Decided on March 22,1963



- (1.) This is an application for review of the Judgment of this Court in A.S. No. 477 of 1957 and it raises an important question of practice. The facts relevant for the purpose of deciding this petition may be briefly stated. This appeal was heard by me and the late Mr. Justice Ramachandra Rao on the 9th February, 1961. We were unanimous in our conclusions and I pronounced the judgment of the Bench in open Court. The judgment was in due course transcribed and was signed by me. It was then that a melancholy event occurred. Mr. Justice. Ramachandra Rao was taken ill and he died before he could sign the judgment. By a note, dated 7th April, 1961, I held, following a precedent of the Supreme Court, that in the circumstances my signature to the judgment was sufficient. In this application for review, the learned counsel has argued that inasmuch as the judgment was not signed by late Mr. Justice Ramachandra Rao, it was a wholly invalid judgment. According to him, unless the judgment is signed by both the Judges constituting the Bench, it would not be a valid judgment.
(2.) Initially, I felt a doubt as to whether this petition for review could be heard by me alone or whether it should be posted before a Bench. This point is directly covered by the decisions of the Calcutta High Court in Aubhoy Churn Mohunt v. Shamont Lochun Mohunt, (1889) I.L.R. 16 Cal. 788, and Maksud Mahi v. Secretary of State, (1911)9 I.C.532. In Peeram Chenna Reddy, In re., (1941)2 M.L.J. 644 : A.I.R.(1942)Mad.23. Mr. Justice Somayya stated as follows :- "According to the invariable practice of the Madras High Court, even in first appeals, the application for review is heard and decided only by the Judges who heard the appeal or where one of them is absent by the other Judge sitting alone."
(3.) In accordance with the practice of the Madras High Court, which is the justice followed by this Court as well, I hold that this petition for review can be disposed of by me. I may add, in fairness to the learned Advocate for the petitioner, that he has not raised this objection. The next of the questions is whether the fact that late Mr. Justice Ramachandra Rao had not signed the judgment would render it invalid. On this point, guidance is afforded by a note appended to the judgment of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Ramaswamy Nadar v. The State of Madras, 1958 S.C.J 343 : (1958)1 M.L.J. (S.C.)143 : (1958)1 An.W.R. (S.C.)143 : A.I.R.958 S.C. 56 at 60. The note reads as follows :- "When hearing of this appeal was finished last week by a Bench consisting of three of us, B.P. Sinha, P. Govir.da Menon and J.L. Kapur, JJ., we announced that we had come to the conclusion that the appellant should be acquitted. We also indicated that the judgment will be delivered the week following. The draft of the judgment was sent to late Mr. Justice Menon last week and he had approved of it. What we are now delivering are the reasons of the judges who constituted the Bench; but it will be signed by two only of us on account of the unexpected death of Mr. Justice Menon.";

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