Copy-paste judgment? High Court of Punjab and Haryana demands explanation from District Court Judge

The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has ordered the District and Sessions Judge of Gurdaspur to randomly check at least 10 judgments of a judicial officer in civil appeals to see if he has used any sort of of plagiarism.

Judge Arvind Sangwan issued the order after counsel representing an appellant in a second ordinary appeal argued that the lower Court of Appeal had “woefully failed to apply its judicial mind” as in the contested order it issued , the trial court judgment was “just copied and pasted, line for line, word for word and even, there is no comma or period change.”

Taking note of the submissions, Judge Sangwan ordered the bailiff, who delivered judgment on December 10, 2019, to submit an explanation well before the next court date, which is March 27, 2023.

The court added:

“The District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, is also responsible for randomly checking at least 10 judgments given by the said Civil Appeal Judge, to find out if a similar modus is applied by the said Judge, while deciding on the Civil Appeals and submit a report thereon.”

Pursuant to the order in the Land Litigation case, counsel representing the Appellant at the September 19 hearing referred to the finding recorded by the Lower Court of Appeal at paragraphs 35 to 45, where the issues in the case were considered.

“…and verbatim the order of the trial court is copied and pasted and only in the concluding part certain submissions are made by the lower Court of Appeals,” the order reads.

The attorney representing the appellant argued that the Supreme Court, in a 2011 decision, held that the first appellate court hearing the challenge to the lower court’s order must independently assess the evidence of the parts.

“Once it is shown that the lower Court of Appeal failed to apply its judicial mind, there is nothing in the record to suggest that the finding recorded by the trial court was independently assessed by the Court of Appeals. ‘inferior appeal,’ attorney Vipin Mahajan said.

Issuing notice in the case for March 27, 2023, the court stayed enforcement of the contested order.