Ignorance Of Rules Of Writing Judgment In Appeal Not Expected From Senior Judges: Bombay HC Quashes ASJ’s Order
The Bombay High Court, Aurangabad Bench while quashing the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) has held that single-line reason is not expected from senior Judges like District Judges and that he ignored the rules of writing judgment in an appeal.
The Court was dealing with a case wherein the ASJ set aside a well-reasoned order passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class with a single-line reasoning in an appeal.
A Single Bench of Justice S.G. Mehare observed, “The learned Additional Sessions Judge did not assign any reason, disagreeing with the reasoned order passed by the learned Magistrate. It has erroneously observed without giving reasons that the Magistrate has not properly appreciated the evidence in proper perspective. Same way, the learned Additional Sessions Judge has recorded a single-line reason that there is sufficient evidence to establish the domestic violence caused to the appellant. Again, such a single-line reason is not expected from senior judges like District judges. He appears to have ignored the rules of writing judgment in appeal.”
The Bench said that on the contrary, the Magistrate discussed the facts in detail, considered each piece of evidence, and considered the law as regards domestic violence and the entitlement of the aggrieved persons under the Domestic Violence Act.
Advocate Shinde Shrikishan appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Choudhary M.S. appeared on behalf of the respondents.
In this case, the petitioner i.e., the husband preferred the revision against the judgment and order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad. The matter was related to the dispute between the husband and wife which led to the filing of a divorce petition before the Court.
Appreciating the evidence led by the respective parties, the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) dismissed the wife’s petition, and being dissatisfied with the dismissal order, she preferred an appeal. The Sessions Judge allowed the petition and granted the maintenance of Rs.3,000/- per month and the house rent of Rs.3,000/- per month to the wife and the same was challenged by the husband.
The High Court after hearing the arguments of both parties asserted, “While exercising power under appeal, the appellate Court has to write a judgment as provided under Section 354 of Cr.P.C. as it applies to the judgment by the appellate Court. The judgment shall contain the point or points for determination, the decision thereon and the reasons for the decision. The appellate Court has to write a Judgment as if it is a trial before it. It has to record the reasons.”
The Court further noted that writing a judgment in appeal is rewriting the judgment and the appellate courts are also governed under rules including the standard of reviewing the judgment and order of the Trial Court. The Court also noted that the appellate court must reappreciate the evidence and assign the reason for its conclusions.
“The appellate Court has to assign reasons if it disagrees with the findings of the trial Court. Merely writing a single line about failing to consider the evidence, material placed on record, and the facts elicited in proper perspective is incorrect in law”, said the Court.
The Court observed that the order passed by the JMFC is a well-reasoned order and with correct findings that the respondent/wife failed to prove the domestic violence.
“… the learned Additional Sessions Judge appears to have not correctly examined the record, considered the rule of appreciating the evidence, and mechanically passed the impugned order. The impugned order is illegal, improper and incorrect, and therefore, it is liable to be set aside”, held the Court.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the order of the Additional Sessions Judge and maintained the order of the JMFC.
Cause Title- Murlidhar v. Sangita & Ors.