2013(1) ALL MR 178
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
A.V. MOHTA, J.
M/S. Lakh Enterprises & Anr.Vs.M/S. Agar Distributors (India) & Ors.
Review Petition Lodging No. 74 of 2012,Notice of Motion No. 364 of 2012,Writ Petition No. 364 of 2011
29th October, 2012
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. S. Shamim
Respondent Counsel: Mr. Mayur Khandeparkar,Mr.Ashish Rao
Constitution of India, Art.226 - Bombay High Court (Original Side) Rules (1980), R.636 - Writ petition - Placing of, before Single Judge on improper certificate and without assignments - Directed to be placed before Division Bench. (Paras 9,11)
2. The petitioners, original respondent nos.2 and 3, have filed this Review Petition against order dated 29th April 2011 passed in Writ Petition No.364 of 2011 by which, after hearing both the parties finally, the petition was allowed in terms of prayer clause (a). The Writ Petition was filed against order dated 16th July 2010 passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (for short "the Board") under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (for short "the Act").
3. By this Review Petition dated 15th October 2012 prayer is made to set aside the judgment. Notice of Motion No.364 of 2012 is also filed along with the Review Petition, as there is a delay of about 474 days.
The assignment and the Advocate's certificate:
"R.636. Application for Writ, etc., under Article 226 of the Constitution.-
(1)(a) Application under Article 226 of the Constitution other than an Application for a Writ of Habeus Corpus, in matters arising substantially within Greater Bombay out of-
. ... . . . .
may be heard and finally disposed of by a single Judge to be appointed in this behalf by the Chief Justice:
Provided when the matter in dispute or relates to the challenge to the validity of any statute or any rules or regulation made thereunder and arising substantially within Greater Bombay shall be heard and disposed off by a Division Bench to be appointed by the Chief Justice.
Explanation. - The expression "orders", appearing in clauses (i) to (xxxiv) means any order passed by any Judicial or quasi-Judicial authority empowered to adjudicate under the abovementioned statute.
(1) (b) All applications under Article 226 other than those mentioned in Sub-rule (1) (a) above, shall be heard and disposed of by a Division Bench to be appointed in this behalf by the Chief Justice.
(2) Every application mentioned in sub-rule (1)(a) and (1)(b) shall be accompanied by a Certificate of the Advocate for the Petitioner, certifying that the application in question arises out of the matters mentioned in sub-rule (1) or sub-rule (2) and for placing the same for hearing before a Division Bench or a Single Judge, as the case may be."
These rules are clear and mandatory. Any petition against the order passed by the Board under the Act is not provided in sub-rule (1) (a). Therefore, a Division Bench would hear such writ petition, not a Single Judge Bench. These High Court Rules of the assignment bind all.
5. Based upon Advocate's certificate dated 26th October 2010 the Petition was placed before the Single Judge as per the assignment. It appears that office raised objection with regard to the jurisdiction for placing the matter before the Single Judge. A statement was recorded of the advocate that as the order being passed by a Judicial Body, therefore, they would satisfy the Court about the maintainability of the writ petition before the Single Judge. Both the counsel conceded that such argument on the maintainability was not made. The matter was listed before the Single Bench. The petitioner / respondent also, did not raise any objection about the jurisdiction. The matter proceeded and was heard finally and the order was passed accordingly. No challenge was raised on merit before any forum against order dated 29/4/2011 by the petitioners, at the relevant time.
6. Based upon the impugned order further proceedings were initiated before the Board. An order was passed by the Board for seeking appropriate clarification from the High Court. Therefore, being aggrieved by order dated 16th March 2012, the respondent filed Writ Petition No.2181 of 2012, again on the basis of same Advocvate's certificate dated 12th August 2012, however this time it is certified that the writ petition is maintainable before the Division bench. The earlier certificate was for listing before the Single Judge.
Any order without assignment is without jurisdiction:
"9. The High Court had taken note of various judgments of this Court including State of Maharashtra v. Narayan Shamrao Puranik [(1982) 2 SCC 440] ; Inder Mani v. Matheshwari Prasad [(1996) 6 SCC 587]; State of Rajasthan v. Prakash Chand [(1998) 1 SCC 1], R. Rathinam v. State [(2000) 2 SCC 391] and Jasbir Singh v. State of Punjab [(2006) 8 SCC 294] and various judgments of High Courts and came to the conclusion that the Chief Justice is the master of roster. The Chief Justice has full power, authority and jurisdiction in the matter of allocation of business of the High Court which flows not only from the provisions contained in Sub-section (3) of Section 51 of the States Re-organisation Act, 1956, but inheres in him in the very nature of things. The Chief Justice enjoys a special status and he alone can assign work to a Judge sitting alone and to the Judges sitting in Division Bench or Full Bench. He has jurisdiction to decide which case will be heard by which Bench. If the Judges were free to choose their jurisdiction or any choice was given to them to do whatever case they may like to hear and decide, the machinery of the court would collapse and the judicial work of the court would cease by generation of internal strife on account of hankering for a particular jurisdiction or a particular case. The Court held that a Judge or a Bench of Judges can assume jurisdiction in a case pending in the High Court only if the case is allotted to him or them by the Chief Justice. Strict adherence of this procedure is essential for maintaining judicial discipline and proper functioning of the court. No departure from this procedure is permissible."
9. The settled position is that any order passed by a single Judge, without assignment, unless specifically directed, needs to be treated as without jurisdiction. As per this Rule the matter ought to have been placed before the Division Bench and not before the Single Judge though counsel's certificate was otherwise. The fact remains that both the parties proceeded as if the Single Judge has jurisdiction and argued the matter finally. The case is made out for condonation of delay in filing the Review Petition. The delay itself cannot confirm such order automatically.
Error on face of record
"12. An error contemplated under the Rule must be such which is apparent on the face of the record and not an error which has to be fished out and searched. In other words, it must be an error of inadvertence. It should be something more than a mere error and it must be one which must be manifest on the face of the record. When does an error cease to be mere error and becomes an error apparent on the face of the record depends upon the materials placed before the Court. If the error is so apparent that without further investigation or enquiry, only one conclusion can be drawn in favour of the appellant, in such circumstances, the review will lie. Under the guise of review, the parties are not entitled to rehearing of the same issue but the issue can be decided just by a perusal of the records and if it is manifest can be set at right by reviewing the order."
"26. As held earlier, if the judgment/order is vitiated by an apparent error or it is a palpable wrong and if the error is self evident, review is permissible and in this case the High Court has rightly applied the said principles as provided under Order 47 Rule 1 C.P.C."
The consent and / or the concession and / or no objection of the advocate or the parties cannot decide the jurisdiction of the Court
11. The order so passed thus was without jurisdiction. I see no reason to go further into this controversy of finding faults with all the concerned. The Consent and/or no consent, the certificate and/or wrong certificate, the order is without jurisdiction for want of assignment and it goes to the root of the matter. Therefore, without observing anything on merit on this sole ground judgment dated 29th April 2011 in Writ Petition No.364 of 2011 is recalled. However, it is made clear that Writ Petition be listed before the concerned Division Bench for final hearing. All points are kept open. The consent and / or the concession, and / or no objection by the parties or their advocate / counsel cannot itself decide the issue of Court's jurisdiction so also the advocate's wrong certificate.
The office objection about jurisdiction
12. It is necessary to observe, so far as office is concerned, that whenever such issue of jurisdiction and / or assignment, if recorded / endorsed, it should be promptly placed on the daily board at appropriate place, at the relevant time so that all concerned will be in a position to deal with and / or refer to and decide the same.
13. In view of the above, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, (a) Notice of Motion No.364 of 2012 is allowed in terms of prayer clauses (a) and (b). (b) The Judgment/Order dated 29/4/2011 is recalled (c) Review Petition is allowed. (d) The writ petition be placed before appropriate Division Bench. (e) No order as to costs.