1. After the order in these C.M.Ps. was pronounced by me on 12-2-1976 in open court by dictation to the shorthand writer, Mr. Obulpathi Chowdari, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in the C.M.P. No. 660 of 1976 appeared in the afternoon and urged that he would withdraw the C.R.P. itself and therefore I should not sign the order pronounced by me.
2. Mr. P.A. Chowdary, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in the other three petitions took objection to this course as the order had already been delivered and it cannot be altered, even though the C.R.P. could be withdrawn by a subsequent act.
3. Regarding the powers of the Court to alter orders in such circumstances, I heard both the learned counsel, Mr. Obulpathy Chowdary learned counsel for the revision petitioner relied upon the decision of Allahabad hit in Sang Lal v. Rent Controller Eviction Officer (AIR 1966 All) (FB) and urged that until the judgment is signed it can be altered or amended or even changed completely provided notice is given to the parties and they are hard before the proposed change is made.
4. On the other hand, Mr. P.A. Chowdary learned counsel for the respondents submitted that when a judgment or order is delivered, it is not permissible for the court to change it even though the judgment has not been signed.
5. Both the parties have placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Surendra Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh : 1954CriLJ475 . On a close scrutiny of the proposition laid down in that direction, I am inclined to agree with the submission made by Mr. P.A.Chowdary, Bose J, speaking for the Bench observed in paragraph 10 about meaning of a judgment as follows :
'In our opinion, a judgment within the meaning of these sections is the final decision of the Court intimated to the parties and to the world at large by formal 'pronouncement' or 'delivery' in open court. It is a judicial act which must be performed in a judicial way. Small irregularities in the manner of pronouncement or the mode of delivery do not matter but the substance of the thing must be there; that can neither be blurred nor left to inference and conjecture nor can it be vague. All the rest the manner in which it is to be recorded, the say in which it is to be authenticated, the signing and the sealing, all the rules designed to secure certainly about its content and matter can be cured; but not the hard core, namely the formal intimation of the decision and its contents formally declared in a judicial way in open court. The exact way in which this is done does not matter. In some courts the judgment is delivered orally or read out, in some only the operative portion is pronounced, in some the judgment is merely signed after giving notice to the parties and laying the draft on the table for a given number of days for inspection.'
6. It is do doubt true that their Lordships have observed in paragraph 12 that upto the moment the judgment is delivered Judges have the right to change their mind and have got a sort of 'Locus Paenitentiae'. But that would arise only in a case where the judgment has not been delivered as stated by their Lordships in paragraph 10.
7. I am also fortified in this view by the observations made by the in paragraph 14, wherein their Lordships have further stated that if a judgment happens not to be signed but is inadvertently acted on and executed the proceedings consequent on it would be valid because the judgment, if it can be shown to have been validly delivered, would stand good despite defects interpretation he mode of its subsequent authentication Their Lordships further laid down in the decision that when once the delivery of jut is made in open court to the knowledge of the parties and the world at large, the other things viz., the manner in which it is to be recorded, the way in which it is to be authenticated or signed, or the signing and sealing, are all subsidiary things, which no doubt are designed to secure certainty about its content and matter, but they have got no effect upon the hard core, viz., the formal intimation of the decision of the court, which is a judicial act, which has been performed.
8. In view of the above authoritative pronouncement by the Supreme Court, it cannot be said that the order pronounced by me on 12-2-1976 was not delivered even though the transcript of the order has not been signed by me when a request for the withdrawal of the C.R.P. has been made. It stands as a valid order whether it was signed by me or not.
9. Mr. Chowdary has also drawn my attention to the same view expressed in Holtby v Hodgson (1889 24 QBD 103, wherein Lord Esher M.R. observed at p. 107, in a decision which starts at page 103, as follows :
'The expression 'whether' where any judgment is pronounced by the Court or a Judge in court is intended to contrast with the well-known expression 'the court or a Judge' in many other rules, that is to say to exclude the case of a Judge sitting in Chambers; and the intention of the rule clearly is that from the moment when the Judge has pronounced judgment and entry of the judgment has been made, the judgment is to take effect not from the date of the entry, but from the date of its being pronounced, it is an effective judgment from the day when it is pronounced by the Judge in court (emphasis is mine).
This view of the learned Lord has also been approved by the other two Lords viz., Lindley L. J. And Lopes L.J.
10. Moreover under Order 20, Rule 1, C.P.C. the court after the case has been heard, shall pronounce judgment in open court by dictation to Shorthand Writer, wherever it is permissible. It bears the date on which it is pronounced. The date of the judgment is never altered by the date on which the signature has been put subsequently. The date o the decree under Order 20, Rule 7, C.P.C. would also be the date on which the judgment was pronounced. It is therefore clear that under the C.P.C. stress is laid upon the pronouncement or delivery of the judgment as a judicial act, which has got legal effect.
11. The Allahabad High Court no doubt had held in the Full Bench case to the contrary. But with all respect to the learned Judges, I cannot hold that the proposition laid down by the Supreme Court in : 1954CriLJ475 gives any support for the proposition laid down by the Allahabad High Court.
12. Mr. Nagaraja Rao, the learned counsel appearing for Mr. Obulpathi Chowdary has also relied upon the decision of the Bombay High Court in Matheran Tramway v. Land (AIR 1927 Bom 1130. On the facts of that case, the transcript of judgment has not even been verified or approved by the Judge. But he sent a letter from abroad for his brother Judge to pronounce it in open court. That decision in my opinion does not assist the petitioner in any manner.
13. For the above reasons I am satisfied that I cannot but sign the order already delivered by me on 12-2-1976 in these C.M.Ps. It is open to the revision petitioner to withdraw the main C.R.P. if he is so advised, or to keep it pending in this court till it is finally disposed of. Post the C.R.P. for further orders after ten days
14. Order accordingly.