Judicial function is not to be delegated to an officer of the court by the judge of the high court, the bench observed.
A judicial functioning has to be done in a judicial manner, observed the Supreme Court while holding that Section 33(2) of the Stamp Act does not empower the judge of the high court to direct the officer of the high court to enquire and to find out the nature and character of the document.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, in Black Pearl Hotels (Pvt) Ltd vs. Planet M Retail Ltd, observed that the duty of determination of an instrument or, to explicate, to determine when there is a contest a particular document to be of specific nature, the adjudication has to be done by the judge after hearing the counsel for the parties.
It is a part of judicial function and hence, the same cannot be delegated, the bench said.
The court was considering the question whether the relevant provision in the Stamp Act empowers the judge of the high court to direct the officer of the high court to enquire and to find out the nature and character of the document. The court observed that it only empowers the judge of the high court to delegate the duty of examination and impounding the instrument to such officer as the court appoints in that behalf. In the instant case, the high court judge had left both determination of the nature and character of the document and impounding of the same to the registrar.
Setting aside the order of the high court judge, the bench remitted the matter to the high court requiring the single judge to determine the nature and character of the document and thereafter, proceed with the matter in accordance with law.
Read the Judgment here.