1. This revision petition is filed against the Order passed bv the Civil Judge on 8-9-1969 by which he directed that the suit will he reheard and disposed of by him. This arises in the following circumstances:--
The Civil Judge of Bidar Sri Sanjeeva Gowda heard the arguments on 7-8-1969 and posted the case for judgment to 13-8-1969. In the meanwhile, he was suspended by the High Court as per the High Court order No. ROC. 3807/68 dated 8-8-1968. Thereafter he was compulsorily retired from service with effect from 24-11-1969. The judgment in the case, as already noted, was to be pronounced on 13-8-1969. The learned Civil Judge who was posted in place of Sri Sanjeeva Gowda was of the view that the judgment prepared during the period when his predecessor was under order of suspension cannot be a valid judgment nd he could not be compelled to pronounce that judgment. Accordingly, he passed the order directing re-hearing of the suit. It is against this order, the present revision petition has been filed.
2. Shri L. Govindarai, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, contended that under the provisions of order 20 Rule 2. C. P. C. when the judgment is prepared by a predecessor in office the successor in office has no choice but to pronounce the judgment. It was therefore submitted that as the learned Civil Judge has failed to discharge his duty, which is an obligatory duty, this court should exercise its jurisdiction under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure by asking the learned Civil Judge to pronounce the judgment kept ready by his predecessor.
3. As against this contention. Sri S. R. Kagalkar learned counsel appearing for the respondents, contended that the judgment was prepared, ae found from the order of the learned Civil Judge, during the time when he was under suspension hence such a judgment could not be pronounced- Secondly he contended that when the Civil Judge was under suspension, it was not competent for him to prepare the judgment also.
4. The provisions of Order 20 R. 2 C. P. C- read as under:
'A Judge may prono'unce'a judgment written but not pronounced by his predecessor.'
Relying upon the judgment of Andhra Pradesh High Court reported in : AIR1959AP16 (Nukala Venkatesu v. Nanduri Suryanarayana), it was urged that the word 'may' occurring in Order 20 Rule 2 Civil Procedure Code has a compulsory force and the succeeding Judge is under an obligation to pronounce the judgment that was written by his predecessor, and it is not competent for him to re-hear the case. This is the view taken by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
In (1911) ILR 33 All 236, a Bench of the Allahabad High Court has laid down that 'where a Judge fixed a date for delivering judgment, wrote it out and placed it upon the record, but was transferred before the date fixed, and his successor took a different view and delivered his own judgment Held that this successor in office was not obliged to deliver the judgment of his predecessor but was competent to pronounce a judgment of his own in the case'. In support of this view, the Allahabad High Court has relied upon two judgments; one is the judgment reported in (1894) ILR 21 Cal 832 and the other is the judgment reported in (1890) 44 Ch. D. 262. Their Lordships of the Allahabad High Court held that when the words used are 'it may pronounce' it cannot be said that the words are mandatory and it is left to the successor judge to pronounce the judgment.
The view taken by both the courts Is also supported by the judgment of the Full Bench of the Rangoon High Court reported in, AIR 1936 Rang 147 (FB), wherein it has been' held that:
'It is not necessarily incumbent upon successor of the Judge who wrote a judgment after he had ceased to be a judge of the Court in which the trial w.as held to pronounce the judgment that had been written by his predecessor. He has a discretion in the matter and if he is in doubt as to the correctness of the judgment that has been written by his predecessor he ought either to act in accordance with the provisions of Order 18, R. 5 or to hear the case de novo'.
5. I am of the view that the view taken by the High Courts of Allahabad, Calcutta and Rangoon in the decisions referred to above, is fully justified by the wording of Order 20 Rule 2, C. P. C. I am not inclined to accept the view taken by the Andhra Pradesh High Court cited above. The provisions of Order 20 Rule 2 C. P. C. are not mandatory and it is open to a succeeding Judge, either to pronounce the judgment or to take the steps as suggested in the judgment of the Rangoon High Court referred to earlier.
6. For these reasons. I find that there is no good ground to interfere with the order passed by the Court below. The revision petition is accordingly dismissed. No costs.