A.N. Bhandari, C.J.
1. A tenant, who is under orders of eviction from the premises occupied by him, has presented this petition under Article 133 of the Constitution for a certificate that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court.
2. The learned counsel for the landlord admits that the case involves the decision of a substantial question of law of great general importance, but he says that we should decline to grant the certificate of fitness as the rent of the premises is only about Rs. 20/- per mensem and it is inequitable that the landlord should be compelled to incur expenditure in defending the appeal to the Supreme Court. Our attention has been invited to Richard Spooner v. Juddo, 4 Moo Ind App 353 (PC), where Lord Langdale observed as follows;
'The question appears to be of very considerable importance; but you observe that the amount at issue is only a sum of Rs. 250/-, and for the purpose of deciding that, you put the respondent to the expense of this appeal. The question is, whether this prosecution being by the East India Company and no doubt important to have decided, for the benefit of the whole country, the whole expense of this appeal should not be borne by them. However important it may be to establish the law, upon a question of this kind, it would be very wrong to put the party to so great expense in a case where so small amount is at issue. Even if the right of appeal were granted, you might be defeated in this way; the respondent may say, that it would be much better to pay his 250 rupees, than to come here, and pay the expense of this prosecution.'
The principle propounded by Lord Langdale has been followed in L.O. Clarke V. Brajendra Kishore, 3 Ind Cas 786 (Cal); Raja of Ramnad v. Tiruneela Kantam, AIR 1923 Mad 232; and Mt. Sankri v. Milkha Singh, AIR 1947 Lah 304 (FB). In the last mentioned case a Full Bench of the Lahore High Court expressed the view that the Court would not be justified in granting a certificate for appeal to the Privy Council where the subject-matter in dispute is only 13 marks of land in a village.
3. The High Courts in this country were naturally reluctant to grant leave for appeal to the Privy Council when the expenses to be incurred by the respondent in defending the appeal in England were completely out of proportion to the amount involved in the litigation. But the venue of appeals has now been shifted from London to New Delhi & a person who was unable to defend an appeal in the Privy Council owing to the enormity of expenditure may find little or no difficulty in defending it in the Supreme Court.
The expenses incurred by a litigant in the Punjab in prosecuting or defending an appeal in-the Supreme Court are not much more than the expenses incurred by him for a similar purpose in Chandigarh. It seems to me therefore that when a case involves the decision of a substantial question of law and when that decision is likely to affect a large number of persons, this Court would not be justified in declining to grant a certificate of fitness on the ground only that some expenditure is likely to be incurred by the respondent.
4. For these reasons, I would certify that this case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court.
G.L. Chopra, J.
5. I agree.