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Walji Karimji Vs. Jaganath Premji Et Ux - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1878)ILR2Bom84
AppellantWalji Karimji
RespondentJaganath Premji Et Ux
Excerpt:
.....2 of act xxvi of 1864 must, in conformity with the 16th section of the same act, as well as in the interests of common sense, and in respect for the legislature, be treated as including suits for the recovery of immoveable property not exceeding rs. and chattels may be recovered in specie as well as lands and houses. 6. it may be well to mention that, in 1851, sir lawrence peel, c......and bombay,' said: 'the preamble of the act has been relied on as the key to its exposition. the word 'demands' there might no doubt, on the rule noscitur a sociis, be read as demands of the same general nature as 'debts,' which is the word that precedes it: that is, be limited to pecuniary claims. but that rule of construction cannot prevail against the plain language of the act. now, all pecuniary demands, which are the subject-matter of an action at law, are either for the recovery of a debt or for the recovery of damages, and the clause as to jurisdiction contains both these terms; but it also contains a third term in the disjunctive, viz., claims for the recovery of property: that is, demands for the recovery of things in specie; and chattels may be recovered in specie as well as.....
Judgment:

Michael Westropp, C.J.

1. The plaintiff, as a purchaser at an auction sale, made under a power of sale contained in a deed of mortgage executed by the male defendant Jaganath Premji, of certain land and buildings thereon, brought this suit to obtain (recover) possession of the same premises from the defendants. The Court of Small Causes has made a decree for the plaintiff, subject to the question submitted to this Court: whether the fact that the value of the premises exceeds Rs. 500, but does not exceed Rs. 1,000, deprives the Court of Small Causes of jurisdiction.

2. That Court has called our attention to Sreemutty Shibosoondary Dossee v. Taracknath Pandit, (2 Ind. Jur., 145), note decided in the Court of Small Causes at Calcutta, in which case that Court held that its jurisdiction to entertain suits to recover immoveable property, not exceeding Rs. 500 in value, which subsisted under Act IX of 1850, Section 25, was not extended by Act XXVI of 1864, Section 2, to immoveable property not exceeding Rs. 1,000 in value. The Bombay Court of Small Causes appears to have hitherto acted upon the opposite view.

3. The Calcutta Court of Small Causes, in order to arrive at an opinion as to the true construction of Act XXVI of 1864, sought light from the vicissitudes which that measure experienced in the course of its passage as a Bill through the Indian Legislature, but we cannot regard any such inquiry as a legitimate mode of ascertaining the intention of the Legislature. The Calcutta decision is a strong illustration of the danger of such a method, and of the extraordinary conclusions to which it may lead. The Court should resort only to the recognized rules of construction. The Calcutta Court of Small Causes seems to have overlooked (at least it has not mentioned, or, apparently, been guided by) a primary rule for the exposition of statutes, viz., that enactments in pari materia should be read together as if they were one law, and interpreted as consistently as harmoniously as their language will fairly admit,-a rule which the Indian Legislature had vividly in its mind when enacting Act XXVI of 1864, the last (16th) section of which expressly directs that 'This Act and the said Act IX of 1850 shall be read and construed as one Act, as if the several provisions in the said Act contained, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, were repealed and re-enacted in this Act.' We are clearly of opinion that the word 'demand' in Section 2 of Act XXVI of 1864 must, in conformity with the 16th section of the same Act, as well as in the interests of common sense, and in respect for the Legislature, be treated as including suits for the recovery of immoveable property not exceeding Rs. 1,000 in value. In Radhamoney Boystomey v. Anandomaye Dabey (2 Ind. Jur., 146) Peel, C.J., referring, under the name of 'preamble,' to the title of Act IX of 1850, viz., 'An Act for the more easy recovery of small debts and demands in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay,' said: 'The preamble of the Act has been relied on as the key to its exposition. The word 'demands' there might no doubt, on the rule noscitur a sociis, be read as demands of the same general nature as 'debts,' which is the word that precedes it: that is, be limited to pecuniary claims. But that rule of construction cannot prevail against the plain language of the Act. Now, all pecuniary demands, which are the subject-matter of an action at law, are either for the recovery of a debt or for the recovery of damages, and the clause as to jurisdiction contains both these terms; but it also contains a third term in the disjunctive, viz., claims for the recovery of property: that is, demands for the recovery of things in specie; and chattels may be recovered in specie as well as lands and houses.' The words in the general jurisdiction Clause (section 25) of Act IX of 1850 are 'all suits, where the debt or damage claimed, or value of the property in dispute, is not more than Rs. 500;' and it is true that Sir Lawrence Peel, in the judgment just quoted, refers, in aid of his conclusion that section' 25 included demands for the recovery of immoveable property, to the express mention, in that section, of 'property' not exceeding Rs. 500 in value, and to the circumstance that no distinction was there taken between moveable and immoveable, or personal and real property. But the mention of property in that section, and the special jurisdiction over houses, lands, and tenements in the case of tenants and occupiers in Section 91 of the same Act, fix upon the word 'demands,' used in the title of that Act (and, in referring to it, repeated in the preamble of Act XXVI of 1864), a meaning which includes demands for property moveable and immoveable; and the mere circumstance that the words 'value of the property in dispute' are omitted in Section 2 of Act XXVI of 1864, would not justify us in giving to the word 'demand,' which has been substituted for them, a more limited construction than the same word in the plural certainly bore in the title of Act IX of 1850, and was, as we have pointed out, placed upon it by Sir LAWRENCE PEEL and his colleagues in 1852. The proposition, that the word 'demand' in Section 2 of Act XXVI of 1864 bears the same meaning as the word 'demands' in the title of Act IX of 1850, is confirmed by Section 3 of Act XXVI of 1864, although the words 'value of the property in dispute' occur in that section; for it is manifest that the Legislature, in enacting, as it did by the 3rd section, that in case of an agreement by the parties, or their attorneys, that the Court shall have power to try any action (not included in the proviso, i.e., amongst the exceptions in Section 25 of Act IX of 1850), in which the debt or damage claimed, or value of the property in dispute, shall exceed the value of Rs. 1,000, then, and in such case, the Court shall have jurisdiction to try such action, it (the Legislature) must have been of opinion that, by using the word 'demand' in the 2nd section it had given the Court a jurisdiction in cases of property exceeding Rs. 500 and less than Rs. 1,000, independently of the consent of the parties or their attorneys; for it would be an insult to the common sense of the legislative body to suppose that it had given a compulsory jurisdiction in suits to recover property not exceeding Rs. 500 in value, and a jurisdiction on consent in cases of property exceeding Rs. 1,000 to an unlimited extent, but no jurisdiction whatever, either with or without consent of the parties, where the property exceeded Rs. 500 and did not exceed Rs. 1,000. There really is not the slightest necessity for attributing any such absurdity or oversight to the Legislature. Interpreting the word 'demand' in the 2nd section of Act XXVI of 1864, as co-extensive with the same word in the title of Act IX of 1850, we effectuate what we have no doubt was the intention of the Legislature, viz., to extend the compulsory jurisdiction of the Courts of Small Causes, in the presidency towns in suits to recover property, to cases where the value of the property does not exceed Rs. 1,000.

4. We accordingly think that the Court of Small Causes had jurisdiction in this case, and the decree, made by that Court for the plaintiff, must be upheld.

5. The parties appeared here in person and not by counsel or attorney. Such costs, however, as there may be of drawing up the reference, and of and relating to our order, must be paid by the male defendant to the plaintiff.

6. It may be well to mention that, in 1851, Sir Lawrence Peel, C.J., casually expressed an opinion in Hurrymoney Dossee v. Gopaulchunder Mookerjee (2 Taylor and Bell 57, 58), to the same effect as his and his colleague's subsequent positive decision in Radhamoney Boystomey v. Anundomaye Dabey (2 Ind. Jur., 146), that not only was jurisdiction over suits to recover immoveable property not exceeding Rs. 500 in value, conferred by Section 25 of Act IX of 1850 but also jurisdiction to try the title in such cases. The point actually decided in Hurrymoney Dossee v. Gopaulchunder Mookerjee 2 Taylor & Bell 57, by Peel, C.J., was that the Courts of Small Causes had not jurisdiction, under Section 91 of Act IX of 1850, to try a case of pure adverse title between two claimants of the fee in immoveable property exceeding Rs. 500 in value. The defendant in possession there insisted that he was entitled to hold absolutely as heir, while the claimant (the plaintiff and alleged owner) claimed under the defendants' ancestor in virtue of a bill of sale executed by him in his life-time.


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