Decided on July 18,1952



Venkatauama Aiyar, J. - (1.) This is an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Order passed by this Court in Refd. Case No. 56 of 1951. Messrs. M.S. Krishnswami and Jagannathan are a firm of Chartered Accountants and they were the auditors of a company called the Amalgamated Coffee Estates Ltd., during the years 19-10-1947 and 1948. On 5-7-1050 Messrs. Devar and Sons Ltd. preferred a complaint to the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants that the auditors; had passed balance sheets which "did not exhibit a true and correct view of the state of affairs of the company and were calculated to mislead whomsoever it concerned, more espceially the debenture holders of the company." The complainants held considerable debentures in the company. On receipt of the complaint, the Council obtained the explanation of the petitioner who was the partner concerned with the balance sheets and sent the matter to the Disciplinary. Committee for enquiry. The Committee took evidence and recorded a finding that the charges against the petitioner had been made out and that he was guilty of "acts and omissions", which rendered him "unfit to be a member of the Institute." On this finding, the matter came up before this court for hearing under Section 21(2) of the Chartered Accountants Act (XXXVIII of 1949). By our order dated 22-4-1952. we held that the balance sheets were defective and misleading and that the petitioner was grossly negligent in the discharge of his duties. We accordingly passed an order that he be removed from the rolls for a period of two years. The petitioner applies for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against this order. The application is opposed by the respondent both on the ground that the order dated 22-4-1952 is not open to appeal and on the ground that even if an appeal was competent, this was not a fit case for granting of leave. The question whether orders passed under Section 21 of the Chartered Accountants Act are open to appeal to the Supreme Court comes up for determination for the first time and it has been fully argued before us by learned Counsel on either side. After considering the matter deeply we have come to the conclusion that the' order in question is not open to appeal and that this petition must be dismissed.
(2.) Mr. N. Rajagopalan, the learned advocate for the petitioner argues that there is a right of appeal against the order dated 22-4-1952 under Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution, which is in these terms: "An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India if the High Court certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court."
(3.) For this article to apply, the order must have been passed in a civil proceeding and the question that has been debated before us is whether the proceedings under Section 21 of the Chartered Accountants Act are civil proceedings within the meaning of this Article. The argument for the petitioner is that whatever is not a criminal proceeding must be a civil proceeding; that Article 134 provides for appeal against orders passed in criminal proceedings and that all other orders must be held to have been passed in civil proceedings and that they will be open to appeal under Article 133. A classification of proceedings into two categories mutually exclusive and together exhaustive such as civil and criminal proceedings would be quite intelligible. But the question that has to be decided is whether that is the scheme that has been adopted in the Constitution. An examination of the relevant provisions does not lend any support to that position. Article 132 enacts that appeals -shall lie from judgments, decrees or orders of a High Court "whether in a civil, criminal or other proceeding" if the cases involve a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. This is a dear indication that there may be proceedings which are neither civil nor criminal. Article 133 provides for appeals against orders passed in civil proceedings and Article 134 against orders passed in criminal proceedings. Article 135 reserves the jurisdiction and powers of the Supreme Court in matters not falling within Article 133 or 134, if the Federal Court had jurisdiction over such matters at the time of the Constitution. Article 136(1) provides that, "Notwithsanding anything in this Chapter, the Supreme Court may, in its discretion, grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.";

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