Sunday 10 October 2021

What is the duty of the first appellate court while appreciating the evidence in the first appeal?

 Section 96:

21.The first appellate court while exercising power under Section 96 can re-do the exercise of the trial court. However, such a power is expected to be exercised with caution. The reason being, the trial court alone has the pleasure of seeing the demeanor of the witness. Therefore, it has got its own advantage in assessing the statement of the witnesses which may not be available to the appellate court. In exercising such a power, the appellate court has to keep in mind the views of the trial court. If it finds that the trial court is wrong, its decision should be on the reasoning given. A mere substitution of views, without discussing the findings of the trial court, by the appellate court is not permissible. If two views are possible, it would only be appropriate to go with the view expressed by the trial court. While adopting reasoning in support of its findings, the appellate court is not expected to go on moral grounds alone.

36. Three requisites should normally be present before an appellate court reverses a finding of the trial court:

(i) it applies its mind to reasons given by the trial court;

(ii) it has no advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses;


(iii) it records cogent and convincing reasons for disagreeing

with the trial court.

37. If the above principles are kept in mind, in our judgment, the

decision of the High Court falls short of the grounds which would

allow the first appellate court to reverse a finding of fact recorded

by the trial court. As already adverted earlier, the High Court has

'virtually' reached a conclusion without recording reasons in

support of such conclusion. When the court of original jurisdiction has considered oral evidence and recorded findings after seeing the demeanour of witnesses and having applied its mind, the appellate court is enjoined to keep that fact in mind. It has to deal with the reasons recorded and conclusions arrived at by the trial court. Thereafter, it is certainly open to the appellate court to come to its own conclusion if it finds that the reasons which weighed with the trial court or conclusions arrived at were not in consonance with law.”




CIVIL APPEAL NOS.1376-1377 OF 2010


Author: M.M. SUNDRESH, J.

Dated: October 07, 2021
Read Full Judgment here: Click here
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