1. In these three connected cases, the plaintiff appellant has authorised certain pleaders to file three suits on his behalf. It is now admitted that the limitation period for the filing of the said suits expired on the 18th February 1908. It is proved that the pleaders concerned came to the proper Court, that of the Munsif of Benares, on the evening of February 17th 1908, after the presiding officer and his Munsarim had both left the Courts, that is to say, at an hour when the Court was closed for the day, and there was no person present having authority to receive the plaints. It would appear that the pleaders themselves were acting under the mistaken belief that the period of limitation for the suits in question expired on February 17th, 1908 and not on the day following. They succeeded in persuading the suits clerk to receive the plaints, and on the following morning the suits clerk handed them to the Munsarim. The latter evidently shared the mistake of the pleaders with regard to the period of limitation, and it never occurred to him that any action taken on the 18th February 1908 could affect the legal position. He contented himself, therefore, with making a note of the facts and bringing the three plaints before the Munsif on the 19th February 1908 together with his report. The order then passed by the Munsif was 'Registered, subject to objection as to limitation, if any made by other party '. On these facts, the three plaints were, upon objection duly taken, eventually rejected by the Munsif of Benares, and an appeal against that decree has been rejected by the learn, d District Judge.
2. It is quite beyond question that there was no presentation of the plaints within the meaning of Section 48 of the Civil Procedure Code (1882) on February 17th, 1909. As regards the proceeding of February 18th, I find myself driven to concur in the opinion of the learned District Judge that there was no valid presentation upon that day either. The point really turns upon the meaning of Section 36 of the Code.
3. The question is whether the three plaints reaching the Munsarim in the manner in which they did, through the hand of the suits clerk, can be said to have been presented by the pleaders concerned. I am of opinion that they cannot and that to hold the contrary would be to open a door to serious abuses. The ruling of the Madras High Court in Queen-Empress v. Rama Sami 21 M. 114, turns upon the wording of Section 419 of the Code of Criminal Procedure but it is clear that in Criminal Appeals as well as in Civil Suits, the necessary plaint or memorandum of appeal requires to be presented to a proper person by a proper person. The decision referred to is, therefore, authority for holding that the pleaders concerned in this case cannot be said to have presented these plaints to the Munsarim by the hand of the suits clerk. The only other point to be considered is the effect of the Munsif's order of February 19th, 1908. The appellant in this case relies upon a decision of the Madras High Court in Sankar Narayana v. Kunjappa 8 M. 411. He contends that the order of the Munsif is one accepting the plaints as at any rate duly presented, though subject to possible objection on the ground of limitation; and that the plaints, therefore, must be regarded as having been duly presented before that order was passed. In the Madras case above referred to, there was an appearence of the plaintiff and his pleader before the proper Court within the prescribed period of limitation, and under those circumstances the Court felt justified in holding that the previous irregularity and invalid presentation of the plaint had been covered by the subsequent action of the Court and the parties. In the present case the question of limitation really arises in this way that if the prescribed period of limitation for the suit had expired on the 19th instead of the 18th February 1908, it might have been necessary to enquire whether the pleaders for the plaintiff were present in Court when the Munsif's order of February 19th was passed, and whether anything took place on that day which could be treated as a valid presentation of the three plaints. As matters stand, the proceedings of February 19th are irrelevant, and the order passed by the Munsif on that date cannot be considered as having any retrospective effect so as to validate the proceedings of the two previous days. I must, therefore, concur in the finding of the learned District Judge.
4. The appeal, therefore, fails, and is dismissed with costs.