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Mulji Haridas Vs. Sir Ibrahim Rahimtulla, Kt. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. Suit No. 2013 of 1931
Judge
Reported inAIR1932Bom166; (1932)34BOMLR231; 137Ind.Cas.379
AppellantMulji Haridas
RespondentSir Ibrahim Rahimtulla, Kt.
Excerpt:
.....on which it is based could be made-bill of act of legislature-declaration that the bill is ultra vires or should be preceded by certain formalities- injunction to restrain president of the legislative assembly.; the court will only grant an interlocutory injunction if it is satisfied that the declaration which is the foundation for the permanent injunction claimed will in all probability be made when the suit cornea to be tried.; accordingly, the high court refused to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain the president of the legislative assembly from allowing the introduction or passage of a bill even if the bill as it stood could not be passed as a valid act of the legislature. - - 2. now, the plaintiff's contention is that inasmuch as the governnor general has not..........interlocutory injunction.3. now the declaration asked for appears to me entirely misconceived. a bill introduced in the legislative assembly may or may not pass in the form in which it is introduced. if it be necessary that the act which may emerge from the present bill should repeal or modify act iii of 1927, i should certainly presume that in the course of its passage through the legislative assembly the bill will be modified in the necessary respects. for the court to make a declaration that a bill in the form in which it is introduced is ultra vires appears to me to be perfectly futile. a bill has no legal effect, and if the declaration refers to a future act which may be passed it is really dealing with a future and hypothetical question which may never arise. if the bill is.....
Judgment:

John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.

1. This is an action of a somewhat unusual character. It appears that the plaintiff is a merchant doing business in iron and steel imported from England and the Continent, and under Act III of 1927 certain duties were made leviable on such steel imported into India for a period of seven years, and under the Act there is power for the Governor General on further inquiry to increase the amount of the duties. It is now alleged by the plaintiff that a Bill has been introduced into the Legislative Assembly at Delhi and is about to be further discussed, which will have the effect of further increasing the duties upon the plaintiff's imported steel. That Bill contains a declaration under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, XVI of 1031, making the increased duties immediately payable, but under such Act, if the Bill does not ultimately pass into law, there will have to be a refund of the duties paid under it.

2. Now, the plaintiff's contention is that inasmuch as the Governnor General has not had any inquiry made as contemplated by Act III of 1927, and as this Bill does not purport in terms to repeal or amend Act III of 1927, as it clearly might do, in law the Bill if passed will be ultra vires, and in those circumstances the plaintiff brings this action against the Honourable Sir Ibrahim Rahimtulla, President of the Legislative Assembly at New Delhi residing at Bombay. The plaintiff asks, first of all, for a declaration that Clauses 3 and 4 of this Bill in so far as they purport to levy additional duties on steel and iron mentioned in the schedule to Act III of 1927 are ultra vires, or in the alternative that the said provisions in the said clauses of the said Bill are void and inoperative. And then he asks for a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendant from proceeding with the clauses in the Bill in so far as they purport to levy additional duties on steel and iron. This motion is for an interlocutory injunction.

3. Now the declaration asked for appears to me entirely misconceived. A Bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly may or may not pass in the form in which it is introduced. If it be necessary that the Act which may emerge from the present Bill should repeal or modify Act III of 1927, I should certainly presume that in the course of its passage through the Legislative Assembly the Bill will be modified in the necessary respects. For the Court to make a declaration that a Bill in the form in which it is introduced is ultra vires appears to me to be perfectly futile. A Bill has no legal effect, and if the declaration refers to a future Act which may be passed it is really dealing with a future and hypothetical question which may never arise. If the Bill is ultimately passed and becomes an Act of the Legislature, then the Court may have to deal with it. Of course we are not concerned on this motion with making a declaration, but we can only grant an interlocutory injunction if we are satisfied that in all probability the declaration, which is the foundation for the permanent injunction claimed, will be made when the suit comes to be tried, and I am quite satisfied that the declaration will not be made. There are, I think, many answers to the motion, but it is sufficient to give one. It has been held recently by this Court, following decisions in the English Court of Appeal, that the Court has no jurisdiction to grant an injunction to restrain an act which inflicts no legal wrong upon the plaintiff. I am quite unable to see how, on the assumption that the Bill if passed into an Act will be ultra vires, it can possibly be said that the defendant in allowing that Bill to be introduced is inflicting any legal wrong upon the plaintiff. It seems to me obvious that the plaintiff could not sue the defendant for damages for having illegally allowed this Bill to be introduced. That being so, In think we could not restrain the introduction or the passage of the Bill even if we thought that the Bill in its present form could not be passed as a valid Act of the legislature. It is not really necessary to go further than that, but the Advocate General has pointed out to us that as a matter of fact under the Indian Legislative Rules it would appear that the President has no power to refuse to allow a Bill to be introduced and discussed.

Broomfield, J.

4. I agree that this notice of motion must be discharged on the preliminary ground that what the plaintiff is seeking to do is to restrain further proceedings in respect of a Bill which has not yet become an Act of the legislature and which before it does become an Act may be modified in various ways.

5. The plaintiff's objection to Bill No. 46 of 1931 is that it is according to him inconsistent with the provisions of Act III of 1927. But it cannot be disputed that it is open to the legislature to repeal Act III of 1927 either expressly or by necessary implication, and Mr. Setalvad for the plaintiff has to admit that it is yet possible that a provision repealing the 1927 Act may be inserted. That being so, it is not really necessary to consider any of the other questions arising in the case, and I would merely say that, speaking for myself, I consider it doubtful whether this Court could have jurisdiction in any case to make an injunction against the President of the Legislative Assembly qua President, or indeed to consider whether an enactment of the central legislature is or is not ultra vires, merely on the ground of its being inconsistent with some other enactment of that legislature. In the only case on that point to which we were referred, Kumar Shankar v. Mr. H.E.A. Cotton (1924) 40 C.L.J. 515 the question before the Court was whether the proceedings of a local legislature could be held to be ultra vires on the ground that they were inconsistent with the provisions of an Act of the Government of India, and that is a point quite distinct from the one arising in the present case.

6. I therefore, agree with the learned Chief Justice in the order proposed.


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