Published: 26th February 2022
WhatTheFAQ: What does a 'reserved judgment' mean and how long does it take for a verdict to be given?
The #HijabRow is still making headlines as it rocks Ktaka's educational institutions. The HC just finished a marathon 11-day hearing in the case and has reserved its judgment. What does that mean?
The Karnataka High Court has reserved its judgment in the hijab case. After 11 days of hearing various petitions and views, and weeks of polarised protests and social media discourse, the country still awaits the court's word on whether students in Karnataka will be allowed to wear religious items of clothing, including the hijab, in educational institutions. We take a look at what a reserved judgment means and how long the wait will be before we have the final verdict.
What does it mean when a court reserves its judgment?
In simple terms, it means that the court has decided it needs time to consider the facts and details of the case before drawing a verdict. At this stage, the court has heard the arguments of counsels from both sides of the case and is taking its time to consider information and deliberate on the verdict.
How long can a court take to pronounce the verdict in such a case?
The Supreme Court in 2001 in the Anil Rai vs The State of Bihar case had directed all high courts to pronounce the verdict in case of a reserved judgment within three months from the date of the final hearing. If the Bench in question fails to do that, then the petitioners are allowed to submit an application requesting the judges for a decision. If a decision has not been pronounced even after six months, the petitioners can request the case be transferred to a fresh Bench for hearing.
What are some of the major cases where verdicts had been reserved in the past?
The verdict in the 2G scam was famously reserved in November 2010 and pronounced only on January 31, 2012. In fact, this seems to be a common practice in major cases that attract public attention. For instance, the five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had also reserved its hearing in the Ayodhya case on October 16, 2019. The verdict was out on November 9, 2019.