1. This matter has been referred to us by the Subordinate Judge of Tenali under Section 60 of the Stamp Act. Some documents were admitted by the District Munsif, but subsequent to their admission in the appellate stage, the question of the sufficiency of the stamp attached to the documents was raised and the learned Subordinate Judge having some doubts about the matter has referred the case to us purporting to do so under Section 60 of the Stamp Act. A preliminary objection has been taken that an Appellate Court has no power to make a reference under Section 60 of the Act and that Section 60 only applies to trial Courts, which when a doubt is felt at the stage of admission of a document as to whether it is or is not properly stamped can refer the matter to the High Court. In support of the preliminary objection the Full Bench decision of this High Court reported in Reference under Stamp Act, Section 49 I.L.R. (1887) 11 Mad. 38 was referred to. That is a decision under Section 49 of the Stamp Act of 1879 corresponding to Section 60 of the present Act. There five Judges were of the opinion that a reference under that section could not be made by the District Judge. In the judgment it is stated:
It is not explained how this reference comes to be made by the District Judge; it should have been made, if at all, by the District Munsif through the District Judge.
2. It is quite true that that case was decided without hearing arguments of counsel but nevertheless it is a binding decision. That being so, we must uphold the preliminary objection and hold that the learned Subordinate Judge had no power to refer the matter to the High Court under Section 60. He will, if he so desires, deal with the matter and take such action as he may deem necessary under Section 61(2) of the same Act.