Supreme Court’s Neutral Citation System

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    Chief Justice of India (CJI) announced that the Supreme Court will adopt a “neutral citation system” for its judgments.

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    • The Delhi, Kerala, and Madras HCs have already introduced neutral citation.
    • First part will be till January 1, 2023, then the other part will be till judgments from 2014 and then finally from 1950. So all judgments will now have neutral citations.

    Neutral Citation

    • A case citation is an identification tag for a judgment which would contain a reference number, the year of the judgment, the name of the court that delivered that judgment, and a shorthand for the journal publishing the judgment.
    • A neutral citation would mean that the court would assign its own citation — distinct from those given by traditional Law Reporters. 
      • Law Reporters are annual digests that publish judgments, often with an editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to precedents.

    Need for Neutral Citation

    • A few decades ago, the exercise of citing cases was simple because the number of litigation was low, resulting in fewer judicial pronouncements, managed by a handful of official law reporters as the number of litigation escalated numerous law reporters also emerged.
    • With artificial intelligence (AI) enabled translation of judgments and transcribing of court proceedings, a uniform citation is necessary.
    • For easing the adjudicatory process and to avoid confusion arising out of one case being cited by different people in a number of different ways.

    IE