1. This is a petition to revise the order of the District Judge, Krishna, at Masulipa-tam, dated 21st November 1949, in C. M. A. No. 25 of 1949, restoring C. M. P. No. 383 of 1949 a petition to set aside the 'ex parte' decree in O. S. No. 364 of 1946, a suit involving some Rs. 4000 on the file of the Sub-Judge, Vijayyawada. The Additional Subordinate Judge, Mr. Narayanamurthi, decreed the suit on 10th December 1948, and he considered that he had decided the suit on merits on the evidence available. The civil miscellaneous petition was filed on 27th December 1948 and was dismissed by the Additional Sub-Judge on 9th April 1949 on the ground that an application under Order IX, Rule 13 Civil P. C. would not lie as it was not an 'ex parte' decree. The District Judge held that Order IX Rule 13 Civil P. C. would apply to the decree in the facts of the case, and remanded the civil miscellaneous petition for disposal 'on merits' directing the costs in the civil miscellaneous appeal to abide the result in the lower Court of the remanded civil miscellaneous petition.
2. The facts are rather interesting. The defendant, Yellayya Chetti, was present with his vakil in the Sub-Court on 9th December 1948 when the suit plaintiff's witnesses in the suit were examined and cross-examined. He took an adjournment for the next day for producing his defence witnesses and examining them. But, on 10th December 1948, to which date the suit stood posted for examining his witnesses at nis own request, he was absent. He sent a telegram stating that he and his witnesses were 'all ill', and asking him to take an adjournment from Court that day so that he might attend Court with his witnesses on the adjourned date and examine them. The Sub-Judge naturally 'refused an adjournment' as the defendant had taken an adjournment from him 'to that date' for producing and examining his witnesses and had then sent a mere telegram like this without any medical certificate. The learned counsel for the defendant found himself, after the refusal of the adjournment, at a loose end, with no witnesses to examine and no client to instruct him. His client had only wired to him to apply for an adjournment and had not authorised him to go on with the suit. So he reported "no instructions", though the learned Subordinate Judge, in his order set aside by the learned District Judge, omitted to note it, and noted the name of the vakil in the judgment passed that day in that suit as if he had taken part in the trial that day. This matter becomes very relevant for considering whether the judgment delivered that day by the learned Subordinate Judge was an 'ex parte judgment' or 'a judgment on merits'. Mr. Dikshitalu, for the petitioner in this civil revision petition, fairly conceded that it would be an 'ex parte' judgment if there had been a report of "no instructions", and not taking part in the trial that day by the defendant's vakil. That will be so in view of the decisions in 'Ram Adhin v. Ram Bharosa', AIR (12) 1925 All 182 and 'Madan Gopal v. Budhu', AIR (19) 1932 Lah 477. Mr. Dikshitalu, however, urged that the vakil's endorsement of the "no instructions" was not recited in the Subordinate Judge's order dated 9th April 1949 in the civil miscellaneous petition, and that the District Judge, though he referred to it in para 4 of his judgment, did not hold further that the vakil had only instructions to apply for an adjournment and that he had not taken any further part in the trial that day. The learned District Judge has said "But it is seen from the records that on that day he had filed a memo representing 'no instructions'." I am satisfied that the defendant's vakil took no part in the 'trial' that day, and that his name wag wrongly noted in the judgment. It is clear to me that when a vakil is asked by his client by wire merely to take an adjournment, and he applies for an adjournment and it is refused, and he reports "no instructions" on the adjournment being refused if the Court proceeds to deliver judgment, it can only be an 'ex parte' judgment and not one on merits, even if the Court purports to deliver a judgment 'on merits'. The two rulings quoted above and the rulings in 'Satish Chandra v. Ahara Prasad', 34 Cal 403 (F B) and 'Lalta Prasad v. Nanda Kishore', 22 All 66 will show this. No doubt in such a case, the party trying to set aside that 'ex parte' judgment must be drastically dealt with, especially when the plaintiff had let in all his evidence and the Court believed that it was delivering a judgment 'on merits', so that he may not repeat such tactics, of promising to come with his witnesses on a certain day and taking an adjournment for that specific purpose and not coming on that day and sending a mere telegram alleging "all-round illness' to his vakil instead. The learned counsel for the defendant frankly conceded that the defendant in the circumstances of this case, deserved to be punished for his laches by imposing a heavy solatium even for getting a remand like the one the learned District Judge gave. Mr. Dhikshitalu's contention that it cannot be taken as proved that the defendant's vakil reported "no instructions" on 10th December 1948, and took no part in the trial that day, cannot be upheld because there is not only a definite assertion by the learned counsel for the defendant before me that the defendant's vakil did report "no instructions" in the Sub Court on 10th December 1948 and took no part in the trial that day, but there is also a recital by the learned District Judge to that effect in his judgment 'after perusing the records and seeing a memo of the defendant's vakil'. A remark to that effect In a judgment of an appellate Judicial officer, like a District Judge, cannot be attacked as unreliable or incorrect simply because the subordinate judicial officer who tried the case does not refer to the memo or the endorsement of "no instructions". Mr. Dhikshitalu was not prepared to deny the existence of such a memo on record, or to attack it as a subsequent fabrication or interpolation. It will be against public policy to allow counsel to attack 'statement of fact' in judgments of judicial officers, as that will be dragging the judicial officers into an unnecessary and undignified controversy in which they cannot take part. A reading of the Subordinate Judge's order in the civil miscellaneous petition shows that he delivered the Judgment only on the available evidence left with him; that is not inconsistent with the defendant's counsel's reporting "no instructions" in a memo like that and ceasing to take any part in the trial that day. In that view, the rulings in 'Govindarajulu v. Imperial Bank of Vellore', 58 Mad 817 and 'Dakshinamurthi v. Ponnusami', 1948-1 Mad L J 65 will not apply to the facts of this case, as the defendant was not really represented in Court on 10th December 1948, and he and his Vakil took part in the trial that day. So the learned District Judge's order of remand deserves modification only in one respect, viz., the saddling of the respondent-defendant with a substantial condition precedent solatium calculated to punish him for his laches before granting him the luxury of a remand in a case like this where the Judgment and decree had been passed by the Sub Judge after discussing the entire available evidence on record and on the basis that it was a judgment 'on merits' because of the defendant's failure to bring the witnesses that day as promised. His counsel has no objection to the imposition of a solatium of Rs. 100 as a condition precedent. He merely wants a Sub Judge of Vijayawada Sub Court other than Mr. Narayanamurthi, who must have formed an opinion even about the merits, to hear the remanded civil miscellaneous petition -- not an unreasonable request in the circumstances.
3. In the end, therefore, I pass an order on terms; I direct the respondent to pay the counsel for the petitioner, by 3 p.m. on the 15th March 1951 a consolidated sum of Rs. 100 (Rs. one hun- dred) which will not be costs in this petition or in the civil miscellaneous petition or in the suit or in any other proceedings whatever, to compen sate the petitioner for the waste of time, money and energy caused to him by his laches. On such payment by such date, the order of the learned District Judge remanding the civil miscellaneous petition for fresh disposal will stand, and this revision petition will stand dismissed without costs. On failure to pay the said amount by such date, the judgment and decree of the learned District Judge remanding the civil miscellaneous petition for fresh disposal will be set aside and this petition will stand allowed without costs. The remanded civil miscellaneous petition (if the condition im posed above is satisfied) will be heard by some Sub ordinate Judge of Vijayawada Sub-Court other than Mr. Narayanamurti who heard it before, as requested by the learned counsel for the respondent. Of course, I say nothing about the merits of the civil miscellaneous petition or the desirability or otherwise of setting aside the 'ex parte' decree. All that will depend on the evidence and findings at the remanded hearing.