Mode and Contents of Judgment of Criminal Court


Explain the requirements and contents of the judgment of trial court?


Judgment in legal parlance would mean, judicial verdict deciding a case finally so far as the court seized of the case is concerned and with its pronouncement pending proceedings/case would stand terminated leaving nothing for future to be considered or re-considered.

Mode of judgment:

Section 366 provides a detailed procedure as to how a judgment of a criminal court is pronounced and delivered. A judgment in every trial in any criminal court of original jurisdiction shall be-

  1. pronounced in open court
  2. by the presiding officer of the court immediately after the termination of trial or at some subsequent time.
  3. of which notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders.
  4. it should be in the language of the court or in some other language which the accused or his pleader understands.

The proviso to this section 366 proviso that judgment shall be read out by the presiding judge at the trial if so requested. According to sub-section (2), the accused if in custody is to be brought up and if not in custody be required by the court to attend to hear judgment delivered, except where his personal attendance has been dispensed with and the sentence is one of fine only, or he is acquitted. According to sub-section (3) the judgment delivered by any criminal court shall not be deemed to be invalid by reasons only of the absence of any party or by pleader on the day or place notified.

Judgment to be signed, dated and pronounced in open court:

According to S. 367 judgment must be signed and dated at the time of pronouncement in open court on the date of its delivery. Judgment not written or dictated or signed on the day of pronouncement, not a judgment in the eye of law.

Language of judgment:

Section 367 provides that every judgment be written by the presiding officer of the court or from the dictation of such officer in the language of the court or in English or in some language which the accused or his pleader understands.

Consolidated judgment:

Each criminal case has to be disposed of by a separate judgment. The code does not empower the trial court to dispose of more than one case by one consolidated or, common judgment.

Judgment to specify offence:

Sub-section (2) to S. 367 Cr.P.C ordains that a judgment in criminal cases should specify the offence, of which, and the section of PPC or to the law under which the accused is convicted and also the punishment to which he is sentenced. The requirement of this sub-section must be fulfilled and in concluding paragraph of the judgment, relevant sections under which order of conviction and sentence were proposed to pass must be specifically mentioned notwithstanding that omission is curable u/s 537.

Recording of reasons:

Recording of reasons for not awarding normal penalty of death in offences punishable with death is mandatory u/s 367 (5) Cr.P.C and non-recording thereof would amount to non-compliance of the legal provisions.

Contents of judgment:

Rule 1, chap 1-11 Vol III of the Lahore High Court Lahore provides that in all cases a judgment must be drawn up convincingly.

  1. The point or points for determination
  2. The decision thereon.
  3. The reason for the decision.

Judgment must contain reason in its support and must be passed by conscious application of judicial mind and it should not be written in slipshod manner. The judgment should be complete in all respects showing that the judge has given his attention to every material question of fact or law. Judgment should be based strictly on the evidence available on record and should be balanced not only in ideas but also in arrangement of different topics discussed therein. Findings cannot be based on conjectures alone.

Judgment must contain sufficient details quo facts of case, points for determination, decision thereon and reasons for decision. The characteristic of good judgment is that it must be self-evident and self-explanatory; in other words, it must contain the reasons that justify the conclusion arrived at and these reasons should be such that a disinterested reader can find it convincing or at least reasonable. The judgment should first discuss the prosecution evidence and come to an independent finding on the truth or falsity of the story related by them and then should examine the statement of the accused and his defence and discuss it in the light of circumstances brought on the record.

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