Recording of reason must for verdict: HC

Read more below

  • Published 18.09.17

Cuttack, Sept. 17: Orissa High Court has ruled that the recording of reasons in a judgment was "an essential requirement" as "such reasons can alone show whether the court has applied its mind to all the facts and circumstances relevant to the point in dispute".

A single-judge bench of Justice S.K. Sahoo said: "Reasons form the substratum of the decision. If reasons are not given for arriving at a conclusion, the judgment is robbed of one of the most essential ingredients and forfeits its claim to be termed a judgment in the eye of law."

The high court gave the ruling on Friday while suspending the conviction of Sudarsan Sahani, a deputy executive engineer of the rural works department, in a corruption case.

The stay order was issued on an appeal against a conviction passed by the court of (special judge), vigilance, Phulbani, on December 13 last year.

The high court felt "it is one of such exceptional cases where the order of conviction should be stayed/suspended otherwise it would cause irreparable loss and injury coupled with irreversible consequences resulting in serious miscarriage of justice to the petitioner".

In his observation, Justice Sahoo, said: "A duty is cast on the trial court to arrive at the truth and render justice. If the trial court shirks from its duty and responsibility then it would make a mockery of the criminal justice delivery system."

The corruption case involved alleged misappropriation of Rs 1.5 lakh of government money by showing false execution of pothole repairs on the NH-217 in 2004.

Justice Sahoo held that the trial court in its judgment "exhibited a stony silence regarding the reasons for arriving at the conclusions against the petitioner (Sudarsan Sahani) and the conclusions suffered from total non-application of mind".

"In view of the fallacy in the trial court judgment, I am of humble view that if the conviction of the petitioner is not stayed/suspended, by the time the appeal is taken up for hearing and decided finally, much water will be flown under the bridge and the evil that would likely to befall on the petitioner in the meantime would aggravate and it would be too late to set the clock back," Justice Sahoo said in his September 15 order.

The trial court had sentenced Sahani to two years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on him.

Justice Sahoo also said: "If a reasoned judgment is not passed by the trial court and a party is left in darkness searching for the reasons as to why he has been convicted or why an accused has been acquitted, then not only the parties to the case but also the society at large who are expecting a sound and reasoned judgment would raise accusing finger against the judge, either for his incapability or otherwise."

"Recording of reasons necessarily implies the appreciation and consideration of evidence and a judgment which does not fulfil this basic and essential requirement is not only a defective judgment but in fact it is no judgment in the eye of law," Justice Sahoo ruled.