Saturday 28 August 2021

Whether acquittal of the accused pronounced by Judge is effective in the absence of signed Judgment?

 It is apposite to note that though CrPC does not define the term “judgment”, yet it has clearly laid down how the judgment is to be pronounced. The provisions clearly spell out that it is imperative on the part of the learned trial judge to pronounce the judgment in open court by delivering the whole of the judgment or by reading out the whole of the judgment or by reading out the operative part of the judgment and explaining the substance of the judgment in a language which is understood by the accused or his pleader. {Para 16}

17. We have already noted that the judgment was not dictated in open court. Code of Criminal Procedure provides reading of the operative part of the judgment. It means that the trial judge may not read the whole of the judgment and may read operative part of the judgment but it does not in any way suggest that the result of the case will be announced and the judgment would not be available on record. Non- availability of judgment, needless to say, can never be a judgment because there is no declaration by way of pronouncement in the open court that the accused has been convicted or acquitted. A judgment, as has been always understood, is the expression of an opinion after due consideration of the facts which deserve to be determined. Without pronouncement of a judgment in the open court, signed and dated, it is difficult to treat it as a judgment of conviction as has been held in Re. Athipalayan and Ors[7]. As a matter of fact, on inquiry, the High Court in the administrative side had found there was no judgment available on record. Learned counsel for the appellants would submit that in the counter affidavit filed by the High Court it has been mentioned that an incomplete typed judgment of 14 pages till paragraph No. 19 was available. The affidavit also states that it was incomplete and no page had the signature of the presiding officer. If the judgment is not complete and signed, it cannot be a judgment in terms of Section 353 CrPC. It is unimaginable that a judgment is pronounced without there being a judgment. It is gross illegality. 

19. Having stated that, as is evincible in the instant case, the judgment is not available on record and hence, there can be no shadow of doubt that the declaration of the result cannot tantamount to a judgment as prescribed in the CrPC. That leads to the inevitable conclusion that the trial in both the cases has to be treated to be pending.


Supreme Court of India
Ajay Singh And Anr And Etc vs State Of Chhattisgarh And Anr on 6 January, 2017

Bench: Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy
Read full Judgment here: Click here
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