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Major Dal Chand Singh Pratap Vs. Swarn Pratap - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.F.O. No. 62 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1965All46
ActsHindu Marriage Act, 1955 - Sections 3, 10, 14, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25 and 28; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 7, Rule 1; Allahabad High Court Rules - Rule 5
AppellantMajor Dal Chand Singh Pratap
RespondentSwarn Pratap
Appellant AdvocateK. Srivastava, ;K.L. Misra, ;Shiamal Singh Varma, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateC.S.P. Singh and ;S.N. Kakkar, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....and 28 of hindu marriage act, 1955 and order 7 rule 1 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - order of civil judge - appeal lies before district judge and not high court - proceedings are in nature of civil suit so provisions of code of civil procedure applies. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a primary school and it is not a school recognised by any such board comparable to the divisional board or the state board. the school tribunal constituted..........the maintenance charges of the children of the parties who were living with her. the learned civil judge, who was seized of the matter, disposed of the applications mentioned above by means of a single order dated 19th december, 1959 and directed the appellant to pay rs. 1,000/- to the respondent towards the expenses of the proceeding within one month and further ordered him to pay a sum of rs. 5,570/- per year to mrs. swarn pratap by way of the maintenance charges of the children. it is against this composite order that the present first appeal from order has been filed in this court.3. the petition under section 10 of the act has been valued at rs. 1,000/-. it was contended before bishambhar dayal j., on the basis of yudhishtir singh v. batauna devi, 1962 all lj 432 that the.....
Judgment:

Jagdish Sahai, J.

1. In this First Appeal From Order, which originally came up for hearing before our brother Bishambhar Dayal, a question with regard to the competence of the appeal in this Court was raised. How the question arises would be apparent from the following facts:

2. Mrs. Swarn Pratap, the respondent, filed a petition under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for judicial separation from her husband Major Dal Chand Singh Pratap, the appellant. In these proceedings two applications, one under Section 24 and the other under Section 25 of the Act were made by Mrs. Swarn Pratap. By means of the first she claimed some amounts towards the expenses of the proceedings under Section 10 of the Act and by the second she claimed some amount of money towards the maintenance charges of the children of the parties who were living with her. The learned Civil Judge, who was seized of the matter, disposed of the applications mentioned above by means of a single order dated 19th December, 1959 and directed the appellant to pay Rs. 1,000/- to the respondent towards the expenses of the proceeding within one month and further ordered him to pay a sum of Rs. 5,570/- per year to Mrs. Swarn Pratap by way of the maintenance charges of the children. It is against this composite order that the present First Appeal From Order has been filed in this Court.

3. The petition under Section 10 of the Act has been valued at Rs. 1,000/-. It was contended before Bishambhar Dayal J., on the basis of Yudhishtir Singh v. Batauna Devi, 1962 All LJ 432 that the appeal would lie to the District Judge. Our brother Bishambhar Dayal, however, was of the opinion that the decision in 1962 All LJ 432 was based on its own facts. He, therefore, referred the following question to a larger Bench.

'Whether in a petition under the Hindu Marriage Act valued at less than Rs. 1000/- an appeal lies to the High Court or not?'

The reference came up before us for hearing on 21st November, 1963. After having heard the learned counsel for the parties, we were of the opinion that the appeal was incompetent in this Court and answered the question referred to us accordingly. We, however, did not give our reasons that day and reserved it for a future date. We are doing so now by means of this opinion.

4. Section 28 of the Act deals with appeals and decrees and provides that all decrees and orders made by the court in any proceeding under this Act shall be enforced in like manner as the decrees and orders of the court made in exercise of its original civil jurisdiction are enforced, and appealed from under any law for the time being in force: provided that there shall be no appeal on the subject of costs only Section 96 C. P. C. provides For first appeals against decrees passed by a civil court and Section 104 read with Order 43, Rule 1, C. P. C provided for appeals against orders. It is the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act which deals with forums of appeal. Section 21 of that Act reads as follows:

'Save as aforesaid, an appeal from a decree or order of a Civil fudge shall lie-

(a) to the District Judge where the value of the original suit in which of in any proceeding arising out of which the decree or order was made did not exceed five thousand rupees, and

(b) to the High Court in any other case.

2. Save as aforesaid an appeal from a decree or order of a Munsif shall He to the District Judge.

3. Where the function of receiving any appeal which lies to the District Judge under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2) has been assigned to an Additional Judge, the appeals may be preferred to the Additional Judge.

4. The High Court may, with the previous sanction of the Local Government, direct, by notification in the Official Gazette, that appeals lying to the District Judge under Sub-section (2) from all or any of the decrees or orders of any Munsif shall be preferred to the Court of such Civil Judge as may be mentioned to the notification, and the appeals shall thereupon be preferred accordingly '

In the present case, admittedly, the valuation of the petition under Section 10 of the Act is Rs. 1,000/-. Consequently an appeal would lie to the District Judge by virtue of the provisions of Section 28 of the Act read with, Section 21 of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act. Mr Jagdish Kishore, who appeared for the appellant, contends that the appeal would lie to this Court and has in that connection made the following three submissions before us :

(1) The effect of Section 3(b) of the Act which defines a 'District Court' is to include a Civil Judge also in that definition with the result that a Civil Judge is also a District Judge and consequently an appeal from order of a person having the status of District Judge for purposes of this case, cannot lie to the District Judge

(2) Inasmuch as there is no provision in the Act for valuing a petition under Section 10 of the Act, any valuation made, has got to be ignored

(3) The subject matter of a petition under Section 10 of the Act is incapable of valuation, with the result that the valuation fixed by a party cannot be conclusive of the matter and would not determine the forum of appeal

5. Mr. Jagdish Kishore in this connection also contended that the decision of this Court in Paras Ram v. Janki Bai. AIR 1961 All 395 (FB) which Yudhishtir Singh's case, 1962 All L J 432 (supra) has purported to follow, is wrong, inasmuch as it has been erroneously held there that there are no rules dealing with the question of valuation. We will take the three submissions seriatim.

6. A petition under Section 10 of the Act has got to be made to a district court having jurisdiction in the matter. That follows both from Sections 10 and 19 of the Act, the former provision saying that such a petition would lie to the District Court and the latter provision providing that 'every petition under this Act shall be presented to the district court within the local limits of whose ordinary original civil jurisdiction the marriage was solemnised or the husband and the wife reside or last resided together' Section 3(b) of the Act defines 'district court' and reads:

'District court' means, in any area for which there is a city civil court, that court, and in any other area the principal civil court of original jurisdiction, and includes any other civil court which may be specified by the State Government, by notification to the Official Gazette, as having jurisdiction in respect of the matters dealt with to this Act;'

In the present case, it is admitted that the State Government has specified, by means of a notification the Civil Judge, Dehra Dun as the 'district court' for that district. Mr. Jagdish Kishore contends that the effect of the notification is that the Civil Judge becomes the District Judge and consequently an appeal from one District Judge would not lie to another District Judge. In our judgment, the submission is based upon a mis-conception of the scheme and the provisions of Section 3(b) of the Act. That section does not define 'District Judge' but a 'district court' and merely because the Civil Judge. Dehra Dun becomes a 'district court' for purposes of the Act, does not mean that he becomes a District Judge in the sense in which that word is used in the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act. Section 3 of that Act provides for the classes of courts and reads:

'There shall be the following classes of civil courts, namely,--

(i) the court of the District Judge,

(ii) the court of the Additional Judge.

(iii) the court of the Civil Judge

(iv) the court of the Munsif.'

There can, therefore, be no manner of doubt that so far as the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act is concerned, there is a clear and vital distinction between a District Judge and a Civil Judge It may be that by virtue of the special provisions of Section 3(b) of the Act, the functions of a 'district court' under the Act may be performed by the District Judge as also by the Civil Judge but that would not equate the two and two expressions would not become synonyms. The district of Dehra Dun is a part of the judgeship of Saharanpur and there is one common District Judge for both the districts who sits at Saharanpur. Instances of Civil Judges and District Judges exercising the same jurisdiction are well known to several matters. As for example, insolvency proceedings. Normally, a District Judge is the Insolvency Judge but powers can be conferred on the Civil Judge also and in that case an appeal would lie to the District Judge. In the Companies Act, liquidation proceedings can be taken both before the High Court as also before the District Judge under certain circumstances but so far no one has contended, and no one can reasonably contend, that the Civil Judge, while exercising the functions of an Insolvency Judge, becomes a District Judge and the District Judge, while performing the functions of the Company Judge becomes a High Court. Under these circumstances, we see no merit in the first submission of the learned counsel.

7. We now come to the second and the third submissions of the learned counsel which are inter-connected and can be disposed of together. By virtue of the provisions of Sections 14 and 21 of the Act, this Court has framed certain rules. Rule 18 of those Rules reads as follows:

'Unless otherwise directed by the Court the costs to a petition under the Act, shall he taxed as if the proceedings were a suit'

This rule obviously contemplates a valuation being given to every petition under Section 10 of the Act. Otherwise, the analogy of the suit would not be and it would also not be possible to fix costs. It is true that normally valuation has got to be fixed in order to determine the forum to which the cause shall be presented and with a view to decide the court-fee payable. But these are not the only considerations responsible for the requirement of the subject matter of a cause being valued and in the present case both the forum and the court-fee is fixed, the former by the Act and the latter by the Court Fees Act. Section 21 provides that 'subject to the other provisions contained in this Act and to such rules as the High Court may make in this behalf, all proceedings under this Act shall be regulated, as far as may be, by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908)'. If there is nothing to the contrary in the Act, it would appear that Order 7, Rule 1, C. P. C. would apply in respect of a petition under this Act also. Section 20. however, reads:

'20. Contents and verification of petition.-

(1) livery petition presented under this Act shall state as distinctly as the nature of the case permits the facts on which the claim to relief is founded and shall state that there is no collusion between the petitioner and the other party to the marriage

(2) The statements contained in every petition under this Act shall be verified by the petitioner or some other competent person in the manner required by law for the verification of plaints, and may, at the hearing, be referred to as evidence.'

This section clearly contemplates the petitions under the Act being treated as plaints at least for purposes of verification. Consequently, there is nothing in the Act which militates against the provisions of Order 7, Rule 1, C. P. C. being applicable to petitions under the Act. Section 10 of the Act uses the words 'may present a petition to the district court praying for a decree for judicial separation' The use of the word 'decree' also connotes that the proceedings under Section 10 of the Act are in the nature of a civil suit from which it can reasonably follow that the petition is in the nature of a plaint. Section 21 of the Act makes the applicability of the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure subject to rules. This Court as already said earlier purporting to act under Sections 14 and 21 of the Act, has framed rules. The opening words of Rule 5 are relevant for our purposes. They are :

'5. Contents of petitions. In addition to the particulars required to be given under Order VII Rule 1 of the Code and Section 20(1) of the Act, every petition for judicial separation, nullity of marriage and divorce shall contain the following particulars:...'This rule clearly makes the provisions of Order 7 Rule 1, C. P. C. applicable to the petitions described in that rule. From this also it is clear that Order 7, Rule 1, C. P. C. applies to a petition made under Section 10 of the Act Section 28 of the Act, which we have already reproduced earlier, clearly provides that 'all decrees and orders made .... under this Act shall be enforced in a like manner as the decrees and orders of the court made in the exercise of its original civil jurisdiction are enforced'. This would also show that a proceeding under Section 10 as other sections of the Act is in the nature of a regular suit, with the result that the provisions of Order 7, Rule 1, C. P. C. would be applicable on this ground also. Clause (i) of Order 7, Rule 1, C. P. C. requires 'statement of the value of the subject matter for purposes of jurisdiction and court-fees as far as the case admits' to be given. Consequently, it is clear that the valuation of the subject matter has to be given in every petition under the Act.

It is contended that the subject matter of a petition for judicial separation is incapable of being valued in terms of money. That does not, however, mean that no valuation can be fixed in such cases or in cases of restitution of conjugal rights. Actually in the latter class of cases valuation has always been fixed. Inasmuch as the court-fee on a petition under Section 10 of the Act is a fixed one (Rs. 37.50 nP), the provisions of Section 9 of the Suits Valuation Act would apply Rules have been framed for U. P. also under that provision. We need not, however, go into this question at any length because admittedly in the case before us the subject matter has been valued at the figure of Rs. 1,000/-. Consequently, it is not a case where no valuation has been given. Once the subject matter has been valued at a certain figure, that figure would be determinative of the forum of appeal. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the second and the third submissions of the learned counsel are also without substance.

8. It is true that in the case of AIR 1961 All 395 (FB) (supra), the learned Acting Chief Justice observed as follows:

'Under Article 21-A of the Court Fees Act a fixed court fee of Rs. 37.50 nP. is payable on a petition under Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act; in other words court fee on such a petition is not ad valorem court fee and consequently Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act is not applicable to the present case.

When Section 8 does not apply, Section 9 applies and the value of the subject matter of the suit is to be fixed in accordance with the Rules made by the High Court No Rules made by this Court in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9 have been brought to our notice. Consequently there is no law directing how the value of the subject matter of a petition under Section 10 for the purpose of jurisdiction is to be fixed. The appellant, though bound by Section 21 of the Act read with Order 7 Rule 1(i) C. P. C. to state the value of the subject matter, did not state it, presumably he did not know how it was to be fixed.'

We are informed that Rules have been framed by this Court under Section 9 of the Suits Valuation Act and, therefore, the observations made above are not correct, but that would not render the decision incorrect. Under these circumstances, it appears to us that the appeal does not lie in this Court and would lie in the court of the District Judge, Saharanpur. The view that we are taking was also taken in AIR 1961 All 397 (FB) supra and in 1962 All LJ 432 (supra).

9. These are the reasons for our decision dated 26th November, 1963.


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