SC sets aside ‘utterly incomprehensible’ verdict of Himachal Pradesh High Court

Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud asks HC to decide it afresh

SC sets aside ‘utterly incomprehensible’ verdict of Himachal Pradesh High Court

Photo for representation. Reuters

Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, August 4

The Supreme Court has set aside an “utterly incomprehensible” verdict of the Himachal Pradesh High Court as it failed to understand the basis on which the decision reached.

“The judgment of the High Court is utterly incomprehensible. The reasons on the basis of which the High Court has proceeded to allow the petitions and set aside the reassessment cannot be discerned from the judgments,” a Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud said, setting aside the impugned judgments of the High Court.

The Bench – which also included Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia – restored the three petitions to the Himachal Pradesh High Court and asked it to decide them afresh. “All the rights and contentions of the parties are kept open,” it said in its August 1 order.

The “utterly incomprehensible” judgment was delivered by a Division Bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court on November 27, 2020 allowing writ petitions filed by Himachal Aluminium and Conductors challenging the validity of orders of reassessment passed by the State of Himachal Pradesh. The High Court had set aside the reassessment.

However, while hearing an appeal filed by the State of Himachal Pradesh against the high court’s judgment, the top court failed to understand the reasons on the basis of which the High Court allowed the petitions and set aside the reassessment.

This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has faced such a problem with a verdict delivered by the Himachal Pradesh High Court. In January this year, it had taken exception to a verdict of the Himachal Pradesh High Court after it failed to comprehend the language used by the high court.

“Is this in Latin? We may have to send it back to the High Court for it to be re-written,” a Bench led by Justice KM Joseph had commented. “We are unable to understand a word,” senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta had said, agreeing with Justice Joseph.

In 2017, the top court was forced to set aside a Himachal Pradesh High Court verdict for its sheer inability to comprehend it due to poor quality of language in a tenant-landlord dispute. Such was the quality of the English language used in the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s verdict that even the lawyers representing both the parties had failed to understand or assist the judges understand it.

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