Delhi High Court in a recent judgment [Sandhya Srivastava v. Dr. Neelam Mishra, W.P. (C) 2207/2021] has issued a direction to the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as “NCDRC”) inter-alia that whenever judgments are reserved, they ought to be pronounced in accordance with the timelines prescribed with the timelines prescribed in the case of Anil Rai v. State of Bihar, (2001) 7 SCC 318.
In the case of Anil Rai (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court had observed that pronouncement of judgments in the civil case should not be permitted to go beyond two months. Similarly, Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the case of Deepti Khera v. Siddharth Khera CM (M) 1637/2019 decided on 18.11.2019, noted that under Order XX Rule 1 of the CPC, maximum time provided for pronouncement of judgment is 60 days from the date on which the hearing of the case was concluded. The Court therein also observed that trial courts keep matters “for orders” for months together and sometimes orders are not pronounced for even 2-3 years. Thereafter the judicial officer is transferred or posted in some other jurisdiction and the matter has to be reargued. Such a practice puts enormous burden on the system and on litigants/ lawyers. Accordingly, the Hon’ble Court in Deepti Khera (supra) held as under:
9…..The usual practice ought to be to pronounce orders within the time schedule laid down in the CPC as also the various judgments of the Supreme Court. In civil cases maximum period of two months can be taken for pronouncing orders, unless there are exceptional cases or there are very complex issues that are involved.
The facts in Sandhya Srivastava (supra) were that Petitioner was aggrieved by non-pronouncement of orders/ judgment by NCDRC. Following was the list of dates:
|April 2006||Complaint filed in NCDRC|
|13.08.2018,||Matter was first argued and reserved for orders|
|26.03.2019||The matter was reopened and listed for final hearing once again.|
|Thereafter, matter was repeatedly adjourned|
|15.01.2020||Matter was finally heard and order was reserved|
|Order is yet to be pronounced|
In light of the aforesaid factual matrix, the Petitioner moved the Delhi High Court by way of writ petition, and the Hon’ble Court after considering that matter is listed on 23.02.2021 before NCDRC, was pleased to issue direction that the bench of NCDRC which has last heard arguments, shall now pronounce its judgment within 2 weeks.
The Hon’ble Delhi High Court further noted that the above pronouncements of Supreme Court would apply to subordinate Courts and Tribunals equally.