1. This is a reference by the learned Single Judge in a writ Two questions have been referred to this Court (1) whether the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure apply upon the reversal ofan order (made) under Article 226 of the Constitution, and (2) Whether an application under Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure can be made before the Court which decided the case in the first instance of must be made before the Court to which the execution of the decree was transferred by that Court?
2. The first question was referred to a larger Bench because there was a conflict between two decisions of this Court. In Brij Lal v. State of U. P. : AIR1958All621 a Division Bench of this Court held that the jurisdiction exercised by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution may be a civil jurisdiction depending upon the nature of the rights decided in the writ, while in Khurjawala Buckles Manufacturing Co. v. Commr. Sales Tax U. P. : AIR1965All517 another Division Bench of this Court held that the jurisdiction exercised by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution was neither civil nor criminal. If was merely an extraordinary jurisdiction. The main reason for taking this view in Khurjawala Buckles Manufacturing Co., case : AIR1965All517 (supra) was that this Court exercised extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution and this extraordinary jurisdiction could not be said to be either civil or criminal, For this observation reliance was placed upon a Single Judge decision of this Court in Slate v. Mukhtar Singh, AIR 1957 All 505 and it was also observed that there was great conflict of decisions on this point between different High Courts and that the Supreme Court had not yet pronounced upon this matter.
We, however find that the Supreme Court has, since these decisions, given a clear finding that the jurisdiction of this Court is either civil or criminal depending upon the nature of the right which is subject matter of adjudication under Article 226 of the Constitution. This was held in N.D. Mehrotra v. Vrajlal Kewaldas : 57ITR149(SC) . It was held that since in that case the jurisdiction exercised by High Court was in respect of tax which affected the civil right of the assessee the jurisdiction was a civil jurisdiction To quote the actual words 'the proceedings before the High Court on the petition under Article 226 were 'civil proceedings' within the meaning of Article 133(1)(c) of the Constitution of India and the High Court therefore had power to issue the certificate under Article 133(1)(c)' We are, therefore, of opinion that the proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution which relates to the civil rights of the parties is a civil proceeding
3. Section 141 C.P.C. is as follows:
'The procedure provided in this Code in regard to suits shall be followed, as far as it can be made applicable, in all proceedings in any Court of civil jurisdiction'.
Since the proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution in a case where civil rights of the parties are affected are civil proceedings andthey are pending in the High Court which is a court of civil jurisdiction the section would apply. Section 141 C.P.C., therefore, is applicable to proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution if, as stated above, it is a civil proceeding.
4. In the present case the Regional Food Controller, Meerut, had passed an order compulsorily purchasing certain foodgrains in the hands of the applicant who had filed the writ petition. The writ petition was granted and about Rs. 40,000/- were directed to be paid to him on account of loss suffered by him. This money was paid. But in appeal the decision in the writ petition was reversed and now the Regional Food Controller, Meerut, has made this petition under Section 144 C.P.C. and 151 thereof for restitution. Since these matters affect the civil rights of the parties the proceedings were certainly of a civil nature and must be deemed to be civil proceedings. By virtue of Section 141 C.P.C., therefore, Section 144 of the Code would apply to these proceedings. Our answer to the first question, therefore, is 'that the provisions of Section 144 C.P.C. apply upon reversal of an order made under Article 226 of the Constitution'.
5. The second question has arisen because the order of this Court for the payment of Rs. 40,000/- and odd had been transferred for execution to the Civil Judge, Meerut, and it was that Court which actually realised the money and paid it to the claimant. One of the contentions raised against this application under Section 144 which was made before the learned Single Judge of this Court, whose order under writ, had been reversed, that this application under Section 144 C.P.C. could only be made before the Civil Judge who actually executed the order and realised the money. Reliance for this proposition was placed on Ram Datt Upadhia v. Ram Sunder Misir AIR 1961 All 636. This was a single Judge decision of this court in which the facts were very special. In that case the decree had been transferred for execution to another court. In the transferee court the amount of the decree was realised. But an objection was taken to the executability of the decree as it had become time barred. This objection was rejected by the transferee court. Subsequently an application was moved before the transferor court for withdrawing the certificate of transfer. That application was allowed and the transfer certificate was withdrawn Thereupon an application under Section 144 was made before the transferor court for restitution of the money which the decree-holder realised in the transferee court. This application had been allowed by the court and it was against that order that a revision was filed in this Court. In those circumstances it was held that the court which passed the actual order releasing the money is the proper court which should order restitution and the basis of the decision was that the transferor court may have had the power to recall its certificate but had no power to interfere with the 'orders passed by the transferee court. It could, therefore, be said that by virtue of recalling the certificate the transferor court had set aside the orders of the transferee court. It was on this basis that the transferor court was held not to have any jurisdiction to entertain an application under Section 144 C.P.C. We think that that decision has no application to the facts of this case. Section 144 C.P.C. provides:
'Where and in so far as a decree is varied or reversed, the Court of first instance shall, on the application of any party entitled to any benefit by way of restitution or otherwise, cause such restitution to be made.'
Thus the right to make an application for restitution has been vested in the party to make such application before the Court of first instance whose order has been varied or reversed. What has to be seen in each case, therefore is which order has been reversed and which court passed that order. It is the court, which passes the first wrong order on account of the reversal of which the right of restitution arises is the proper court to entertain the application under Section 144 C.P.C. In the present case it was the learned Single Judge who allowed the writ petition and passed the order directing the payment of compensation. That order having been set aside in appeal it is the learned Single Judge who has jurisdiction to entertain an application under Section 144 for undoing the wrong which has been caused by the wrong order. We, therefore, answer the second question as follows:
'An application under Section 144 C.P.C. can be made before the Court which decided the case in the first instance and cannot be made before the court to which the execution of the decree was transferred by that court'.
6. With these answers the papers wouldbe returned to the learned Single Judge whomade the reference.