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Ashwani Kumar and ors. Vs. Smt. Moti Kumari and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 106 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1959All516
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 17, Rule 1 - Order 33, Rule 1
AppellantAshwani Kumar and ors.
RespondentSmt. Moti Kumari and ors.
Appellant AdvocateV.K.S. Chowdhary, ;Rajeshwari Prasad, ;P.C. Gautam and ;K.N. Tripathi, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateAmbika Prasad and ;Ganesh Prasad, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
civil - adjournment cost - order 33. rule1 and order 17. rule1 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - plaintiff pauper is exempted from the day costs when the court directs it to be paid - held, cannot be exempted and the suit can be dismissed. - - 6. at the fag-end of his argument counsel made an oral request that some further time should be granted to the plaintiffs-appellants to make good the eosts. the plaintiffs have enjoyed nearly six years of time by today and even now they have not come forward with the money in order to show their readiness to pay it up on the date of the hearing of this appeal......be taken up on that date. ultimately the date for final hearing was fixed for 7-8-1952. on that date an application for adjournment was made by the plaintiffs on the ground that plaintiff no. 1 who was in charge, of the case was employed somewhere in the kangra district; that he was ill; that witnesses could not, therefore, be summoned on that score and as the evidence of the witnesses and also the evidence of plaintiff no. 1 was necessary for the just disposal of the suit, the adjournment was applied for.the application was opposed by the defendants on the ground that it was based upon false and frivolous excuses; that the plaintiffs had engaged a mukhtarkhas in the case and that they had deliberately omitted to summon witnesses for that date. on 7-8-1952, the court passed the.....
Judgment:

Roy, J.

1. This appeal is by the plaintiffs against an order dated 16-10-1953, by which their suit No. 140 of 1949 had been dismissed with costs. The allegations on which the suit had been founded were rather of an unusual nature but we are not concerned with the merits or demerits of those allegations. The suit was in forma pauperis filed by three brothers and it was valued in the sum of Rs. 90,201/8/-. After the settlement of issues the suit was fixed for final hearing on 3-12-1951. Witnesses had not been summoned by the plaintiffs till 1-12-1951. On 1-12-1951, the plaintiffs applied to the court for dasti summons to be given to them for summoning of seven witnesses. That request was granted, and the summonses were given to them 'on their own risk and peril'.

There is nothing on the record to show whether the witnesses were served upon and whether they were in attendance on 3-12-1951. The case could not be taken up on that date. Ultimately the date for final hearing was fixed for 7-8-1952. On that date an application for adjournment was made by the plaintiffs on the ground that plaintiff No. 1 who was in charge, of the case was employed somewhere in the Kangra district; that he was ill; that witnesses could not, therefore, be summoned on that score and as the evidence of the witnesses and also the evidence of plaintiff No. 1 was necessary for the just disposal of the suit, the adjournment was applied for.

The application was opposed by the defendants on the ground that it was based upon false and frivolous excuses; that the plaintiffs had engaged a Mukhtarkhas in the case and that they had deliberately omitted to summon witnesses for that date. On 7-8-1952, the court passed the following order:

'In the case there are three plaintiffs. If one of them fell ill others could look after the case. In this case however evidence (oral) has not been summoned. Thus the cause is not sufficient. I however allow the adjournment in the interest of justice subject to Dayment of Rs. 200/- as cost to the defendants 1 and 3 and Rs. 50/- to defendant (1A). Costs to be paid within one month. Fix 16-10-1952 for evidence. If costs are not paid within time the case shall be liable to be dismissed. No prayer for extension of time for payment of cost shall be entertained'.

2. The costs were not paid. On 6-9-1952, an application headed as one under Section 151 of the Code was made by the plaintiffs praying for the condonation of the payment of costs on the ground that they were paupers and were unable to pay it. It may be noted that there was no prayer for the reduction of the amount but it was for complete condonation. The application was opposed by the defendants. The court after hearing the parties saw no reason to review the order of the 7th of August regarding costs and dismissed the prayer for condonation.

On the 8th of September, 1952, the plaintiffs made a fresh application praying for the extension of time for the payment of costs till the date of the hearing of the suit when evidence was to be heard. That prayer was allowed and the case was to come up far final hearing on 16-10-1952. On 14-10-1952, the plaintiffs made an application for the grant of dasti summonses for summoning seven witnesses, three of whom found place in the earlier list referred to above and another four appear to be new witnesses.

On that application the court passed an order that the summonses be given dasti to the plaintiffs 'on their own responsibility'. On 16-10-1952, the defendants made an application to the court saying that since the costs of adjournment under order dated 7-8-52 had not been paid the suit should be dismissed in terms of that order. The plaintiffs resisted that application on the ground that they were absolutely without means and that despite sincere attempts on their part they were not able to raise funds to pay costs and they prayed that the costs of adjournment be taxed as costs of the suit.

That prayer was rejected and the plaintiffs were given time till 4 P. M. to pay up the costs. After the expiry of that time it was found that the costs were still unpaid and the court then passed the order on that very date which is the subject of appeal. The order in question is couched in the following terms:

'In view of my order dated 7-8-52 the suit is dismissed with costs. Send a copy of the decree to the Collector Banaras for realization of court fee from the plaintiffs''.

3. It is not at all apparent from the record whether the dasti summonses which had been taken by the plaintiffs on the 14th of October for the summoning of the witnesses for 16-10-1952 had really been served on them and whether they were in attendance in eourt on 16-10-52. We have stated this in order to justify our impression that the plaintiffs had throughout been negligent in the conduct of the case.

4. It has been contended before us that in a suit where the plaintiffs are paupers they should be excused from the payment of adjournment costs and that these costs should be taxed in the decree after the suit is finally disposed of. It has further been contended that in this particular case the adjournment cost of Rs. 250/- for that date was out of proportion to the value of the suit. Under the Code of Civil Procedure a pauper plaintiff is not excused from payment of the fees payable for service of process; nor is there anything in the language or the rule to warrant the idea that the pauper plaintiff is exempted from liability for the day costs, if and when the Court directs that the same should be paid. When the Court finds a plaintiff defaulting in being readv for the trial it will be justified in directing the payment of the costs of adjournment as a condition precedent to the further hearing of the suit. When such a condition is inserted in the order, as we find it was inserted in the present order, it is valid and can be enforced by the dismissal of the suit.

The view that we take has the support of authorities: See Raju Chettiar v. Ramakkal AIR 1941 Mad 437; Lim Pin Sin v. Eng Wan Hock AIR 1928 Rangoon 306; Sewratan v. Kristo Mohan Shaw, ILR 48 Cal 902: (AIR 1922 Cal 320) and East Indian Railway Company v. Jit Mal Kallo Mal, : AIR1925All280 . The Allahabad case was not the case of a pauper. There a suit was adjourn-ed at the instance of the defendant on the condition that the defendant paid casts of the adjournment within a prescribed period. He did not do so; it was held that the Court was justified in striking off the defence and proceeding with the suit. The Madras and Rangoon decisions related to case where the plaintiffs sued as paupers. .

5. Costs should, of course, be such as can reasonably be held to be occasioned by the adjournment and should not be restricted to costs of the day. Costs mean costs of the day including the reasonable fee for the opposite party's pleader. Regard being had to the nature of the suit and its valuation, and regard being also had to the circumstances stated above, we are not disposed to think that the adjournment costs were excessive or unconscionable.

They were reasonable costs. When the court found that the plaintiffs had defaulted in being ready for the trial, the court was justified in directing the adjournment costs o the day as a condition precedent to the further hearing of the suit. Such a condition inserted in the order was, in our opinion, a valid condition and since that condition was not fulfilled the condition could be enforced by the dismissal of the suit. In this particular case we have noticed that reasonable opportunity was also given to the plaintiffs for the payment of those costs.

6. At the fag-end of his argument counsel made an oral request that some further time should be granted to the plaintiffs-appellants to make good the eosts. The plaintiffs have enjoyed nearly six years of time by today and even now they have not come forward with the money in order to show their readiness to pay it up on the date of the hearing of this appeal. Under the circumstances, we do not think that any case has been made out for the extension of time,

7. For the view we have taken, the appealfails and is dismissed with costs. The court-fee payable on the memorandum of appeal shall be calculated by the office and shall be inserted in the decreeand a copy of the decree shall be sent to the Collector of Banaras for the realization of the court-feefrom the plaintiffs in accordance with law.


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