Sir George Claus Rankin

I have been impressed at times with the peculiarity of the fate of very learned and able friends of mine who, as the reward of exceptional knowledge and skill in the business matters of England and Scotland, are suddenly required to turn a large part of their attention to Indian appeals.”

– Sir George Claus Rankin, Background to Indian Law, (Cambridge: University Press, 1946).


The question arose as far back as in the year 1932 before the Calcutta High Court in the case of Secretary of State v. Golabrai Paliram, AIR 1932 Calcutta 146. 

I do really protest against questions of difficulty and importance being dealt with; it is well settled that the proper way to plead to the jurisdiction of the Court is to take the plea in the written statement and as a substantive part of the defence; except in the clearest cases that should be the course.”

Justice Rankin, Learned Chief Justice.

The question came up for consideration in Indian Mineral & Chemicals Co. v. Deutsche Bank, (2004) 12 SCC 376.

The observations of Rankin, CJ in Secy. of State v. Golabrai Paliram correctly represents the law.”

Justice Ruma Pal, Learned Judge.

We make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the controversy.”

Hon’ble Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Isha Distribution House Pvt. Ltd. v. Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd., [Civil Appeal Nos. 2554-2555 of 2019].


Here are few other opinions of Sir George Claus Rankin quoted by Supreme Court:

Sir George Rankin pointed out that for them to interfere with a criminal sentence there must be something so irregular or so outrageous as to shock the very basis of justice and that misdirection as such, even irregularity as such will not suffice and that there must be something which in the particular case deprives the accused of the substance of fair trial and the protection of the law.”

Kapildeo Singh, [1950] Supp SCR 144.

As observed by Rankin CJ in Anantalal Singha v. Alfred Henry Watson, (1931) 58 Cal. 884 the jurisdiction in contempt is not to be invoked unless there is real prejudice which can be regarded as a substantial interference with the due course of justice and that the purpose of the Court’s action is a practical purpose and it is reasonably clear on the authorities that the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction upon a mere question of propriety.”

Rizwan-ul-Hasan, AIR 1953 SC 185.

On the one hand it does not seem equitable that when a tenant enjoys a substantial portion of the property of the landlord, leased to him, without much inconvenience, he should not pay any compensation for the use of the property, in other words, to borrow the language of Sir George Rankin, that he should enjoy a windfall.”

Surendra Nath Bibra, [1966] 3 SCR 458

Sir George Rankin said that the dedication to the public was not to be readily inferred when it was known that a temple property was acquired by grant to an individual or family. He also observed that the fact that the worshippers from the public were admitted to the temple was not a decisive fact, because worshippers would not be turned away as they brought in offerings, and the popularity of the idol among the public was not indicative of the fact that the dedication of the properties was for public.”

The Bihar State Board of Religious Trust, (1971) 1 SCC 7 [M. Hidayatullah, CJ and A.N. Ray, J].