Decided on August 11,1970

Superintendent Of Police, Manipur And Others Appellant
R.K. Tomalsana Singh Respondents


R.S. Bindra, J.C. - (1.) This is an application under clause (c) of Article 133 (1) of the Constitution of India for a certificate of fitness of appeal to the Supreme Court against the order dated 3rd January 1970 by which this Court allowed the writ petition of Tomalsana Singh, a Sub -Inspector of Police, and quashed the order by which he had been dismissed from service by the Superintendent of Police.
(2.) Clause (c) reads, in isolation, thus: 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. Obviously, the question of granting the certificate under this clause is left solely at the discretion of the High Court. The Federal Court held in the case of Jagannath v/s. United Province, : AIR 1944 FC 23, that the question of grant of leave to appeal must be dealt with on the facts and circumstances of each case and that it is neither possible nor desirable to crystallise the rules relating to the exercise of the Court's discretion in the matter. Some guidelines in the matter of exercise of that discretion were indicated by the Supreme Court in Nar Singh v/s. State of Uttar Pradesh, : AIR 1954 SC 457. It was observed therein, while expounding clause (c), that "the only condition is the discretion of the High Court but the discretion is a Judicial one and must be judicially exercised along the well -established lines which govern these matters". It was observed further that if the discretion is properly exercised on the well -established and proper lines then, as in all questions where an exercise of discretion is involved, there would be no interference except on very strong grounds; but if, on the face of the order, it is apparent that the Court has misdirected itself and considered that its discretion was fettered when it was not, or that it had none, then the superior Court must either remit the case or exercise the discretion itself. "These are the well -known lines", the Supreme Court added, "on which questions of discretion are dealt with in the Superior Courts and they apply with as much force to certificates under Article 134 (1) (c) as elsewhere". Earlier, the Supreme Court had emphasised that the language of Art. 134 (1) (c) and Article 133 (1) (c) is identical. Referring to corresponding clause of Sec. 109 of the Civil Procedure Code, Lord Hobhouse said in the case of Banarsi Prasad v/s. Kashi Krishna,, ILR (1901) All 227 (PC): "That it is clearly intended to meet special cases such, for example, as those in which the point in dispute is not measurable by money, though it may be of great importance." Subsequently, in the case reported as, AIR 1921 PC 25, Radhakrishna v/s. Swaminatha, the Privy Council held that Cl. (c) contemplates - - cases in which it is impossible to define in money value the exact character of the dispute; there are questions, as for example, those relating to religious rites and ceremonies, to caste and family rights, or such matters as the reduction of the capital of companies as well as questions of wide public importance In which the subject -matter in dispute cannot be reduced into actual terms of money.
(3.) On the basis of principles enunciated in the authorities cited above it appears to be well settled that the test to determine whether the case is a fit one to be certified under clause (c) of Article 133 (1) is to find out whether the point involved is of great public or private importance, or whether there are any other exceptional circumstances justifying the grant of a certificate. There is, at the same time, respectable opinion in support of the proposition that the mere existence of a substantial question of law is not sufficient for the purpose of clause (c). As an instance I invite reference to : AIR 1953 Raj 42 (FB), Gulab Bai v/s. Manphool Bai, a Full Bench decision.;

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