S.K. Verma, J.
1. In Faulad v. State, 1961 All LJ 244: (AIR 1961 All 326), a Division Bench of this Court, consisting of V. G Oak and Kailash Prasad JJ., took the view that, until a judgment is signed and sealed after delivery in Court, it is not a Judgment and it can be changed or altered at any time before it is signed and sealed. Another Division Bench of this Court, consisting of Jagdish Sahai and G. C. Mathur JJ, doubted the correctness of the view taken in Faulad's case, 1961 All LJ 244: (AIR 1961 All 326), and for this reason the latter Bench has referred the following question for decision by a Full Bench:--
'Whether, after a judgment has been orally dictated in open Court but before it is signed and sealed, it can be completely changed?'
This Full Bench has been constituted for the purposes of answering the question mentioned above.
2. The answer to the question depends upon the interpretation of Chapter VII rules 1 to 4 of this Court. In Faulad's case, 1961 All LT 244: (AIR 196] All 326) (supra), V.G. Oak and Kailash Prasad JJ. considered the language of Chapter VII rules 1 to 4 and relied upon anumber of authorities mentioned in their judgment in support of the conclusion at which they arrived. This question was considered by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Surendra Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1954 SC 194. Their Lordships referring to Rules 1 to 4 of Chapter VII said this:--
'These rules provide for lour different situations: (1) for Judgments which are pronounced at once as soon as the case has been heard; (2) for those which are pronounced on some future date; (3) for judgments which are oral, and (4) for those which are written. These rules use the word 'pronounced' in some places and 'delivered' in others. Counsel tried to make capital out of this and said that a judgment had to be both 'pronounced' and 'delivered' and that they were two different things.
We do not intend to construe these rules too technically because they are designed, at indeed are all rules, to further the ends of justice and must not be viewed too narrowly; nor do we desire to curtail the jurisdiction which the Privy Council point out is inherent in Courts to make good inherent defects caused by accidents such as death.'
A perusar of this decision of the Supreme Court shows that their Lordships considered three different contingencies: (1) a case in which arguments have been heard and judgment has been reserved and is pronounced at a later date; (2) a case in which Judgment is delivered in open Court after arguments have been heard but it has not been signed; and (3) a case in which judgment has not only been delivered after hearing arguments but has also been transcribed and signed As regards the first of the three contingencies mentioned above their Lordships observed as follows:--
'Now, upto the moment the judgment is delivered Judges have the right to change their mind. There is a sort of 'locus paenitentiae' and indeed, last minute alterations often do occur. Therefore, however much a draft judgment may have been signed beforehand; it is nothing but a draft till formally delivered as the judgment of the Court. Only then does it crystallise into a full fledged judgment and become operative.'
With regard to the second and the third contingencies mentioned above, their Lordships observed as follows:--
'After the judgment has been delivered provision is made for review. One provision is that it can be freely altered or amended or even changed completely without further formality, except notice to the parties and a rehearing on the point of change should that be necessary, provided it has not been signed. Another is that after signature a review properly so-called would lie in civil cases but none in criminal: but the review, when it lies, is only permitted on very narrow grounds. But in this case the mere fact that a Judge is dead and so cannot review his judgment does not affect the validity of the judgment which has already been delivered and has become effective. For this reason, there is a distinction between judgments which have not been delivered and so have not be come operative and those which have. In the former case, the alteration is out of Court. It is not a judicial act. It is only part of it process of reaching a final conclusion; also there is no formal public declaration of the Judges mind in open Court and consequently there is no 'judgment' which can be acted upon. But after delivery the alteration cannot be made without notice to the parties and the proceedings must take place in open Court, and if there is no alteration there is something which is final and conclusive and which can at once be acted upon. The difference is this. In the one case one cannot know, and it would be against public policy to enquire, whether the draft of a judgment is the final conclusion of the Judge of is only a tentative opinion subject to alteration and change. In the second case, the Judge has publicly declared his mind and cannot therefore change it without notice to the Dailies and without hearing them afresh when that is necessary; and if there is no change the judgment continues in force. By change we mean an alteration of the decision and not merely the addition or subtraction of part of the reasoning.'
In our view, this decision of the Supreme Court furnishes a complete answer to the question referred to us. It makes if deal that there is power of 'review' both in eases where judgment has been delivered but not signed and cases in which judgment has been delivered, signed and scaled: in the former case the power to alter or amend or even to change completely is unlimited provided notice is given to the parties and they are heard be before the proposed change is made, while in the latter case the power is limited and review is permitted only on very narrow grounds. We arc therefore, of the view that, 1961 All LJ 244, (AIR 1961 All 326) ('supra) was rightly decided and our answer to the question referred to us is as follows:
'A judgment which has been orally dictated in open Court can be completely changed before it is signed and sealed provided notice is given to all parties concerned and they are heard before the change is made.'