1. This Regular Second Appeal (R. S.A. 283 of 1967) was originally registered in the Puniab High Court as R. Section A. No- 656 of 1962. On its transfer to this Court, the present number has been assigned to it,
2. After reading the judgments of the two Courts below, I have no hesitation in setting aside the judgment and decree of the lower Appellate Court and sending it back to the same Court for a fresh decision in accordance with law. The trial Court had on an appraisal of the evidence on the record decided issue No. 1 in favor of the plaintiffs and granted a decree in their favor. On appeal, the learned Senior Subordinate Judge with enhanced appellate powers reversed the conclusions of fact without properly discussing the evidence on the record. I may at this stage reproduce a part of the impugned judgment:
'The learned Subordinate Judge has held that the construction and working of the water flour mill was an act of appropriation and he further held that the sanctioning authority was the Raja and he by accepting the rent from the plaintiff-respondents, tacitly sanctioned their holding the land for the purposes of their running a flour mill. The perusal of evidence on the record clearly shows that conditions Nos. 3 and 4 for the sanctioning of appropriation are nto fulfillled. Raja Sahib, thereforee, could not, according to Rule 27, of Forest Rules of Kangra Division, grant the sanction.'
This is a highly unsatisfactory way of reversing the conclusion of fact on evidence arrived at by the Court of first Instance. The Courts of first appeal must always bear in mind that their conclusions of fact are binding on this Court on second appeal and this Court has, in view of Section 100, Civil P. C., no jurisdiction to reappraise or re-evaluate the evidence for the purposes of appreciating the correctness or otherwise of conclusions on questions of fact. It is, thereforee, incumbent on the Courts of first appeal to pay proper attention to the evidence on the record and to make well-reasoned orders in regard to those conclusions, particularly when they are reversing the conclusions of fact of the first Court.
3. As a matter of fact, in regard to the first point dealt with by the lower Appellate Court as well, the judgment cannto be described to be entirely satisfactory, though to an extent perhaps, it is slightly more detailed. Even there, I do feel that the learned Senior Subordinate Judge could have more clearly discussed the evidence, both oral and documentary, on the record with a view to pointing out as to how and where he differed from the appreciation of the evidence, both oral and documentary, as appraised by the first Court. I must nto be understood to lay down as a general rule that in all cases the Courts of first appeal must mention every piece of evidence and reproduce the testimony of every witness with elaborate comment All that I intend to lay down is that the judgments of such Courts must clearly suggest that they have applied their judicial mind to the appreciation of the evidence and manifestly convey the process of judicial thinking by which they differ from the conclusions of the Courts below.
4. Without expressing any opinion the correctness or otherwise of the conclusions of the first Court, I would merely send the case back to the lower Appellate court for a re-decision in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made above. I was of course Invited by the learned counsel at the bar to myself go through the evidence and record my independent findings on evidence, but I have refrained from doing so because the lower Appellate Court must be given an opportunity to perform its duties in accordance with law. I refuse to act as a Court of first appeal in cases where the lower Appellate Court is appropriately to perform those functions.
5. Costs in this Court would be costs in the cause. Parties are directed to appear in the lower Appellate Court on 12- 8-1968 when another short date would be given for further proceedings.
6. Order accordingly.