A judge cannot shut a criminal case by simply recording the end result of conviction or acquittal, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court stated this while maintaining that accused are “not the lone receivers of justice” and that victims of a crime must be treated equally.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said that it was incumbent upon courts to pass reasoned orders, specifying law and examination of evidence that lead to acquittal or conviction. “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 (no unnecessary adjournments) and pronounce the judgment as provided under the code,’’ the bench said. “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.’’
The court said this while dismissing appeal of an accused, challenging the Chhattisgarh High Court’s order of transferring his trial for abetting his wife’s suicide to another court. The trial was transferred after the high court found that the previous trial judge had acquitted the accused in a one-page order while claiming the judgment had been typed separately. No separate judgment was prepared explaining the reasons for the acquittal.
The apex court said that the trial court’s order had “no effect in the law” and had dangers of eroding faith in the system. “When a situation like the present one crops up, it causes agony, an unbearable one, to the cause of justice and hits like 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,” said the bench.
The court underlined that the plinth of justice system is founded on the faith of the people and nothing can be allowed to contaminate and corrode the same. “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,” it added.
The apex court upheld the high court’s order of transferring the case after forcing voluntary retirement of the trial judge. It added that the judiciary has a paramount duty of being the preserver as well as the protector of the law. “… 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,” it said.