronouncement of the judgment, held the Division Bench.

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