Skip to content


M. Raghavalu Naidu Vs. Thandaroya Pillai and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931Mad71
AppellantM. Raghavalu Naidu
RespondentThandaroya Pillai and anr.
Cases ReferredSubbier v. Moideen Pichai
Excerpt:
- - 5. now we think it proper in limine to make the observation that it is not at all in good taste or proper for a subordinate court to question the soundness or otherwise of the decision of the high court to which it is subordinate. 226: a judge cannot ordinarily entertain a reasonable doubt on a point clearly decided by the rulings of the high court of his presidency unless the authority of the decision can be questioned by virtue of anything said or decided in the privy council. we have therefore no doubt that the learned district munsif would have been well advised if he had saved himself the trouble of comparing the soundness of the view of the two learned judges of this court in the case reported in subbier v......arose for decision. on that question of law, it would appear from the letter of reference of the learned district munsif that the decisions of the high courts of allahabad and rangoon in two cases reported in the a.i.r. series were contrary to the decision of the madras high court in the case reported in subbier v. moideen pichai a.i.r. 1923 mad. 562. the learned district munsif has made the present reference to the high court to have the question of law decided for guidance in the case before him. when this reference came on for hearing, our attention was drawn to certain passages occurring in the letter of reference of the learned district munsif, and as we consider that before proceeding further we should say what we consider to be proper with reference to those passages, we proceed.....
Judgment:

1. In a case pending before the learned District Munsif of Vellore a question of law arose for decision. On that question of law, it would appear from the letter of reference of the learned District Munsif that the decisions of the High Courts of Allahabad and Rangoon in two cases reported in the A.I.R. series were contrary to the decision of the Madras High Court in the case reported in Subbier v. Moideen Pichai A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 562. The learned District Munsif has made the present reference to the High Court to have the question of law decided for guidance in the case before him. When this reference came on for hearing, our attention was drawn to certain passages occurring in the letter of reference of the learned District Munsif, and as we consider that before proceeding further we should say what we consider to be proper with reference to those passages, we proceed at once to set out in extenso the said passages from the letter of reference. In para. 9, this is what he states:

On behalf of defendant 1 Pethu Naidu v. Chuna Lakshmina Pillai : AIR1926Mad1011 , Maharaji of Benares v. Patraj Kunwar [1906] 28 All. 262 and Ma Saw Tin v. Hockto A.I.R. 1926 Rang. 175, were relied upon. The last two cases undoubtedly support the view taken by the first defendant.

2. With reference to the case reported in : AIR1926Mad1011 , he remarked as follows:

It appears to me with the greatest deference that this decision is not reconcilable with the decision in Subbier v. Moideen Pichai A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 562.

3. Further in para. 10, the learned District Munsif stated as follows:

With the greatest deference I also beg to submit that the view assumed in the case Subbier v. Moideen Pichai A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 562 that the provisions in the Civil Procedure Code relating to investigation of claims and objections to attachment contained in Order 21 apply to an objection made by a garnishee of the nature raised in the present case, does not seem to be so sound as the view taken in the Allahabad and Rangoon cases.

4. Finally, in para. 12, the following passage occurs:

I have thought it necessary to make the reference on account of difference of opinion pointed out above and on account of the irreconcilability of the case Subbier v. Moideen Pichai A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 562 and the case : AIR1926Mad1011 . If Subbier v. Moideen Pichai A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 562 had been reported in the authorized series, I should have followed it without making the reference.

5. Now we think it proper in limine to make the observation that it is not at all in good taste or proper for a subordinate Court to question the soundness or otherwise of the decision of the High Court to which it is subordinate. Subordinate Courts are bound to follow decisions of the High Court to which they are subordinate if the decisions, according to their view, are applicable to the facts proved before them. There could not possibly be any doubt upon this point. The Privy Council observed in the case reported in Puttu Lal v. Parbati Kunwar A.I.R. 1915 P.C. 15 (of 37 All.) as follows:

The Court of the Subordinate Judge of Mainpuri is a Court which is subordinate to the High Court at Allahabad, and the Subordinate Judge of Mainpuri is bound to follow the decision of the Bench to which he is subordinate unless the decision of the Bench has been overruled by a decision of a Full Bench of that Court or unless it has been overruled expressly or impliedly on an appeal to His Majesty in Council or unless the law has been altered by a subsequent Act of the legislature.

6. To the same effect is the decision of the Bombay High Court in the case reported in Bhanaji v. De Brito [1906] 30 Bom. 226:

A Judge cannot ordinarily entertain a reasonable doubt on a point clearly decided by the rulings of the High Court of his presidency unless the authority of the decision can be questioned by virtue of anything said or decided in the Privy Council.

7. In this particular case, we think that the remark in para. 10 of the letter of reference, in our opinion, ought not to have been made. It is not open to a subordinate Court to compare the soundness of the views taken by the High Court to which it is subordinate on a question of law with the views of other High Courts and doubt, or decline to follow the same on the ground that the former do not seem to be so sound as the latter.

8. If there are two decisions of a High Court, one of a single learned Judge and another of a Bench composed of two learned Judges, then, unless the subordinate Court found some grounds for distinguishing the one decision from the other, it would be bound to follow the 'decision given by the Bench. In para. 12 of the reference the learned District Munsif says that he should have followed the decision in Subbier v. Moideen Pichai, without making the reference, if the same had been reported in the authorized series.

9. If the matter had ended there, and the only point before the learned District Munsif was whether the decision in the Madras Law Journal should be allowed by him to be either cited or received in evidence or treated as an authority, the case would be governed by Section 3, Law Reports Act (13 of 1875). That section enacts:

No Court shall be bound to hear cited or shall receive or treat as an authority binding on it, the report of any case decided by any of the said High Courts other than a report published under the authority of any Local Government.

10. Under that section, no doubt it would be open to a Court before whom a decision from an unauthorized report is cited to make up its mind as to whether it shall hear that case cited, or shall receive or treat that decision as an authority binding on it. No doubt in exercising its discretion on any particular occasion, the Court would no doubt also give due weight to the practice prevailing in the Courts with reference to any particular report a decision from which is sought to be cited. But to say that no Court shall be bound to hear cited or receive or treat a decision as an authority is, in our opinion, something quite different from the Subordinate Court being entitled to compare the soundness or otherwise of the views, on a question of law contained in a decision reported in an unauthorized series of the High Court to which he is subordinate with those of other High Courts. We have therefore no doubt that the learned District Munsif would have been well advised if he had saved himself the trouble of comparing the soundness of the view of the two learned Judges of this Court in the case reported in Subbier v. Moideen Pichai with the views of other High Courts in the way he has done.

11. Under Order 46, Rule 1, in a case where there is no appeal and when the lower Court entertains a reasonable doubt upon any question of law, it is open to it to make a reference to the 'High Court. In the circumstances we have mentioned, we return the reference to the learned District Munsif. It would be open to him to decide the matter himself if he thinks fit to do so, or to make a proper reference if deemed necessary.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //