1. This is a reference by the learned Munsif of Ballia, in the Judgeship of Ghazipur, in the following circumstances : A suit of a small value of Rs. 13-14-6 was instituted on the Small Cause Court side of the Court of the Munsif of Ballia. As there was no Honorary Munsif or a Bench of Honorary Munsifs the case was transferred from the Court of Small Causes (Munsif of Ballia) to the Court of the Honorary Munsif. The Honorary Munsif made a decree and there was an appeal. The learned Sub-ordinate Judge, who heard the appeal, set aside the decree and placed the record before the District Judge with a request that the case might betransferred to the Munsif of Ballia.
2. The Munsif of Ballia now wants to know whether he should try the case on the regular side or on the Small Cause Court side of his Court. Notices were issued to the parties, but nobody has appeared before us. A suit instituted in a Court of Small Causes retains its character even if it is transferred to another Court: vide Section 24, Civil P.C. An exception to this rule has been enacted by the Honorary Munsifs Act, 1896, as amended by Act 2 of 1904. Section 8, Honorary Munsifs Act, lays down that when a suit is transferred from the Court of Small Causes to the Court of an Honorary Munsif, it shall not retain the character of a Small Cause Court suit but shall be treated as a regular suit. The idea apparently was to give a right of appeal to the litigant.
3. In the circumstances that have happened, the case has gone back to the Court in which it was originally instituted. By Section 16, Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, a suit cognizable by a Court of Small Causes shall not be tried by any other Court having jurisdiction within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Court of Small Causes by which the suit is triable. By Section 33, Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, the Munsif will be deemed to be presiding over two Courts, namely, the Munsii's Court and the Court of Small Causes. The exception created by Section 8, Honorary Munsifs Act, having been removed we are of opinion that the case should be tried by the Munsif of Ballia as a Judge of a Small Cause Court. We answer the reference accordingly.