1. This is an application for revision of an order of the Subordinate Judge of Aligarh, rejecting the application made by the present applicant to the effect that he should decide a particular issue in a civil suit in his Court before proceeding to hear evidence on the rest of the issues. The suit was brought by Lachmi Narain against the applicant, who is a Munsif, for damages to the amount of Rs. 1,000 on account of physical injury and mental distress and disgrace by reason of the fact that on 10th February 1931 the Munsif had ordered him to be turned out of Court and had actually had him. turned out by a peon. The suit was brought against the Munsif and the peon and the defence was briefly that the plaintiff had not been actually turned out, although the Munsif did pass the order for turning him out, and that the Munsif was protected by the Judicial Officer's Protection Act (Act. 18 of 1850).
2. Mr. Dar in supporting the application for revision has referred to the plaint, a copy of which I have had the advantage of seeing, and I have no hesitation in describing it as extraordinarily argumentative and discoursive. The cause of action is not stated (sic) para. 27 of the original plaint, which has subsequently been altered so as to be para. 21. The circumstances in which the Munsif is alleged to have ordered the plaintiff to be turned out were simply that the Munsif had shown an order on the order sheet to the plaintiff and directed him to sign it, and the plaintiff refused to sign it without the Munsif signing it first. The paragraphs in the plaint previous to this relate to various orders passed by the Munsif in other matters in regard to the plaintiff and other parties on previous occasions, and they further by way of an introduction gave a rambling history of some of the plaintiff's other litigation and his relation with other persons. It is represented that if the Court allowed evidence to be given on such matters without in the first place deciding whether an action lies at all not only will there be great waste of public time and money by the litigants, but also the result will be most unfair to the Munsif who will be called upon in Court to justify various orders of his which are quite irrelevant to the present proceeding, and will possibly be degraded and made to look ridiculous before the Court and the public, all of which will be most improper if it is subsequently decided that he ought to have been protected by the provisions of the Act. For this reason an application was made to the trying Court to decide the issue relating to the question of whether the Munsif was protected by the Act before proceeding to hear evidence on the allegations made in the plaint.
3. The objection to the present application is that the matter before me is not a case decided and that no application for revision will lie under Section 115, Civil P.C. Counsels on both sides have argued this point at some length, but although I am decidedly of opinion that there is no case decided, I do not regard this as a matter of great importance, for I consider that this is a case in which, if necessary, the Court could interfere under Section 151, Civil P.C., on the ground that there was a danger of the process of the Court being abused. Whether the learned Subordinate Judge' intended to allow the plaintiff to produce evidence in support of the incongruous and irrelevant matters set forth at great length in the so-called plaint, it is of course impossible at present to decide for certain. It does appear however that he at first made some attempt to amend the plaint by striking out some of the irrelevant matters, but he did not proceed very far with the task, and I am apprehensive that since he has left a large number of totally irrelevant paragraphs to stand and has called on the defendant to answer these paragraphs, it is possible that evidence will have to be led in support of the allegations made with the result that I have suggested above.
4. The action itself is a simple enough one and might have been stated in two or three paragraphs. The question is whether in turning the plaintiff out of Court, if he did so, or in ordering him to be turned out, the Munsif was protected by the Act. How any question of malice could obtrude itself, I am not quite clear. Apparently the plaintiff wished by a number of circumstances to show that the Munsif was ill-disposed towards him, and to argue from this that the Munsifs act in ordering him to be turned out of Court would not be protected by the Act because it was due to malice. Actions of this kind are very uncommon, and the law is not familiar to most of the Courts, but in the decision of Teyen v. Ram Lal (1890) 12 All 115, a Bench of this High Court has made some valuable observations on the subject to which the attention of the trial Court is directed. The Bench referred to the English Law on the subject and also to a decision of the Privy Council in the case of Colder v. Halket and proceeded to discuss such case law as existed in India. I do not wish at this stage to influence the trial Court in the decision of this particular suit, but I am concerned to exclude irrelevant or mischievous matters. In the case decided by the Madras High Court and referred to on p. 125, a passage is quoted which may help the trial Court to keep on the right lines:
His act being in its nature judicial, if we assume in his favour that he acted within his jurisdiction, this would not, in my judgment, render him liable to suit even though the act was done maliciously. If, on the other hand, he acted without jurisdiction his liability would depend, not on whether the act was malicious and without reasonable and probable cause, but on whether it was within the protection of Act 18 of 1850,
and later towards the end of the judgment the Bench has quoted the principle upon which the law protected Judges of the superior Courts of England as follows:
It is a principle of our law that no action will lie against a Judge of one of the superior Courts for a judicial act, though it be alleged to have been done maliciously and corruptly; therefore the proposed allegation would not make the declaration good. The public are deeply interested in this rule, which indeed exists for their benefit and was established in order to secure the independence of Judges and prevent their being harassed by vexatious actions.
5. In the light of these and similar remarks, I cannot hold that the application which was made by the applicant to the trial Court, viz., that the legal issue should be agreed first, was unreasonable. The Court refused it because:
In the peculiar circumstances of this case it is extremely difficult to say that the question at issue is a pure question of law.
6. But the circumstances of the case which he was considering included all those irrelevant allegations to which I have already referred, and the application made to him was that even if the allegations contained in the plaint be admitted for the sake of argument no action would lie and that this issue might be decided before any evidence was recorded. Mr. Das stated before me that the issue might be tried even on the assumption that the allegation of malice was correct. It is however for the trial Court to decide in what order it will decide the issue, and I do not think that I should interfere in revision in order to make a direction on this point. I should add that Mr. Khwja who appeared for the opposite party opposed the application purely on legal grounds, and did not attempt to justify the production of evidence on the irrelevant allegations made in the body of the plaint.
7. In rejecting the application for revision however I am constrained to remark that there appears to be a danger of the proceedings developing on wrong lines, and I therefore direct that the hearing of the suit be transferred to the District Judge of Agra who should keep it on his own file and dispose of it himself. The record may be returned as soon as possible in Order that the proceedings may not be delayed.