1. This is an application for the revision of an order of the Judge of the Small Cause Court of Allahabad decreeing the plaintiff's suit with costs against the assets of Pancham, if any, in the hands of the1 defendant. The application is made on the ground that the decree should have been made a personal decree against the defendant Salig Ram, and it is based on the allegation that the Judge has not proceeded according to law. The plaint shows that the plaintiffs' firm sued the defendant firm, Pancham Salig Ram, and that dealings have been going on between the two firms for several years and finally claims that a sum of nearly Rs. 700 is due from the defendant firm to the plaintiffs on the account books. The name of the defendant firm according to the plaint was Pancham Salig Ram: Pancham however died before the suit was instituted, and the plaintiff's case was that Salig Ram was liable for the debts of the firm because he had been a member of the firm during his father's lifetime. This is not definitely stated in the plaint, but it has been put to me in argument that this was the case, and it appears to me to be an inference that may be drawn from the plaint. The defence was that Salig Ram was a minor during Ms father's lifetime, that he had never been a member of the firm, and that he was in no sense personally liable for the debts of the firm, if indeed there was a firm at all. The Judge of the Small Cause Court framed only one issue, viz.: Is the defendant liable for the claim? and his decision was contained in three lines
Hold the defendant is not personally liable for the claim. The suit is decreed with costs against the assets of Paneham, if any in the hands of the defendant.
2. The record shows that the only evidence recorded was the statement of the plaintiff. Under Section 25, Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, the High Court may interfere in revision where a decree or order made in the Court of Small Causes is not 'according to law.' It has been argued in this case that as the Judge did not frame issues on the questions raised by the pleadings, viz., whether there had been a firm Pancham Salig Ram, whether Salig Ram had been a member of that firm or had been a minor during the lifetime of his father, etc., and as it was necessary to decide these issues before adjudicating on the claim, it cannot be said that he proceeded according to law. The judgment itself does not show how he reached his decision, and a reference has been made to the decisions of two learned Judges of this Court in Malik Rahmat v. Shiva Prasad (1891) 13 All 533 and Rajdeo v. NathPrasad Misra : AIR1930All832 in which it has been held that a Judge of the Small Cause Court must indicate in his judgment that he has applied a judicial mind to the case. I have been referred on the other side to pronouncements of other Courts, e. g., the High Courts of Calcutta and Madras in Protap Chandra Datt v. Abhimanini Surini (1918) 48 IC 752 and K.M. Komappa Kurup v. Velayichetti AIR 1022 Mad. 360, in which the High Courts relying on the strict provisions of Order 20, Rule 4(1), Civil P.C., have held that it is not necessary for the judgment to contain more than the points for determination and the decision thereon.
3. In the present case it appears that there was more than one point for determination, that is to say, more than one issue had to be determined before the Judge could come to a judicial decision on the plaintiff's claim. What these issues were I have already indicated. If therefore the judgment is defective on a strict interpretation of the rule, I think it is evident that this Court ought to interfere in revision. I must add however that the view that has been taken in this Court goes a good deal further than this, and if I may say so with respect I am fully in agreement with the decisions that have been pronounced by the learned Judges of this Court in the cases that I have referred to above. It is necessary for the High Court to satisfy itself that there has been a decision in accordance with law, and in order to find out whether there has been a decision in accordance with law it is necessary for the High Court to be satisfied that the Judge of the Small Cause Court has come to his decision judicially and not arbitrarily. If it had appeared that the issues were framed properly on the pleadings, and the evidence recorded or notes at any rate of the evidence of both parties made by the Judge, it would have been easy for this Court to ascertain on what the decisions are based, even if the judgment itself did no more than barely fulfil the requirements of Rule 4, Order 20. In the present case the decision of the Judge may be perfectly correct, but it is not one that follows inevitably from the statement of the plaintiff, and that is all the evidence that there is on the file. The Judge may have considered the issues raised by the pleadings, but there is nothing on the record to intimate that he has done so. For all these reasons I think that he has not proceeded in this case according to law, and that there has been no proper trial. I therefore allow the application with costs, set aside the decree and order of the Court below, and direct that the case be re-admitted and tried in accordance with law and in the light of the above remarks.