1. The only question raised in this revision petition relates to the jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court to entertain a suit in respect of hire-charges of a loud speaker.
2. Plaintiff's case is that the defendant took on rent a loud speaker to be used for election purposes and he claimed Rs. 321-14-0 as hire-charges in respect of that loud speaker. The defence is that a suit in respect of the claim in question is not cognizable in the Court of Small Causes as it is specifically excluded under Article 8of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. This contention of the defendant was accepted by the learned Small Cause Judge, Indore relying upon a decision reported in Ali Hasan v. Pratap, 1950 Madh-B LR 496 (A).
In that case it was held that the word 'rent' in Article 8 of Schedule II of Small Cause Courts Act means a return in money or kind for the enjoyment of specific property held by one person from or under another. The facts of the case in which the aforesaid observations were made were -that the plaintiff had filed a suit for the recovery of hire-charges payable for the use of a bullock cart. As the position then stood the decision appeared to be binding being that of a Judge of Madhya Bharat High Court. Consequently the learned Small Cause Judge directed a return of the plaint for presentation to proper Court. The present revision petition is directed against that order.
3. It is contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the word 'rent' as used in the Article 8 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act, has reference to rent in respect of immoveable property and does not include hire-charges in respect of a moveable property. He relied upon the decisions reported in Pukhraj v. Mohammad Ali, AIR 1957 Raj 279 (B), Radha Kishen v. Sona Khandi, AIR 1952 J and K 15 (C); Maung Kywe v. Maung Kala, AIR 1927 Rangoon 94 (D), in support of his contention.
4. On the other hand, Mr. Patel, who appears for the opponent contended that the view taken in the aforesaid Madhya Bharat case is correct and is supported by the decisions reported in Bandi Ali Fakir v. Amud Sarkar, 2(3 Ind Cas 330: (AIR 1915 Cal 135) (E), Vira Pillai v. Rangasami Pillai, ILR 22 Mad 149 (F), and Gajjar v. Guru Surdal Singh, AIR 1925 Lah 196 (1) (G).
5. In my opinion the word 'rent' as used in Article 8 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act does not mean hire charges in respect of a moveable property such as a loud speaker. According to Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, third edition, page 2536, the primary meaning of the term 'rent' is 'the sum certain in gross, which a tenant pays his landlord for the right of occupying the demised premises.'
6. It appears that the word 'rent' in Article 8 is used in that sense and not in a more comprehensive sense so as to include hire charges in respect of moveable property. This appears clear by reference to the juxtaposition in which the article occurs and the principle underlying exclusion of jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court from trying cases of particular sort set out under various articles in the second schedule of the Act. Article 4 is the first article relating to immoveable property.
According to this Article a suit for possession of immoveable property or for the recovery of interest in such property is excluded from the jurisdiction of a Small Cause Court. The next Article (Article 5) excludes from the jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court, suits for the partition of immoveable property. Article 6 excludes, from the jurisdiction of a Small Cause Court, suits by a mortgagee of immoveable property for the foreclosure of the mortgage or for the sale of the property or by a mortgagor of immoveable property for the redemption of the mortgage.
Article 7 deals with a suit for the assessment, enhancement, abatement or apportionment of the rent of immoveable property and by the Article the jurisdiction' of the Small Cause Court is excluded. Then comes Article 8. Under the Article, a suit for the recovery of rent, other than house rent, is excluded from the jurisdiction of Small Cause Court, unless the Judge of the Court of Small Causes, has been expressly invested by the State Government with authority to exercise jurisdiction with respect thereto. Article 9 excludes from the jurisdiction of a Small Cause Court, a suit concerning the liability of land to be assessed to land-revenue.
7. It is thus clear that Article 8, which occurs in these articles which deal with suits with respect to immoveable properties, prima facie has a reference to a claim with respect to such a property. If we examine the object underlying the principle which governs the question of exclusion of jurisdiction of Small Cause Court in trying certain kinds of suits, it appears that the object is to take out from the perview of jurisdiction of Small Cause Court, cases of complicated character and confine its jurisdiction to cases of simpler sort.
Suits which relate to rights in respect of immoveable properties are ordinarily treated as those involving a matter of some complication and for that reason the jurisdiction of the small cause court is excluded, except in the cases of house rent. Thais considering the matter from the point of view of the juxtaposition of these Articles, as also from the point of view of the object underlying the principle regarding exclusion of jurisdiction of Small Cause Court, it appears to me that the word 'rent' as occurring in Article 8 has a reference to rent in respect of immoveable property and does not include hire charges in respect of a chattel.
8. This view is further strengthened by the consideration that whereas a suit for possession of an immoveable property is excluded from the jurisdiction of a Small Cause Court, a suit for possession of a specific chattel is not so excluded. It will he anomalous to hold that a suit for rent in respect of a moveable property is excluded from, the jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court, whereas a suit for possession of such a property is not so excluded. It, therefore, follows that if a suit for possession of a moveable property can be filed in a Small Cause Court, we must so construe Article 8 as not to exclude from the jurisdiction of Small Cause Court, a suit for hire charges in respect of such a property.
9. I am supported in the view I have taken, by the decision reported in AIR 1927 Rang 94 (D). The same view appears to have been taken in AIR 1957 Raj 279 (B) and AIR 1952 J & K 15 (C). The decision in 26 Ind Cas 380: (AIR 1915 Cal 135 (E), cited by Mr. Patel is not in point. In that case the question related to recovery of money payable to the plaintiff by the defendant in respect of certain forest rights. Such a payment was construed to be in the nature of rent for the purposes of determining the jurisdiction of the Court and was held to be not of a Small Cause nature and the suit was held to be not of a small cause nature, this case cannot serve as a guide for determining the meaning of the term 'rent'.
In that case, it seems to have been assumed that the word 'rent' relates to the charges payable in respect of immoveable property or rights in immoveable property. Reliance in that case was placed upon the Laws of England edited by Halsbury, Volume 24, paragraph 1032. According to which 'the term 'rent' is some times used in a very comprehensive sense and includes periodical sums of money charged upon or paid out of land and all corporeal hereditaments'. It is clear that the questions with regard to hire charges of move-able property were not involved in that case, and the term 'rent' was not used so comprehensively as to include such charges.
10. The second case cited by Mr. Patel viz. ILR 22 Mad 149 (F), has no application. The question there considered was, whether a suit for damages for use and occupation of land is cognizable by a Court of Small Causes. It was held that in the absence of specific exclusion, such a suit is not barred.
11. The third case relied upon by Mr. Patel viz. AIR 1925 Lah 196 (1) (G), relates to a similar suit for recovery of damages for use and occupation and follows that decision. The Madhya Bharat case in 1950 Madh-B LR 496 (A), upon which the learned Small Cause Judge relied, purported to follow this last mentioned case hut went far ahead than what was actually held in that case and in my humble opinion, that view is not correct.
12. The result is that the order passed by the learned Small Cause Judge, holding that it has no jurisdiction to try the suit and directing its return, is illegal. The order is, therefore, set aside and the case is directed to be sent back to the learned Small Cause Judge, for trial and disposal according to law. It appears that after the order of the learned Small Cause Judge, the plaintiff has taken back the plaint and has presented the same to the Civil Judge, Indore, where the suit is registered as a Civil Suit No. 1311 of 1955 and is pending.
The result of the aforesaid order will be that the proceedings in the Civil Judge's Court, will come to an end and the plaintiff will be entitled to take back the plaint and file the same in the record of this case, whereafter the learned Small Cause Judge will proceed with its trial and disposal of the case according to law. No order as to costs.