M.L. Chaturvedi, J.
1. This is an application under Articles 132(1) and 133(1) of the Constitution for grant of certificates that the case involves substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution and that the judgment sought to be appealed against involves directly and indirectly a claim or question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000/-.
2. The facts of the case, in brief, are that the applicant, Brij Lal Suri, is the Karta of a joint Hindu family firm trading under the name of Northern India Lime Marketing Association, Dehra Dun, (hereinafter called the firm). There are substantial lime stone and other mineral deposits in the district of Dehra Dun and some other districts in this State. On the 31st July 1948 the firm was granted a prospecting licence to prospect for sulphates, carbonates, phosphates and sulphides such as Gymsum, Albaster, Limestone and others.
The licence was in the standard form of prospecting licence, as prescribed in the U. P. Mining Concessions and Mineral Development Rules, 1940, (hereinafter referred to as 1940 Rules). The licence was initially for the period of one year, but one of the terms of the licence was that the licensee would have the right, subject to compliance with the Rules, to a mining lease over so much of the land included in the prospecting licence as the licensee desired and the Provincial Government thought fit to grant.
The application, however, for the grant of the lease was to be made before the determination of the term of the licence and, if such application was duly made, the term of the licence was to extend for the further period till the date on which the lease was granted or the date which was prescribed by the Collector in his discretion. Soon after the grant of the licence, the firm made an application on 20-9-1948 for the grant of a mining lease for 30 years over the entire land.
The mining lease was not granted and the firm applied to the Collector of Dehra Dun that the period of the prospecting licence be extended to the date of the execution of the deed. Neither was the term of the prospecting licence extended nor was a mining lease granted to the firm. On the other hand, on 28-6-1949 the Collector of Dehra Dun wrote to the firm a letter purporting to cancel the licence.
3. The firm, however, continued to exercise its alleged rights under the prospecting licence and made representations to the State Government and the Central Government for the execution of the mining lease. The mining lease, however, was not executed and a writ petition was moved in this court under Article 226 of the Constitution praying inter alia for the issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus commanding the State of Uttar Pradesh to execute a mining lease in favour of the firm for a term of 30 years.
This petition was opposed by the State on a number of grounds, including the ground that the 1940 Rules did not apply to limestone and most of those grounds were considered and decided by a Bench of this Court by its judgment dated 8-12-1953. The decision on other points was in favour of the firm, but on the question whether the 1940 Rules were applied by the State Government, the Court was not satisfied that they were so applied to limestone.
The rules did not apply by their own force to a mining lease for excavating limestone, and the question whether the State Government had applied those rules to limestone was a question of fact which depended upon evidence. The material before the Court was not considered to be sufficient for deciding the question, and the Bench decided to issue a writ in the nature of mandamus in the alternative. The State Government was either to grant the lease or to show cause why the same be not granted.
The State Government decided to show cause against the grant of the writ and by their application dated 7-1-1954 averred that the 1940 rules had never been applied by the State Government to leases for excavating limestone. Subsequently a number of applications were made on behalf of the firm to the effect that no proper cause had been shown by the State Government against the issue of the writ and that the State Government be directed to discolse the documents which appertained to the point in controversy and to allow inspection of a number of files.
4. After a protracted trial a Bench of this Court finally held by its judgment, sought to be appealed against, that it was not proved in the case that the 1940 rules were ever applied by the State Government to the grant of mining leases in respect of limestone. The Bench held that there was no statutory obligation on the State Government to grant a mining lease in respect of the minor minerals such as limestone, but that the State Government was bound to grant a mining lease with respect to other minerals mentioned in the prospecting licence issued to the firm.
The lease, however, was to be subject to the 1940 and 1949 rules and the terms of the prospecting licence. They directed the issue of a writ accordingly. The firm appears to be aggrieved by this order of the Bench because the most important mineral appears to be limestone and the firm's claim for the issue of a writ of mandamus to the State Government to grant a mining lease with respect to limestone has been disallowed by this Court.
5. As already stated, the application seeks to obtain a certificate both under Articles 132(1) and 133(1) of the Constitution. We think that the applicant firm is not entitled to a certificate under Article 132(1) but that it is entitled to a certificate under article 133(1). The learned counsel for the firm seeks to bring the case under Article 132(1) on the ground that the firm had a fundamental right to obtain the lease and in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution ft was incumbent upon the High Court to grant the prayer for the issue of a writ of mandamus protecting the firm's fundamental right.
The learned counsel has urged that under the prospecting licence the firm has entered into possession of the land, that it was entitled to apply for the grant of a lease, which the firm did within the period allowed in the licence, and that there is thus a vested right in the firm to obtain the lease. This vested right to obtain the mining lease is said to have the status of a fundamental right and protected by Articles 19(1)(f) and 31 of the Constitution.
Emphasis is laid on the fact that the firm is actually in possession of the land and, it having exercised the option within time, its right is as good as the right of a lessee. Before proceeding to consider this argument, the position may first be made clear that the lease, which the firm seeks to obtain, is not like the ordinary lease for possession of immoveable property. The prospecting licence or the lease does not confer any exclusive right of possession over the demised land. It only confers an exclusive right to excavate the minerals mentioned in the licence. The licence gives a right to what may be called a profit a prendre and similar is the position of a lease under the rules.
6. The Bench has not given any decision on the question whether the right of the firm is a fundamental one or not, though a reference has been made to the claim, in the previous judgment as also in the last one. We find it difficult to uphold the contention of the learned counsel that the right to obtain this sort of lease can be said to be a right which has been given the status of a fundamental right. The rights under the prospecting licence are not the subject matter of the proposed appeal to the Supreme Court, and it is admitted that the firm is in continued enjoyment o the rights under the prospecting licence.
That licence gives it a right to obtain a lease, but as long as no lease is actually executed, the rights as lessee do not come into existence, and the right to obtain a lease may be a claim to obtain a right, which may have the status of being a fundamental one, when it has been obtained, but the mere light to obtain such a right, in our opinion, does not have the status of a fundamental right. It may be a contractual right and may, in some cases, be also a statutory right, but we are of the opinion that this particular right is not the one which is sought to be protected by Article 19 or Article 31 of the Constitution.
The mining lease, when obtained, as also the present prospecting licence confer a right to a profit a prendre, which has been defined in Halsbury's Laws of England, second edition, Vol. II, at page 381, as a right to take something off land of another person or a right to enter a land of another person and to take some profit of the soil, or a portion of the soil itself for the use of the owner of the right. These rights have been regarded as incorporeal hereditaments capable of being created only by deed.
The lease, even after it has been granted, would not create any right in the land, much less can it be said that the right to obtain such a lease creates any right in the land. The right being merely one to obtain such a lease, I do not think it is a right which has been protected by Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution.
7. In the State of Bombay v. Bhanji Munji, (S) : 1SCR777 , their Lordships observed that Articles 19(1)(f) and 31 dealt with different subjects and covered different fields and there was no overlapping. They then proceeded,
'We need not examine those differences here because it is enough to say that Article 19(1)(f) read with Clause (5) postulates the existence of property which can be enjoyed and over which rights can be exercised because otherwise the reasonable restrictions contemplated by Clause (5) could not be brought into play'.
'These Articles deal with substantial and substantive rights and not with illusory phantoms of title. When every, form of enjoyment which normally accompanies an interest in this kind of property is taken away leaving the mere husk of title, Article 19(1)(f) is not attracted'.
What the firm claims in the present proceedings is that it has a right to obtain mining lease, and a right like this is a right in the abstract which cannot be enjoyed excepting after it has been granted and has fructified into a lease.
8. The facts of the case of Ananda Bahera v. State of Orissa : 2SCR919 , are very much similar to facts of the present case. The dispute in that case was with respect to fishery rights in a lake situate in Orissa and, after the abolition of Zamindaris, the State refused to recognise these rights. A petition under Article 32 of the Constitution was then filed before the Supreme Court and it was averred that the fundamental rights of the petitioners under Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(1) had been or were about to be infringed. The Supreme Court held that the right to catch and carry away the fish amounted to a licence to enter on the land coupled with a grant, and it was a profit a prendre.
To the argument that a contract was property their Lordships replied that even if it be assumed that it was a kind of property, the State of Orissa had not taken away the contract or prevented the licensees from acquiring, holding or disposing of the contract. The licensees were free to sue on it and assign on it if they wanted to do so. The State refused to recognise the said contract. It was held,
'If the State is wrong in its attitude, that may give rise to a suit against it for damages for breach of contract or possibly, (though we do not say it would), to a right, to sue for specific performance; but no question under Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(1) can arise because the State has not confiscated or acquired or taken possession of the contract as such'.
9. I think that the same is the position with respect to the alleged right of the firm to obtain a mining lease. The right may be there in the firm, but the State is not interfering with that right as such, nor is it taking away that right from it, The State is only refusing to recognise the right or to give effect to it and, if the State is wrong in its attitude, the firm may have a right to bring a suit for damages or breach of contract or for specific performance, but no question under Article 19 or Article 31 can arise. I think this case (Ananda Bahera's (B)) is an authority which negatives the contention of the firm entirely that any fundamental right of the firm under Article 19 or Article 31 is being interfered with. Article 31 further has no application to the case because the State Government is not acquiring the alleged right of the firm to obtain the lease.
10. For the above reasons, I am unable to certify that the case involves substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
11. Coming new to Article 133 of the Constitution, the main question for decision is whether the proceedings in this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution were 'civil proceedings' or not within the meaning of the expression as used in Article 133. Under Clause (1) of Article 133 an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from a judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court, if the High Court certifies that the amount or value of the subject matter of dispute in the court of first instance and still in dispute on appeal was or is not less than Rs. 20,000/-, or the judgment, decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question respecting the property of the like amount or value. Where the judgment, decree or final order appealed from affirms the decision of the court immediately below, the High Court should further certify that the appeal involves some substantial questions of law.
The High Court may also otherwise declare the case as a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court. It has not been denied on behalf of the respondents that the judgment under appeal involves directly or indirectly a claim or question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000. As a matter of fact, the right in dispute is a very valuable one and, if the firm succeeds in getting 30 years' lease, it would earn lacs of rupees. I am thus satisfied that the judgment under appeal does involve a claim respecting property of more than Rs. 20,000/-, The court of first instance in this case is the High Court it-self, and this is not a case to which the last paragraph of Article 133(1) has any application. That paragraph only applies where the judgment, decree or final order appealed from affirms the decision of the court immediately below the High Court.
The paragraph would not apply where the High Court does not affirm the decision of the court below it, nor would it apply to a case where the question of affirming or not affirming the decision does not arise at all. An appeal thus lies, as a matter of right, to the Supreme Court, provided the judgment sought to be appealed against has been given in a 'civil proceeding'.
12. The expression 'civil proceeding' has not been defined anywhere in the Constitution, and the interpretation of the expression has given rise to a great deal of controversy in the different High Courts, and the cases even of the same High Court on the point cannot always be reconciled. The position would have been less difficult if the proceedings, contemplated by the Constitution, were only of two kinds, namely, civil and criminal. But in Article 132 besides mentioning civil and criminal proceedings, the expression 'other proceeding' has also been used.
This makes it clear that all the proceedings before the High Court are not divided into civil and criminal, and there may be proceedings conducted in the High Court, which are neither civil nor criminal. An appeal lies to the Supreme Court from a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court, whether it is given in civil, criminal or other proceedings, if the High Court certifies that the case involves substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. Where the question involved is a question of interpretation of the Constitution, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court on a certificate given by the High Court in all the three kinds of cases.
13. Article 133 of the Constitution then deals with cases of civil proceeding in which an appeal lies to the Supreme Court, and Article 134 deals with cases of criminal proceedings. Article 135 invests the Supreme Court with power to decide matters which the Federal Court had jurisdiction to decide them. Article 136 authorises the Supreme Court to grant special leave to appeal from 'any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.' Instead of 'proceeding' the expression used here is 'any cause or matter'.I do not think much turns on the difference in the use of the word proceeding' in Articles 133 and 134, and the word 'cause or matter' in Article 136, be-cause in Article 135 it has been said that the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction and power with respect to any matter to which the provisions of Article 133 or Article 134 do not apply. According to the language used in Articles 133 and 134, they apply to civil and criminal proceedings respectively and those very proceedings have been referred to as 'matter' in Article 135. The word 'proceeding' in Articles 133 and 135 has been used in a wide sense, and more or less has the same connotation as the word 'case' in Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code.
14. The main question is whether the proceeding out of which this application for grant of certificate arises was a 'civil proceeding' or not. This court has in some cases assumed that, the proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution, if arising out of civil matter, are civil proceedings and in some unreported cases it is actually held that these proceedings are civil proceedings. Reference in this connection may, however, be made to only one un-reported case, namely, the case of Collector of Mirzapur v. Firm Goverdhan Das Kailash Nath, SCA No. 62 of 1956, D/-14-11-1956 (All) (C), in which it was held that the proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution were civil proceedings.
15. The question again arose in the case of State of Uttar Pradesh v. Mukhtar Singh : AIR1957All505 . The point, it appears, was fully argued for the first time in this Court, but the learned Judges, constituting the Bench, were of contrary opinions. Mr. Justice Desai was of the opinion that no proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution can ever be said to be a civil proceeding. Mr. Justice Beg took the view that a civil proceeding is one which is taken for enforcement of a civil right and whether a proceeding was civil or not depended on the nature of the subject matter of the proceeding and not on the mode adopted or the forum provided for the enforcement of the right. The question really arose on an application under Order 45 Rule 13, C. P. C. made by the applicant in the case for staying the operation of the judgment of this Court. Mr. Justice Beg was of the opinion that on the merits of the application, the applicant was not entitled to any order under Order 45 Rule 13, C. P. C. The application was accordingly dismissed.
16. The High Court at Orissa has recently held in the case of Jagannath Agarwala v. State of Orissa : AIR1957Ori42 , that a proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution was a civil proceeding if it was with respect to a claim in assertion of a civil right.
17. The question whether an application for information in the nature of a quo warranto is in the nature of a civil proceeding arose for decision before the Privy Council in the case of Hamid Hasan Nomani v. Banwarilal Roy, AIR 1947 PC 90 (F), and the Privy Council answered the question in the affirmative.
18. Some help may also be derived from a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Province of Bombay v. Khushaldas Section Advani : 1SCR621 . One of the questions that arose in the case was whether a right, granted by Section 306 read with Section 176 of the Government of India Act, 1935, to sue the Provincial Government would include within it the right to apply for the issue of a writ of certiorari. Mr. Justice Mahajan said in paragraph No. 51 of the Report:
'The expression 'sue' means 'the enforcement of a claim or a civil right by means of legal proceedings'. When a right is in jeopardy, then any proceedings that can be adopted to put it out of jeopardy fall within the expression 'sue.' Any remedy that can be taken to vindicate the right is included within the expression.'
The right to sue was held to include the right to take proceedings for the issue of a writ of certiorari.
19. The exact question has been recently considered by the Punjab High Court in great detail, if I may say so with respect in the unanimous decision of a Full Bench in the case of Kapur Singh v. Union of India . The Full Bench expressed the opinion that it would depend on facts and circumstances of each case whether the proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution was a civil proceeding or not. Generally a civil proceeding may be defined as a judicial process to enforce a civil right and includes any remedy employed to vindicate that right.
It covers every step in an action and is equivalent to an action. It is a prescribed course of action for enforcing a legal action and embraces the requisite steps by which judicial action is invoked. Reference in this case has been made to a number of English cases and also some American cases, and no useful purpose would be served by referring to them again in this judgment. The English cases mostly are cases in which the court of appeal had to decide whether the proceeding was a criminal one or not, because the maintainability of appeal depended on the case being a criminal case. In deciding those cases, valuable observations have been made, which have been quoted in the judgment and relied upon.
20. The question has arisen for decision in a number of cases before the Supreme Court of America also and observations have been made in those cases which go entirely to support the view that proceedings for the issue of writ would be civil proceedings, if the subject matter of the proceedings is a civil right. As regards these American cases, it has been said that in America there are only two categories of cases under the relevant section, and the categories are of criminal and civil cases.
So, any case which was not a criminal case had to be treated as a civil one. But I do not think that this argument is sufficient for disregarding the decisions of the American Courts, because, in some of those cases at least, the learned Judges have carefully considered what a civil proceeding is and they have not gone on the ground that because the proceeding is not criminal, therefore, it must be taken to be civil. Reference in this connection may be made only to the case of Hartman v. Greenhow, (1881) 26 Law Ed 271 (I). Mr. Justice Field has said at page 273,
'The judgment denying the writ of mandamus was a final determination against the claim of the petitioner to have the coupons held by him received for taxes without a deduction from their face value of the amount of the tax levied on the bonds. A mandamus in cases of this kind is no longer regarded in this country as a mere prerogative writ. It is nothing more than an ordinary proceeding or action In which the performance of a specific duty, by which the rights of the petitioner are affected, is sought to be enforced.'
A quotation is then made from an earlier case in which Chief Justice Taney had observed that the writs came into use by virtue of prerogative power in the English Crown and were subject to regulations and rules which have long since been 'disused'; but the right to the writ and the power to issue it had ceased to depend upon any prerogative power, and it was now regarded as an ordinary process, in cases to which it was applicable.
21. The only clear authority in favour of the State is the decision of a Full Bench of the High Court at Patna in the case of Collector of Monghyr v. Maharaja Pratap Singh Bahadur : AIR1957Pat102 . The learned Judges have gone to the length of holding that no proceeding taken under Article 226 of the Constitution can ever be a civil proceeding within the meaning of the expression as used in Article 133 of the Constitution.
The main reason for arriving at this conclusion appears to be that, in the opinion of the learned Judges, the jurisdiction under Article 226 is an extraordinary jurisdiction which was vested not for the purpose of declaring the civil rights of the parties but for the purposes of ensuring that the law of the land was implicitly obeyed and that the tribunals and public authorities were kept within the limits of their jurisdiction. To put it in their own words,
'In other words, the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 is a supervisory jurisdiction, a jurisdiction meant to supervise the work of the tribunals and public authorities and to see that they act within the limits of their respective jurisdiction.
In a proceeding under Article 226, the High Court is not concerned with the determination of the civil rights of the parties; the only object of such a proceeding under Article 266 is to ensure that the law of the land is implicitly obeyed and that various authorities and tribunals act within the limits of their respective jurisdiction.'
Mention was also made of the fact that these writs were known as prerogative writs in the English law and they were specially associated with the King's name, and the theory was that the King himself must superintend the due course of justice through his own Courts. It was also observed that our Constitution has borrowed the power to issue these writs from the English law.
22. Whatever may have been the origin of the writ jurisdiction of the King's Bench Division in England, the position at the time that the Constitution of India came into force was very different. Even in England, the writs, as such had been abolished and in their place powers were granted to the High Courts to issue corresponding orders. Even before the formal abolition of the rights to issue the writs, the writs were treated in many cases as dealing with civil rights of the parties. We have already mentioned above that in America they have since long been treating the writ jurisdiction as a jurisdiction dealing with civil rights of the parties and, though they borrowed the writs from the English law, they did not always regard them as other than civil proceedings, (if they determined civil rights), simply because in the land of their origin at sometime they were regarded as prerogative writs.
I think that the position in India is the same as it was in America and the power to issue these writs in India is granted to the High Courts by the Constitution, and not by virtue of the fact that the King had in theory authorised his Courts to issue these writs.
23. Ferns in his book on the 'Law of Extra-ordinary Legal Remedies' says at pages 220 and 221,
'At common law mandamus was a prerogative remedy, issued in the name of the sovereign to prevent disorder from a failure of justice and detect of police; and while it has been termed such by the courts of this country in early decisions, and properly characterised as one of the highest writs known to our jurisprudence, it is generally held to have lost its prerogative character, being now merely a civil action or proceeding to enforce a legal right. Especially is this so because of our form of Government''.
Earlier at page 220 it has been stated that although mandamus issues in the name of the King and in the name of the State in America, and although it may be said to partake somewhat of a criminal nature,
'It is, nevertheless, a civil remedy for the protection of civil rights'.
24. Bailey in his book on 'Habeas Corpus and Special Remedies', Vol. II, at page 773, says,
'It would not be profitable to the reader to give an historical review of this ancient writ and remedy in this work, or in detail to trace its transformation in this country from the High prerogative writ of England to what it is now in modern practice other than in exceptional cases - an action in law between the parties. The right to the writ and the power to issue it has ceased to depend upon any prerogative power, and it is now regarded as an ordinary process in cases to which it is applicable.'
Lower down it is said that the judgment in such a case stands like the judgment of an ordinary action at law, subject to review under similar conditions. There can thus be no doubt that in America writ of mandamus is treated as an action at law and it appears from the above quotations that in England also the position had become more or less the same, even before the right to issue the writs by their name was abolished by the Parliament in England. In India, I think, there can be no question of the writs being issued under the prerogative of His Majesty and here they partake of the nature of the writs in America.
25. In Halsbury's Laws of England, second edition, Vol. 9, it is stated at page 794,
'The applicant for the writ of mandamus may plead to the return thereto within such time and in like manner as if the return were a statement of defence delivered in an action. The pleading and all subsequent proceedings, including pleadings, trial, Judgment and execution, proceed and may be had and taken as if in action; ...... ... ....... .......
The parties may concur in stating any question of law in the form of a special case for the opinion of the court, or the Court or a judge may order a case to be so stated'.
The procedure indicated above would show that even in England the proceedings were treated as proceedings in an ordinary civil action. The decision on writs of mandamus are subject to review by Court of appeal, and the rules of the Supreme Court of England as to appeals to the Court of appeal apply to all civil proceedings on the Crown side including mandamus.
Even in England it would thus appear, for all practical purposes, that a writ of mandamus at least is treated as an ordinary civil action, and there is no reason why I should continue to treat these writs, including writs of mandamus, as the old high prerogative writs issued by the King's Bench in England.
26. Article 227 of the Constitution speaks of powers of superintendence by this, Court, and even the powers exercised under Article 226 may be spoken of as supervisory powers. The powers are supervisory in the sense that the High Court can see that the subordinate tribunals keep within the limits of their jurisdiction, but, apart from that, the High Court can also deal with the rights, when the question is raised before the High Court.
27. It appears to be very anomalous to hold that, if one citizen moves a writ petition against a District Board challenging the legality of a bye-law framed by the Board, which affects the civil rights of the applicant; and another citizen, similarly situate, brings a suit in the regular civil court praying for the same relief; then if the High Court decides in first appeal the case of the person, who brought the case in the court of the civil judge, the proceedings should be taken to be civil proceedings, whereas the case of the other man, similarly situate, who brought a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, should not be taken to be a civil proceeding.
28. The standing counsel said that the proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution should betaken to be constitutional proceedings and not a civil proceeding, even though they may determine civil rights. On the same analogy it might be argued that, if a civil suit pending in the Civil Judge's court is transferred to the High Court under Article 228 of the Constitution, the case would be decided by this court within its constitutional jurisdiction and not within its civil jurisdiction.
29. I do not think that Article 226 of the Constitution confers any jurisdiction of a type which can be classed under a separate head. The Article only confers additional powers on the High Court to issue certain writs, directions and orders of the nature more or less as were issued in England under the different prerogative writs. The conferment is of j additional powers and not of a particular kind of additional jurisdiction. I think it would depend upon the nature of each case, decided under Article 226 of the Constitution, whether it was a civil, criminal or other proceeding.
What is to be looked into is the nature and circumstances of the particular case, and the mere fact that it has been dealt with under Article 226 of the Constitution is not sufficient for saying that it is or is not a civil proceeding.
30. I respectfully agree with the decision of the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in the case of Kapur Singh (H), referred to above, and hold that civil proceedings may be defined as a judicial process to enforce a civil right and includes any remedy employed to vindicate that right. The word 'proceeding' covers every step in an action and is equivalent to an action. If the order of this Court is directed against a proceeding, which is criminal in character, that is if the proceeding is carried to a conclusion which may end in imprisonment for an offence, then the proceeding in the High Court must be taken to be a criminal proceeding.
But if the order is in regard to a proceeding which relates to determination of individual lights or redress to individual wrongs, then it will be a civil proceeding. If the proceedings are neither one nor the other, then they will be 'other proceeding' within the meaning of Article 132 of the Constitution. I am not called upon to decide what proceedings are embraced within the meaning of the expression 'other proceeding', but it is possible that) the other proceedings may be in the nature of disciplinary proceedings against the advocates, proceedings in the nature of contempt of Court and other proceedings which are neither civil nor criminal.
31. In the present case, the firm has prayed for the issue of a writ of mandamus to compel the Government to execute a lease for 30 years in its favour for purpose of excavating limestone, amongst other minerals. It says that the Government is bound to execute the lease and this Court has allowed the writ petition in part and commanded the State Government to execute the lease with respect to minerals other than limestone. The case was partly decided by this Court by its judgment dated 8-12-1953, when it issued an alternative writ.
The parties were then permitted to treat the matter as a suit and to furnish such evidence as they liked to produce. The proceedings have throughout been of a civil nature partaking the nature of a civil action and we think that the judgment under appeal has been delivered in proceedings of a civil nature.
32. I have already indicated above that if the proceedings are proceedings of a civil nature, an appeal lies as a matter of right, as the valuation is not less than Rs. 20,000/- and in fact it is much more than that.
33. I would, accordingly, certify under Article 133(1)(b) that the judgment under appeal involves directly a question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000/-.
A. P. Srivastava, J.
34. I have had the advantage of reading the judgment prepared by my learned brother. I agree that the applicant is entitled to a certificate under Article 133(1)(b) of the Constitution. As, however, my point of view is slightly different I would prefer to state my reasons in my own way.
35. The facts have been stated in detail by my learned brother and need not be repeated. On the 31st of July, 1948, the applicant obtained a prospecting licence in the form prescribed by the U. P. Mining Concession and Mineral Development Rules, 1940 (hereinafter to be referred to as the 1940 Rules). The licence was for a number of minerals and was to last for the period of a year. One of its terms provided that the applicant was to have the right, subject to the compliance with the Rules, to a mining lease over so much of the land as he may desire and the Provincial Government shall think fit to grant, provided he applied for the grant of the lease before the expiry of the terms of the licence.
It was further provided that if the application for a mining lease was made in time, the term of the licence was to be extended for a further term ending either with the grant of the lease or any other date as the Collector may in his discretion prescribe. This clause of the licence was in accordance with Rule 33 of the 1940 rules which clearly provided that
'On or before the determination of his licence the licencee shall have a right, (a) in the case of minerals other than precious stones to a mining lease in accordance with the terms contained in the rules for mining lease'.
Taking advantage of this clause in his licence the applicant made the application for a mining lease on 16-3-1951, within the prescribed time and claimed a lease in respect of the minerals mentioned in his licence. Under the 1940 Rules, minerals were divided in two classes - major and minor. Limestone which was the main mineral to be found in the area over which the applicant's licence extended was a minor minerals under those rules and Rule 6 of the rules provided that the rules shall not apply to minor minerals like limestone and that the extraction of such minor minerals was to be regulated by such separate orders as the State Government may pass in the matter having regard to the merits of each individual case.
The request of the applicant for a mining lease was turned down by the State Government and it wanted to cancel the applicant's licence. The applicant then filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, claiming a writ of mandamus commanding the State of Uttar Pradesh to grant him a mining lease. The main grounds on which the petition was based were that the right to get a mining lease in accordance with the terms of the licence which the applicant held was really a statutory right and that the omission of the State Government to grant the mining lease amounted to a violation of the applicant's fundamental right to property. The case of the applicant was that the right to get the mining lease was itself a property and the State Government could not deprive the applicant of that property except in due course of law. The claim of the applicant was contested by the State Government on various grounds. By an order dated 8-12-1953, a Bench of this Court considered the petition and decided that the applicant was entitled to a writ in the nature of mandamus in the alternative. This order is reported in Brij Lal v. The State of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1954All393 . It commanded the State to execute a mining lease for 30 years as desired by the applicant or to show cause to the contrary. The State Government did not execute the lease as directed and preferred to show cause.
The main contention put forward on its behalf was that it was under no statutory obligation to grant a lease as claimed by the applicant. So far as limestones were concerned, it was contended, the 1940 Rules did not apply by their own force and the State Government had never applied those rules to limestones by any separate order. It was also pointed out that 1940 Rules were to be read subject to 1949 Rules which had been framed under the Mines & Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1948, and there was a clear provision in the latter Rules under which the State Government could refuse to grant a mining lease to a licencee.
It was urged that at the most the applicant could rely on a contractual obligation entered in his licence, and that obligation could not be enforced by a writ of mandamus. By an order of this Court dated 15-1-1957, this Court held that the State was under a statutory obligation to grant a lease in favour of the applicant in respect of minerals other than minor minerals mentioned in the applicant's prospecting licence. It directed the State by a writ of mandamus to grant such a lease to the applicant. It held further that the statutory obligation did not extend to a lease in respect of a minor mineral like limestones.
The 1940 Rules did not apply to limestones by their own force and had not been extended to mining minerals like limestone by any separate order. It therefore rejected the applicant's petition to that extent and refused to issue a mandamus to the State Government requiring it to grant a mining lease in respect of limestones. It is against this latter portion of the order of this court that the applicant now wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.
36. The present application has been filed both under Articles 132(1) and 133(1) of the Constitution and the prayer is that this Court should grant a certificate (1) that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution and is a fit case for appeal to the Supreme Court under Article 132(1) of the Constitution, and (2) that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court under Article 133(1) of the Constitution.
37. Under Article 133(1)(b) of the Constitution the applicant can appeal to the Supreme Court as of right if the High Court certifies (a) that the appeal is from a judgment, decree or final Order, (b) that such judgment, decree or final order has been passed in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India, and (c) that the judgment, decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000/-.
38. It is common ground between the parties that the order of this Court against which the applicant wants to prefer an appeal is a final order. It is further agreed that it involves directly or indirectly a claim or question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000/-. The first and the third conditions mentioned above are therefore clearly fulfilled. It is, however, contended on behalf of the State that as the proceeding in which the order against which an appeal is to be preferred was not a civil proceeding, no certificate can be granted to the applicant under Article 133 of the Constitution. The question is whether this contention is acceptable.
39. The term 'civil proceeding' has not been defined in the Constitution or any other statute. The learned counsel for the State, however, pointed out that a perusal of Articles 132 to 136 of the Constitution, showed that under Article 132 where an appeal involved a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution proceedings out of which the appeal could arise have been classified as civil, criminal or other proceeding. Article 133 deals with appeal arising out of civil proceeding. Article 134 deals with appeals arising out of criminal proceedings. Article 135 preserves the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in respect of entertaining appeals which could have been filed in the Federal Court before the commencement of the Constitution. Article 136 empowers the Supreme Court to grant special leave for appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or Tribunal in the territory of India. He emphasised that the words used in Article 136 were 'cause or matter' while those in Articles 132, 133 and 134 were 'civil, criminal and other proceedings'. A distinction, he contended, had therefore been made by the Constitution itself between civil proceedings, criminal proceedings and other proceedings.
Proceedings under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution were, according to him, not civil proceedings, or criminal proceedings but fell under the category of other proceedings. These other proceedings, he urged, included revenue proceedings, taxation proceedings, constitutional proceedings, executive proceedings, administrative proceedings, contempt proceedings, disciplinary proceedings and various other kinds of proceedings which could not be easily either as civil or criminal. His argument, therefore, is that if a person wants to appeal to the Supreme Court against an order passed in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution he must either fulfil the conditions of Article 132 or obtain special leave from the Supreme Court itself under Article 136 of the Constitution.
No certificate, it is contended, can be granted to him by the High Court under Article 133 of the Constitution.
40. In the marginal notes of Articles 133 and 134 the expression 'civil matters' and 'criminal matters' respectively have been employed. In the Articles themselves the terms employed are 'civil proceeding' and 'criminal proceeding'. In Article 136, the expression 'cause or matter' is used. This difference in phraseology can however be easily explained on the ground that the object of the Constitution makers in framing Article 136 was to confer the widest possible powers on the highest court of the land to enable it to interfere and to do justice whenever it found necessary.
It was therefore felt that the terms of Article 136 should be of the widest possible import. That is why we find that while Articles 132, 133 and 134 relate to decisions of any court or Tribunal, appeals under Articles 132, 133 and 134 can be filed only against judgments, decrees or final orders. The Supreme Court can however grant leave in its discretion under Article 136 not only against judgments, decrees and final orders but also against any determination, sentence or order. The word 'proceeding', which is derived from the same origin as the word 'procedure' naturally brings to the mind some action in ft court of law.
On that account it was probably felt that the import of that word may be considered to be limits ed and it may not be found very appropriate if used in connection with tribunal which may not be performing the functions of a court. The expression 'any cause or matter' which has obviously a much wider import than the word 'proceeding' was therefore employed in Article 136 which applied to courts as well as Tribunals. This difference in the expressions employed does not however help in solving the problem before us which is whether a proceeding started in a High Court for obtaining a writ of mandamus is a civil proceeding or not.
41. If Articles 132, 133 and 134 are read together, it becomes clear beyond doubt that the Constitution contemplates that all proceedings in the High Court should be classified in three categories - civil, criminal and other. But simply because proceedings were contemplated which were neither civil nor criminal it does not appear to be possible to infer that proceedings for a writ of mandamus are not civil proceedings but fall under the category of other proceedings. The third category, namely, other proceedings, appears to be obviously meant to include those proceedings which may clearly fall outside the first two or which may not be capable of easy classification e. g., contempt proceedings or court martial proceedings or disciplinary proceedings. It is also possible that as the Constitution was being framed for all times to come the words were put in to cover all classes of cases which the High Court may at any time be empowered to deal with but which may not necessarily be considered to be either 'civil' or 'criminal'.
The mere existence of this 3rd category does not, however, absolve us from responsibility of considering the nature of each proceeding individually be-fore deciding under which of the three categories it falls. There is apparently no justification for assuming that mandamus proceedings are not civil proceedings and must be classified as other proceedings simply because there is a category of other proceedings.
42. In the absence of any definition of the expression 'civil proceedings' the expression itself and the two words which constitute it should in my opinion be given either their ordinary dictionary meaning or the meaning which they had acquired in legal parlance in England and America before they were used in the Constitution. Considered from this point of view, it will be found that the word 'civil' which is derived from the latin word 'civis', a citizen, when used in connection with law usually means 'concerning questions of private law usually means 'concerning questions of private rights'.
Civil law thus usually denotes the body of rules which have to be observed by the citizens of a country because they are such citizens. The dictionary meaning of the word 'proceeding' is 'step taken in a legal action'. According to Stround's Judicial Dictionary, the term 'civil proceeding' means a process for the recovery of individual right or redress of individual wrong inclusive in its proper legal sense of suits by the Crown. According to its ordinary and well established meaning, therefore, a 'civil proceeding' is an action or step in an action taken in a court of law by a person to vindicate or enforce his rights or to have a redress for a wrong done to him.
This, appears to be the meaning given to the expression 'civil proceedings' in Bradlough v. Clarke, (1883) 8 AC 354 (L). If that is the meaning which the expression is deemed to bear, the petition by the applicant made in the present case must be held to be a civil proceeding. By that petition the applicant wanted to have his right to have a mining lease vindicated and enforced on the ground that it was ft statutory right. He in fact claimed it to be a fundamental right and wanted the State to be compelled to honour that right and not to set it at naught in the manner in which it wanted to do so.
43. It is practically conceded that so far as the proceedings for a writ of mandamus are concerned, in England as well as in America such proceedings have always been considered to be civil proceedings. Thus it is observed in Halsbury's Laws of England, Second Edition Vol. 9, at page 794,
'The applicant for the writ of mandamus may plead to the return thereto within such time and in like manner as if the return were a statement of de-fence delivered (in an action. Thus pleading and all subsequent proceedings, including pleadings, trial, judgment and execution, proceed and may be had and taken as if in an action; .... ........... .....
The parties may concur in stating any question of law in the form of a special case for the opinion of the Court, or the Court or a judge may order a case to be so stated''.
An application for a writ of mandamus is thus treated on the same footing as an ordinary civil action.
44. The position in America is the same. Thus Ferris and Ferris in their book of the 'Law of Extraordinary Legal Remedies' at pages, 220 and 221 observe:
'At common law mandamus was a prerogative remedy, issued in the name of the sovereign to prevent disorder from a failure of justice and defect of police; and while it has been termed such by the courts of this country in early decisions, and properly characterised as one of the highest writ known to our jurisprudence, it is generally held to have lost its prerogative character, being now merely a civil action or proceeding to enforce a legal right. Especially is this so because of our form of Government'.
45. It is however contended that in England as well as in America all proceedings are either civil or criminal. There is no third category of other proceedings. The fact that in those countries proceedings for a writ of mandamus are considered to be civil proceedings cannot therefore justify the conclusion that they should be regarded as civil proceedings under our Constitution also which clearly contemplates a third category Of proceedings which are neither civil nor criminal. The contention appears to be unacceptable because in England as well as in America mandamus proceedings have not been held to be civil proceedings on the ground that they are not criminal proceedings. They have been held to be civil proceedings because of their nature and because they have been found to have all the features of a civil action.
46. In India, decisions on the point have not been uniform. In our own High Court, certificates have been granted under Article 133 in respect of appeals arising out of writ proceedings in a number of cases. In most of them it was assumed that the proceedings were civil proceedings within the meaning of Article 133. In SectionC.A. No. 62 of 1956, D/-14-11-1956 (All) (C), however, the question was specifically raised and a Division Bench took the view that proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution were civil proceedings, Thereafter the question arose again but indirectly in : AIR1957All505 . The application before the learned Judges in that case was not an application for a certificate but an application for the stay of operation of a writ pending appeal to the Supreme Courts Both the learned Judges who were dealing with the matter were agreed that on merits the stay order prayed for could not be granted. They, however, differed from other, on the question whether proceedings under Article 226 could be considered to be civil proceedings. Mr. Justice Desai took the view that they could not Mr. Justice Beg took a contrary view. As the learned Judges were agreed as to the dismissal of the application on merits, the discussion as to whether the proceeding under Article 226 could be considered to be civil proceeding was only academical and must be regarded as obiter dicta.
47. The Rajasthan High Court in Naha Singh v. The State of Rajasthan, (S) AIR 1955 Raj 56 (M) had before it an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the dismissal of a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. By that petition the petitioner had challenged the validity of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Resumption of Jagirs Act. It was held that the proceeding was a civil proceeding as the petitioner had sought to enforce his civil rights in it.
48. In Ram Chandra Reddy v. Shankaramma, AIR 1953 Hyd 131 (N) leave was granted to appeal to the Supreme Court under Articles 132 and 133 of the Constitution against the decision in a petition by which the validity of the Hyderabad Abolition of Jagir's Regulation had been challenged. It was held that the proceedings were civil proceedings because they were not of a criminal nature.
49. The High Court of Orissa has recently held in : AIR1957Ori42 that a proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution is a civil proceeding as it relates to a claim in assertion of a civil right.
50. A Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in considered the question at some length and arrived at the conclusion that 'a civil proceeding may be defined as a judicial process to enforce a right and includes any remedy employed to vindicate that right. It covers every step in an action and is equivalent to an action. It is a prescribed course of action for enforcing a legal action and embraces the requisite steps by which judicial action is invoked'.
The learned Judges went on to hold that it was difficult to lay down for all cases as to what would be civil proceedings and what would be other proceedings. The case with which they were dealing was a case in which proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution had been started by a public servant against whom an inquiry had been ordered under the Public Servants Inquiry Act. The order directing the inquiry was impugned. The petition had been dismissed. It was held that as the petitioner's civil rights had been determined, the proceedings were civil proceedings and he could get a certificate under Article 133 of the Constitution,
51. The question appears to have arisen in the Patna High Court, first of all, in Tobacco . v. The State : AIR1951Pat29 . That case had arisen under the Bihar Sales Tax Act. Differing from earlier decisions of its own Court, the Full Bench in that case held by a majority of 2 to 1 that a reference made to the High Court under the Bihar Sales Tax Act was not A civil proceeding for purposes of Article 133. Shearer, J. was inclined to take a contrary view. Subsequently, the question whether proceedings, under Article 226 of the Constitution were civil proceedings arose directly in Gopeshwar Prasad Sahi v. The State of Bihar, AIR 1951 Pat 626 (P) and a Division Bench was of the opinion that the proceeding was a civil proceeding of the nature contemplated by Article 133.
52. In Bukhtiarpur-Bihar Light Rly, Co., Ltd. v. The Dist. Board, Patna : AIR1952Pat23 , the question that arose was whether proceedings in contempt could be regarded to be civil proceedings, and it was held that though different views had been taken in respect of the nature of contempt proceedings, for the purpose of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, it was a civil proceeding because the remedy to the petitioner could be, given only by way of civil execution. In Alien Berry and Co., Ltd. v. Income-tax Officer, Patna 0044/1956 : 28ITR70(Patna) the petitioners had sought the quashing of their assessment under the Income-tax Act by a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. That petition having been dismissed they applied for a certificate under Article 133 of the Constitution for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. It was held that the proceeding was a revenue proceeding and not a civil proceeding and the Court refused to grant the certificate. The decision was affirmed later by a Full Bench of that High Court in : AIR1957Pat102 . The view taken by the learned Judges in that case was that no proceedings taken under Article 226 of the Constitution could ever be regarded as a civil proceeding for purposes of Article 133.
53. The Nagpur High Court, in Messrs. Shri Ram Gulab Das v. The Board of Revenue, AIR 1954 Nag 1 (FB) (S) had before it a reference made by the Board of Revenue under the Central Provinces & Berar Sales Tax Act. The question was whether an appeal could lie to the Supreme Court against the judgment given by the High Court in that reference. It was held that the proceeding was a revenue proceeding and a certificate under Article 132 could be given as the decision of the High Court amcunted to a judgment. Article 133 of the Constitution did not come up for consideration.
54. M. Section Krishnaswami v. The Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India : AIR1953Mad79 was a case which arose in the Madras High Court under Section 21(2) of the Chartered Accountants Act. It was held that the proceedings not being civil proceedings no certificate under Article 133 could be granted for an appeal being filed before the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court.
55. No reported decision is available in which the Supreme Court has considered this question directly. It 'however entertained an appeal, A. Thangal Kunju Musaliar v. Venkatachalam. Potti : 29ITR349(SC) from a decision of the Travancore High Court issuing a writ of prohibition against the Income-tax authorities without raising an objection that the appeal could not lie under Article 133 of the Constitution.
56. In AIR 1947 PC 90 (F), the question was raised whether proceedings in the nature of a quo warranto were civil proceedings and the view taken was that it was.
57. A perusal of the cases in which it has been held that writ proceedings cannot be considered to be civil proceedings will show that the reasons which weighed greatly with the learned Judges were these.
(1) When a category like other proceedings has been contemplated in the Constitution there is no reason why writ proceedings should not fall under that category. Article 225 of the Constitution recognises and preserves the jurisdiction of the High Courts which they possessed prior to the commencement of the Constitution. That jurisdiction was of two kinds - civil and criminal. Other special heads of jurisdiction mentioned in the various Letters Patents of the High Courts, e.g., matrimonial, testamentary and admiralty etc., could easily fall under the category of civil jurisdiction. Articles 226 and 237 conferred a new kind of jurisdiction on the High Courts for the first time. Such a jurisdiction was more or less of a supervisory character and being a new kind of jurisdiction cannot be classified under the previously recognised heads of civil or criminal. It must therefore fall outside those categories.
(2) While exercising civil jurisdiction, the High Courts adjudicate upon private rights. Under Article 226 of the Constitution, however, no such rights are determined. As the learned Judges of the Patna High Court put it in : AIR1957Pat102 .
'In a proceeding under Article 226, the High Court is not concerned with the determination of the Civil rights of the parties; the only object of such a proceeding under Article 226 is to ensure that the law of the land is implicitly obeyed and that various authorities and tribunals act within the limits of their respective jurisdiction'. The jurisdiction exercised under Article 226 is, therefore, not civil but some other jurisdiction.
(3) The Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to proceedings under Article 226. A petition under the Article lies even if the civil suit is barred. The High Court cannot, therefore, be considered to be acting as a civil court while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226. That being so, proceedings under that Article cannot be considered to be civil proceedings.
58. It has already been shown that merely because three kinds of proceedings are contemplated by Articles 132 to 134 it does not necessarily follow that a particular proceeding falls under a particular category. Whether a proceeding falls under one or the other of the three categories must be decided keeping in view the nature and essential features, of that proceeding, the facts and circumstances which are to be determined in that case and the ultimate result to which the decision in the proceeding is to lead. Thus there may be proceedings under Article 226 which one will have to characterise as criminal proceedings without any hesitation, e. g., proceedings in which a conviction or commitment is sought to be quashed on the ground of want of jurisdiction or in which a writ of mandamus or prohibition is claimed for preventing continuance of a prosecution. It is also not difficult to conceive of proceedings, under Article 226 which cannot be easily classified as civil or criminal like proceedings relating to contempt of court or court martial. Where, however, a petitioner seeks relief under Article 226 because his right of person or property are threaten-ed or are being infringed, it is somewhat difficult to accept that the proceedings in which he is seeking to enforce his civil rights are not civil proceedings.
59. It is not strictly correct to say that Articles 226 and 227 have conferred a new kind of jurisdiction supervisory or otherwise, on the High Court. Article 226 clearly declares that the High Court 'shall have power' to issue directions, orders or writs within the territory over which their jurisdiction extends. The Article, therefore, confers not a new jurisdiction but only a new power. The power of superintendence mentioned in Article 227 was already there under Section 107 of the Government of India Act of 1915, and Section 224 of the Government of India Act 1935. It is, therefore, not correct to say that when a High Court acts under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution it necessarily exercises a new kind of jurisdiction which is not necessarily civil or criminal.
60. It is true that in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution the High Courts attempt to see that laws are strictly obeyed and that the various authorities and tribunals are kept within their bounds. That, however, is only one of the several aspects of the matter. A petition is entertained under Article 226 only when the petitioner has a grievance. He can have a grievance only if he has a right which is being wrongfully infringed, or if he is entitled to compel the respondents to perform a duty which they are bound to perform. In such petitions, therefore, it is almost always necessary for the courts to adjudicate on the civil rights of the parties. If determination of such rights can take place only in civil proceedings many of the proceedings under Article 226 can be brought within that category.
61. The question whether the jurisdiction which the High Court exercises under Article 226 of the Constitution is merely a supervisory jurisdiction came up for consideration before a Full Beach of this Court in Aidel Singh v. Karan Singh : AIR1957All414 and it was bald that though the powers exercisable under Article 227 are supervisory the powers exercisable under Article 226 are not necessarily so. Those powers are judicial. Proceedings under Article 226 cannot, therefore, be excluded from the category of civil proceedings on the ground that only supervisory jurisdiction is exercised in those proceedings.
62. The fact that the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to proceedings under Article 226 or that sometimes remedy under that Article is available even if regular suits are barred also does not appear to be sufficient to justify the conclusion that proceedings under the Articles are not civil proceedings. In his judgment in : AIR1957All505 Mr. Justice Desai at one stage tried to apply the test of the application of the Code of Civil Procedure for deciding whether a proceeding is a civil proceeding or not. He, however, found that the test was not a sure one and that if it applied at all it applied only in a negative way. Beg, J., however, pointed out in his judgment that the mode and the forum for the enforcement of a right could be altered, modified, abolished or created by ordinary law at any time. Each High Court can frame rules in respect of the procedure it will follow while exercising-jurisdiction under Article 226 and there appears to be nothing to prevent a High Court from framing a rule that the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code will apply mutatis mutandis to writ proceedings also. The question whether the proceeding is civil or not cannot, therefore, be decided on the basis of the application or non-application of the Code o Civil Procedure.
63. That the remedy under Article 226 is available even though a regular suit is barred also does not appear to be material for this purpose. Nor can the matter be left to depend on which of the various alternative remedies an aggrieved person chooses to follow for the redress of his wrong. If, for instance, two students are wrongly rusticated by a single order. One gets the order declared void and without jurisdiction in a regular suit. The other gets the same relief in writ proceedings. The questions raised and considered in both the proceedings being identical can it be said that one is a civil proceeding and the other is not?
64. It, therefore, appears to me that the correct approach to the question is the one pointed out by the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in . No general rule or a universal test can be laid down for deciding whether a certain proceeding is a civil proceeding or not. Each case has to be considered on its own merits. If a proceeding is started to enforce or vindicate a civil right and if carried to its conclusion might result in an order finally determining the civil rights of the parties to the dispute the proceeding will be a civil proceeding, whether it is under Article 226 of the Constitution or under any other provision of law.
65. Considered from the above point of view the proceeding in which the applicant wanted to enforce his right to have a mining lease in respect of limestone on the ground that it was a statutory or fundamental right of which the State had no right to deprive him must in my opinion he considered to be a civil proceeding for the purpose of Article 133 of the Constitution and if the other essentials, of that Article are established, the applicant is entitled to the certificate that his is a fit case for appeal to the Supreme Court.
66. In this view of the case I think it unnecessary to go into the question whether the 'applicant is entitled to a certificate under Clause (1) of Article 132 of the Constitution also. It is urged on his behalf that the right to have the lease granted to him is itself a right in property which the applicant is entitled to hold and enjoy as a fundamental right and that the omission to grant the lease really amounts to an infringement of that right entitling the applicant to relief under Article 226 of the Constitution. I think it is unnecessary for the purposes of the present application to consider the correctness or otherwise of this contention. If, as appears, to be the case, the applicant can appeal to the Supreme Court as of right under Article 133, he can press his contention in that Court and it is bound to receive the consideration it deserves. If it is apprehended by the applicant that unless he is given a certificate under Article 132 it 'will not be open to him to raise this constitutional question before the Supreme Court, the apprehension is entirely without foundation. Clause (2) of Article 133 clearly provides;
'Notwithstanding anything in Article 132 any party appealing to the Supreme Court under Clause (1) may urge as one of the grounds in such appeal that a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this question has been wrongly decided'.
Refusal to decide the question in the applicant's favour can certainly be challenged as a wrong decision. The certificate under Article 133 thus entitles the applicant to raise in his appeal all questions including questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution which he may like to raise. It is, therefore, not necessary to grant to him a certificate under Article 132 also.
67. For the reasons given above I agree to the order proposed by my learned brother.
68. By the Court: We certify under Article 133(1)(b) of the Constitution that the judgment under appeal involves directly a question respecting property worth not less than Rs. 20,000/-.