Tudball and Muhammad Rafiq, JJ.
1. This is a second appeal arising out of an election petition. The election petition was presented under Rule 42(1) made by the Local Government under Section 187(1), Clause (h), of the Municipalities Act. It was filed in the court of the officiating Subordinate Judge of Bareilly and it was dismissed. The petitioner appealed to the District Judge, who, relying upon the ruling in Sundar Lal v. Muhammad Faiq (1912) 16 Oudh Cases, 36, held that no appeal lay to him, as the decision of the first court was an order and not a decree, and there was nothing in law which gave the petitioner a right of appeal against the order of the first court. The petitioner has come up in second appeal, and a plea is urged that the decision of the first court is a decree within the definition thereof in Section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure and therefore an appeal would lie therefrom. The decision of the question really depends upon the answer to another question--Was or was not the proceeding in the court of first instance a suit within the meaning of the word in Section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure?
2. Under the Municipalities Act, Section 187(1), Sub-section (h), the Local Government has power to frame rules consistent with the Act and applicable to all or any municipalities generally for regulating all elections under the Act. Under the former Municipalities Act, under the rules framed by the Government thereunder regulating elections, an election petition had to be filed in the court of the District Magistrate, and his decision thereon was final. When the draft rules under the present Act were published, they contained the same provisions, but when they were considered, the power of the District Magistrate to hear election petitions was removed and the rule was cast in the present rules as follows: 'The validity of an election, made in accordance with these rules, shall not be questioned except by a petition presented to a competent court within 15 days after the day on which the election was held by a person or persons enrolled in the municipal electoral roll.' It is quite clear, therefore, that the petitioner in the present case presented his petition to the competent court under the above mentioned rule. It has been held in this Court that the competent court means a court of civil jurisdiction, as the question which arises is neither a criminal nor a revenue matter Cf. Gur Charan Das v. Har Sarup, I.L.R., 84 All., 391. Civil Courts have to do with a number of miscellaneous matters under special Acts which empower Civil Courts in certain circumstances to pass certain orders. Orders passed under those Acts are only appealable in so far as provision is made for appeals in the Acts themselves. They are orders which are not dealt with by the Code of Civil Procedure, and they are not decrees, as they are not passed in the course of suits. In the present instance, the action taken by the Civil Court is taken in pursuance of the powers granted under the rules passed by Government under Section 187 of the Municipalities Act. Neither the Act nor the rules make any provision whatsoever for any appeal from an order which the competent court may pass on an election petition, and unless it can be established that the orders passed amount to decrees, it is quite clear that no appeal lay to the District Judge. In our opinion, an order passed on an election petition in the circumstances of the present case is not an order passed in a suit and does not amount to a decree, and, in the absence of any special provision, no appeal lies therefrom. The question was considered at considerable length in Sundar Lal v. Muhammad Faiq (1912) 16 Oudh Cases, 36. Though appeals have been filed in this Court and decided, the present question was not raised nor decided. That does not prevent it being raised now and decided as between the parties to the present appeal. The case of Raghunandan Prasad v. Sheo Prasad (1913) I.L.R., 35 All., 308 was not an appeal from an order passed on an election petition. An election had been held and an election petition had been presented to the District Magistrate and rejected. The suit was brought by the plaintiff in the court of the Subordinate Judge praying for a declaration that he had been elected by a majority of lawful votes, and only in the alternative for a declaration that the election was void, having been held under rules which had been cancelled. In Sabhapat Singh v. Abdul Ghafur (1896) I.L.R., 24. Calc., 107 a candidate who had been elected had his election set aside under the rules made under the Bengal Act of 1884 by the authority of the District Magistrate, who there determined the validity of the election. Thereupon a suit was brought in the Civil Court by the person whose election had been set aside for a declaration of his right to vote and to stand as a candidate and for a declaration that he had been duly elected. It was there held that the suit, so far as it related to the declaration that he had a right to vote and to stand as a candidate, was of a civil nature and would lie in the Civil Court. It was further held that the plaintiff was not entitled to a declaration that his election was good, and that he was only entitled to a declaration that he was entitled to vote and to stand as a candidate for election.
3. In England in cases of municipal elections, a special court is constituted by Statute for the trial of municipal election petitions. It consists of a single commissioner, whose decision is final. He has the power to reserve a question of law as to admissibility of evidence or otherwise for consideration of the High Court, if in his opinion the question requires such consideration. It seems to us that the policy of the law has all along been finality of the decision of the court, commissioner or other special officer empowered to hear election petitions. It seems to us unnecessary to discuss the reasons for such a policy. They appear to us to be obvious. Some awkward and absurd results are mentioned in the ruling mentioned above, to wit, Sundar Lal v. Muhammad Faiq (1912) 16 Oudh Cases, 26. We agree with this decision in holding that the order passed on an election petition is not a decree and that no provision has been made for appeal from such order. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.