Surendra Singh And Others v. The State Of Uttar Pradesh 1954 AIR 194
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Surendra Singh And Others v. The State Of Uttar Pradesh 1954 AIR 194

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Section 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure states that the Court, after the case has been heard, shall pronounce judgment and on such judgment, a decree shall follow. After the pronouncement of the judgment, the Court is bound to prepare and pass a decree. In the case of Surendra Singh and Others v. The State Of Uttar Pradesh, there was a two-Judge bench but unfortunately one of the judge died before delivering the judgment. This case brings together the essence of how a judgment come into force and what is the basic requirement for the same. And if unforeseen how happens how the judgment will be delivered by the court of law.



In the case, three people convicted of murder appealed to the Allahabad High Court (Lucknow Bench) against their convictions in the murder case. This appeal was heard by Justice Kidwai and Justice Bhargava on December 5, 1952, and after consideration, the appeal verdict was reserved. 

Before the verdict could be announced, Judge Bhargava was transferred to Allahabad. In Allahabad, he dictated the verdict on his own behalf and on behalf of Judge Kidwai, using the pronoun 'we', not 'I'. He signed each page of the set at the end but did not date it.

Then he sent it to Judge Kidwai in Lucknow. Judge Bhargava died before sentencing on December 24, 1952. After his death on January 5, 1953, Judge Kidwai delivered the "verdict" of the court. He signed and dated it. Dated January 5, 1953, Bhargava J. The signature was still there, and anyone who read the verdict and was unfamiliar with the facts would have concluded that Judge Bhargava was involved in the January 5, 1953 extradition. In the verdict, the appeal was dismissed, and the Death sentence was upheld.



Whether this “judgment” could be validly delivered after the death of one of the two Judges who heard the appeal?


Consequences of Judgment

The period for the enforcement of the judgment begins with the promulgation. Therefore, you need to know precisely when these consequences take effect.


Meaning of Judgment 

This “judgment” resolves the issue and affects the rights and freedoms of the parties.


What Constitutes the Judgment?

Judges can and often do argue among themselves and reach tentative conclusions. It's not her judgment. You can write and share projects. We are not yet dealing with severe and often undersigned penalties. A final order is an order formally issued in open court with the intention of making it an enforceable decision of the court. This is what constitutes a "judgment".


Locus Poenitentiae 

Judges have the right to change their minds pending their verdict. There is a locus poenitentiae (ability to withdraw from a running process) and sometimes even last-minute changes. 


The Judge's Signature Does Not Make the Judgment Enforceable 

However, many draft judgments may already have been signed, this is just a draft to be formally promulgated as a court decision. Only then does it crystallize into a fully-fledged judgment and begin to take effect.


It is necessary for The Judge to Be Present in Court When the Sentence is Pronounced 

It follows that the judge who “delivers” the sentence or has the judge's brother deliver it must be a member of the court at the time of the delivery. the delivery so that he can interrupt the delivery if necessary and say that he has changed his mind. 

Must not be physically present in court but must exist as a member of the court and be able to stop delivery and make changes if he changes his mind at the last minute. 

 If he delivers the draft, signs it, and states that it is the definitive statement of his views, it can be assumed that those are his views at the time of delivery as long as he lives and that he may change his mind but does nothing to stop the birth. However, it's not to be expected that he wouldn't have changed his mind if he hadn't already had the opportunity to do so.


Big Power, Big Burden 

The responsibility of a judge is heavy, and when a man's life and liberty depend upon his decision, nothing must be left to chance, doubt, or conjecture; there is also the question of public order. 

It is customary to send a draft, sometimes signed, to the judge's brother who has also examined the case. This can only be done for your information or for your consideration and criticism. Just joining a project doesn't necessarily mean being closed. It would be contrary to public policy to leave the door open to an inquiry as to whether the draft submitted by the judge was intended to reflect his final and unchanging opinion or was merely a preliminary draft submitted with the tacit consent that he was free to express his opinion could change if so, would be a new light to enlighten him before the court.

Judge’s views may be final before their death but they can’t consider final

Views similar to this were expressed by a Full Bench of the Calcutta High Court consisting of nine Judges in the year 1867 in Mahomed Akil v. Asadunnissa Bibee

In this case, three of the seven sitting judges sent their signed judgments to the court clerk. Before a verdict could be reached, two of them retired and one died. A full panel of nine judges was convened to consider whether the three judges' drafts could be accepted as court decisions.

Seton-Kerr J., who had heard the case along with them, said—

Certainly, as far as I can recollect, they appeared to have fully made up their minds on a subject which they had very seriously considered, and on which they had abundant opportunities of forming a final determination. I am, however. not prepared to say that they might not on further consideration have changed their opinions…” (p. 13).

Despite this, all nine Judges were unanimous in holding that those three opinions could not be regarded as judgments in the formal sense of the term.

Jackson J. expressed the law aright in these words: –

“I have however always understood that it was necessary for strict practice that judgments should be delivered and pronounced in open court. Clearly, we are met today for the first and only time to give judgment in these appeals; and it appears to me, beyond question, that Judges who have died or have retired from the court cannot join in the (a judgment which is to be delivered today, and express their dissent from it.” (p. 5).

Peacock C.J. pointed out at page 30:

“The mere arguments and expressions of opinion of individual Judges, who compose a court, are not judgments. A judgment in the eye of the law is the final decision of the whole court. It is not because there are nine Judges that there are nine judgments. When each of the several Judges of whom a simple court is composed separately expresses his opinion when they are all assembled, there is still but one judgment, which is the foundation for one decree. If it were otherwise, and if each of the memoranda sent in on the present occasion were a judgment, there would be nine judgments in one case, some deciding one thing and some another, and each Judge would have to review his own judgment separately, if a review should be applied for. “


The Delivery of a Judgment in a Public Hearing Makes it Final. 

Once a judgment is rendered, it becomes an enforceable judgment of the court. The law then prescribes how it must be notarized and certified. The regulations in this regard are different, but they are not the essence and if there are irregularities in their implementation, this is negotiable. 

The Absence of a Judge's Signature can be Corrected

Thus, when a judgment is unsigned and inadvertently made and enforced, the following procedure applies because, if it can be shown that the judgment was validly rendered, the judgment would remain valid despite deficiencies in the method of its subsequent authentication.


Alteration of Judgment

After the judgment has been pronounced, a revision is planned. One of its stipulations is that it can be freely modified or supplemented, or even modified entirely, without any further formalities, unless notified to the parties and the modification reconsidered if necessary unless signed. 

Another reason is that after signing the verification occurs the so-called. it would apply to civil cases but not to criminal cases; but revision, when wrong, is only permitted on very narrow grounds. 

But in this case, the mere fact that the judge died and is, therefore, unable to reform his judgment does not affect the validity of the judgment that has already been pronounced and has become final. 

For this reason, a distinction is made between judgments that have not been pronounced and have not yet come into force and judgments that have already been passed. In the first case, the change is extrajudicial. This is not a legal act. This is only part of the process of reaching the final degree; there is also no formal public statement by the judges in open session and therefore no "judgment" to react to. But after notification, the change cannot be made without notifying the parties, and the procedure must take place in open court, and if there is no change, there is something that is final and final and can be applied immediately. 

The difference is as follows. In one case, it is not possible to know, and it would be contrary to public policy, to examine whether the draft judgment is the judge's final conclusion or whether it is merely a preliminary opinion in development and development. 

In the second case, the judge has expressed his opinion publicly and therefore cannot change it without informing and possibly hearing the parties again; if there is no change, the decision remains in effect. By change we mean changing a decision, not just adding or subtracting part of the reasoning. 

After making the above comments and reviewing the sentencing process, the Supreme Court finally concluded that 

 “The judgment reportedly rendered by Judge Kidwai on January 5, 1953, was not a final judgment because another Member of the judiciary died before he could be handed over. The appeal is allowed and the Supreme Court's order purporting to justify his conviction is overturned. Since the court that heard the appeal and confirmation proceedings is no longer able to render a final judgment, we are remitting the case to the Supreme Court for review and proper handling.

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