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Smt. Ram Piyari Vs. Budh Sen and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision No. 559 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1977All390
ActsProvincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887 - Sections 17 and 17(1); Limitation Act, 1963 - Sections 5; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115
AppellantSmt. Ram Piyari
RespondentBudh Sen and ors.
Appellant AdvocateV.M. Zaidi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateRishi Ram, Adv.
DispositionRevision petition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....who are opposite parties 2 to 7, were substituted in his place. it is well settled that if the two conditions are not fulfilled at the time when the application is actually presented, there would be substantial compliance with the proviso if the conditions are satisfied before the expiry of the period of limitation, because- the applicant cannot be in a worse position in such a case than if his application had been rejected or returned to him, and he had filed a fresh application. i am not satisfied that the finding was contrary to law, much less that it suffered from any jurisdictional error......decree was dated dec. 6, 1975, the application filed on january 19, 1976 was beyond the prescribed period of limitation. 2. aggrieved, the lady went up in revision. at the hearing of the revision, it was argued that since the proviso to section 17 of the provincial small cause courts act was not complied with inasmuch as the decretal amount was not deposited within time, the application for setting aside the ex parte decree was not maintainable. the learned district judge upheld this contention and dismissed the revision. the lady has come to this court under section 115 of the civil p. c. 3. when this point was taken in the court of the district judge, the applicant moved an application supported by an affidavit praying that the delay in depositing the money be condoned. no specific.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Satish Chandra, J.

1. Budh Sen, opposite party No. 1, filed a suit for ejectment against Lala Amichand. During the pendency of the suit. Amichand died. His widow Smt. Ram Piari. the present applicant as well as his sons and daughters, who are opposite parties 2 to 7, were substituted in his place. The sons actively participated in the further hearings of the suit and the same was ultimately decreed on December 6, 1975. The decree was ex parte against the applicant, namely, the widow of Amichand. The applicant moved for the setting aside of the ex parte decree on January 19, 1976. She filed a tender for Rs. 208.50, the decretal amount, along with the aforesaid application. The court passed the tender the same day, but the money was deposited in the bank on February 18, 1976. The trial court dismissed the application on the finding that the applicant Smt. Ram Piari had knowledge of the suit and wilfully did not appear and allowed it to proceed ex parte against her. The court disbelieved her case that she came to know of the decree on January 13, 1976. The necessary consequence of this finding was that since the decree was dated Dec. 6, 1975, the application filed on January 19, 1976 was beyond the prescribed period of limitation.

2. Aggrieved, the lady went up in revision. At the hearing of the revision, it was argued that since the proviso to Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act was not complied with inasmuch as the decretal amount was not deposited within time, the application for setting aside the ex parte decree was not maintainable. The learned District Judge upheld this contention and dismissed the revision. The lady has come to this Court under Section 115 of the Civil P. C.

3. When this point was taken in the court of the District Judge, the applicant moved an application supported by an affidavit praying that the delay in depositing the money be condoned. No specific order appears to have been passed by the learned District Judge on this application.

4. Learned counsel for the applicant has argued that the learned District Judge was in error in not passing any order on the application for condonation of delay in depositing the money and further that he misconstrued the proviso to Section 17. Section 17 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act provides:

'17. Application of the Code of Civil Procedure-

(1) The procedure prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, shall save in so far as is otherwise provided by that Code or by this Act, be the procedure followed in a Court of Small Causes in all suits cognisable by it, and in all proceedings arising out of such suits:

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.

(2) Where a person has become liable as surety under the proviso to Sub-section (1), the security may be realised in manner provided by Section 145 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.'

5. In (Sher) Ahmad Khan v. Ali Bux : AIR1931All103 Section 17 was held to be mandatory. In Ram Bharose v. Ganga Singh : AIR1931All727 a Full Bench explained the various methods of complying with Section 17. The Full Bench gave a reasonable and practical interpretation of the Proviso.

6. In Mt. Bipti v. Kali Din : AIR1951All420 a Division Bench held-

'......Where the direction of the Court as to the security to be furnished is taken and the security is furnished within the period of limitation and the application for the setting aside of an ex parte decree is also made within time, the application for the setting aside of an ex parte decree, though made before the direction of the Court is obtained or the security is actually furnished, can be treated as having been made when the security bond is filed or the cash is deposited; and in such cases the provisions of Section 17 shall be deemed to have been substantially complied with. Where any of the two necessary conditions required by Section 17, namely, the direction of the Court for the furnishing of security and the actual furnishing of security are done after the expiry of the period of limitation the application for the setting aside of an ex parte decree cannot be considered to be a proper application.'

7. This situation arose 'because Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1908 was not applicable to an application under Order IX, Rule 9 or 13 of the Civil P. C. Section 5 of the 1908 Act provided-

'5. Extension of period in certain cases.

Any appeal or application for a review of judgment or for leave to appeal or any other application to which this section may be made applicable by or under any enactment for the tune being in force may be admitted after period of limitation prescribed therefor, when the appellant or applicant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.' The section was applicable on its own force to the two categories of applications, namely, review of judgment or leave to appeal. It was applicable to any other application only if it was made applicable by any other enactment. The Bombay, Madras, Nagpur and Saurash-tra High Courts alone have by Rules of Court made Section 5 applicable to Order IX, Rule 13, C..P.C. see K. A. Desai & Co. v. Vijaysinhji Bhimshinhji (AIR 1954 Sau 84) and Marimuthu Goundar v. Ponnam-mal (AIR 1956 Mad 422). It was made applicable to an application under Order IX, Rule 9 only by the Bombay High Court. But the Limitation Act of 1963 has changed the position. Section 5 of the 1963 Act provides- '5. Extension of prescribed period in certain cases: Any appeal or any application, other than an application under any of the provisions of Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the applicant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.'

8. Unlike the old section which covered only applications for review of judgment or for leave to appeal and applications to which the section was made expressly applicable by some enactment, the present section of its own force applies to all applications except those under Order XXI C.P.C. It is no longer necessary to extend Section 5 to any category of applications by any enactment before its provisions are attracted.

9. The section uses the words 'after the prescribed period'. Section 2(j) of the Act defines 'prescribed period' to mean the period of limitation computed in accordance with the provisions of this Act. It implies that the period of limitation must be provided for in the Schedule to the Act. Section 5 would hence of its own force apply to such applications for which the period of limitation is prescribed by the Schedule to the Limitation Act. Article 123 of the Act of 1963 provides a period of limitation for an application to set aside a decree passed ex parte. It is thus evident that Section 5, Limitation Act, is of its own force applicable to an application under Order IX, Rule 13 C.P.C.

10. In view of this changed legal position, the view that the two necessary conditions required by Section 17, namely, a direction of the Court for the furnishing of security and the actual furnishing of the security should be complied with within the prescribed period of limitation, otherwise the application will not be a proper application, does not represent an accurate position in law. It is well settled that if the two conditions are not fulfilled at the time when the application is actually presented, there would be substantial compliance with the proviso if the conditions are satisfied before the expiry of the period of limitation, because-

'The applicant cannot be in a worse position in such a case than if his application had been rejected or returned to him, and he had filed a fresh application. To require of him to file a fresh application after he had fulfilled the two conditions would be a futile act. The application already kept pending by the court can be treated as having been presented after the conditions have been fulfilled, In this view of the matter, the application in the present case although presented on 4-2-1949, would be deemed to have been duly presented on 9-2-1949 when the security bond was filed and since this was done within the period of limitation, it substantially complied with the provisions of Section 17'. (vide Mt. Bipti v. Kali Din : AIR1951All420 .

11. The same principle would be ap-plicable even if the condition is fulfilled after the expiry of the period of limitation. The result will be that the application can be deemed to have been presented on that day even though by that time the period of limitation may have expired, in that event the question for determination would be whether there was sufficient cause within meaning of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, because under the 1963 Act Section 5 does become applicable. Previously in this State Section 5 was not applicable at all.

12. The applicant had moved an ap-plication for condonation of delay. It is true that it was not specifically headed to be under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. It is further true that the prayer was not quite accurate inasmuch as it did not specifically ask for condonation of delay in filing the application but only for depositing the money. But the substance of the matter was that the court had jurisdiction to entertain an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. The defects in it could easily be cured. Evidently, the District Judge being of the view that Section 5 was not applicable at all did not consider the merits of the application.

13. In this view the case would have meant a remand to the lower appellate court. But I find that the trial court had dismissed the application on the finding that the applicant's case that she derived knowledge of the decree on 13th Jan, 1976 was not believable. This was a finding of fact which is binding in a revision. I am not satisfied that the finding was contrary to law, much less that it suffered from any jurisdictional error. In view of this finding the application was barred by time. Since the explanation for the delay was not held to be true, there was no question of condoning the delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. In this view the remand of the case would be a futile order.

14. In the result the revision fails and is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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