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Report No. 77

7.4. Citation of authorities.-

One general tendency is to cite a very large number of authorities and to read lengthy passages from those judgments. Experience tells us that the fate of most cases depends upon facts. The law bearing on the cases is well-settled by statute or the pronouncements of the highest court. It would be much better if the judgments of the trial courts deal with questions of fact by appraising the evidence, refer to the relevant statutory provisions applicable to the matter and cite such of those authorities as have a direct bearing.

Burdening of the judgments with too many authorities mostly with a view to distinguish them has invariably the effect of making judgment unduly lengthy. It has to be borne in mind that the primary function of the judge is to decide the case before him. A judgment should set out the salient facts of the case, deal with the points of controversy, appraise the relevant evidence, discuss the questions of law which arise and incorporate the findings of the court on the various issues. The judgment should conclude by stating in precise language the actual relief, if any, granted to the plaintiff.

7.5. A judgment, it needs to be emphasised, is not a medium to display the learning of the judge, on points which have only incidental bearing. The function of a judge while deciding a case is not the same as that of a research scholar writing a thesis on a particular branch of law. The art of writing not very long judgments while at the same time dealing with all material points of controversy can be acquired only slowly and gradually. It is indeed learning the art of condensing the maximum of ideas into the minimum of words.

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