Decided on January 27,1969

PUNAMCHAND Respondents


- (1.) THIS order will also govern the disposal of Civil Revisions nos. 422 to 425 of 1968, which were heard along with this revision, and of Civil revisions Nos. 430 to 436 and No. 457 of 1968 heard subsequently. These revisions by the Union of India, as representing the South Eastern Railways, under section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1837, are directed against the judgments and decrees of the First Civil Judge, Class II, Seoni, empowered under section 9 of the Madhya Pradesh Civil Courts Act, 1958, pronounced by him on diverse dates in March 1968, in suits for compensations brought by different consignees on account of damages to certain consignments of betel leaves resulting from alleged delay in transit.
(2.) WITHOUT adverting to the merits of the controversy between the parties in these suits, the suits have to be remanded for a re-trial because the procedure adopted by the learned Judge has been fundamentally defective. The material facts are these. The suits involved common questions of fact and law although the parties were different, and the learned Judge for his own convenience tried the suits together without any order for their consolidation and has chosen the device of recording all the evidence once in one of the suits and of writing the judgment in that particular suit. In recording the depositions of witnesses, he kept the appropriate places blank and later filled them up in the carbon copies of the depositions which have been placed in the other suits. What appears on the record are mere carbon copies of the depositions of witnesses with the blanks duly filled in. Even the names of the witnesses were kept blank and were subsequently inserted in the deposition-sheets in such a manner as to correspond with the names of the plaintiff concerned in the suit where the carbon copies were placed. Apart from this, what is more disconcerting is that the learned Judge has not written separate judgment in any of these suits. All that he did was to write the judgment in a particular suit and to place carbon copies of that judgment in the other suits. The method adopted by him in preparing these judgments has also been the same, namely, he kept the appropriate places blank and later on, the blanks were filled up in the different suits keeping in view the transaction to which they relate.
(3.) AS a matter of construction of procedural laws, it is well established that procedure is mere machinery and its object is to facilitate and not to obstruct the administration of justice The Code should, therefore, be considered liberally and as far as possible technical objections should not be allowed to defeat substantial justice. A technical construction of sections that leaves no room for reasonable elasticity of interpretation should be guarded against. The mere circumstance of there being an error, defect or irregularity in any proceeding in a suit is no ground for reversing or varying a decree in appeal, and much less in revision. It is with that object that section 99 of the Code has been designed to cure what is usually spoken of as a mere irregularity, but not one which affects the merits of a case or the jurisdiction of a Court, which is a material irregularity not curable The defects that appear in these suits were not mere defects of procedure but such as to vitiate the trial itself.;

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