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Baramdeo Pandey Vs. Debi Dat Singh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931All90
AppellantBaramdeo Pandey
RespondentDebi Dat Singh and ors.
Excerpt:
- - clearly the other subordinate judge was not his successor within the meaning of order 20, rule 2, and apparently on this ground the procedure was considered irregular, but it was held that such an irregularity was not material and would not give any right to a court of appeal to reverse the decree of the lower court. 11. we consider therefore that the procedure of the lower appellate court was perfectly correct......he has a letter from the registrar of this court to the effect that the retirement of the learned district judge chaudhri abdul hasan, took effect from 4th october 1927. we may however point out that this statement does not show on what date the resignation of the district judge was actually accepted, and in the ordinary course it would be accepted at a date long subsequent to 4th october 1927, the date from which it had retrospective effect.2. the judgment was signed on 9th october 1927, and was pronounced in court by the successor of the district judge on 17th october 1927. the short question before us is whether this judgment was validly pronounced under order 20, rule 2, which states:a judge may pronounce a judgment written but not pronounced by his predecessor.3. it was argued for.....
Judgment:

Mukerji, J.

1. This is a second appeal by a plaintiff against a decree of the lower appellate Court dismissing his suit. There are only three grounds of appeal and all are based on the same point that the presiding officer had no jurisdiction to pass a judgment, because he had retired from office on 4th October 1927. We are not referred to any notice in the Gazette or in the Civil List to show the actual date of retirement, but the counsel says that he has a letter from the Registrar of this Court to the effect that the retirement of the learned District Judge Chaudhri Abdul Hasan, took effect from 4th October 1927. We may however point out that this statement does not show on what date the resignation of the District Judge was actually accepted, and in the ordinary course it would be accepted at a date long subsequent to 4th October 1927, the date from which it had retrospective effect.

2. The judgment was signed on 9th October 1927, and was pronounced in Court by the successor of the District Judge on 17th October 1927. The short question before us is whether this judgment was validly pronounced under Order 20, Rule 2, which states:

A Judge may pronounce a judgment written but not pronounced by his predecessor.

3. It was argued for the appellant that when the Judge who wrote the judgment retired, he ceased to be a Judge at all, and therefore he cannot be considered to be the predecessor of the Judge who pronounced the judgment within the meaning of Order 20, Rule 2. No definite authority was shown for this argument. But reference was made to a number of rulings. In Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti [1912] 35 Mad. 47, there was a ruling of a Full Bench of the Madras High Court and at p. 51 it is stated that as one of the five Judges who heard the appeal argued had resigned office, the Chief Justice directed that the Bench which would deliver judgment would consist only of the four remaining Judges. No definite decision was made as to whether the judgment of the learned Judge who had resigned was a judgment valid in law or not; but at p. 57 that judgment is appended and it was appended under the orders of the Chief Justice. No authority for the proposition can be deduced from this ruling.

4. A reference was also made to an English ruling, but as it was not shown that the rules of the High Court in England are similar, we cannot say whether anything could be deduced or not from this English ruling.

5. The appellant further relied on Fort Gloster Jute Manufacturing Co. v. Chander Kumar Das [1919] 46 Cal. 978. In this case there were two Subordinate Judges working in the same district and one had to go to another district for some days in the month. He wrote a judgment which was pronounced during his absence by the other Subordinate Judge. Clearly the other Subordinate Judge was not his successor within the meaning of Order 20, Rule 2, and apparently on this ground the procedure was considered irregular, but it was held that such an irregularity was not material and would not give any right to a Court of appeal to reverse the decree of the lower Court. This is in accordance with Section 99, Civil P.C., which states that no decree shall be reversed on account of any error, defect or irregularity in any proceedings in the suit, not affecting the merits of the case or the jurisdiction of the Court.

6. The two other rulings may be referred to, one of which is Lachhman Prasad v. Ram Kishan [1911] 33 All. 236. In this it was laid down that where a judgment is written by a Judge, who is transferred, then his successor has discretion under Order 20, Rule 2 either to pronounce the judgment or not to pronounce it and to come to a decision himself on appeal.

7. Another case in point is reported in Satyendra Nath Roy v. Kastura Kumari Ghatwalin [1908] 35 Cal. 756, which was a decision of a Bench of five Judges. In this it was held that a judgment may be written by a Judge after he has been transferred or has gone on leave and may be pronounced by his successor. We note that in that case there was an interval of ten months after the Judge had gone on leave before he sent the judgment to his successor to pronounce, and it was held that the pronouncing of such a judgment was a correct procedure under Section 199 of the former Civil P.C., of 1882, which corresponds to Order 20, Rule 2.

8. Some attempt has been made to draw a distinction between a judgment written after a Judge had retired and a judgment written while a Judge is on leave. It is true that when a Judge is on leave he will on return from leave take over charge again of his judicial office, but during the period that he is on leave he does not possess any judicial powers or functions or jurisdiction. We can see no distinction drawn between a writing of a judgment by a Judge who has gone on retirement. In fact if the distinction which the learned Counsel seeks to draw were drawn, then it would lead to an absurd conclusion. If it were to be held that a judgment written on retirement is invalid but a judgment written on leave is not invalid, then there might arise a case of a judgment written during leave which is held to be valid, but owing to the officer subsequently going on retirement and his retirement dating back to the commencement of his leave, then the same judgment ought to be invalid.

9. We may note that Rule 2 is without any qualification of the word 'predecessor.' On the argument of the learned Counsel for the appellant the word 'predecessor' would have to be qualified by some such phrase as

who is still in service or who is on leave or who has been transferred.

10. As the rule is without any qualification, we consider that there is no authority for introducing such a qualification into the rule.

11. We consider therefore that the procedure of the lower appellate Court was perfectly correct. No other ground of appeal has been taken in the memorandum. Accordingly we dismiss this appeal with costs.


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