1. This is an application for certificates mentioned in Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Article 133(1) of the Constitution. The applicants are decree-holders auction-purchasers. The judgment-debtors, who are the opposite parties, applied under Order 21, Rule 90, Civil Procedure Code, for the setting aside of a sale of their house valued at more than Rs. 20,000/-. They did not give any security as required under proviso (b) to Rule 90 of Order 21. But after the expiry of the period of limitation for filing an objection they applied to the executing Court for dispensing with the security. This Court held that their application for the security being dispensed with was in order. The executing Court thereupon dispensed with the security but subsequently, on an objection by the applicants, it dismissed the objection of the judgment-debtors on the ground that it was not accompanied by security and the application for dispensing with the security had been filed after the expiry of time allowed for filing the objection. Thereupon the judgment-debtors filed an appeal which was allowed by this Court and it is that order of the Court that is sought to be appealed from. This Court held that it was not obligatory upon the judgment-debtors to file an application for dispensing with the security while filing an objection, that the security could be dispensed with before the objection was adjudicated upon and that consequently the security had been validly dispensed with and the objection of the judgment-debtors should have been disposed of on merits. Since the trial Court had not disposed it of on merits this Court by its order remanded the case to the trial Court for decision of the objection, on merits. The position now is that the objection filed by the judgment-debtors is pending before the executing Court.
2. Under Article 133(1) an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from a judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of this Court. The order passed by this Court is not a decree or judgment because it does not decide the rights of the parties in the civil proceedings. The 'civil proceeding' referred to in Article 133(1) is not the particular case before the High Court in which it passes the impugned order but the proceeding started in the trial Court and in the course of which the High Court passes the order. There were two proceedings in this case (besides the suit in which the decree was passed), (1) the execution case which is still pending in the executing Court which is hearing the judgment-debtors' objection under Order 21, Rule 90 of the Code of Civil Procedure and (2) the appeal from the order passed by the executing Court rejecting the objection under Order 21, Rule 90. It is the first proceeding that is contemplated by the phrase 'civil proceeding' in Article 133(1) of the Constitution.
The order appealed from must be a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court and must be passed in a, civil proceeding; this is the meaning of what is said in the opening words of Article 133(1) and not that the civil proceeding must be of a High Court. The question, therefore, before us is whether the order passed by this Court in the appeal could be said to be a judgment, decree or final order in the execution case (that is pending before the execution Court) and evidently it must be in the negative. The rights of the parties in the executing Court have not yet been decided; the objection of the judgment-debtors has not yet been heard on merits. The only decision given by this Court through its impugned order is that there was no bar to the entertainment of the judgment-debtors' objection on merits. The executing Court thought that the entertainment of the objection on merits was barred by a certain fact and this Court held that it was not and called upon the executing Court to entertain it on merits.
The dispute between the parties in the civil proceeding was whether the sale should be set aside under Order 21, Rule 90, Civil Procedure Code, or not and that matter has not been decided by this Court through its impugned order and is still pending in the executing Court. There is, therefore, not only no judgment or decree but also no final order. A final order within the meaning of Article 133(1) must be the final order in the civil proceeding and not the final order in the case disposed of by the High Court. Merely because the High Court by its order disposed of fully the appeal before it does not become final order in a civil proceeding; if the civil proceeding remains pending in the trial Court in spite of the order passed by the High Court, it is not the final order in the civil proceeding though it may be the final order in the appeal before the High Court. An appeal is provided from a final order in a civil proceeding and not from a final order in an appeal or revision disposed of by the High Court.
3. The view that we take is in consonance with the views of Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court. One of the earliest cases to which a reference has been made is Saiyid Muzhar Hossein v. Mt. Bodha Bibi ILR 17 All 112 (PC), in which the Judicial Committee held that a decision on appeal by a High Court upon a cardinal issue in a suit, for example, an issue that goes to the foundation of the suit, and one that can never, while the decision stands, be disputed again, is a final decree for the purposes of appeal to the Queen in Council, notwithstanding that there may be subordinate inquiries yet to be made in disposing of the suit. This is a decision that was relied upon by aBench of this Court in Smt. Bhagwati Kunwar v. Hargopal,1960 All LJ 244, but it was subsequently explained awayby the Judicial Committee in Abdul Rahman v. Cassim andSons , which decision was not noticedby the learned Judges, who decided the case of Smt.Bhagwati Kunwar, 1960 Alt LJ 244 (supra). In view ofwhat their Lordships said in Abdul Rahman's case, , in regard to the decision in Saiyid MuzharHossein's case, ILR 17 All 112 (PC), we need not dealwith that case at all.
4. In Salaman v. Warner, (1891) 1 QB 734, it was held that an order is final only where it is made upon an application or other proceeding which must, whether such application or other proceeding fails or succeeds, determine the action and that it is 'interlocutory', if the decision given in one way finally disposes of the matter in dispute but if given in the other way allows the action to go on. Lopes, L. J. said at page 736 that an order 'would be final within the meaning of the rules, when, whichever way it went, it would finally determine the rights of the parties.' The question before the Court of Appeal was whether an order holding that a plaint disclosed no cause of action was a final order or an interlocutory order and it held that the order was interlocutory. It is noticeable that even though the suit was dismissed the order was held to be an interlocutory and not a final order.
5. In Bozson v. Altrincham Urban District Council, (1903) 1 KB 547, Lord Alverstone C. J. laid down the following test for deciding whether an order is a final order or not :
'Does the judgment or order, as made, finally dispose of the rights of the parties? If it does, then I think, it ought to be treated as a final order; but if it does not, it is then, in my opinion, an interlocutory order.'
6. In Firm Ramchand Manjimal v. Firm Goverdhandas Vishandas Ratanchand AIR 1920 PC 86 the Judicial Committee held that an order passed by a High Court refusing stay of a suit under Section 19 of the Arbitration Act is not final. Viscount Cave relied upon (1891) 1 QB 734 (supra) and (1903) 1 KB 547 (supra) and held that:
'an order is final if it finally disposes of the rights of the parties.'
By the order refusing to stay the suit the High Court did not finally dispose of the rights of the parties to the suit but left them to be determined by the Courts in the ordinary way.
It should be noticed that Viscount Cave distinguished the rights claimed and resisted by the parties in the case before the High Court from the rights agitated and resisted by the parties in the original suit. Before the High Court one party claimed that the proceedings in the suit should be staved and the other party resisted that claim. When the High Court refused to stay the suit it did decide that one party had no right to have the suit stayed, but that was a decision on a right of a party which was not the subject-matter of the suit. Though the High Court decided that the party had no right to have the suit stayed the Judicial Committee held that the order passed by the High Court did not finally dispose of the rights of the parties, meaning the rights which were agitated by them in the original suit This makes it clear that what we have to see is whether the rights Claimed and resisted by the parties in the original proceeding have been finally determined or not; if they are not, the order of the High Court cannot be said to be a final one.
7. In Abdul Rahman's case their Lordships of the Judicial Committee approved of the case of Ramchand Manjimal AIR 1920 PC 86 and observed at page 60 as follows:
'It should be noted that the appellate Court in India was of opinion that the order it had made 'went to the foot of the suit, namely, the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain it,' and it was for this reason that the order was thought to be final and the certificate granted. But this was not sufficient. The finality must to a finality in relation to the suit. If, after the order, the suit is still a live suit in which the rights of the parties have still to be determined no appeal lies against it under Section 109(s) of the Code.'
With reference to Saiyid Muzhar Hossein's case, ILR 17 All 112 (PC) their Lordships pointed out that it was decided with reference to the old Civil Procedure code of 1882, in which the words of the material sections differed materially from those of the Code of 1908, and that important questions had been decided by the order under appeal and only subordinate points which could have been dealt with by the High Court were left to be decided by the trial Court. Therefore, in substance, the judgment of the High Court was held to be one determining the rights of the parties. Their Lordships observed that if the effect of the High Court decree had been merely to remand the case for trial on the merits different considerations would have applied, meaning thereby that its order would not have been held to be a final order.
In Abdul Rahman's case the order appealed from was that the suit be remanded to the trial Court for trial on merits. This remand order was distinguished from the remand order passed in the case of Saiyed Muzhar Hossein, ILR 17 All 112 (PC); on the same reasoning the remand order passed by this Court is to be distinguished from that passed in Saiyad Muzhar Hossein's case, ILR 17 All 112 (PC). Their Lordships held that the remand order was not a final order and on the same reasoning the remand order passed by this Court must be held to be not a final order.
8. In S. Kuppuswami Rao v. The King the Federal Court interpreted the words 'judgment or final order' occurring in Section 205(i) of the Government of India Act, 1935. It had to decide whether an order passed by High Court dismissing a revision application and holding that the trial Court can go on with the trial even in the absence of the Governor's sanction was a judgment or final order or not. The trial was proceeding in the trial Court in spite of the order of the High Court and, therefore, it was held to be not a judgment or final order and the cases of Salaman, (1891) 1 QB 734, Bozson, (1903), 1 K3 547, Ramchand Manjimal AIR 1920 PC 86 and Abdul Rahman (supra) were relied upon. On the same reasoning the order under consideration was not a judgment, nor 3 final order; it was not a judgment because it was, only an interlocutory order made on a preliminary objection in the course of a proceeding under Order XXI, Rule 90 of the Code of Civil Procedure and was not a final order because it did not terminate the proceeding.
9. The same view was taken by the Federal Court in Mohammad Amin Brothers Ltd. v. Dominion of India AIR 1950 FC 77. Mukherjea, J. said at page 78:
'The expression 'final order' has been used in contradistinction to what is known as 'interlocutory order' and the essential test .................. for determining the finality of an order is, whether the judgment or order finally disposed of the rights of the parties.'
The learned Judge relied upon the cases of Ramchand Manjimal, AIR 1920 PC '86, Abdul Rahman and S. Kuppuswami Rao (supra). The order sought to be appealed from in that case was one setting aside the compulsory winding up of a company and remanding the case to the trial Court to be heard at a future date in accordance with the instructions given in it. The Federal Court held that it was not a final order because the rights of the parties in the original suit were left undecided. Though the High Court by its order under appeal disposed of the appeal completely the order was held to be not a final order because the original suit remained alive.
This case establishes that the finality must be In relation to the civil Proceeding in the original suit and not the particular proceeding taken to the High Court, and that the final order must be in the original suit and not in the particular case taken to the High Court Though the High Court disposed of a principal point in controversy between the parties its decision was purely interlocutory; there had been no adjudication by it on the rights of the parties. Similarly in the instant case though it decided a particular question e.g. whether there was any bar to hearing the judgment-debtors' objection, the order was not a final order. As regards 'judgment', the Federal Court laid down that it means the declaration or final determination of the rights of the parties in the matter brought before the Court, here Court 'means not the High Court but the original Court.'
10. The facts in Moolji Jaitha and Co. v. Khandesh Spinning and Weaving Mills Co. Ltd AIR 1950 FC 83 were that a suit was tried by the High Court of Bombay on the original side. The defendants contested the High Court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit in regard to certain prayers and it held that it had, and the question was whether it was a final order or not. Since the suit remained pending it was held to be not a final order and the Federal Court relied upon the cases of Salamair, (1891) 1 QB 734 and S. Kuppuswami (supra).
11. In Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee v. Shiv Ratan Dev Singh : AIR1955SC576 the order sought to be appealed from was an order allowing the appeal and remanding the case back to the trial Court for proceeding in accordance with law. The trial Court had disposed of the suit only on certain preliminary issues and its findings on those issues were reversed by the High Court by the order under appeal. Because the High Court had remanded the case to the trial Court, It was contended that it was not a final order within the meaning of Article 133(1) of the Constitution. The High Court had held that it was a final order, because through it had finally determined the rights of the parties in regard to the ownership of the property in dispute and after remand the trial Court had to do nothing except to pass a decree in terms of the remand order.
It is in these circumstances that the Supreme Court held that the order was a final order. This decision may show that an order is a final order even though the suit remains pending but there is a special condition and it is that the rights of the parties in the pending suit have been effectively determined by the order under appeal and only a ministerial act remains to be done by the trial Court When the High Court has not decided the question of the rights of the parties at all and remanded the case to the trial court, the remand order cannot be placed on the same footing as the order in the case Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
12. This Court laid down three conditions which must be fulfilled before an order is held to be a final order, vide Mohd. Mohmood Hasan Khan v. Govt. of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1956All457 . They are that it should not be an interlocutory order, that though it disposes of the proceeding before the High Court finally it is not an order which left the original proceeding in the court below alive and that there is a final determination of the rights of the parties or it effects the rights of the parties by its own force. The Full Bench relied upon the cases of Ramchand Manjimal AIR 1920 PC 86, Abdul Rahman , Mohammad Amin Brothers Ltd AIR 1950 FC 77 and S. Kuppuswami Rao (supra).
13. An order by a High Court reversing an order of the trial Court recording a compromise was held to be not a final order or judgment by another Full Bench of this Court in Savitri Devi v. Rajuj Devi : AIR1961All245 . Beg J. pointed out that the determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties should he on merits and be final and conclusive so as to cover the entire range of substantive rights and liabilities which form the subject-matter of the real controverse in the suit or proceeding which initially gave rise to the dispute. This supports our view that what is to be considered is not the particular rights claimed or resisted in the appeal before the High Court but whether the rights claimed and resisted in the original suit have been determined by the order under appeal.
14. In a recent decision Jethanand and Sons v. State of Uttar Pradesh : 3SCR754 the Supreme Court held that an order remanding a case under Section 151, Code of Civil Procedure, is not a judgment, decree or final order. Shah J. speaking for the Court at p. 110 (of All LJ) : (at p. 796 of AIR) said :
'An order is final if it amounts to a final decision relating to the rights of the parties in dispute in the civil proceeding. If after the order, the Civil proceeding still remains to be tried and the rights in dispute between the parties have to be determined, the order is not a final order within the meaning of Article 133.'
This supports what we said earlier that what is meant by civil proceeding is the original suit and not the particular proceeding in which the High Court passes the order under appeal. If after the order the proceeding In the High Court terminates and still something remains pending, it must be the original suit; when the Supreme Court said that if after the order the civil proceedings still remain to be tried it meant the original suit.
The present case is fully governed by this decision of the Supreme Court; after the order under consideration the objection of the judgment-debtors still remains to be tried and, therefore, the order is not a final order. When this Court held that there was no bar to the objection being entertained even though it was not accompanied by security, it did not decide the objection on its merits. The question before it was whether there was any impediment to the objection being decided on its merits and this Court only held that there was no such impediment and that it could be decided on merits.
15. The facts in Smt. Bhagwati Kunwar's case, 1960 All LJ 244 (supra) on which Sri Bashir Ahmad strongly relied, are these. In a suit for possession and mesne profits one of the principal issues related to certain wills and the question whether certain' persons acquired vested and heritable and transmitable interest. The trial Court decided only those issues and on the basis of the findings dismissed the suit. This Court on appeal set aside the trial court's findings on the issues and remanded the suit to the trial Court for decision of other issues. When an application was made for a certificate under Article 133(1)(a) of the Constitution Roy and Uniyal JJ. held that the order of the High Court amounted to a 'judgment' or 'final order'. They simply relied upon the case of Saiyid Muzhar Hossein, ILR 17 All 112 (PC) (supra), They did not notice the case of Abdul Rahman , which explained tire decision in Saiyid Muzhar Hossein's case ILR 17 All 112 (PC) and pointed out that it was based on old law. Since the decision in Abdul Rahman's case , has been approved of by the Supreme Court we are governed by the law laid down in it and the decision in Smt. Bhagwati Kunwar's case, 1960 All LJ 244 is not binding on us and must be deemed to have been impliedly overruled by the decision of the Supreme Court.
16. In the result we hold that the impugned order was not a judgment, decree or final order. No appeal lies from it to the Supreme Court and we dismiss this application with costs.