Bombay High Court Rules Pronounced and Signed Judgments are valid Judgements Despite of Transfer

Bombay High Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: 16 August 2023 at 10:41 IST

The Bombay High Court has pronounced that a judgment delivered in open court but signed by a judge after their transfer remains valid. The decision, anchored in multiple Supreme Court judgments affirming the significance of open court pronouncements, was handed down by Justice Sharmila Deshmukh.

The case pertains to a writ petition lodged in the context of a partition suit challenging an order that revoked status quo in the petitioner’s favor, on the grounds that the signing of the order occurred post the judge’s transfer. The defendants in the case were Mangal Prabhat Lodha and another.

While dismissing the petition, Justice Deshmukh stated, “Although I am not inclined to accept the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the judgment was signed after the transfer of charge, in view of the roznama on record and date below the signature, the aforesaid decisions are relied upon to drive home the point that the judicial act of pronouncement of judgment in open court was complete, and hence no fault can be found in the manner of delivery.”

Justice Deshmukh referred to the case of Vinod Kumar Singh to illustrate that the operative status of a judgment is not dependent on its signing by the court. The pronouncement’s effectiveness is not altered after being delivered, noted the court.

The judgment went on to emphasize that while the act of pronouncement marks a vital step, the subsequent processes of signing and sealing are intended to ensure clarity about the content. Even if discrepancies arise, the Supreme Court, as referenced in the case of Surendra Singh and others, has indicated that these can be remedied.

The petitioner, Suvarna Taras, had challenged a Civil Court’s order from February 2023, which partially granted an appeal filed by a defendant in a partition suit. The original plaint, filed in 2019, sought partition and possession of Taras’ share in four properties in Pune, along with the declaration that certain sale deeds were not binding.

Although the defendant appealed and part of the status quo order was lifted, Suvarna Taras approached the High Court in opposition. The petitioner argued that the judgment was signed after the judge’s transfer, alleging inconsistency in dates. However, the defendants maintained that the judgment was pronounced in the presence of both parties and that the suit’s limitation period had lapsed.

This ruling highlights the High Court’s view that the judicial act of pronouncing a judgment supersedes subsequent authentication and ensures that the fundamental essence of the judicial process remains intact.

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