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V. Ramabadra Naidu and Vs. Sir S. Subramania Iyer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in33Ind.Cas.608
AppellantV. Ramabadra Naidu and ;A.L.A.R. Arunachalam Chettiar
RespondentSir S. Subramania Iyer and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Emperor v. Thomas Pellako
Excerpt:
civil procedure code (act v of 1908), sections 151 and 107, order vi, rule 16 - objectionable passages in lower court's judgment--appeal--high court's power to expunge passages. - .....of the advocate-general, the application being i.a. no. 176 of 1914. in making the alteration the learned subordinate judge passed certain remarks against the three members of the temple committee in connection with their conduct in trying to purchase the thevaram zemindari from the devasthanam funds. the appellant in one of these two appeals (appeal against order no. 205 of 1914) is one of the three committee members, mr. ramabhadra naidu. the appellant in appeal against order no. 206 of 1914 is mr. a.l.a.r. arunachalam chettiar, another member. though some of the grounds in the appeal memoranda are directed against the alterations made in the scheme by the subordinate judge, those objections were not pressed. the real object of these appeals is indicated by the following paragraphs in.....
Judgment:

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

1. These are appeals preferred against the order of the Temporary Subordinate Judge of Madura, who amended Rule 24 of the scheme framed for the Rameswaram Devasthanam in Original Suit No. 23 of 1910 on the application of the Dharma Rakshana Sabha put in with the previous sanction of the Advocate-General, the application being I.A. No. 176 of 1914. In making the alteration the learned Subordinate Judge passed certain remarks against the three members of the Temple Committee in connection with their conduct in trying to purchase the Thevaram Zemindari from the Devasthanam funds. The appellant in one of these two appeals (Appeal against Order No. 205 of 1914) is one of the three Committee Members, Mr. Ramabhadra Naidu. The appellant in Appeal against Order No. 206 of 1914 is Mr. A.L.A.R. Arunachalam Chettiar, another member. Though some of the grounds in the appeal memoranda are directed against the alterations made in the scheme by the Subordinate Judge, those objections were not pressed. The real object of these appeals is indicated by the following paragraphs in the memorandum of appeal:

9. The lower Court ought to have held that the conduct of the Committee Members in negotiating for the purchase of the Thevaram Zemindari was perfectly bona fide.

10. The Court below erred in thinking that the members had not the interests of the Devasthanam at heart.

13. The observations of the lower Court being entirely irrelevant and unfounded should be expunged from the record.

2. Those observations are found in the last two sentences of paragraph 9 of the lower Court's order, in the last sentence of paragraph 13, the last two sentences of paragraph 14 and the first two sentences of paragraph 15(a). After hearing the learned Vakil who appeared for the Advocate-General, we are inclined to hold that, so far at least as Mr. Ramabhadra Naidu is concerned, the remarks of the Subordinate Judge are much stronger than is warranted on the facts. He might have been actuated by a natural desire, being himself a zemindar, to help the owner of an ancient zemindari from being put to loss through the estate being sold up for an inadequate price on the pressure of creditors exerted through the Court, but we do not think that he intended to do it to the detriment of the Devasthanam interests, or that he did not honestly believe that it might be also for the benefit of the Devasthanam to purchase the zemindari. As regards even the other appellant Mr. A.L.A.R. Arunachalam Chettiar, though there is greater room for the suggestion that the interests of the Devasthanam did not form the paramount consideration with him in the matter of the negotiations for the purchase of the zemindari, the facts do not justify the very strong remark that he did not care a brass farthing for the interests of the Devasthanam.'

3. As regards expunging of remarks from the record, I think it is too strong an action to take. The Appellate Court's powers are mentioned in Section 107 of the Civil Procedure Code. (See also Woodroffe and Ameer Ali, pages 412 and 413.) The power of expunging something from the records of the lower Court is not mentioned as one of the powers. Under Order VI Rule 16 of the Civil Procedure Code scandalous matters might be struck out of pleadings. In Zamindar of Tuni v. Bennayya 22 M.sd 155what is a scandalous matter in pleadings has been considered, and it is said that what is relevant cannot be scandalous. Further, copies of the judgment must have already been given. No doubt, in certain cases, Appellate Courts seem to have directed lower Courts to expunge what they considered objectionable observations. See Emperor v. Thomas Pellako 14 Ind. Cas. 643, I do not wish to restrict the powers of this Court (which has general powers of superintendence under the Charter) and it may be that where observations are found in the judgment of a lower Court which are pointedly seditious, blasphemous or irrelevantly scandalous or indecent, they may be ordered to be expunged, but such a power should be exercised only in extraordinary cases. I do not at all think that the present is such a case. I would, therefore, dismiss the appeals. There will be no order as to costs. The revision petitions follow.

Moore, J.

4. I agree. We are asked in this case to direct that certain observations of the learned Subordinate Judge, which are alleged to be unfounded and irrelevant', should be ordered to be expunged from the record.

5. The learned Vakil for the appellant has referred us to Naba v. Emperor 11 Ind. Cas. 577 and Emperor v. Thomas Pellako 14 Ind. Cas. 643 : 13 Cr. L.J. 259 : 5 Bur. L.T. 20.

6. In Naba v. Emperor 11 Ind. Cas. 577 a case in the Punjab Chief Court, it was held that the High Court can on the revision side expunge 'damaging remarks made against the character of a witness without sufficient trustworthy proof on the record.'

7. In Emperor v. Thomas Pellako 13 Cri. L.J. 259 : 5 Bur. L.T. 20 the Chief Judge of the Lower Burma Chief Court held that the High Court has the power to order that irrelevant matter in the judgment of a lower Court should be expunged. The facts of the case were, however, very exceptional, the judgment which was an extraordinary one having contained 'irrelevant anecdotes and remarks and other relevancies.'

8. I refrain from expressing a definite opinion on the question raised in these appeals, the case not having been very fully argued before us. Assuming that we have the power to order that the passages in the lower Court's judgment should be expunged, it should, as my learned colleague has pointed out, only be exercised in very exceptional cases and I agree that the present Is not such a case. It cannot be said that the observations to which exception is taken are scandalous or irrelevant in the ordinary sense of the words. The Subordinate Judge ought, I think, to have expressed himself in more sober and temperate language. The remark in paragraph 9 that the 'Nattukottai Chetti member of the Committee wanted to aid his Chetti brother and see that his debt was paid in full' appears to be based on mere surmise, and the strong observations in the first two sentences of paragraph 15A do not appear to have been justified by the evidence on record. I agree that the appeals and the revision petitions should be dismissed but without costs.


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