w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n


Shaikh Mohammed v/s GOGO Constructions, A partnership firm, Goa & Others

    Criminal Writ Petition No. 578 of 2022 (F)
    Decided On, 06 October 2022
    At, In the High Court of Bombay at Goa
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M.S. SONAK & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BHARAT P. DESHPANDE
    For the Petitioner: Ravi Gawas, Advocate. For the Respondents: R2 & R3, Shaila Naik, Advocate.


Judgment Text
M.S. Sonak, J.

1. Heard Mr Ravi Gawas for the Petitioner and Ms Shaila Naik, Advocate for Respondents nos.2 & 3.

2. Rule. The rule is made returnable immediately at the request of and with the consent of the learned Counsel for the parties.

3. The main issue involved in this matter is the failure of the learned JMFC, Quepem (A Court), in supplying certified copies of judgments and orders in Criminal Case no.161/NI/OA/2016/A and Criminal Case No.162/NI/OA/2016/A after she pronounced in the open Court on 05.03.2021, that respondent nos.2 & 3 were convicted and sentenced under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. By Order dated 11.07.2022, made in Criminal Writ Petition No.73/2022, the learned JMFC was directed to provide the petitioner and respondent nos.2 & 3 the certified copies within a maximum period of 10 days from the receipt of an authenticated copy of the said Order. However, despite receiving this Order, the learned JMFC has neither prepared the judgment nor issued any copies to the parties. Hence, this second petition by the Petitioner, who was the original complainant in the above criminal cases.

4. The Petitioner had instituted two criminal complaints against M/s. Gogi Construction and its Partners, i.e., respondents No.1 to 4 under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (said Act), registered as Criminal Case Nos. 161/NI/OA/2016/A and 162/NI/OA/2016/A.

5. The Petitioner has pleaded that on 05.03.2021, learned Judicial Magistrate First Class at Quepem, A Court (JMFC) convicted the accused persons for the offence under Section 138 of the said Act; directed them to pay the cheque amount, and sentenced them for one-month imprisonment, in default of payment for six months simple imprisonment. However, on the same day, the accused applied for suspension of sentence. Accordingly, the learned JMFC promptly suspended the sentence for 30 days to enable the accused persons to institute an appeal against the conviction.

6. The Petitioner has pleaded that on 28.05.2021, the Petitioner applied for urgent certified copies of the Judgments and Orders made in both the cases against receipt Nos. 18882 and 18883 dated 28.05.2021. The Petitioner visited the Court several times to collect the certified copies. Still, the staff always informed the Petitioner that the Judgments were not ready and that the certified copies would be supplied after 15 days. Additionally, the Petitioner has pleaded that the Judgments have not even been uploaded on the website of the Court.

7. The Petitioner, therefore, wrote to the Principal District Judge, South Goa, at Margao on 25.10.2021, but there was no response. The Petitioner, by his application dated 09.07.2021, in both cases, requested the learned JMFC to issue a non-bailable warrant against the accused persons. But such applications are not disposed of and are still pending.

8. The Petitioner has pleaded that, to his surprise, the accused persons instituted Criminal Appeals No.52/2021 and 53/2021 before the Additional Sessions Judge (DJ-2), South Goa at Margao, without certified copies of the Judgments and Orders convicting them. Accordingly, the Office of the Sessions Judge, South Goa, at Margao, has registered these two appeals. Though the appeal Court grants no interim relief, the accused persons remain at liberty despite the orders of conviction and sentence only because the learned JMFC has, to date, not furnished the certified copies of her Judgments and Orders.

9. Since the above situation was quite disturbing, we, by our Order dated 04.07.2022, called for a report from the Principal District Judge, South Goa latest by 08.07.2022, to ascertain the position. As a result, the Principal District Judge, South Goa, has submitted a report dated 07.07.2022, to a great extent, confirming all that the Petitioner has pleaded.

10. The report confirms that the learned JMFC, by her Judgment and Order dated 05.03.2021, convicted and sentenced the accused persons but then suspended the sentence on the accused persons' application. Accordingly, the accused persons applied for certified copies of the Judgments and Orders dated 05.03.2021 on the same day, i.e., 05.03.2021. On this application, the learned JMFC passed an order dated 08.03.2021 for issuing certified copies by assigning the date 10.03.2021.

11. The report states that no certified copy was issued on 10.03.2021. The accused persons preferred Criminal Appeals No.52/2021 and 53/2021 to the Sessions Court without certified copies of the impugned Judgments and Orders. They, however, filed an undertaking/application for production of the certified copies no sooner than the same were received or uploaded on the CIS.

12. The Appeal Court called for record and proceedings on 21.02.2022. Because the same was not transmitted, the Appeal Court sent a reminder on 08.03.2022 to the learned JMFC. Reminders on 09.03.2022 and 05.04.2022 followed this. Yet another reminder was issued on 18.04.2022. Despite all these reminders, the learned JMFC neither forwarded the records nor did she issue the certified copies of the Judgments and Orders dated 05.03.2021.

13. On 13.06.2022, the Appeal Court issued another reminder to the learned JMFC. A further reminder followed this on 21.06.2022. However, despite these reminders, neither were the records transmitted nor were the certified copies of the Judgements and Orders dated 05.03.2021 made available.

14. On 05.04.2021, the Principal District Judge held a surprise inspection in the Court of JMFC at Quepem. During this inspection, it was observed that Criminal Case Nos.161/NI/2016/A and 162/NI/2016/A were disposed of on 05.03.2021/08.03.2021. However, no judgments were found in the records. Only roznama showed that the matter was disposed of, and the accused persons were convicted of the offence punishable under Section 138 of the said Act.

15. The inspection report records that upon inquiry with the Stenographer of the concerned Court and on perusal of the steno book, it was observed that the Judgments were neither dictated to the concerned steno nor found ready and duly signed as on the said date. Certified copy applications were verified, and it was found that the Advocate filed two applications for the accused persons seeking urgent certified copies. On such applications, an order "issue" dated 08.03.2021 passed and signed by the concerned Judge to issue a certified copy. There was no further order on these applications to extend the time for the issue of certified copies.

16. The Principal District Judge, on the following day, i.e., 06.04.2021, wrote to the learned JMFC directing her to clarify the above irregularities. Directions were also issued to the learned JMFC to complete the criminal cases' judgments and issue certified copies immediately. The learned JMFC was directed to report compliance and was informed that the matter would be reported to the Guardian Judge if this was not done. A copy of this letter dated 06.04.2021 is annexed to the report of the Principal District Judge.

17. On 23.04.2021, since there was no response from the learned JMFC, the matter was reported to the Registrar General, High Court of Bombay, through a proper channel, i.e., the Registrar (Administration), High Court of Bombay, at Panaji. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Principal District Judge reported that on 25.10.2021, he requested the learned JMFC to expedite the matter. The Principal District Judge stated that on 27.10.2021, yet another letter was sent to the learned JMFC. However, no response was received from the learned JMFC.

18. Based on all this, by judgment and Order dated 11.07.2022, the Division Bench of this Court issued the following directions in paragraphs 20, 21 & 22:

"20. Therefore, we hereby direct the Judicial Magistrate First Class, "A" Court at Quepem to provide the Petitioner as well as the accused persons the certified copies of the Judgments and Orders dated 05.03.2021 within a maximum period of 10 days from the date of receipt of an authenticated copy of this Order. The Registry to ensure that an authenticated copy of this Order is served upon the JMFC at Quepem at the earliest against her endorsement of receipt. The copy may be served through the Principal District and Sessions Judge, South Goa. The JMFC at Quepem should file a compliance report in this case on or before 07.09.2022.

21. This Order and the report of the Principal District Judge must be placed before the Registrar (Admin) to enable him to do the needful on the administrative side by following the law.

22. This Petition is disposed of with the above directions. Accordingly, there shall be no order for costs."

19. After the above directions were issued, it was expected that the learned JMFC would prepare the judgment for whatever it was worth and give certified copies to the parties as directed. However, despite receiving the judgment and Order dated 11.07.2022, we are sorry to say the learned JMFC has reported no compliance. Therefore, when this petition was instituted by the Petitioner – the original complainant, we made an order on 26.09.2022, and paragraphs 5,6 & 7 of this Order read as follows:

"5. The Petitioner complains about non-compliance with the directions contained in our Order dated 11.07.2022 in Criminal Writ Petition No.73 of 2022. The Principal District & Sessions Judge, South Goa at Margao, is requested to file report latest by 03.10.2022 confirming whether or not there is compliance with the directions issued by us in paragraph 20 of our Order dated 11.07.2022.

6. From the material placed on record at least prima facie it appears to be no compliance. However, we wish to ascertain this position and therefore, request the learned Principal District & Sessions Judge, South Goa, Margao, to file a report at the earliest.

7. Stand over to 04.10.2022, high on board."

20. In compliance, the Principal District and Sessions Court, South Goa at Margao, has filed a compliance report dated 01.10.2022 before us after inspecting the Court of the learned JMFC. The above report dated 01.10.2022 is transcribed below for the convenience of reference:

"CONFIDENTIAL

MARGAO

No.DSC/MAR/PF-APF/CONF/2022/232

Establishment Code: GASGOI

Dated : 1st October, 2022

To,

The Registrar (Judicial)

High Court of Bombay at Goa,

Penha de Franca,

Provorim – Goa.

Sub: Compliance report in view of

Para-20 vide order dated 11.07.2022

in Criminal Writ Petition

No.73/2022.

Ref: Letter No.HCB/GOA/R(J)-

223/2022, dated 29.09.2022.

Sir,

This is to report that in view of the directions issued by the Hon'ble High Court, I have carried out inspection of the Court of Adhoc Senior Civil Judge & J.M.F.C. "A" Court, Quepem, presided over by Ms. XXXXX, today, i.e. 01.10.2022, at 10.30 a.m.

2. I have inspected the records and proceedings in Criminal Case No.161/NI/OA/2016/A and Criminal Case No.162/NI/OA/ 2016/A. I have found a typed copy titled as "judgment continued" dated 05.03.2021 in both the files. I have obtained Xerox copy of the said Order. I did not find any typed copy of the main judgment on record in both the matters.

3. I inquired about the same with Ms. Ruby De Cunha, Stenographer attached to the said Court, and she stated that the said judgment titled as "judgment continued" was typed on the very same day, i.e. on 05.03.2021. The concerned Stenographer also informed me that the Judicial Officer dictates the Operative part of the Orders or the Order of Sentence in the Open Court and thereafter, the same is uploaded by the Bench Clerk on the CIS in the roznama.

4. At 12.45 p.m., I personally spoke to the concerned Judicial Officer. She also informed me that the judgment continued was pronounced on 05.03.2021 and signed on the same day.

5. Annexed hereto are the Xerox copies of the judgment continued in Criminal Case No.161/NI/OA/2016/A and Criminal Case No.162/NI/OA/ 2016/A.

6. The matter may be placed before the Hon'ble Lordship for necessary information.

Yours faithfully,

Sd/-

(IRSHAD AGHA)

Principal District & Sessions Judge,

South Goa Margao.

Encl: As above."

21. To the above report was a document entitled as follows:

"Order reserved on : 02.03.2021

Pronounced on : 05.03.2021.

JUDGMENT (continued)

(Delivered on this the 5th day of the month of March, of the year 2021)

15. Heard Ld. Adv. Mr. E. Dias for Accused and Ld. Adv. Mr. S. Noronha on behalf of complainant.

16. ...

17. …

18. …..........Therefore, I pass the following:

ORDER

Accused No. 1 Gogi Constructions is convicted under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and sentenced through its partners accused Nos. 2, 3 and 4.

Accused No.2 Prakash Gogi being partner of Gogi Constructions is convicted for offence punishable under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 30 days.

Accused No.3 Subhash Gogi being partner of Gogi Constructions is convicted for offence punishable under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 30 days.

Accused No.4 Subhash Gogi being partner of Gogi Constructions is convicted for offence punishable under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 30 days.

Further Accused Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 are jointly directed to pay compensation of Rs.20,00,000/(Rupees twenty lakhs only) to the complainant and in default, accused Nos, 2, 3 and 4 have to undergo simple imprisonment of six months.

The compensation amount if recovered from the accused to be paid to the complainant.

Accused to furnish bond in terms of section 437-A of Cr. P. C. to the extent of Rs. 20,000/with one surety each in like amount.

Authenticated copy of Judgment and Order to be given free of cost to the accused.

Pronounced in Open Court.

Proceedings closed.

Quepem

Dated: 05.03.2021

Sd/-

(XXXXXXXXX)

Judicial Magistrate First Class,

‘A’ Court, Quepem.”

22. Thus, from the above, it does appear that the learned JMFC pronounced the operative portion convicting respondents nos.2 & 3 for offences under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act 1881 but failed to prepare and issue any certified copy to the petitioner (complainant) and respondent nos.2 & 3 (accused persons) till date, despite directions from the Division Bench on 11.07.2022.

23. The above omission, in our judgment, is contrary to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and in breach of the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India from time to time in matters of providing reasons to litigants in the form of a judgment after the operative portion is pronounced in the open Court.

24. Section 353(1) of Cr.P.C. provides that the judgment in every trial in any Criminal Court of original jurisdiction shall be pronounced in open Court by the Presiding Officer immediately after the termination of the trial or at some subsequent time of which notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders, by delivering the whole of the judgment; or by reading out the whole of the judgment; or by reading out the operative part of the judgment and explaining the substance of the judgment in a language which is understood by the accused or his pleader. Section 353(4) of Cr.P.C. provides that where the judgment is pronounced in the manner specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1), the whole judgment or a copy thereof shall be immediately made available for the perusal of the parties or their pleaders free of cost. Both these crucial provisions appear to be a casualty in the present case.

25. In Anil Rai V/s. State of Bihar (2001) 7 SCC 318), the Hon'ble Supreme Court was concerned with the state of affairs prevalent in some Courts where judgments were not pronounced within a reasonable period after the conclusion of arguments. The Supreme Court noted that the prevalence of such a practice and the horrible situation in some of the High Courts in the country had necessitated the desirability of considering the effect of such delay on the rights of the litigant public. Though reluctantly, the Court decided to consider this aspect and give appropriate directions for preserving and strengthening the belief of the people in the institution of the judiciary.

26. The Hon'ble Supreme Court referred to R.C. Sharma V/s. Union of India (1976) 3 SCC 574)held that though the CPC did not provide a time limit to deliver a judgment, unreasonable delay between hearing of arguments and delivery of a judgment unless explained by exceptional or extraordinary circumstances, is highly undesirable even when written arguments are submitted. It is not unlikely that some points the litigants consider important may have escaped notice. But, more importantly, litigants must have complete confidence in litigation results. This confidence tends to be shaken if there is an excessive delay between hearing arguments and delivery of judgment. Justice must not only be done but manifestly appear to be done. The Court also referred to Bhagwandas Fatechand Daswani V/s. H.P.A. International (2000) 2 SCC 13), where it was held that "a long delay in delivering the judgment gives rise to unnecessary speculation in the minds of parties to case".

27. The Hon'ble Supreme Court explained that the intention of the legislature regarding the pronouncement of judgments could be inferred from the provisions of Section 353(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides that judgment in every trial in any criminal court of original jurisdiction, shall be pronounced in open Court immediately after the conclusion of the trial or on some subsequent time for which due notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders. The words "some subsequent time" mentioned in Section 353 contemplates the passing of the judgment without undue delay, as delay in the pronouncement of judgment is opposed to the principle of law. Such subsequent time can at the most be stretched to a period of six weeks and not beyond that time in any case. The pronouncement of judgments in the civil case should not be permitted to go beyond two months.

28. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that in a country like ours, where people consider the Judges only second to God, efforts should be made to strengthen the common person's belief. Delay in the disposal of the cases facilitates the people to raise eyebrows, sometimes genuinely, which, if not checked, may shake the people's confidence in the judicial system. A time has come when the judiciary itself has to assert to preserve its stature, respect and regards for the attainment of the Rule of Law. For the fault of a few, the glorious and glittering name of the judiciary cannot be permitted to be made ugly. It is the policy and purpose of the law to have speedy justice, for which efforts are required to come to society's expectation of ensuring speedy, untainted and unpolluted justice. Finally, the Hon'ble Supreme Court issued directions in paragraph 10 providing guidelines regarding the pronouncement of judgments.

29. In this case, as noted earlier, the learned JMFC only declared the trial result by pronouncing in open Court that the accused persons were convicted and sentenced. No judgment, as such, was prepared and furnished to the parties despite the mandate of Sections 353 and 354 of Cr.P.C. notwithstanding.

30. In Ajay Singh & Anr. V/s. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr. (2017) 3 SCC 330)the Hon'ble Supreme Court was concerned with an order passed in the order sheet that the accused persons had been acquitted as per the judgment separately typed, signed and dated. However, a complaint was made that the learned Trial Judge had acquitted the accused persons, but no judgment had been rendered. The High Court issued a memorandum to the District and Sessions Judge to inquire into the matter and submit the report. The report indicated that no judgments were found in the records of the cases. The learned Trial Judge had purportedly delivered the judgment, but they were not available on record as the judgments were not actually dictated, dated or signed.

31. After that, the matter was placed before the Full Court of the High Court, and the resolution was passed, placing the Trial Judge concerned under suspension in contemplation of a departmental enquiry. The Full Court also decided to transfer the cases in question from the Court of trial Judge concerned to the Court of the District and Sessions Judge concerned for rehearing and disposal.

32. In the above facts, The Hon'ble Supreme Court was called upon to consider whether the learned Trial Judge had really pronounced the judgment of acquittal on 31.10.2007 and whether the High Court could have, in the exercise of its administrative power, treated the trial as pending and transferred the same from the Court of Second Additional Sessions Judge to the Court of District and Sessions Judge for rehearing and disposal.

33. Accordingly, the Hon'ble Supreme Court commenced its judgment by observing the following : "Performance of judicial duty in the manner prescribed by law is fundamental to the concept of rule of law in a democratic State. It has been quite often said and, rightly so, that the judiciary is the protector and preserver of rule of law. Effective functioning of the said sacrosanct duty has been entrusted to the judiciary and that entrustment expects the courts to conduct the judicial proceeding with dignity, objectivity and rationality and finally determine the same in accordance with law. Errors are bound to occur but there cannot be deliberate peccability which can never be countenanced. The plinth of justice dispensation system is founded on the faith, trust and confidence of the people and nothing can be allowed to contaminate and corrode the same. A litigant who comes to a court of law expects that inherent and essential principles of adjudication like adherence to doctrine of audi alteram partem, rules pertaining to fundamental adjective and seminal substantive law shall be followed and ultimately there shall be a reasoned verdict. When the accused faces a charge in a court of law, he expects a fair trial. The victim whose grievance and agony have given rise to the trial also expects that justice should be done in accordance with law. Thus, a fair trial leading to a judgment is necessitous in law and that is the assurance that is thought of on both sides. The exponent on behalf of the accused cannot be permitted to command the trial as desired by his philosophy of trial on the plea of fair trial and similarly, the proponent on behalf of the victim should not always be allowed to ventilate the grievance that his cause has not been fairly dealt with in the name of fair trial. Therefore, the concept of expediency and fair trial is quite applicable to the accused as well as to the victim. The result of such trial is to end in a judgment as required to be pronounced in accordance with law. And, that is how the stability of the creditability in the institution is maintained."

34. The Hon'ble Supreme Court referred to the provisions in Section 353, 354, 362 and 363 of the Criminal Procedure Code and made the following observations:

"17. It is apposite to note that though CrPC does not define the term "judgment", yet it has clearly laid down how the judgment is to be pronounced. The provisions clearly spell out that it is imperative on the part of the learned trial judge to pronounce the judgment in open Court by delivering the whole of the judgment or by reading out the whole of the judgment or by reading out the operative part of the judgment and explaining the substance of the judgment in a language which is understood by the accused or his pleader.

18. We have already noted that the judgment was not dictated in open Court. Code of Criminal Procedure provides reading of the operative part of the judgment. It means that the trial judge may not read the whole of the judgment and may read operative part of the judgment but it does not in any way suggest that the result of the case will be announced and the judgment would not be available on record. Non- availability of judgment, needless to say, can never be a judgment because there is no declaration by way of pronouncement in the open Court that the accused has been convicted or acquitted. A judgment, as has been always understood, is the expression of an opinion after due consideration of the facts which deserve to be determined. Without pronouncement of a judgment in the open Court, signed and dated, it is difficult to treat it as a judgment of conviction as has been held in Athipalayan, In re (1960 SCC OnLine Mad 33).

19. As a matter of fact, on inquiry, the High Court in the administrative side had found there was no judgment available on record. Learned Counsel for the appellants would submit that in the counter affidavit filed by the High Court it has been mentioned that an incomplete typed judgment of 14 pages till paragraph No. 19 was available. The affidavit also states that it was incomplete and no page had the signature of the presiding officer. If the judgment is not complete and signed, it cannot be a judgment in terms of Section 353 CrPC. It is unimaginable that a judgment is pronounced without there being a judgment. It is gross illegality. In this context, we may refer to a passage from State of Punjab and others V/s. Jagdev Singh Talwandi (1984) 1 SCC 596), wherein expressing the opinion for the Constitution Bench, Chandrachud, C.J. observed thus:-

"30. We would like to take this opportunity to point out that serious difficulties arise on account of the practice increasingly adopted by the High Courts, of pronouncing the final Order without a reasoned judgment. It is desirable that the final Order which the High Court intends to pass should not be announced until a reasoned judgment is ready for pronouncement. Suppose, for example, that a final order without a reasoned judgment is announced by the High Court that a house shall be demolished, or that the custody of a child shall be handed over to one parent as against the other, or that a person accused of a serious charge is acquitted, or that a statute is unconstitutional or, as in the instant case, that a detenu be released from detention. If the object of passing such orders is to ensure speedy compliance with them, that object is more often defeated by the aggrieved party filing a special leave petition in this Court against the Order passed by the High Court. That places this Court in a predicament because, without the benefit of the reasoning of the High Court, it is difficult for this Court to allow the bare Order to be implemented. The result inevitably is that the operation of the Order passed by the High Court has to be stayed pending delivery of the reasoned judgment.

31. It may be thought that such orders are passed by this Court and therefore there is no reason why the High Courts should not do the same. We would like to point out respectfully that the orders passed by this Court are final and no appeal lies against them. The Supreme Court is the final Court in the hierarchy of our courts. Besides, orders without a reasoned judgment are passed by this Court very rarely, under exceptional circumstances. Orders passed by the High Court are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution and other provisions of the concerned statutes. We thought it necessary to make these observations in Order that a practice which is not very desirable and which achieves no useful purpose may not grow out of its present infancy."

20. We have reproduced the aforesaid two passages from Jagdev Singh Talwandi (supra) case as the larger Bench has made such observations with regard to unreasoned judgments passed by the High Courts. The learned Chief Justice had noted that the practice is not desirable and does not achieve any useful purpose and it should not grow out of its present infancy. Despite the said observations, sometimes this Court comes across judgments and orders where the High Courts have announced the result of the case by stating "reasons to follow". We can only reiterate the observations of the Constitution Bench.

21. Having stated that, as is evincible in the instant case, the judgment is not available on record and hence, there can be no shadow of doubt that the declaration of the result cannot tantamount to a judgment as prescribed in the CrPC. That leads to the inevitable conclusion that the trial in both the cases has to be treated to be pending.

35. The Hon'ble Supreme Court also held that the High Court had sufficient powers under Article 227 of the Constitution not only to quash and set aside the conviction but further to transfer the case to a different Judge for purposes of rehearing and disposal. It was held that the High Court was under a legal obligation to set aside the Order, which had no effect in law. The High Court had correctly done so as it must see that sanctity of justice is not undermined. The High Court had done so as it has felt that an order which is a mere declaration of result without judgment should be nullified and become extinct.

36. Finally, the Hon'ble Supreme Court concluded by making the following observations:

"29. The case at hand constrains us to say that a trial Judge should remember that he has immense responsibility as he has a lawful duty to record the evidence in the prescribed manner keeping in mind the command postulated in Section 309 of the CrPC and pronounce the judgment as provided under the Code. A Judge in charge of the trial has to be extremely diligent so that no dent is created in the trial and in its eventual conclusion. Mistakes made or errors committed are to be rectified by the appellate Court in exercise of "error jurisdiction". That is a different matter. But, when a situation like the present one crops up, it causes agony, an unbearable one, to the cause of justice and hits like a lightning in a cloudless sky. It hurts the justice dispensation system and no one, and we mean no one, has any right to do so. The High Court by rectifying the grave error has acted in furtherance of the cause of justice. The accused persons might have felt delighted in acquittal and affected by the Order of rehearing, but they should bear in mind that they are not the lone receivers of justice. There are victims of the crime. Law serves both and justice looks at them equally. It does not tolerate that the grievance of the victim should be comatosed in this manner."

37. Even recently, the Hon'ble Supreme Court (in K. Madan Mohan Rao V/s. Bheemrao Patil C.A No. 6972/2022 decided on 26.09.2022), after considering Anil Rai (supra), Jagdev Singh Talwandi (supra) held that a party to litigation could not be expected to wait indefinitely for the availability of reasons of the Order of the Court. The guidelines and observations in Anil Rai (supra), Jagdev Singh Talwandi (supra) remain fundamental to the course of disposition of justice in any case before the Court, and the principle set out therein must be followed. The Hon'ble Supreme Court was concerned with an issue where an order was pronounced but even after more than three months, reasons were not forthcoming, and the judgment was not available to either of the parties.

38. In Balaji Baliram Mupade & anr. V/s. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Civl Appeal No.3564/2020 decided on 29.10.2020), the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that judicial discipline requires promptness in the delivery of judgments – an aspect repeatedly emphasized by the Court. The problem is compounded where the result is known but not the reasons. This deprives any aggrieved party of the opportunity to seek further judicial redressal in the next year of judicial scrutiny. The Hon'ble Supreme Court referred to the decision of the Constitution Bench in Jagdev Singh Talwandi (supra) and Anil Rai (supra). The Court held that this Court has forcefully restated the principles in these decisions on several occasions, including in Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh & Ors. V/s. State of Gujarat & Ors. (AIR 2004 SC 3467), Mangat Ram V/s. State of Haryana (2008) 7 SCC 96)and Ajay Singh & anr. (supra)

39. Finally, the Hon'ble Supreme Court disposed of the appeal by making the following observations:

"10. We must note with regret that the Counsel extended through various judicial pronouncements including the one referred to aforesaid appear to have been ignored, more importantly where oral orders are pronounced. In case of such orders, it is expected that they are either dictated in the Court or at least must follow immediately thereafter, to facilitate any aggrieved party to seek redressal from the higher Court. The delay in delivery of judgments has been observed to be a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India in Anil Rai's case (supra) and as stated aforesaid, the problem gets aggravated when the operative portion is made available early and the reasons follow much later.

11. It cannot be countenanced that between the date of the operative portion of the Order and the reasons disclosed, there is a hiatus period of nine months! This is much more than what has been observed to be the maximum time period for even pronouncement of reserved judgment as per Anil Rai's case (supra).

12. The appellant undoubtedly being the aggrieved party and prejudiced by the impugned Order is unable to avail of the legal remedy of approaching this Court where reasons can be scrutinized. It really amounts to defeating the rights of the appellant to challenge the impugned Order on merits and even the succeeding party is unable to obtain the fruits of success of the litigation.

13. We are constrained to pen down a more detailed order and refer to the earlier view on account of the fact that recently a number of such orders have come to our notice and we

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
thought it is time to send a reminder to the High Courts. 14. We have little option in the aforesaid facts of the case but to set aside the impugned Order and remit the matter back for reconsideration of the High Court on merits, uninfluenced by the reasons which have been finally disclosed in respect of the impugned Order. 15. Needless to say, the matter would be taken up by a Bench not consisting of the Members who constituted the Bench earlier." 40. In the facts of the present case, the learned Counsel agreed that the best course of action to be followed would be to quash and set aside the orders dated 05.03.2021 convicting and sentencing the respondents and remanding the matter to the learned JMFC, Quepem, B Court (and not A Court) for hearing final arguments based on the evidence already led by the parties and passing judgments and orders within a prescribed timeline. 41. Considering the unfortunate facts and circumstances, the submissions made, and the law on the subject, we quash and set aside the orders convicting the respondents in Criminal Case no.161/NI/OA/2016/A and Criminal Case No.162/NI/OA/2016/A and remand and restore the two cases to the file of the learned JMFC, B Court at Quepem. Accordingly, these two cases shall stand transferred from A Court to B Court. For all this, we invoke the provisions in Article 227 of the Constitution. 42. Upon remand, the learned JMFC, B Court must, based on the evidence already led in the matters, rehear the parties through their Counsel and pass final judgment and Order in terms of the law most expeditiously mindful of the directions in Anil Rai (supra ). Copies of such final judgment and orders should be furnished immediately to the parties. Considering the peculiar facts and circumstances, the learned JMFC, B Court is directed to complete this exercise as expeditiously as possible, and no later than six weeks from the date an authenticated copy of this Order is filed before it. 43. Since we have quashed the conviction orders and remanded the cases before learned JMFC, B Court, Quepem, the Criminal Appeal nos.52/2021 and 53/2021 instituted by some of the respondents seeking the same relief are rendered infructuous. Therefore, even those criminal appeals are hereby disposed of. Parties should produce an authenticated copy of this Order before the learned Sessions Court taking up these two appeals so that even these two appeals can be marked as disposed of. 44. In our Order dated 11.07.2022, disposing of Criminal Writ Petition No.73/2022, we had directed that the said Order and the report of the Principal District and Sessions Judge be placed before the Registrar (Administration) to enable him to do the needful on the administrative side by following the law. Similarly, we now direct that a copy of this Order and the report dated 01.10.2022 made by the Principal District and Sessions Judge be placed before the Registrar (Administration) so that he can do the needful in terms of the law. With reluctance, we adopt this course, as otherwise, we think that we too might be failing in our duties of superintendence. 45. On behalf of the judicial institution, we sincerely apologize to the parties for the prejudice they suffered due to the non-preparation and non-furnish of the certified copies by the learned JMFC, A Court, Quepem, even though she convicted and sentenced some of the respondents in the above two cases. She suspended the sentence. But without the judgement, the convicted accused could not pursue their appeals, nor could the Petitioner recover the compensation awarded. As a result, the appeal Court could not proceed with the appeals, and the Petitioner had to institute two writ petitions before us for redressal. 46. The rule is made absolute in the above terms. There shall be no order for costs.
O R