FACTS – The Division Bench, by the impugned order dated 29.12.2020, has set aside the judgment of the learned Single Judge on the short ground that since arguments were concluded on 24.12.2019 and judgment was delivered nine months later i.e. 30.09.2020, on application of Order 20 of the CPC, it must follow that the single Judgeโ€™s judgment be set aside and hearing conducted afresh.

CAUSE – Single Judgeโ€™s judgment be set aside and hearing conducted afresh.

ISSUE – Whether the time limit set under Order 20 CPC applies upon the judgement of a High Court or not?

DECISION – A reading of our judgment in Anil Rai vs. State of Bihar, (2001) 7 SCC 318 and, para 9 in particular, makes it clear that Order 20 of the CPC does not apply to the High Court. In fact, para 10 then goes on to lay down a series of guidelines which ought to be imposed for the High Court in which, inter alia, it is mentioned that only after six months hiatus between reserving a judgment and delivering it, either party can move an application to the Chief Justice of the High Court, who may then decide that the matter be heard afresh. No such application has been presented in the present case.

Thus, the Division Bench order is set aside. The Division Bench to take up the hearing of the appeal afresh and decide the same on merits.

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