Court ’s decision should be backed by reasoning

Ipsita Mishra

The Supreme Court holds that reasons are the heart-beat of any judgment.

To my mind there are four purposes for any judgment that is written: –

  • clarity of thoughts;
  • explanation of decision to the parties;
  • communicate the reasons for the decision to the public;
  • to provide reasons for a Court to consider

The principle of natural justice has twin ingredients; firstly, the person who is likely to be adversely affected by the action of the authorities should be given show cause notice and granted an opportunity of hearing. Secondly, the orders so passed by the authorities should give reason for arriving at any conclusion showing proper application of mind. Violation of either of them could vitiate the order itself.

In the cases where the Courts have not recorded reasons in the judgment, legality, propriety and correctness of the orders by the Court are challenged. The public can have assurance that the correcting process is working if results are announced. An unreasoned decision has very little claim to acceptance by the defeated party. Moreover, the necessity of stating reasons not infrequently changes the results by forcing the judges to come to grips with nettlesome facts or issues which their normal instincts would otherwise cause them to avoid1.” A right to reasons is an indispensable part of a sound system of judicial review. It is in accordance with natural justice. This shows that the person is receiving justice as well as it is a valuable discipline for the tribunal2.

Supreme Court said that the courts should decide on the basis of reasoning and hence should give rationale for the same. The reasons should be such that they demonstrate that the decision has been arrived at on an objective consideration. Public policy, morality, justice, precedents etc are taken into account while deriving any conclusion or decision. The decision should be workable and hence the reasoning should be practical and should suit the fact and provide a workable remedy.

Points to remember

Reference:

  1. Paul D. Carrington, Daniel J Meador and Maurice Rosenburg, Justice on Appeal 10 (West 1976). []
  2. H.W.R. Wade in the book “Administrative Law, 7th Edition []

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