Stanley Batchelor, Kt., Acting C.J.
1. The only question involved in this appeal is whether the learned District Judge's judgment satisfies theterms of Order XLI, Rule 31, of the Civil Procedure Code. The judgment in question is in this language:
The issues are as stated by the Subordinate Judge and my findings are as stated by him. After reading the judgment of the Subordinate Judge and hearing the learned pleaders on behalf of the appellant and respondent, I find no reason to disagree with the learned Subordinate Judge whose judgment is conclusive, and cannot be seriously assailed by the appellant. The decree of the Subordinate Judge is accordingly confirmed and the appeal is dismissed with costs.
2. Now I have no desire to add unnecessarily to the clerical labours which devolve upon appellate Judges or to suggest that any judgment is improved by prolixity. At the same time we are, in my opinion, bound to see that the requirements of the Civil Procedure Code are satisfied, and in this case I cannot think that they are satisfied. Order XLI, Rule 31 requires that the judgment shall state the reasons for the Judge's decision on the points for determination, and in my opinion such indiscriminating and wholesale reliance upon the trial Court's judgment as we have here, is not sufficient to satisfy the rule. I think the rule intends and requires that there should be some statement, however brief, by the appellate Judge to show that he has exercised his own mind independently on the questions involved in the appeal. For the litigant is entitled as of right to a first appeal, and that, in my view, involves that he is entitled to know, however briefly, the reasons which have moved the appellate Judge to his conclusion. In the case before us, there was in the trial Court a finding on the plea of fraud which, as it seems to me, made it the more incumbent upon the District Judge to explain the reasons which influenced him in affirming the trial Court's decree. It is also to be observed that in speaking of the original Court's judgment the learned appellate Judge does not say that it had not been assailed, which would be a matter of fact, but only that it could not be seriously assailed, which is merely matter of opinion. I agree with the decision of the Madras High Court in Sitarama Sastrulu v. Suryanarayana Sastrulu I.L.R. (1898) Mad. 12 that the judgment of the appellate Court should show on the face of it that the appellate Judge exercised his own discrimination in deciding the points in dispute. The same view was taken by this Court in Gundappa v. Lobosa (1899) 1 Bom. L.R. 490 where Mr. Justice Parsons and Mr. Justice Ranade sent back the case directing the District Judge to record a judgment which should contain not only his decision on the points for determination, but also his reasons for that decision. It appears to mo that these requirements of the Code which must be satisfied, need not lead to prolixity or entail any appreciable burden of writing. In a plain case where all the argument is in favour of the judgment under appeal very few words would ordinarily be needed to show that the appellate Judge has exercised his own independent mind on the arguments presented to him, and has not taken the forbidden short-cut of adopting en bloc the reasoning of the trial Court. But so much should, I think, be made to appear. After all some criticism of the judgment is usually offered in appeal, and such criticism should receive some answer, however brief and summary. I think the decree under appeal must be set aside, and the appeal must be remanded to the District Court in order that the learned Judge may dispose of it in a judgment in accordance with law. Costs will be costs in the appeal.