Report No. 79
II. Admission and Hearing by Benches
8.2. Admission of first appeals to be done by Division Bench.-
In some High Courts, while the regular first appeals are heard and decided only by a Division Bench, they are put up for admission before a single judge. In such cases, the single judge has no alternative but to admit the appeal, simply because he has no power to dismiss it. This practice sets at naught the provisions of Order 41, rule 11, Code of Civil, Procedure, 1908. If regular first appeals are to be heard and decided by a division bench, they should be placed for admission before such a bench only, so that the bench may be competent to scrutinise and pass appropriate orders in the matter.
8.3. Hearing of first appeal by Bench.-
There is also a difference as regards the hearing of first appeals in various High Courts. In some High Courts, appeals arising out of suits upto a certain mount are heard by single judges. In other High Courts, all first appeals are normally heard by a Bench of two Judges. In the High Courts where the appeal is heard by a single judge, a further appeal lies to the bench, normally consisting of two judges, under the Letters Patent or corresponding law1-2.
This, in our opinion, is unnecessary duplication of work, and if the minimum limit of appellate jurisdiction of the High Court is increased as will be recommended later in this Report,3 it would be a convenient rule to be framed by the High Court that all regular first appeals should be placed before a Division Bench for admission, hearing and disposal. So far as other first appeals are concerned, they may be heard by single or division bench according to the rules made by the High Court.
1. See Chapter 11, infra.
2. See also sections 17-20, Indian Divorce Act, 1869.
3. See infra.
8.4. No further appeal in High Court.-
We are also of the opinion that there should be no further right of appeal in the High Court against the judgment passed in appeal by a single judge. We have already recommended1 that so far as regular first appeals are concerned, they should be heard by Division Benches and not by single judges. This would bring about the application of a plurality of minds for the disposal of those appeals. Regarding other first appeals decided by single judges, in our opinion the decision should have a stamp of finality, except in those cases where the matter is taken up by certificate or special leave in appeal to the Supreme Court. We shall, in a later Chapter2 advert to the reasons which have weighed with us in arriving at this conclusion.
1. Para. 8.3, supra.
2. Chapter 11, infra.