Kanhaiya Lal, J.
1. This is a reference under Rule 17 of the Kumaun Rules, arising out of a suit for pre-emption brought by the plaintiff in the Court of an Assistant Commissioner in Kumaun. The Assistant Commissioner heard the suit on the 24th August, 1921 and reserved his judgment. On the 14th of February, 1922 the Assistant Commissioner signed, dated and delivered his judgment in the absence of the parties or their pleaders and without previous notice to them and he directed that the order passed should be communicated to the parties through the patwari. The judgment directed the plaintiff to deposit the pre-emption money within three months of that date, but the plaintiff was not served with a notice of its delivery till the 25th of February, 1922. He filed an appeal from the decree about the amount of the consideration money made payable by him, and about his costs, but his appeal was dismissed except about costs on the 10th May, 1922. On the 25th of May, 192i he deposited the money required, but the judgment-debtor contended that that payment was not made within the time allowed by the decree. The Assistant Commissioner repelled that contention. His order was upheld by the Deputy Commissioner on appeal. But on a further appeal the Commissioner of the Kumaun Division held that the plaintiff had failed to comply with the condition imposed by the decree and that his failure to do so had converted the decree into one in favour of the vendees.
2. The first question referred for our opinion is whether the judgment of the Assistant Commissioner dated the 14th of February, 1922 was validly pronounced within the meaning of Order 20, Rules 1 and 3 of Schedule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires that the judgment shall be pronounced in open Court; and Order 20, Rule 1 provides that after the case has been heard, the Court shall pronounce the judgment in open Court either at once or at some future date, of which due notice shall be given to the parties or to their pleaders. Section 140 of the Code 'requires that all orders or notices served on or given to any person under the provisions of this Code shall be in writing. No such notice was given in this case to the parties or their pleaders. The judgment was signed and dated in the absence of the parties without any such notice having been previously given; and we do not consider that such a delivery amounts in law to a pronouncement within the meaning of the clear and mandatory provisions of Order 20, Rule 1 of the Code. There was in effect no pronouncement of the judgment in law; and the plaintiff had no notice of it until the 25th of February, 1922 when the delivery of the judgment wag formally communicated to him.
3. The second point submitted for our opinion is whether the period of three months should be calculated from the date the judgment was signed in the absence of the parties and without previous notice to them, or whether it should be computed from the 25th of February, 1922, the date when the parties were informed of the pronouncement of the judgment through the patwari. In view of the clear provisions of the Code above referred to, a judgment signed and dated by the Presiding Judge in the absence of the parties or without previous notice to them does not stand on a higher footing than a judgment so signed and dated and kept by him in his pocket or sent by him for delivery to his successor in office. The date of the delivery of the judgment must in either case be the date when the judgment is pronounced in open Court in the presence of the parties or after previous notice to them.
4. The notice, intimating the delivery of the judgment in this case, was dated the 14th February, 1922 and asked the plaintiff to deposit the money within three months without any specification as to the date from which the period was to be computed. But the decree, which followed the judgment, expressly directed the payment of the money within three months from its date, that is from the 14th February, 1922. The plaintiff obtained copies of the judgment and the decree, and he filed them with his appeal; but his appeal was unsuccessful except about his costs, and in other respects that decree was affirmed.
5. The law of this country only contemplates the giving of a notice of an intended pronouncement of a judgment. It does not contemplate the giving of a notice after such pronouncement has been effected. The pronouncement was, therefore, irregular. But as the decree explicitly required the payment of the money within three months from the 14th of February, 1922, and the plaintiff had notice of it, the time of payment must be computed from the 14th of February, 1922, as directed by it; and the failure to make such payment must attract the consequences which the decree describes. The plaintiff is bound by the decree and cannot, as long as that decree stands, be allowed to go behind or question its terms.
6. With the above expression of opinion the record will be returned. The costs of the reference in this Court will be assessed at Rs. 32 and ought to be allowed to the defendants-vendees from the plaintiff.
7. I entirely agree. I lay particular stress on the fact that the decree of the first Court was affirmed on appeal.