1. The question in this appeal is whether the Ahmedabad Court has jurisdiction.
2. The plaintiff respondent sued the defendant appellant on the ground that on the death of the respondent's father the appellant, who was a relation, was entrusted with the duty and undertook it of collecting outstandings due to his deceased father. The parties have always resided outside British India. The father's main business as Ghee merchant was also outside British India. The alleged agency, which was admittedly closed before his death, and the place of contract were outside British India The books were outside British India, and the accounts wore to be rendered and the moneys returned outside British India. Prima facie, therefore, the British Court would have no jurisdiction.
2. The respondent, however, in para. 14 of the plaint alleged that the appellant collected certain outstandings at Ahmedabad and therefore the Ahmedabad Court had jurisdiction. The appellant in his written statement denied absolutely the agency or the collection of any outstandings and raised an objection to jurisdiction on the grounds above.
3. The trial Court, without explicitly framing a preliminary issue as to whether any collection of the outstandings was proved, raised an issue, pure and simple, as to jurisdiction and decided it in the negative against the plaintiff respondent. The plaintiff appealed. The learned District Judge held that in the absence of evidence, the question of jurisdiction must be decided on the assumption that the allegations in the plaint were true and the alleged collection was a part of the cause of action of the plaintiff and the Ahmedabad Court, therefore, had jurisdiction, and reversed the order of the trial Court, dismissing the suit for want of jurisdiction and remanded it for disposal on the merits. The defendant appeals.
4. It is argued for the appellant that even if the appellant was proved to have collected outstandings at Ahmedabad, such a collection was not a part of the cause of action, and the Ahmedabad Court had therefore in any case no jurisdiction, much less where the plaintiff had failed to prove such collection. It is contended for the respondent that on the well-known definition of ' cause of action ' in Read v. Brown (1888) 22 Q.B.D. 128 followed in India in cases such as Musa Yakub v. Manilal I.L.R. (1904) 29 Bom. 368 : S.C. 7 Bom. L.R. 20 and Murti v. Bhola Ram I.L.R. (1893) 16 All. 165 the collection of outstandings at Ahmedabad was a portion of the cause of action, and the facts, as stated in the plaint, must be assumed to be true for the decision of that question: Chanel Kowr v. Partab Singh I.L.R. (1888) 16 Cal. 98
5. The point is not free from difficulty. As the defendant appellant denied any collection whatsoever and raised the plea of jurisdiction and as the jurisdiction otherwise was outside British India, it was incumbent on the plaintiff respondent to prove the collection at Ahmedabad before that Court would hold that it had jurisdiction. On the further question, whether the Ahmedabad Court has jurisdiction, even if the appellant did collect any outstandings at Ahmedabad, the decision depends on whether the agency and the contract to collect and the general act of collection and accounts were parts of the cause of action or whether each separate act of collection at each place can also be said to be a portion of the cause of action. We are of opinion on the whole that the latter view cannot be upheld, and that any individual act of collection cannot be said to be a part of the cause of action so as to confer jurisdiction. The matter may be tested in two ways : If, for instance, some payments or collections were at some place in French or Portuguese territory, would that fact ipso facto confer jurisdiction on such foreign Court to consider the entire question of agency and accounts Or again, if the agency were proved, presumably, the agent might be responsible for the laches. Supposing there were outstandings at Ahmedabad and the appellant failed to collect them, would such failure be said to be a portion of the cause of action and confer jurisdiction We think not, the reason being that not each separate act of payment or collection of each outstanding at each place is the cause of action; but in a suit such as the present based upon the alleged agency, responsible for accounts and refund, it is the general agency with liability to account and refund the balance, which is the cause of action and not each separate act of payment or collection. An indirect consequence does not necessarily make it a portion of the cause of action: Kessowji Damodar Jairam v. Luokmidas Ladha I.L.R. (1889) 13 Bom. 404. On the whole, therefore, we are of opinion that in law the view of the trial Court was right.
6. We allow the appeal, set aside the order of the District Court, and confirm the order of the trial Court dismissing the suit. Costs throughout on the plaintiff respondent.