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Dullan Prasad Vs. Smt. Rajeshwari Bibi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 1378 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1977All151
ActsProvincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887 - Sections 17; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115
AppellantDullan Prasad
RespondentSmt. Rajeshwari Bibi
Appellant AdvocateG.P. Bhargava and ;A.N. Bhargava, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateOm Prakash Agarwal, Adv.
DispositionRevision allowed
Excerpt:
.....he urged that while applying for restoration, he moved an application for permission to deposit cash security of rs. 924/- would also substantially satisfy the requirement of the first part of the proviso as well. obviously the court was satisfied with the security amount deposited by the applicant and, on that basis, it ordered the issue of notice. brahmanand air1945all282 ,while dealing with section 17 of the provincial small cause courts act, the court held :the requirements of section 17 are effectively complied with if the application for setting aside of the ex parte decree is accompanied by a cash deposit of the decretal amount or security bond safeguarding the interest of the decree holder. all the same, when the court accepted the fixed deposit receipt of a bank and no..........the same day, he also moved an application seeking permission to deposit rupees 924/- in court as cash security. the application was allowed by a cryptic order and notices were issued on the application for setting aside the ex parte decree. 6. the trial court came to the conclusion that the cause shown for setting aside the ex parte decree was sufficient. it, accordingly set aside the ex parte decree and restored the suit to its original number. the plaintiff opposite party, however, feeling aggrieved by the order of the judge, small cause court dated 11th may, 1974 went up in revision and the 4th additional district judge, allahabad, by his order dated 5th october, 1974 set aside the order dated 11th may, 1974, passed by the judge small cause court, setting aside the ex parte decree......
Judgment:
ORDER

R.B. Misra, J.

1. The present revision by the defendant is directed against the order of the 4th Additional District Judge, Allahabad, dated 5th October 1974.

2. The facts leading up to. this revision lie in a narrow compass:

3. Smt. Rajeshwari Bibi, the plaintiff opposite party, filed a suit for ejectment of Dullan, the defendant applicant, and for recovery of Rs. 713.40 p. as arrears of rent and damages along with future and pendente lite damages at the rate of Rs. 21/- per mensem from the date of the institution of the suit till the date of delivery of possession over the accommodation in question. The plaintiff also claimed costs.

4. On 10th December, 1973 the defendant was found absent despite sufficient notice. The suit, therefore, proceeded ex parte. On 11th December, 1973 ex parte evidence was recorded and, ultimately on 2nd January, 1974, an ex parte decree was passed in the following terms :

'This suit for the ejectment of the defendant from the premises in suit and for the recovery of Rs. 713.40 Paise is decreed with ex parte costs. The pendente lite and future damages 'are awarded at the rate of Rs. 21/- per month.'

5. The defendant applicant moved an application for setting aside the ex parte decree on 30th January, 1974, On the same day, he also moved an application seeking permission to deposit Rupees 924/- in Court as cash security. The application was allowed by a cryptic order and notices were issued on the application for setting aside the ex parte decree.

6. The trial Court came to the conclusion that the cause shown for setting aside the ex parte decree was sufficient. It, accordingly set aside the ex parte decree and restored the suit to its original number. The plaintiff opposite party, however, feeling aggrieved by the order of the Judge, Small Cause Court dated 11th May, 1974 went up in revision and the 4th Additional District Judge, Allahabad, by his order dated 5th October, 1974 set aside the order dated 11th May, 1974, passed by the Judge Small Cause Court, setting aside the ex parte decree. The learned Additional District Judge did not enter into the merits of the application. He dismissed the application for setting aside the ex parte decree on a technical ground that there has been no compliance of the requirements of Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. Section 17, in so far as is material for the purposes of the point involved in the case reads:

'17 (1) .....

Provided that an applicant for an order, to set aside a decree passed ex parte or for a review of judgment shall at the time of presenting his application, either deposit in the Court the amount due from him under the decree or in pursuance of the judgment, or give such security for the performance of the decree or compliance with the judgment as the Court may, on a previous application made by him in this behalf, have directed.'

7. A bare reading of the Provisomakes it clear that an application for setting aside the ex parte decree can be entertained only on the condition that atthe time of presenting the application,either a deposit of the amount due fromhim under the decree or in pursuance ofthe judgment has been made or securityhas been furnished in pursuance of anorder obtained on a previous applicationmade by him.

8. The question involved in this case is whether there has been Compli-ance of the Proviso to Section 17(1) of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act.

9. Sri G. P. Bhargava, appearing for the applicant raised two contentions, firstly that the amount deposited by him while moving the application for setting aside the ex parte decree was a cash security accepted by the Court within the meaning of the second part of the proviso to Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. Alternatively he urged that the amount deposited by him may be taken to be a deposit of the decretal, amount within the meaning of the first part of the Proviso to Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act as well and there has been substantial compliance of the requirements of the Proviso to Section 17 of the Act and the lower revisional Court has failed to exercise its jurisdiction on a misconstruction of the proviso to Section 17. Elaborating his argument, he urged that while applying for restoration, he moved an application for permission to deposit cash security of Rs. 924/-. This amount included the arrears of rent and damages at the rate of Rs. 21/- per mensem (rent Rupees 713.40 p. plus damages Rs. 189.00 p total Rs. 902.40 p.) and a little more. The amount of costs could not be deposited as the decree had not been prepared till the date of application for restoration on 30th January, 1974. It was prepared a few months after. The applicant, therefore, could not know the exact amount of costs that would have accrued in the case

10. The stand of Mr. Bhargava is that he deposited the amount of Rs. 924/-not as the decretal amount, but by way of security, as provided in the second part of the proviso. Alternatively, he argued that the deposit of Rs. 924/- would also substantially satisfy the requirement of the first part of the proviso as well. In the first instance, if the applicant himself applied for permission to deposit the amount by way of security it will not be correct to read the application differently to contend that the decretal amount has been deposited within the meaning of the first part of the proviso. The requirement of law is that the amount of security deposited should be in pursuance of the order of the Court. The application was allowed on the same day; obviously the Court was satisfied with the security amount deposited by the applicant and, on that basis, it ordered the issue of notice.

11. Mr Bhargava cited fairly a large number of cases in support of hiscontention that if a notice has been issued and the security has been accepted by the Court, it would not be open subsequently either to the Court or to the other side to contend that the security is not sufficient, To start with, Mr. Bhargava relied upon Ram Bharose v. Ganga Singh : AIR1931All727 . It is a Full Bench decision of this Court. It was held in that case that :

'Where an appellant, without making a preliminary application for the Court's direction as to the kind of security to be furnished by him, makes an application for setting aside an ex parte decree passed by a Small Causes Court and furnishes sufficient security with it, and the Court orders notice to issue to the other side before the expiry of the period of limitation allowed by Article 164, the Court must be deemed to have by implication given the applicant a direction that he should furnish security of the kind actually furnished by him.'

12. In the instant case, not only the notice was issued, but the application for furnishing cash security was actually allowed by the Court. The established principle is that no one can suffer at the hands of the Court. If the application filed by the applicant along with the application for setting aside the ex parte decree for deposit of the cash security was allowed by the Court, the applicant was fully justified in assuming that the cash security deposited by him had been accepted by the Court to be sufficient

13. In Kirpa Shankar v. Brahmanand : AIR1945All282 , while dealing with Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, the Court held :

'The requirements of Section 17 are effectively complied with if the application for setting aside of the ex parte decree is accompanied by a cash deposit of the decretal amount or security bond safeguarding the interest of the decree holder.'

14. In Sri Newas v. Lala Durga Prasad AIR 1947 All 125, on the filing of personal bond as security by the defendant, notice to plaintiff was issued within the period of limitation and it was held that the requirements of the proviso to Section 17 were fulfilled and there was nothing to show that the security was insufficient.

15. In Kiran Kumar Banerji v. Baij Nath : AIR1928All607 , mere deposit of a fixed deposit bank receipt, which is not transferable, does notamount to an adequate security furnished by the applicant. All the same, when the Court accepted the fixed deposit receipt of a Bank and no objection was raised within the time allowed for the deposit of security, it was observed that it could not be said that the applicant failed to furnish the security to the satisfaction of the Court though, as a matter of fact, the security was not sufficient.

16. In Ram Saran Dass Tara Chand v. Ram Richhpal L. Mannu Lal it was laid down that :

'Section 17 requires a desposit to be made along with an application for setting aside an ex parte decree, as a guarantee of the judgment debtor's bona fides. It is not intended that there should be a literal compliance with the provisions of this section where such literal compliance will have the result of defeating the ends of justice. Substantial compliance with provisions of the section is sufficient.'

Elucidating the point further, the Court observed :

'A judgment debtor who applies for setting aside an ex parte decree before the decree sheet has been prepared cannot possibly know at the time of making the application what is the exact decretal amount and, therefore, if the deposit of an amount calculated by him, on the basis of estimated costs, is found to be less than the actual decretal amount, it must be held that the judgment debtor complied substantially with the requirements of Section 17 for otherwise it would entail undue hardship and injustice upon him.'

17. On an analysis of the cases cited above, it is quite apparent that once the application for depositing cash security was accepted by the Court there was sufficient compliance of the requirements of second part of the proviso and even if the security furnished by the applicant was a little less than the decretal amount, but if it satisfied the Court, no exception, in my opinion, can be taken to any defect in the deposit of the cash security amount.

18. Sri S. B. Chaudhary, appearing for the opposite party, contends that the scope of Section 115, Civil P. C. is a very limited one and this Court will interfere with the order only if it finds that the impugned order is suffering from either excess or want of jurisdiction or there is some illegality or irregularity in the exercise of jurisdiction. In support of his contention, he placed reliance onKeshardeo Chamria v. Radha Kissen Chamaria, : [1953]4SCR136 ; Manindra Land and Building Corporation Ltd. v. Bhutnath Banerjee : [1964]3SCR495 ; Ramniklal Pitambardas Mehta v. Indrada-man Amratlal Sheth, : [1964]8SCR1 and Ratilal Balabhai Nazar v. Ranchhod-bhai Shankarbhai Patel : AIR1966SC439 . There is no quarrel with the proposition of Law laid down in these cases. It is true that the scope of revision under Section 115, Civil P. C. is a limited one and the Court can interfere only when the impugned order suffers from the defect of jurisdiction or there is some illegality and material irregularity in the exercise of jurisdiction. The real question is of the application of the principles laid down in that case. Whether the applicant has complied with the requirements of the provisions of Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act is a question on which depends the jurisdiction of the Court. If there has been no compliance, the Court 'has no jurisdiction to entertain the application. Now, if the revisional Court has misconstrued the provisions of Section 17 and thereby failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it this Court can certainly enter into the question and find out whether there has been compliance of it because that would be a jurisdictional fact and it would always be open to a revisional Court under Section 115, Civil P. C. to see whether the jurisdictional fact has been correctly decided.

19. The next and the more substantial point raised by Sri S. B. Chaudhary, however, is that on a correct interpretation of Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. there has been no compliance by the applicant. According to him, although the application filed by the applicant for permission to deposit the cash security was allowed by the Judge, Small Cause Court but the application would virtually amount to a cash deposit of the decretal amount for many reasons; firstly because if it was a deposit for cash security then a prior application for permission should have been moved and if the Court permitted him to furnish cash security only then the cash security could have been deposited and secondly it is argued that the proviso does not contemplate of cash security. In my opinion, the word 'security' used in the proviso cannot be confined only to security of immovable property or other security and not a cash security. It is wide enough to include the cash security as well.

20. As a second limb to this argument, it is contended by Sri S, B. Chaudhary that if it is a cash security, it should tally with the decretal amount and nothing short can be taken to be a cash security. To interpret the proviso in this way would be adding certain words to the proviso which are not contained there. All that the proviso requires is that it is open to the applicant if the Court permits to furnish security, which may in-elude the cash security as well. Refering to the alternative argument of Shri Bhargava, Shri Chaudhari contends that the deposit of Rs. 924/- could not be taken to be the deposit of the decretal amount within the meaning of the first part of the proviso to Section 17 inasmuch as the total amount under the decree has not been deposited. There is difficulty in accepting this part of the contention as well. On the date of the application, the decree had not been prepared. Therefore, the applicant could not possibly know as to what was the actual amount of costs in the case, and he could not comply with the decree which had not seen the light of the day. The amount deposited covers the amount of arrears of rent and damages and something more, but not the costs. Sri S. B. Chaudhary contended that it was open to the applicant to have calculated the costs and complied with the requirements of Section 17. It is true that the applicant could have also estimated the costs, but the estimate could not take the place of the actual costs that could have been ultimately found assessable and assessed by the authorities preparing the decree. Sri Chaudhary, in support of his contention relied upon Ahmad Khan v. Ali Bux, : AIR1931All103 . In that case, it was held that the provisions of Section 17 are mandatory and non-compliance with these provisions amounts to an illegality and cannot be ignored on the ground that it is a mere irregularity.

21. It could not possibly be arguedon behalf of the applicant that Section 17is not mandatory. A bare perusal of therequirements of Section 17 shows that itis mandatory and, therefore, the satisfaction of the requirements 6f the provisois a condition precedent to entertainingthe application for setting aside the exparte decree.

22. In Jafar Uddin v. Debi Prasad : AIR1939All590 it was held that the scope of Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act is not akin to the scope of Section 115, Civil P. C. and it iswider in scope than Section 115, Civil P. C. Nobody can dispute that the scope of Section 25 is wider inasmuch as the question of legality or illegality can also be taken into consideration which is not possible in exercising the power under Section 115, Civil P. C. Therefore, it was open to the Court below to have taken a different view but as observed earlier, that if the Court has decided the jurisdictional question erroneously, it is open to this Court deciding the revision under Section 115, Civil P. C. to rectify that order.

23. In Bhola v. Mt. Ram Rati : AIR1946All425 it was held that there must be a previous application before furnishing security. In the instant case, an application was made for permission to deposit cash security, which was allowed by the Court.

24. For the reasons given above, the revision must succeed. It is, accordingly, allowed and the order of the 4th Additional District Judge dated 5th October, 1974, is set aside and the case is sent back to him for deciding the revision on merits. In the circumstances of the case, the parties, will bear their own costs.


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