Supreme Court Directs NCDRC To Pass Reasoned Judgments Along with Operative Orders The Supreme Court (SC) bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi observed that in all matters before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same is made available to the litigating parties positively within...
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Supreme Court Directs NCDRC To Pass Reasoned Judgments Along with Operative Orders
The Supreme Court (SC) bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi observed that in all matters before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same is made available to the litigating parties positively within two months.
The Top Court in the case of Sudipta Chakrobarty & Anr. (Appellants) v. Ranaghat S.D. Hospital & Ors. (Respondents) on 15 February 2021 criticized the practice of 'reasons to follow' orders and slammed the NCDRC for passing reasoned judgment along with the operative order.
The SC bench highlighted the right of the litigants to know the reasons for the judgment, for without the same it can be arbitrary, whimsical, and unaccountable not serving the ends of justice which cannot under any circumstances be justified.
The Apex Court observed, "Undisputedly, the rights of the aggrieved parties are being prejudiced if the reasons are not available to them to avail of the legal remedy of approaching the Court where the reasons can be scrutinized. It indeed amounts to defeating the rights of the party aggrieved to challenge the impugned judgment on merits and even the succeeding party is unable to obtain the fruits of the success of the litigation."
The SC noticed that the operative order was pronounced on 26 April 2019 by the NCDRC and the reasoned judgment was made available after eight months.
The NCDRC passed a reasoned order on 20 December 2019, in the present case.
The bench stated that such a prolonged delay in disclosing the reasons does not inspire confidence among the litigants and is not a good practice that needs to be shunned forthwith.
The Court referred to an order passed on 11 December 2020 in the case of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd v. Zaixhu Xie & Ors. Civil Appeal No. 4022 of 2020, wherein the delay in delivery of judgments has been observed to be in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the problems gets aggravated when the operative portion is made available early, and the reasons follow much later or are not made available for an indefinite period.
The SC bench said that "The fact which has been brought to our notice by the Registrar of the Commission can, in no manner, be countenanced that between the date of operative portion of the order and the reasons are yet to be provided, or the hiatus period is much more than what has been observed to be the maximum time period for even pronouncement of reserved judgments."
The Top Court remarked that reasoned judgments must be passed while deprecating the reprehensible practice of 'reasons to follow' orders which befuddles the litigants as they do not comprehend as to what are the reasons for passing such a judgment.