Trial of a civil dispute in Court is intended to achieve, according to law and the procedure of the Court, a judicial determination between the contesting parties of the matter in controversy.
Opportunity to the parties interested in the dispute to present their respective cases on questions of law as well as fact, ascertainment of facts by means of evidence tendered by the parties, and adjudication by a reasoned judgment of the dispute upon a finding on the facts in controversy and application of the law to the facts found, are essential attributes of a judicial trial.
In a judicial trial the Judge not only must reach a conclusion which he regards as just, but, unless otherwise permitted, by the practice of the Court or by law, he must record the ultimate mental process leading from the dispute to its solution. A judicial determination of a disputed claim where substantial questions of law or fact arise is satisfactorily reached, only if it be supported by the most cogent reasons that suggest themselves to the Judge: a mere order deciding the matter in dispute not supported by reasons is no judgment at all.
Recording of reasons in support of a decision of a disputed claim serves more purposes than one. It is intended to ensure that the decision is not the result of whim or fancy, but of a judicial approach to the matter in contest: it is also intended to ensure adjudication of the matter according to law and the procedure established by law.
A party to the dispute is ordinarily entitled to know the grounds on which the Court has decided against him, and more so, when the judgment is subject to appeal. The Appellate Court, will then have adequate material on which it may determine whether the facts are properly ascertained, the law has been correctly applied and the resultant decision is just. The burden of proving the claim in all its details lay upon the plaintiff. Absence of documentary evidence in support of the case made the burden more onerous.
The procedure to deliver the judgment under civil trial, is provide under Order 20 of the Civil Procedure Code. And, Order 43 talks about Chartered High Courts.
Extent of Application of Order 20 on Order 43
It is true that Rules. 1 to 8 of Order 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure are, by the express provision contained in Order. 49 r. 3 cl. (5) inapplicable to a Chartered High Court in the exercise of its ordinary or extraordinary original civil jurisdiction.
A Judge of a Chartered High Court is not obliged to record a judgment strictly according to the provisions contained in rules 4(2) and 5 of O. 20 Code of Civil Procedure. But the privilege of not recording a judgment is intended normally to apply where the action is undefended, where the parties are not at issue on any substantial matter, in a summary trial of an action where leave to defend is not granted, in making interlocutory orders or in disposing of formal proceedings and the like.
Order 49 r. 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure undoubtedly applies to the trial of suits; but the question is not one merely of power but of exercise of judicial discretion in the exercise of that power. The function of a judicial trial is to hear and decide a matter in contest between the parties in open court in the presence of parties according to the procedure prescribed for investigation of the dispute, and the rules of evidence. The conclusion of the Court ought normally to be supported by reasons duly recorded. This requirement transcends all technical rules of procedure.
As held by Supreme Court in ‘Swaran Lata v. H.K. Banerjee (1969)’