Need to cut time for oral submissions, have crisper and clearer judgments: SC

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Reiterating that the judicial system exists for the common man, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that restricting time for oral submissions by litigants is the need of the hour, especially during the times of Covid when manpower and resources are limited. In its postscript to the 182- page judgment related to dismissing Facebook India VP’s plea against the Delhi Assembly’s summons, the Supreme Court emphasised the need to restrict the time period for oral submissions by lawyers and to have ‘more crisp, clear and precise’ judgments which litigants can understand.

“The purpose of our postscript is only to start a discussion among the legal fraternity by bringing to notice the importance of succinctly framed written synopsis in advance, and the same being adhered to in course of oral arguments to be addressed over a limited time period and more crisp, clear and precise judgments so that the common man can understand what is the law being laid down. After all, it is for ‘the common man’ that the judicial system exists,” the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy said. The court noted that the judgment in this case was pronounced four months after it was reserved. It said that the hearing lasted 26 hours— which is a lot of judicial time. 

“It has become a competing arena of who gets to argue for the longest time. Counsels must be clear on the contours of their submissions from the very inception of the arguments. This should be submitted as a brief synopsis by both sides and then strictly adhered to,” the bench observed. “Much as the legal fraternity would not want, restriction of time period for oral submissions is an aspect which must be brought into force. We really doubt whether any judicial forum anywhere in the world would allow such time periods to be taken for oral submissions and these be further supplemented by written synopsis thereafter,” the judgement reads while citing the restrictions in place in US and UK supreme courts.

“It’s the need of the hour to write clear and short judgments which the litigant can understand. Delay in judicial proceedings has been the bane of our country and there cannot be a refusal to part ways from old practices when they have outlived their purpose.” “The time spent on routine matters leaves little time to settle legal principles pending before larger Benches that may have an impact down the line on judicial system,” it said.



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