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The Maharaja of Bhartpur Vs. Kacheru and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1897)ILR19All510
AppellantThe Maharaja of Bhartpur
RespondentKacheru and ors.
Excerpt:
civil procedure code, sections 37, 432 - suit brought by an independent prince--signature and verification of plaint--'recognised agent'--procedure. - - ' that would have made the meaning of the legislature perfectly clear......question, is as follows: 'persons specially appointed by order of government at the request of any sovereign prince or ruling chief, whether in subordinate alliance with the british government or otherwise, and whether residing within or without british india, or at the request of any person competent in the opinion of the government to act on behalf of such prince or chief, to prosecute or defend any suit on his behalf, shall be deemed to be the recognised agents by whom appearances, acts and applications under this code may be made or done on behalf of such prince or chief.' it is contended that, under this section, the only recognised agents by whom applications, acts and appearances may be made or done on behalf of a sovereign prince or ruling chief are the persons referred to in the.....
Judgment:

Banerji and Aikman, JJ.

1. The suit out of which this appeal has arisen was brought on behalf of the Maharaja of Bhartpur in the Court of an Assistant Collector, for the recovery of arrears of rent payable under a lease. The plaint was signed and verified by one Syed Muhammad, who holds a general power of attorney from the Maharaja, authorizing him to act on behalf of the Maharaja in suits filed on behalf of or against him. The suit was defended in the Court of First Instance on the merits, and no objection was taken on the ground that the plaint did not comply with the requirements of law in the matter of presentation, signature, and verification. That Court granted a decree to the plaintiff. The defendants appealed, and for the first time it was urged on their behalf that, the plaintiff not having signed the plaint or the verification under it, the suit ought to have been dismissed in the form in which it had been brought. The learned Judge of the Lower Appellate Court has allowed this plea, and dismissed the suit. He has relied for his conclusions on the provisions of Section 432 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and he was of opinion that that section provided a limitation to the general provisions of Section 37 of the Code. The correctness of this opinion has been questioned in this appeal. The point is not free from difficulty. The plaint is in compliance with the provisions of Section 107 of Act No. XII of 1881, but, as that Act is silent as to the rights of ruling Chiefs to institute suits in British Courts, or as to their privileges as regards suits brought against them in such Courts, the general provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure would, according to the ruling of the Full Bench in Madho Prakash Singh v. Murli Manohar I.L.R. 5 All. 406, govern the suit brought in the Court of Revenue. We have therefore to consider what is the effect of Section 432 of the Code upon the question now before us. It must be admitted that the language of that section is not as clear as it might have been. The section, so far as it bears upon the present question, is as follows: 'Persons specially appointed by order of Government at the request of any Sovereign Prince or ruling Chief, whether in subordinate alliance with the British Government or otherwise, and whether residing within or without British India, or at the request of any person competent in the opinion of the Government to act on behalf of such Prince or Chief, to prosecute or defend any suit on his behalf, shall be deemed to be the recognised agents by whom appearances, acts and applications under this Code may be made or done on behalf of such Prince or Chief.' It is contended that, under this section, the only recognised agents by whom applications, acts and appearances may be made or done on behalf of a Sovereign Prince or ruling Chief are the persons referred to in the section, that is, the persons specially appointed by the order of Government at the request of the Sovereign Prince or ruling Chief, or of any person competent to act on behalf of such Sovereign Prince or ruling Chief, to prosecute or defend any suit on his behalf, and that this section limits the scope of Section 37 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This contention would have been a valid contention had the section run thus: 'No persons other than persons specially appointed shall be deemed to be the recognised agents.' That would have made the meaning of the Legislature perfectly clear. On the other hand, had the article 'the' before the words 'recognised agents' been omitted, we should have had no difficulty in accepting the contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant. As we are unable to conceive of any reason why the Legislature should have limited the rights of ruling Chiefs and Sovereign Princes with regard to the appointment of recognised agents which they had under Section 37, it seems to us that the object of Section 432 was to add, in the case of Sovereign Princes and ruling Chiefs, another class of recognised agents to those specified in Section 37. The provisions of Section 464 show that where the Legislature intended that Sovereign Princes or ruling Chiefs should be excepted from the operation of the general provisions of the Code, special provision was made in it for that purpose. Had it been the intention of the Legislature to limit the scope of Section 37 by the provisions contained in Section 432, we should have expected similar provisions in the Code indicating that intention. It was held by the Calcutta High Court in Beer Chunder Manikya v. Ishan Chunder Burdhun I.L.R. 10 Cal. 136, that Section 432 does not prevent the institution of a suit by an independent Prince in his own name and through a recognised agent other than one appointed under that section. The section was amended after that ruling was passed. If the law as laid down in the ruling was different from that which the Legislature contemplated by Section 432, the section would in all probability have been amended in such a way as to make the meaning of the Legislature clear. Although, as we have said, the question is one not free from difficulty, we see no reason to put on Section 432 an interpretation different from that placed on it by the Calcutta High Court. In our opinion the learned Judge below was wrong in holding that the plaint had not been properly signed and verified, and in dismissing the claim on that ground. We set aside the decree of the Lower Appellate Court and remand the case under Section 562 of the Code of Civil Procedure to that Court with directions to readmit it under its original number in the register and dispose of it according to law. The appellant will get his costs of this appeal.


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