1. The important question of law that arises for decision in this Civil Revision Petition is whether an order for consideration of several suits can be made in proper cases in the exercise of the court's inherent powers. The Court below held that in the interests of justice, it is necessary to try O. S. No. 109 of 1958 and O.S. No. 83 of 1058 on the file of the District Munsiffs Court. Repalle together.
2. Mr. G. Venkatrama Sastry, the learned Advocate for the petitioner, has contended that under the provisions of Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, no order for consolidation of the suits can be made. This question was elaborately considered by a Bench decision of the Calcutta High Court in Kali Charan Dutt v. Surja Kumar Mondal, 17 Cal W.N. 526. The learned Judges followed the earlier decision of their Court and held as follows :
'We are of opinion, therefore, that an order for consolidation can be made in a proper case in exercise of the inherent power of the Court now recognised by Section 151 of the Code of 1908.'
This view was followed by the Patna High Court in Muhammad Fazal v. Mankumar Mahton ILR 1 Pat 669 : (AIR 1922 Pat 566(1)). The learned Judges rightly held that when the power of consolidation is exercised under Section 151 C.P.C., the consent of parties is not necessary. Mr. Justice Satyanarayana Raju followed the view taken by the Calcutta and the Patna High Courts in the decisions referred to supra in Thummala Veeraiah v. Venkata Rao (Unreported decision of this Court in C.R.P. No. 418 of 1955 D/- 13-7-1956). I am inclined to agree with the above decisions and hold that the joint trial of suits may be ordered under the provisions of Section 151 C. P. C.
3. Sri G. Venkatrama Sastry relied on an unreported decision of Subba Rao, C. J. (as he then was) in Bathula Kishtayya v. Bopanna (Unreported decision of this Court in C.R.P. No. 1408 of 1954, D/- 1-3-1956). The sentence relied on runs in the following words ;
'The Civil Procedure Code does not provide for joint trial of suits, though the parties for convenience may agree to that course'.
The learned Judge did not consider the question whether under the terms of Section 151 C. P. C. joint trial of suits may not be ordered. What the learned Judge meant was that there is no specific provision empowering the joint trial of suits in the Civil Procedure Code.
4. Reference was next made by the learned advocate for the petitioner to the observations of a Bench of this Court (to which I was a party) In Dronavajjula Vidyamba v. Lakshmi Venkayamma, 1958 Andh. LT 449 : (AIR 1958 Andh-Pra 218). What had to be considered in that case was whether under the provisions of Section 24(2) of the Coda of Civil Procedure, a Court was entitled to order joint trial of the transferred suit. That decision did not consider the question whether under the terms of Section 151 C.P.C. the court had no power to order joint trial of two suits. That decision has clearly no application to the facts of this case. I, therefore, overrule the objection that the Court had no power to direct joint trial of the two suits.
5. It was next contended that on the facts of the case, the Order directing joint trial was erroneous. I am not inclined to accept the contention as, in my view, common questions arise for decision and the interests of justice would be best served by a joint trial.
6. In the result, the Civil Revision Petitionfails and is dismissed with cost's.