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Hari Shankar V Rao Girdhari Lal Chowdhury

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Facts of the case:

Hari Shankar v. Rao Girdhari Lal Chowdhury is a case relating to eviction under the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952, the trial Judge conclusively adjudicated upon the matter followed by which, on appeal, the Additional District Judge affirmed in favor of the aforesaid decree.

The Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 does not cater for a provision on the second appeal. Under Section 35(1) of the Act, a revision was sought against the ruling given by the Trial Judge and Additional District Judge.

When the suit was taken to Punjab and Haryana High Court, the judge there opined that all relevant evidence had not been duly taken into account and that the concurrent revelations of the previous courts had to be re-examined.

Ultimately, in this case, it was held that a right of appeal is inclusive of the law as well as facts being re-heard, unless the enactment bestowing such right of appeal prohibits the re-hearing in some manner as it is done in the second appeal provided under Section 115 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Issues:

In the given case, the issue on which the judgments differed was:

“Did the plaintiff consent to the sub-letting of parts of the demised premises by the defendant? If so, when and to what effect?”

Dr. Mohani Jain had contended her residence as a sub-tenant much before, but the tenant had refuted the same. Relying upon the tenant’s statement, the Trial Judge was inclined to accept that the bungalow was sub-let the date on which the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 was enforced, i.e., 9th June 1952. Accordingly, the suit was decreed and even affirmed by the Additional District Judge of Delhi through appeal.

Aggrieved, a revision was filed against the judgment under Section 35(1) of the Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952. However, it has been observed that the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952 does not allow a right to re-hear a suit. The question then arose was: 

“Whether the High Court can call for re-assessment of evidence and substitution of an interpretation of facts different from the previous courts as part of its revisional powers?”

Law involved:

Section 35 of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, although written in basic words, does not provide the right to seek rehearing of a case. Furthermore, while Section 34 confers a right of appeal, it does not create a right for a second appeal.

There is a stark difference between appeal and revision. A right of appeal includes the right of having both the law and facts reheard, unless the enactment bestowing that very right of appeal prohibits the re-hearing in some manner as it is done in the second appeal provided under Section 115 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure restricts the power of the High Court to examine whether, in a case that has already been decided upon, there is a presumption of the jurisdiction where there was none to begin with or a denial of the jurisdiction where it did exist, or if there is a substantial deviation or dereliction in carrying out that jurisdiction. The right there is constricted to solely jurisdiction.

Analysis:

The authority to adjudicate upon a revision is usually conferred upon a superior court so that it can ensure a certain suit has been decreed adequately as per law. In Bell & Co. Ltd. v. Waman Hemraj, the Court observed that the object of Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act is to facilitate the High Court’s duty of preventing any injustice and ensuring that a decision is rendered according to law.

The words “according to law” under Section 35 calls attention to the entire judgment and not to the erroneous aspects of law or fact. Hence, this provision is framed to bestow powers larger than that of merely addressing the error of jurisdiction to which Section 115 of the Code is confined. However, its opening phrase states that the High Court may request to see the case record to ensure that the judgment is “according to law”. Naturally, if deemed necessary, there should be a rehearing as a remedy but the Act doesn’t allow any further appeal.

In the case of S.Muthu Narayanan V. Paulraj Naicker, the revision appeal was dispelled and the judgment given earlier was affirmed as the revision petitioner didn’t have a right to challenge the extent to which the decree can be executed.

In Major S.S Khanna v. Brig F.J Dillon, the Court stated that Section 115 comprises the grounds on which the High Court’s jurisdiction arises and the circumstances in which an appeal cannot lie to the High court.

Unlike Section 115 of the Code, this provision does not specify the suits in which the Court can interfere through revision.

In Pandurang Ramchandra Manddlik v. Maruti Ramchandra Ghatge, the Court held that a faulty decision made by a subordinate court based on a question of law is not related to the questions of that court’s jurisdiction and cannot be righted by the High court under Section 115 of the Code.

In my opinion, while framing an exhaustive enumeration of all such cases is not necessary, by the manner of mere discretion the Court ought to have the power to interfere in cases such as those wherein the order didn’t have jurisdiction; wherein a judgment was determined by faulty evidence; wherein a party was not given a chance of being heard; where the burden of proof was incorrectly placed, etc.

Through the Amendment Act of 1976, an insertion of the phrase “case decided” was made to Section 115 of the Code, which when said with regard to any order made, suit or proceeding, does away with any question of jurisdiction.

Conclusion:

The decree given by the Court is always final unless the party who is affected by it is able to show cause regarding its inapplicability. This rule known as Decree Nisi, must be mandated through stringent inspection. The subordinate court’s record must not be sought unless a stay on the same is granted. Efforts ought to be put in to dispel the revision within a quarter-year of granting a stay.

The High Court’s authority of revision must be exercised when the proceedings are carried out insufficiently in order to correct injustices and uplift the rule of law. This ensures the existence of a remedy to the aggrieved party. Through this power, the High Court revises a case with the intention to correct the subordinate court’s jurisdictional errors.

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