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'Is This Latin?': SC Calls Language in Himachal HC Judgement 'Incomprehensible' Once Again

In the fourth such instance in five years, the Supreme Court took exception to how a recent Himachal Pradesh HC court judgment was worded, even contemplating whether or not to send the judgment back to be re-written.

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New Delhi: A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court once again criticised a judgment of the Himachal Pradesh high court for being “incomprehensible” on account of the English used by the judge in drafting it, the Indian Express reported.

Supreme Court Justices K.M. Joseph and P.S. Narasimha as well as the counsel for the appellant, Nidhesh Gupta all concurred that they could not understand what former Himachal Pradesh high court Justice Sureshwar Thakur was trying to say in the December 20, 2017 judgement in question.

“How are we supposed to understand this? Is this Latin?” Justice Joseph remarked, to which Gupta responded by saying, “We are unable to understand a word.”

The bench further contemplated sending the order back to the high court to be re-written.

Gupta told the apex court that, on the basis of the trial court judgement, which he said was clear and from the selective sections of the high court order that he could understand, he was able to deduce that the matter at hand was a property dispute.

Subsequently, the court directed the two opposing counsels to arrive at an amicable resolution to the matter and set the date for further hearing as January 24.

According to Bar and Bench, this is the fourth time in recent history that the Supreme Court has pulled up a Himachal Pradesh high court judgement for being incomprehensible. 

In April, 2017, a bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta had faced a similar problem in another judgement authored by the very same Justice Thakur. In December, 2018, a bench of Justices A.M. Sapre and Indu Malhotra had pulled up the Himachal high court for devoting 60 pages in an order simply to remand the matter back to the first appellate court.

Then in March 2021, while hearing a Special Leave Petition on an order passed by a division bench of the Himachal high court, the two-judge bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah had made their dissatisfaction with the order very clear

“I had to use Tiger Balm,” Justice Shah had said, adding that the convoluted language had left him questioning his own understanding.