In reversing a Himachal Pradesh high court order, the Supreme Court is saying that not only must justice be done and seen to be done but it must also be … understood.
New Delhi: If you were told that the Supreme Court had set aside a high court’s order for poor English, would you believe it? Though the highest court’s use of language has not always been exemplary, so awful was the phrasing of a recent judgment of the Himachal Pradesh high court that the bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta was compelled to set it aside.
In a fairly mundane case where the high court ruled against a landlord who wanted to evict his tenant, the judgment was well-nigh incomprehensible.
“After hearing learned counsel, it is not possible to comprehend the contents of the impugned order passed by the high court. The order passed by the high court is, therefore, set aside and the matter is remanded to the high court for fresh consideration on merits,” the Supreme Court said.
A peculiar turn of events at the honourable Supreme Court, but perhaps justified considering this gobbledygook:
“(The)…tenant in the demised premises stands aggrieved by the pronouncement made by the learned Executing Court upon his objections constituted therebefore…wherewithin the apposite unfoldments qua his resistance to the execution of the decree stood discountenanced by the learned Executing Court”.
It is difficult to say at this point, whether the landlord petitioned the Supreme Court because he was disgruntled by the high court’s judgment and would not accept it, or, because he was befuddled by its incomprehensible reasoning.
The appellant has been fighting for his house since November 1999 – 18 years now – only to be rewarded by an order that not only went against him, but also reads like, well, gibberish. In 2011, the court had given him a warrant of possession (a presumably lucid one), but the tenant could only be partially evicted from the property. Then in 2016, the court, in several convoluted turns of phrase, decided in favour of the tenant. We think – and we can’t quite be sure – because the landlord had apparently received the agreed rent amount.
However, this otherwise unremarkable case now seems to have turned in the appellant’s favour. Surrendering to the unintelligibility of Justice Sureshwar Thakur’s high court order, the Supreme Court set it aside – which means that the 2011 decision that allowed eviction, will prevail until the high court reopens the case. By all accounts, the appellant’s lawyers have gained the most, now that they have been relieved of the burden of having to decipher the order. One wonders, as an aside, how many billable hours went into them trying to make sense of the judgment in the first place.
Reproduced here are some choice extracts from the Himachal Pradesh high court’s judgment.
“The declining of the aforesaid relief to the plaintiffs by the learned trial Court is not ridden with any inherent procedural fallacy given the plaintiffs without begetting apposite amendments in the plaint by instituting therebefore an application under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC theirs merely making therebefore an oral submission for the according of the apposite relief to them, oral relief whereof naturally warranted its standing declined as tenably declined by the learned trial Court. Also evidence, if any, in consonance therewith for hence a decree of mandatory injunction standing pronounced upon the defendants was wholly discardable it naturally being beyond pleadings.”
“In sequel thereto finality besides conclusivity stands imputed to the findings recorded by the learned first Appellate Court qua the relevant factum probandum of the defendants’ not warranting vis-à-vis them any rendition of any decree of mandatory injunction arising from theirs during the pendency of the suit before the learned trial Court or during the pendency of the suit before the learned First Appellate Court raising obstructions on the path by stacking material thereupon whereby the user of path by the plaintiffs depicted in the decree of permanent prohibitory injunction besides embodied in tatima Ex.PW-1/A stood fully forestalled besides thwarted.”
“For pronouncing an efficacious decision upon the aforesaid facet imperatively when obviously the bar of res judicata besets the plaintiffs against theirs instituting a fresh suit against the defendants vis-à-vis the aforesaid relief preponderantly when it accrued earlier whereat it stood un-ventilated by the plaintiffs significantly when they omitted to avail the apposite statutory mechanism whereupon they stand forestalled besides interdicted to in a freshly constituted suit canvass a relief for its removal by the defendants comprised in the latters standing mandatorily injuncted to remove it whereupon the act of the defendants comprised in theirs obstructing the path decreed for user by the plaintiffs would hence stand rendered un-redeemed, ought to not be necessarily borne in mind.”
Eventually, Justice Sureshwar Thakur of the Himachal Pradesh high court concludes:
“For facilitating its consummation, though the learned executing Court stood enjoined to pronounce an appropriate order, contrarily it by relegating the impact of the aforesaid germane factum probandum comprised in the enforceable executable conclusive decree, has inaptly dismissed the execution petition.”