1. In the course of the winding up of the respondent bank the appellant submitted a claim for a very substantial sum of money. The official Liquidator rejected the major part of the claim and the appellant appealed to the Company Judge. The Company Judge dismissed the appeal subject to certain minor adjustments. Against the order of the Company Judge the appellant filed a special appeal which was allowed in part by a Division Bench by a judgment dated the 14th March, 1957.'
The Official Liquidator filed an application for a review of that judgment, but the Bench considered itself precluded as undoubtedly it was, from entertaining the application in view of the Full Bench decision of this Court in Mt. Abhilakhi v. Sada Nand. : AIR1931All244 . The Bench however entertained a doubt as to whether Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 has been rightly decided, and as the matter was one of considerable importance it has referred to rhis Bench two questions: first, whether a decision given by the Court in a special appeal is open to review, and, secondly, whether the Court can rectify a mistake in its judgmentso as to alter its decision by acting under Section 151, C. P. C.
2. A special appeal is the name given by the Rules of Court to an appeal which lies from a judgment of one Judge in the circumstances mentioned in Clause 10 of the Letters Patent of Her Majesty dated the 17th March, 1866. These Letters Patent ceased to have effect on the 26th July, 1948, on the coming into force of the United Provinces High Courts (Amalgamation) Order, 1948, but by Clause 7 of that Order the present High Court had conferred on it all such original, appellate and other jurisdiction as was on the day preceding the coming into force of the Order exercisable by either the former High Court at Allahabad or the Chief Court in Oudh.
3. In : AIR1931All244 which was decided in 1931, this Court held by a majority that no application lay for the review of a judgment passed by a Bench in the exercise of its appellate powers under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent; and the present reference raises the question whether that case was rightly decided.
4. Provision for the review of a judgment is to be found in Section 114 and Order 47, C. P. C. and the short question is whether those provisions have any application to a judgment passed in a special appeal. Section 117 of the Code provides that, save as provided in Part IX or Part X of the Code or in the rules made thereunder, the provisions of the Code shall apply to all High Courts. It is common ground that the only provision in Part IX or Part X or in the rules which restricts the application of the Code to appellate proceedings in a High Court is Order 49, Rule 3 which provides that Order 41, Rule 35 (relating to the date and contents of a decree) shall not apply. Subject to this exception there is no doubt Section 117, which is quite general in its terms, applied the provision of the Code to all proceedings taken by the High Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
5. Section 114, so far as it is relevant, provides that, subject to such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed by the rules,
'any person considering himself aggrieved
(a) by a decree or order from which an appeal is allowed by this Code, but from which no appeal has been preferred;
(b) by a decree or order from which no appeal is allowed by this Code.....
may apply for a review of judgment to the Court which passed the decree or made the order, and the Court may make such order thereon as it thinks fit.'
On a plain reading of this section it would appear that the High Court may (subject to the conditions and limitations to be found in Order 47) review its judgment in all cases except where an appeal from a decree or order founded upon that judgment is allowed under the Code and has been preferred. It is common ground that no appeal has been preferred from the appellate judgment in the present case. Prima facie, therefore, this Court has the power to review that judgment.
6. The learned Judges, Banerji and Bennet. JJ., who constituted the majority in Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 werehowever of the opinion that this Court could not review a judgment passed by it in exercise of a jurisdiction vested in it under the Letters Patent. In their opinion the power conferred by Section 114 of the Code could be used in the case of appellate judgments only if that judgment was passed in the exercise of a jurisdiction granted by the C. P. C. The learned Judges laid stress on the words 'by this Code' appearing in Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 114. These words in their opinion indicated with sufficient clearness that the judgments to be reviewed must be made in the exercise ot a jurisdiction derived from the Code; at p. 551 (of ILR All): (at p. 250 of AIR). They say
'the criterion in Section 114(a) and (b) whether an appeal is allowed by the Code would not be introduced if the section were intended to apply to judgments passed in the exercise of jurisdiction not derived from the Code:'
Mukerji J. was of a different opinion. In his view a judgment given by a Bench of the High Court hearing a Letters Patent appeal came clearly and without any ambiguity within the language of Section 114.
7. With great respect, there are at least two serious objections to the majority view. In the first place, that view appears to assume that the words 'appeal allowed by this Code' in Section 114 refer to the appeal the judgment in which is sought to be reviewed. This assumption is not, I think, tenable as the words appear clearly to refer to a prospective appeal from that judgment. Take the case of a second appeal which is tiled from the decree of a District Judge. That is an appeal which is heard by this Court in exercise of a jurisdiction conferred on it by Section 100 of the Code.
An application for review will therefore lie: but as under Section 114 the judgment to be reviewed is that of the Court which passed the decree from which the appeal is allowed it follows (if the majority view be correct) that the judgment open to review is not that of the High Court on appeal but that of the District Judge. In my view the requirement of Clauses (a) and (b) is that that prospective appeal is one which is allowed by the Code (but not preferred), or one which is not allowed by the Code. The jurisdiction exercised by the High Court in deciding the appeal is irrelevant.
8. In the second place, the majority view overlooks the fact that if els. (a) and (b) ot Section 114 apply only where the judgment to be reviewed is made in exercise of a jurisdiction derived from the Code, then the Court will be without the power, which it has long exercised without question, to review judgments passed in first appeals. The only jurisdiction in appel-late matters conferred on a High Court by the Code is to hear and determine second appeals and to decide appeals from certain orders. The courts' power to hear first appeals from the order of District Judge is conferred not by Section 96 of the Code but by Section 20 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887; the Court's jurisdiction to hear all other appeals is derived either from some statute or from Clause 7 of the United Provinces High Courts (Amalgamation) Order rend with Clause 10 of the Letters Patent.
9. In my judgment the opinion of Mukerji, J. in Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 is to be preferred. The decree or order made in a special appeal is either appeala-ble to the Supreme Court under the Code, or it is not. If it is and no appeal has been preferred, the case falls under Clause (a) of Section 114; if it is not, the case falls under Clause (b).
10. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 has been followed by the Patna High Court in Inder Mahton v. Ram Kishun Missir, AIR 1931 Pat 409, but a contrary view as to the applicability of Section 114 was taken by the Madras High Court in Venkatasubbarayudu v. Govinda Krishna Yachendklrulu Varu, AIR 1917 Mad 670, by the Bombay High Court in Ratan-chand Khimchand v. Damji Dharsey, AIR 1927 Bom 232, and more recently by the Punjab High Court in Suba Singh v. Neki Kishen .
11. It has been urged upon us that we should not upset now a decision which stood for twenty years. The Court is always reluctant to reverse a judgment of long standing if as a consequence of that judgment rights have been granted and: liabilities incurred. That however is not the case here, for all that the Court would do is to declare that the right to apply for review -is more extensive than was previously believed to be the case.
12. In my opinion, with all due respects.. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 was not rightly decided and would answer the first question referred to us in the affirmative. In the circumstances, the second question docs not arise and need not be; answered.
13. I agree.
Kailash Prasad, J.
14. I concur.
J.D. Sharma, J.
15. I agree.
16. Two questions have been referred to us for answer. They are:
(1) Whether a decision given by the Court in a special Appeal is open to review?
(2) Whether the Court can rectify a mistake in its judgment so as to alter its decision by acting under Section 151, C. P. C.
17. The circumstances in which the refe-rence has been made, briefly stated, are these: The Jwala Bank Ltd. was ordered to be wound up. Sri Jwala Prasad, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company, submitted a claim for a sum of Rs. 8,97,100/- to the Official Liquidator. The amount included a sum claimed by him on account of salary for the period 1-6-1950 to 30-6-1958 and also certain compensation and travelling expenses, etc. The claim was accepted bv the Liquidator only to the extent of Rs. 12, 730/-. The rest of it came up for consideration before the then Company Judge Mr. Justice Brij Mohan Lall who rejected it except to a small extent.
Against the order of the Company Judge an appeal was preferred under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent read with Ch. VIII, Rule 5 of the Rules of Court to a Division Bench. A difference of opinion arose between the Judges who constitutedthe Bench and the case was on that account referred to a third Judge for opinion. In accordance with the opinion of the third Judge the Division Bench decided the Special Appeal by its order dated the 14th March 1957 and allowed the appeal in certain respects.
On 8th May 1957 the Official Liquidator who was the respondent in the special appeal filed an application for review of judgment under Order XLVII, Rule 1 C. P. C. and contended in support of the application that the judgment in the special appeal should be reviewed because the Bench had omitted to take into consideration an express provision of law and had also ignored an important fact. When the application for review was takenup for consideration the learned Judges found that
'If the facts as stated in the review petition be correct the decision given by the Special Bench will not be found to be right or legal'.
They were, however, faced with the difficulty that there was a Full Bench decision of this Court in : AIR1931All244 according to which a review application was not maintainable in respect of a judgment in a special appeal. It was noticed that there was on the point conflict of opinion between the various High Courts which, in the opinion of the learned Judges, rendered the reconsideration of the decision in Mt. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 (supra) necessary. It was alsonoticed that in Dan Singh v. Addl. Collector : AIR1960All152 a learned Judge finding that in view of Mt. Abhilakhi's case. : AIR1931All244 (supra) he could not review his decision given under Article 226 of the Constitution had revised it by having recourse to Section 151, C. P. C. The learned Judges therefore referred the two questions already stated to a larger Bench.
18. I shall assume in addressing myself tothe first question that it relates to an appeal filedunder Clause 10 of the Letters Patent read with Ch.VIII, Rule 5 of the Rules of Court the Judgment ofwhich is sought to be reviewed under Section 114,C. P. C. read with Order XLVII of the Code. Appealslie to a Division Bench from a decision of asingle Judge under other provisions of law also,e.g. Section 476-B Cri. P. C., vide In the matter ofan intended appeal Narain Das v. The Statedecided by the Supreme Court on 14-9-1960: : 1961CriLJ317 .
Review may also be permitted apart from Sec 114, C. P. C. e.g. by specific enactments like the Sales Tax (Validation) Act, 1958 or the Agricultural Income-tax (Amendment) Act, 1956 in which case the terms of the Statute will govern the question. In the present case it is not necessary for us to consider whether a decision in such other appeals from a judgment of a single Judge to a Division Bench, is open to review.
19. The answer to the first question depends on whether Section 114, C. P. C. and the rules in Order XLVII of the Code are applicable to the special appeal.
20. It is not disputed that Section 117, C. P. C. makes the provisions of the entire Code, including Section 114 and Order XLVII, applicable to theHigh Courts with the exception of certain provisions in Parts IX and X of the Code. The excepted provisions are, however, not material for our present purposes. Section 114 of the Code reads like this:
'Subject as aforesaid, (i.e. to such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed) any person considering himself aggrieved:
(a) by a decree or order from which an appeal is allowed by this Code, but from which no appeal has been preferred,
(b) by a decree or order from which no appeal is allowed by this Code, or
(c) by a decision on a reference from a Court of Small Causes,
may apply for a review of judgment to the Court which passed the decree or made the order, and the Court may make such order thereon as it thinks fit.'
The Section states the general powers of review of decrees or orders passed by the Courts. The details and the procedure are provided in Order XLVII of the Code. Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of the first portion of Rule 1 of that Order which deal with the persons entitled to claim review are almost identical with Clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Section 114. The only difference is that the words 'by this Code' appearing in the first two clauses of Section 114 are not there in the corresponding clauses of the first portion of Rule 1 of Order XLVII.
Undue importance cannot, however, be given to the omission of these words and on that account those words in Section 114 cannot be ignored. Nor could Rule 1 by that omission enlarge the power of review granted by Section 114 or override the limitations contained in its provisions. As section 114 applies to the High Courts it must be held applicable to a special appeal like the one in question, which is undoubtedly a proceeding in the Court. The section can, however, permit reviews only in respect of those judgments in special appeals which fall within its four corners. It is therefore necessary to analyse its provisions and find out what essential features must be present in order that the section may apply. These features appear to be three :
(1) There must be a decree or order by which the person applying for review must be aggrieved.
(2) The decree or order must be one from which either an appeal is allowed by the Code but has not been preferred or from which no , appeal is allowed by the Code.
(3) The review can be of the judgment leading to the decree or order and not of the decree or order itself. The 'decree or order' referred to in Section 114 is a decree or order contemplated by the Code, and defined in Sub-section (2) and (14) of Section 2 of the Code. As in view of Section 117 the Procedure followed while dealing with the special appeal now in question was the procedure laid down in the C. P. C. the ultimate decision made in the special appeal even if not a decree can be considered to be an order as contemplated by the Code. The first essential is therefore fulfilled.
21. The next question is whether the decision was one from which an appeal was allowedby the C. P. C. Section 109(a) of the Code permits an appeal to the Supreme Court from
'a judgment, decree or final order passed on appeal by a High Court.....'.
The decision sought to be reviewed finally determined important questions of fact and law relating to the rights of Sri Jwala Prasad in respect of a large sum of money he was claiming against the Company in liquidation. The decision was given in an appeal preferred against an order of the Company judge. It is clear therefore that it was a decree or order passed on appeal by the High Court. An appeal against the decision was therefore allowed by Section 109(a) of the Code. It is common ground that no appeal has been preferred to the Supreme Court. The second requirement of Section 114 of the Code too was therefore present.
22. What the Official Liquidator wanted to be reviewed was the judgment pronounced by the Division Bench which resulted in its final order or decree. The contention was that the judgment suffered from an apparent error of law inasmuch as an express provision of law had been disregarded and an essential fact had been ignored. The third condition of Section 114 and the requirements of Rule 1 of Order XLVII were thus also complied with.
23. There may be special appeals the decisions in which may not fulfil the requirements ot Section 114 for one reason or other. We are not concerned with them at present. About the judgment in the special appeal in question it is difficult to see any ground on which it can be contended that the application for review was not maintainable.
24. In the case of : AIR1931All244 (supra) a second appeal had been dismissed by a single Judge of this Court. He had, however; granted permission for filing an appeal under the Letters Patent. The appeal was filed in pursuance of the permission and was allowed in part. The appellant then applied for a review of the judgment of the Division Bench in the Letters Patent appeal. A question was raised ahout the maintainability of the application for review and was referred to a Full Bench for decision.
Out of the three learned Judges who constituted the Full Bench Mr. Justice Mukerji on a hare reading of the provisions of the C. P. C. was of the view that application was maintainable. The other two learned Judges were, however, of a different view. They conceded that in view of Section 117 of the Code the procedure laid down in the C. P. C. was applicable to an appeal under the Letters Patent and that the decree passed in the appeal was a decree contemplated by the Code. They, however held that an application for review was not maintainable. Summarising the reasons in support of their view they observed:
'We may summarise our view of the question under reference by stating that, while the procedure of the C. P. C. does apply to the hearing of Letters Patent appeals and to the consequent decrees, the jurisdiction in the exercise of which the judgments are made is derived from the Letters Patent, and not from the Code, the criterion inSection 114(a) and (b) whether an appeal is allowed by the Code would not be introduced if the section were intended to apply to such judgments then the criterion would merely have been whether an appeal was allowed without reference to the Code; further if the section were applied to such judgments the object of the section, to ensure that an application for review should not lie if an appeal has been filed, might be frustrated; and lastly, if the section were intended to apply to such judgments, the section would contain an express reference to other laws, as is found in Sections 96, 100 and 104, which deal with the right to appeal, a right similar to the right to apply for review.'
25. With the utmost respect I find it difficult to see the justification for referring to the jurisdiction in the exercise of which the judgment sought to be reviewed was made. That jurisdiction may or may not have been derived from the Code. The fact appears to be immaterial. What is really to be seen for the application of Section 114 is whether the decree or order which followed the judgment was or was not appealable under the Code. Irrespective of the source of the jurisdiction under which the matter came to the Court, if the procedure to be followed was that laid down in the Code the test for deciding whether the order or judgment passed was reviewable or not was whether under the Code the decree or order was appealable. If it was, the additional condition required to be fulfilled was that no appeal should actually have been preferred.
26. The words 'allowed by this Code' in Clause (a) of Section 114 and the words 'no appeal is allowed by this Code' in Clause (b) of the section were certainly to be given their due importance and could not be ignored; but they did not qualify the proceeding in which the judgment sought to be reviewed had been passed. They referred to the appeal against the decree or order which was followed by the judgment sought to be reviewed. There appears to be nothing in Section 114 to require that the proceeding in which the judgment to be reviewed was passed should have been one which was either permitted or not permitted by the Code.
27. The decree or order finally passed in the proceeding the judgment of which is sought to be reviewed may be of four kinds:
(1) Appealable under the Civil Procedure Code, e.g. falling under Sections 96, 100 or Order XLIII, Rule 1 of the Code.
(2) Appealable not under the C. P. C. but under some other provision of law, e.g. the Guardians and Wards Act or the Articles of the Constitution.
(3) Not appealable under the C. P. C. i.e. in which the Code definitely disallows an appeal: vide observations of Courtney-Terrell. C. J. in AIR 1931 Pat 409 e.g., orders not falling under Order XLIII, Rule 1 of the Code.
(4) Not appealable on account of some other provision of law, e.g. an order dismissing a second appeal in which no declaration of fitness is granted.
28. As Section 114 was being enacted in the C. P. C. it was but natural to provide that thebenefit of the section should be available only in those cases in which the appeal against the decree or order was allowed or disallowed under the Code and not if it was allowed or disallowed under some other provision of law. In the latter case the applicant for review could maintain his application only if he succeeded in showing that he had a right of review outside the provisions of Section 114.
29. No importance can in the circumstances be given to the omission to refer to other provisions of law in the section. In enacting the section the Legislature was not providing exhaustively for all cases in which a review could lie. It was dealing only with a limited class of cases fulfilling the requirements of the section. It is, therefore, difficult to accept the argument that the criterion provided in Section 114, Clauses (a) and (b) whether an appeal is allowed or not allowed by the Code shows that thc section was not intended to apply to judgments passed in the exercise of jurisdiction not derived from the Code.
30. The insistence in the section that in case the decree or order is appealable under the Code no appeal should have been preferred is also nothing to be surprised at. If an appeal was permitted and had actually been filed the object of the review could be easily gained by approaching the appellate Court. In that case, a separate application for review would only have amounted to duplication of proceedings.
Review was permitted, even in appealable cases provided no appeal had been filed, as it was recognized that if the change sought could be brought about by review of judgment the litigant should not be compelled to have resort to the more elaborate and expensive proceeding or an appeal. There is thus no question of the object of the section being frustrated if the section is applied to judgments passed in the exercise or jurisdiction not derived from the Code.
31. The reasons given in support of the majority view in Mt. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 are, therefore, not convincing and with due respect to the learned Judges I am constrained to say that the view does not commend itself to me.
32. The earliest case in which the question arose for consideration was Hafiz Muhammad Mohsin v. Sheo Prasad, 1 All LJ 509. It was held in that case that an application for review did not He against the decision in a Letters Patent appeal because no express provision had been made for such an application and after delivering its decision the Court had become functus officio. If Section 114 is applicable it cannot be said that there is no express Provision for a review. In Kalyan Singh v. Allaha Diya, 16 All LJ 964 (1): (AIR 1918 All 221 (1)) the earlier case was simply followed and no additional reasons were given. The Madras High Court in ILR 40 Mad 651: (AIR 1917 Mad 670) held that a review application was maintainable and the ground given was that for the application of Section 114 it was not necessary that the order sought to be reviewed should have been passed under the C. P. C. The Bombay High Court in AIR 1927 Bom 232 only followed the Madras view and observed that nothing had been urged against it. The Patna High Court in AIR 1931 Pat 409 (supra) followed the majority view in Mt. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 (supra) and the only additional reason which weighed with Courtney-Terrell, C. J. was that in his view the expression 'not allowed by this Code' used in Clause (b) of Section 114 meant 'disallowed by this Code.'
33. In the recent case of the Punjab High Court expressly dissented from the majority view in Mt. Abhilakhi's case : AIR1931All244 (supra).
34. Reference was made by the learned counsel for Sri Jwala Prasad to the principle of stare clecisis and he urged that a view of law which had been followed by this Court since 1904 should be allowed to prevail even if a difference of opinion was possible about its correctness. That principle is, however, meant only to ensure that settled rights are not unsettled and that prejudice is not caused to persons who have acted on the assumption that a particular course of conduct was in accordance with law. It is not applicable to cases like the present where the only thing now being done is to enlarge the scope of a remedy which was earlier considered to be of a limited application.
35. I, therefore, agree that the first question referred to us must be answered in the affirmative. In this view of the matter the other question does not arise and need not be answered.
BY THE COURT
36. The first question is answered in theaffirmative. In the circumstances the second ques-tion does not arise and need not be answered.