1. One point of law has been pressed here in this application for revision from an order of a Court of Small Causes. There was a dispute between two persona as to the ownership of certain standing crops. So the crops were cut and placed in the custody of a trustee until the matter of ownership may be decided by a Court. Before any decision could be arrived at the defendant took away the crops from the trustee. The plaintiff, therefore, sued the defendant for the price of the crops in the Court of Small Causes.
2. It is argued hero that that Court had no jurisdiction because Article 35(ii) of the second schedule provides that what is exempted from the jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court is a suit for compensation for an act, which is or would be but for the exception of the Indian Penal Code, an offence punishable under Chapter 17 of that Code. What is meant by the contention is that the defendant was guilty of theft, and therefore, the Court of Small Causes had no jurisdiction. There is a conflict of authority in this Court as to the interpretation of this particular Article see Kunwarpal v. Bakhshi Madan Mohan A.I.R. 1923 All. 428 and Dukhi v. Dhanni Missir A.I.R. 1923 All. 543. No difficulty, however, arises in the present case. The defendant could not have been charged of an offence of theft because he acted under a claim to property. The ownership was doubtful and that is why the crops were handed over to a trustee. Neither party, therefore, can be charged with theft for the removal of the crops. Before the suit was instituted in the lower Court the matter had not been decided. It had to be investigated by the Court and decision arrived at as to whether the plaintiff was the owner of the crops or the defendant. In such a case no criminal offence was committed by the defendant and the lower Court had jurisdiction.
3. I dismiss this application with cost.