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HC: Judicial work staggering, judges can’t be proofreaders
The workload on judges is staggering and it is not fair to expect them to spend too much time and energy in proofreading, a single judge of the Madras High Court observed after coming across incomprehensible sentences laced with grave grammatical mistakes in the questions of law formulated by the counsel while moving a second appeal.
Pointing out that if the counsel’s formulation is flawed and defective, the court record also carries the same vice, Justice GR Swaminathan said, “Though it is embarrassing, I have chosen to be frank more with an eye on the future. Since the judicial workload is staggering, it is not fair to expect judges to expend too much time and energy in proofreading,” he said.
Also, on noting that only if all stakeholders discharge their commitments sincerely, howlers can be avoided, the court sought the counsels to assume greater responsibility and make an in-depth study of the case record before approaching the court. “Their grasp of the legal principles must be thorough and accurate. Distilled understanding must be reflected in appeal grounds. They must be properly drafted. There should be no grammatical and spelling errors. The role of stenographers and typists is equally significant,” Justice Swaminathan stressed. Interestingly, out of the three questions framed in a case of malicious prosecution the first one read as follows, “Whether the First Appellate Court has erroneously altered the judgment and decree of the trial court and partly allowed the claim of the plaintiff without considering the nonjoinder of necessary parties ie., also marked in Ex. A5 is a valid one?”
However, holding that it is obvious that the aforesaid formulation conveys no meaning the court reframed the question as follows: Whether the first Appellate Court ought to have seen that there was no cause of action against the defendants 2 to 6 as they figured only as witnesses in the criminal case?
Based on this, Justice Swaminathan on partly allowing the appeal in so far as defendants 2 to 6 are concerned, held that the plaintiff has established that he suffered damage and injury and it is obvious that the mosque management wanted to teach the plaintiff a hard lesson while there was no cause at all for the complaint. Following this, the court also directed Abubacker (first defendant) to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to the plaintiff with 6% interest per annum from the date of plaint till the date of payment.