Sri Lanka Law Reports
Arlis v. Abeynayake
(1980) 2 S.LR.
CO UR 7’ OF APPEAL.
RANASINGHE, J-, AND K. C. E, DE ALWIS, J.
C. A. APPLICATION 618/80—PiRIMART COURT, EMBILII'ITIYA 1452.
OCTOBER 1, 8, 1980.
Primary Courts Procedure Act, No. 44 of 1978, section 67(2)—Require-ment that order be delivered within one week of conclusion of inquiry—Non-compliance—Whether judge has jurisdiction to deliver orderthereafter.
Section 67 (2) of the Primary Courts Procedure Act which requires thejudge to deliver his order within one week of the conclusion of theinquiry is clear in. laying down a definite period of time within whichthe order must be delivered and the judge ceases to have jurisdictionafter the expiry of such period. Accordingly ati order delivered afterthe expiry of such period' will be set aside.
Case referred to
(1) Dias et al, v. Suwaris, (1978) 79 (2) N.L-R. 258.
APPLICATION to revise an order of the Primary Court, Embilipitiya.
D. C. R. Collure, tor the petitioner.
P. Jayasekera, for the respondent.
Cur. adv- vutt.
November 12, 1980.
K. C. E. DE MAVIS, J.
This is an aplication for the revision of an order made by thejudge of the Primary Court in favour of an informant partypurporting to act under section 67 (2) of the Primary Courts;’Procedure Act, No. 44 of 1979. On a consideration of the factsin the case I am of opinion that his decision thereon is correctHowever, two questions of law were raised by counsel for thepetitioner, namely, (i) the order of the Judge is; bad in law asmore than one week had lapsed when delivering the order afterthe conclusion of the inquiry, and (ii) no material has beenplaced before the Court to indicate that a breach of the peacewas Jikely or was threatened.
With regard to objection (ii), it seems to me that the materialplaced before the court by way of affidavit sufficiently indicatedthe possibility of there being a breach of the peace, though itwas jot specifically stated. Therefore, I cannot see validity in theobjection to the Judge having proceeded to inquire into thedispute-
Artis v. Abeynayake (De Alwis, J.)
With regard to the objection (i), it must be noted that theorder, after the inquiry, has been delivered by the Judge sixteenweeks after the conclusion of the inquiry in disregard ofsection 67 (2) which says:
“ The Judge of the Primary Court shall deliver his orderwithin one week of the conclusion of the inquiry
The inquiry has been concluded on 29.2.80 and the order hasbeen delivered on 25.5.80. It seems that the Judge alone couldexplain why the law was so flagrantly disregarded.
Counsel for the respondent submitted that the time limit laiddown in that section is not an imperative requirement and sub-mitted a number of authorities in support of his submission. Itis unnecessary to discuss them here as they do not interpret theterminology in or even any analogous terminology to that whichwe find in section 67 (2) with regard to the period of timewithin which the act should be done. The Criminal ProcedureCode required that a magistrate shall “ forthwith ” record averdict of “ guilty ” or “ not guilty ”, after taking the evidence,and that a District Court shall record a verdict of acquittal orconviction “ forthwith ” or “ within not more than twenty fourhours ”. Cases cited by counsel for the respondent dealt with suchunprecise terminology as above. In that context these expres-sions needed judicial interpretation.
The Criminal Procedure Code was repealed by the Adminis-tration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, which took its place. Thelatter Law provided that the Magistrate and the District Judgeshall record the verdict “ not later han twenty four hours afterthe conclusion of the taking of evidence. It would be seen thatthere is a similarity with regard to the delivery of the verdictunder the Administration of Justice Law and the delivery of theorder under section 67 (2) of the Primary Courts Procedure Act.Both enactments lay down a definite period of time within whicha verdict or an order, as the case may be, shall be delivered.
In the case of Dias et al. v, Suwaris et al. (1), Wijesundera, J.said, " Where the meaning of a statute is plain nothing can bedone but to obey it”. "When one statute stated that the act inquestion should be done “ within one week ” and another said thatit should be done “ not later than twenty four hours ”, both enact-ments said the same, except, of course, with regard to the actualperiod of time. They fixed two definite terminals and expresseda duration of time without ambiguity. Therefore the dictum inthe above cited case is applicable to the present case. Whensection 67 (2) is so clear and there has been a clear departure
(1980) 2 S.L.R.
Sri Lanka taw Reports
from it by the Judge of the Primary Court, there is nothing thatthis court could do but to set aside the order of the Judge, as theorder has been made when the Judge has ceased to havejurisdiction.
In the result, I allow the application but without costs.HANASINGHE, J—I agreeApplication allowed.