The Supreme Court in a recent judgement, expressed vexation on National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC)’s practice of giving reasoned judgements a long time after operative orders are passed in court.
The two-judge bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi observed that the time taken to pronounce these judgements was sometimes more than the time taken to pronounce reserved judgements.
In this case, there was a delay of 8 months before a reasoned judgement was given. The apex court had asked the Commission to prepare a report stating the number of cases in which reasoned judgements had not been passed, even though the operative orders had been pronounced in court. It came to their notice that there were 85 such judgements till December 2019. Another problem was that the parties were not even informed of a tentative date for the reasoned judgement after giving an order. The court relied on various judgements to highlight the difficulties that arise due to this practice.
Firstly, the rights of the concerned parties are being prejudiced if reasons for a decision are not available. Secondly, a delay in delivery of judgements is seen to be in violation of article 21 of the constitution. The court asked the President of the Commission to look into the matter and take necessary steps to ensure that a reasoned judgement is passed with the operative order. Even if the judgement is reserved, it shouldn’t be delayed for more than two months.
The court expressed:
“Let this Order be placed before the President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to lookinto the matter, and take necessary steps so that this practice is discontinued, and the reasoned Judgment is passed along with the operative order. We would like to observe that in all matters where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same are made available to the litigating parties positively within a period of two months.”