Top court on Himachal HC order: Is this Latin?

SUPREME COURT on Monday expressed dismay over the way in which a judgment had been written by Himachal Pradesh High Court and said it may have to return it for rewriting.

Heading a two-judge bench, Justice K M Joseph asked Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta, who represented the appellant, what the High Court was trying to say. “How do we understand this? Is this Latin,” Justice Joseph wondered to which Gupta responded that even he is unable to comprehend the same.

The bench, also comprising Justice P S Narasimha, said it may have to return the judgment to the HC for rewriting. The senior counsel then told the bench that it was a dispute over property and that he could explain from the trial court decision, which was very clear, and from parts of the High Court order that he could make out. The court then asked him to sit with the counsel for the other side and see if the matter could be resolved amicably in two weeks.

This is not the first time that the top court has expressed dismay over “incomprehensible” HC verdicts. In March 2021, a two-judge bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah made clear its annoyance with a Himachal Pradesh High Court judgment and observed: “We are at our wit’s end. This is happening repeatedly.”

Taking up an appeal filed by State Bank of India against the November 27, 2020, HC verdict, Justice Chandrachud asked in Hindi, “What is this judgment that has been written?” “I did not understand anything. There are long, long sentences. Then, there is an odd comma showing up somewhere. I did not understand anything. I have started doubting my own understanding…. I had to use Tiger balm,” Justice Shah had said.

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