Judgement without reason amounts to denial of justice: SC

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New Delhi, Jan 6 (UNI) The Supreme Court has once again emphasised that a judgement without reason amounts to denial of justice.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Aftab Alam, while setting aside the judgement of Himachal Pradesh High Court refusing to grant leave to appeal to the state against an order of acquittal in a case of arson and looting, observed ''the emphasis on recording reasons is that if the decision reveals the inscrutable face of the sphinx, it can by its silence, render it virtually impossible for the courts to performs their appellate function or exercise the power of judicial review in adjudging the validity of the decision.'' Right to reason is an indispensable part of a sound judicial system, reasons were sufficient to indicate an application of mind to the matter before courts, the apex court said adding that another rationale was that the affected party can know why the decision has gone against him.

''One of the salutary requirements of natural justice is spelling out reasons for the order made, in other words, a speaking out,'' the apex court said.

The High Court had dismissed the petition of the state government for leave to appeal through a single word order 'dismissed'.

The apex court strongly disapproved the casual approach of the High Court and held the judgement of the court was unsustainable.

It also directed, ''We grant leave to the state to file the appeal. The High Court shall entertain the appeal and after formal notice to the respondents hear and dispose of it in accordance with the law, uninfluenced by any observation made in the present appeal.'' The incident of arson had taken place on June 30, 2003 in Una district of the state where the house of the complainant was set on fire by the accused persons. Both, the Trial and the High courts acquitted the accused.

The apex court pulled up both the courts for not performing their duties and concluded by holding ''the trial court on the facts of this case did not perform its duties, as was enjoined on it by law.

The High Court ought to have, in such circumstances, granted leave and thereafter as a first court of appeal, reappreciated the entire evidence on the record independently and returned its findings objectively as regard guilt or otherwise of the accused. It has failed to do so. The questions involved were not trivial, the apex court said.

On plainest consideration of justice, the high Court ought to have set forth its reasons howsoever brief, in its order indicative an application of its mind, all the more when its order amenable to further avenue of challenge.

''The giving of reasons is one of the fundamentals of good administration and failure to give reason amounts to denial of justice,'' it added.

UNI AKS/SC SK RK1736

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