Saturday, 14 November 2015

Guidelines to Judges for writing Judgments

According to the learned counsel for the revision petitioner, the
Judgment is vague, not specific as to the relief granted and the decree drawn
up is not inconsonance with the Judgment. In this connection, he has cited
Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan Vs. Hari Prasad Bhuyan and others (AIR 2003 SCC 351).     

        I have anxiously considered the submissions of the learned counsel
for the petitioner, perused the materials on record and the decision cited.

         It is needless to emphasis that writing/producing a Judgment is an
essential function of a Court. Writing Judgment is an art. A Judge should
approach the Judgment 'with delivery pain'. So much importance is attached to
the Judgment of a Court. A civil Court decree must follow the Judgment. It
should not be putting the cart before the horse.

        A Judgment must be clear, then only the decree could be clear and
the Judgment must tell very clearly what is the relief granted and what is
the relief refused and the decree must be drawn up inconsonance with that.


        In this connection, in Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan Vs. Hari Prasad Bhuyan  
and others (AIR 2003 SCC 351) the Hon'ble Apex Court observed as under:- 
        10. Certain provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 may be
noticed. Order VII Rule 1 of the CPC requires the plaintiff to give
sufficient particulars of the relief, which the plaintiff claims. Order XX
requires a judgment to contain all the issues and findings or decision
thereon with the reasons therefor. The judgment has to state the relief
allowed to a party. The preparation of decree follows the judgment. The
decree shall agree with the judgment. The decree shall contain, inter alia,
particulars of the claim and shall specify clearly the relief granted or
other determination of the suit. The decree shall also state the amount of
costs incurred in the suit and by whom or out of what property and in what
proportions such costs are to be paid. Rules 9 to 19 Order XX are
illustrative of contents of decrees in certain specified categories of suits.
The very obligation cast by the Code that the decree shall agree with the
judgment spells out an obligation on the part of the author of the judgment
to clearly indicate the relief or reliefs to which a party, in his opinion,
has been found entitled to enable decree being framed in such a manner that
it agrees with the judgment and specifies clearly the relief granted or other
determination of the suit. The operative part of the judgment should be so
clear and precise that in the event of an objection being laid, it should not
be difficult to find out by a bare reading of the judgment and decree whether
the latter agrees with the former and is in conformity therewith. A self-
contained decree drawn up in conformity with the judgment would exclude
objections and complexities arising at the stage of execution.
        
         The obligation is cast not only on the Trial Court but also on the
Appellate Court. In the event of the suit having been decreed by the Trial
Court if the Appellate Court interferes with the judgment of the trail Court,
the judgment of the Appellate Court should precisely and specifically set out
the reliefs granted and the modifications, if any, made in the original
decree explicitly and with particularity and precision. Order XLI, Rule 31 of
the CPC casts an obligation on the author of the appellate judgment to state
the points for determination, the decision thereon, the reasons for the
decision and when the decree appealed from is reversed or varied, the relief
to which the appellant is entitled. If the suit was dismissed by the Trial
Court and in appeal the decree of dismissal is reversed, the operative part
of the judgment should be so precise and clear as it would have been if the
suit was decreed by the Trial Court to enable a self-contained decree being
drawn up in conformity therewith. The plaintiff, being dominus litus, enjoys
a free hand in couching the relief clause in the manner he pleases and cases
are not wanting where the plaintiff makes full use of the liberty given to
him. It is for the Court, decreeing the suit, to examine the reliefs and then
construct the operative part of the judgment in such manner as to bring the
reliefs granted in conformity with the findings arrived at on different
issues and also the admitted facts. The Trial Court merely observing in the
operative part of the judgment that the suit is decreed or an appellate Court
disposing of an appeal against dismissed of suit observing the appeal is
allowed and then staying short at that, without specifying the reliefs to
which the successful party has been found entitled tantamounts to a failure
on the part of the author of judgment to discharge obligation cast on the
Judge by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure.
BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT               

DATED : 28.10.2015  

CORAM   
THE HONOURABLE DR.JUSTICE P.DEVADASS            

C.R.P(MD)No.2325 of 2015  


Samuthirapandi                  
                                        -vs-            

Ramakrishnan          

PRAYER: Civil Revision Petition is filed under Article 227 of the
Constitution of India to call for the records in O.S.No.323 of 2007 on the
file of the Principal District Munsif Court, Sankarankovil and set aside the
Judgment and Decree dated 20.08.2011.  



        As only a short point, an interesting point is involved in this
Revision, we shall dispose of this Revision today at the admission stage
itself.

        2. The fourth defendant in the suit is the revision petitioner.

        3. The plaintiff sought for declaration as to his title to the suit
property tracing his title to a sale deed dated 30.09.1980 and also sought
for consequential injunction. He laid the suit as against the defendants 1
and 2. Since second defendant had died, defendants 3 to 6 were added as legal
representatives of the deceased second defendant.

        4. The first defendant filed written statement resisting the suit.
Issues were framed. Evidence, oral and documentary were let in. Appreciating
the evidence, the Trial Court accepted the case of the plaintiff and rejected
the case of the first defendant. In the Judgment, at the last line, it has
recorded ?In the result, the suit is decreed as prayed for with cost of the
suit?.
        5. Decree was drawn up as under:- 
        ?1.That the suit is hereby decreed and it is declared that the plaint
schedule property belongs to the plaintiff and
        2.That the permanent injunction is granted restraining the defendants 1
and 3 to 6 defendants and their men not to interfere with the peaceful
possession and enjoyment of the schedule property by the plaintiff in any
manner; and 
        3.That the defendants are directed to pay a sum of Rs.642.50 to the
plaintiff?.

        6. According to the learned counsel for the revision petitioner, the
Judgment is vague, not specific as to the relief granted and the decree drawn
up is not inconsonance with the Judgment. In this connection, he has cited
Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan Vs. Hari Prasad Bhuyan and others (AIR 2003 SCC 351).     

        7. I have anxiously considered the submissions of the learned counsel
for the petitioner, perused the materials on record and the decision cited.

        8. It is needless to emphasis that writing/producing a Judgment is an
essential function of a Court. Writing Judgment is an art. A Judge should
approach the Judgment 'with delivery pain'. So much importance is attached to
the Judgment of a Court. A civil Court decree must follow the Judgment. It
should not be putting the cart before the horse.

        9. A Judgment must be clear, then only the decree could be clear and
the Judgment must tell very clearly what is the relief granted and what is
the relief refused and the decree must be drawn up inconsonance with that.


        10. In this connection, in Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan Vs. Hari Prasad Bhuyan  
and others (AIR 2003 SCC 351) the Hon'ble Apex Court observed as under:- 
        10. Certain provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 may be
noticed. Order VII Rule 1 of the CPC requires the plaintiff to give
sufficient particulars of the relief, which the plaintiff claims. Order XX
requires a judgment to contain all the issues and findings or decision
thereon with the reasons therefor. The judgment has to state the relief
allowed to a party. The preparation of decree follows the judgment. The
decree shall agree with the judgment. The decree shall contain, inter alia,
particulars of the claim and shall specify clearly the relief granted or
other determination of the suit. The decree shall also state the amount of
costs incurred in the suit and by whom or out of what property and in what
proportions such costs are to be paid. Rules 9 to 19 Order XX are
illustrative of contents of decrees in certain specified categories of suits.
The very obligation cast by the Code that the decree shall agree with the
judgment spells out an obligation on the part of the author of the judgment
to clearly indicate the relief or reliefs to which a party, in his opinion,
has been found entitled to enable decree being framed in such a manner that
it agrees with the judgment and specifies clearly the relief granted or other
determination of the suit. The operative part of the judgment should be so
clear and precise that in the event of an objection being laid, it should not
be difficult to find out by a bare reading of the judgment and decree whether
the latter agrees with the former and is in conformity therewith. A self-
contained decree drawn up in conformity with the judgment would exclude
objections and complexities arising at the stage of execution.
        
        11. The obligation is cast not only on the Trial Court but also on the
Appellate Court. In the event of the suit having been decreed by the Trial
Court if the Appellate Court interferes with the judgment of the trail Court,
the judgment of the Appellate Court should precisely and specifically set out
the reliefs granted and the modifications, if any, made in the original
decree explicitly and with particularity and precision. Order XLI, Rule 31 of
the CPC casts an obligation on the author of the appellate judgment to state
the points for determination, the decision thereon, the reasons for the
decision and when the decree appealed from is reversed or varied, the relief
to which the appellant is entitled. If the suit was dismissed by the Trial
Court and in appeal the decree of dismissal is reversed, the operative part
of the judgment should be so precise and clear as it would have been if the
suit was decreed by the Trial Court to enable a self-contained decree being
drawn up in conformity therewith. The plaintiff, being dominus litus, enjoys
a free hand in couching the relief clause in the manner he pleases and cases
are not wanting where the plaintiff makes full use of the liberty given to
him. It is for the Court, decreeing the suit, to examine the reliefs and then
construct the operative part of the judgment in such manner as to bring the
reliefs granted in conformity with the findings arrived at on different
issues and also the admitted facts. The Trial Court merely observing in the
operative part of the judgment that the suit is decreed or an appellate Court
disposing of an appeal against dismissed of suit observing the appeal is
allowed and then staying short at that, without specifying the reliefs to
which the successful party has been found entitled tantamounts to a failure
on the part of the author of judgment to discharge obligation cast on the
Judge by the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure.?

        12. In the case at hand, a perusal of the reliefs prayed for in the
plaint shows that the reliefs are not very happily worded. There are some
reliefs which may not be necessary or may be uncalled for though prayed. The
reliefs may have been considered capable of being recast or redefined so as
to be precise and specific. May be that the Court was inclined to grant some
other relief so as to effectually adjudicate upon the controversy and bring
it to an end. Nothing is spelled out from the appellate judgment. The Trial
Court, on whom the obligation was cast by second appellate judgment to draw
up a decree, was also, as its order shows, not very clear in its mind and
thought it safe to proceed on an assumption that all the reliefs sought for
in the plaint were allowed to the plaintiffs. The learned single Judge
allowing the second appeal, should have clearly and precisely stated the
extent and manner of reliefs to which the plaintiffs were found to be
entitled in his view of the findings arrived at during the course of the
appellate judgment. The parties, the draftsman of decree and the executing
Court cannot be left guessing what was transpiring in the mind of the Judge
decreeing the suit or allowing the appeal without further placing on record
the reliefs to which the plaintiffs are held entitled in the opinion of the
Judge.

        14. How to solve this riddle? In our opinion, the successful party has
no other option but to have recourse of Section 152 of CPC which provides for
clerical or arithmetical mistakes in judgments, decrees or orders or errors
arising therein from any accidental slip or omission being corrected at any
time by the Court either on its own motion or on the application of any of
the parties. A reading of the judgment of the High Court shows that in its
opinion the plaintiffs were found entitled to succeed in the suit. There is
an accidental slip or omission in manifesting the intention of the Court by
couching the reliefs to which the plaintiffs were entitled in the event of
their succeeding in the suit. Section 152 enables the Court to vary its
judgment so as to give effect to its meaning and intention. Power of the
Court to amend its orders so as to carry out the intention and express the
meaning of the Court at the time when the order was made was upheld by Bowen  
L.J. in re Swire; Mellor V. Swire, (1885) 30 Ch. D. 239, subject to the only
limitation that the amendment can be made without injustice or on terms which
preclude injustice. Lindley L.J. observed that if the order of the Court,
though drawn up, did not express the order as intended to be made then "there
is no such magic in passing and entering an order as to deprive the Court of
jurisdiction to make its own records true, and if an order as passed and
entered does not express the real order of the Court, it would, as it appears
to me, be shocking to say that the party aggrieved cannot come here to have
the record set right, but must go to House of Lords by way of appeal.

        15. For the foregoing reasons the appeal is allowed. The order of the
Trial Court drawing up the decree is set aside. The parties are allowed
liberty of moving the High Court under Section 152 CPC seeking appropriate
rectification in the judgment of the High Court so as to clearly specify the
extent and manner of reliefs to which in the opinion of the High Court the
successful party was found entitled consistently with the intention expressed
in the judgment. The delay which would be occasioned has to be regretted but
is unavoidable. Once the operative part of the judgment is rectified there
would be no difficulty in drawing up a decree by the High Court itself in
conformity with the operative part of the judgment. If the rules of the High
Court so require, the ministerial act of drawing up of the decree may be left
to be preformed by the Trial Court.?


        11. In the light of the above, in the case before us, the decree is not
inconsonance with the Judgment. It is required to be rectified.

        12. In the circumstances the learned Principal District Munsif,
Sankarankovil, in tune with the principles laid down in Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan
Vs. Hari Prasad Bhuyan and others (AIR 2003 SCC 351) in exercise of his power 
under Section 152 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, will suo motu rectify
the Judgment passed in O.S.No.323 of 2007 and inconsonance with that the 
decree shall be drawn up in the place of the impugned Judgment and Decree 
dated 20.08.2011 and issue copies of the revised Judgment and Decree to the
parties. No costs.?

        13. Accordingly, this Civil Revision Petition is disposed of. No costs.

To

1.The Principal District Judge,

   Tirunelvli District.

2.The Principal District Munsif,
   Sankarankovil..

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