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Bhanwar Lal Vs. Moti Lal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln. No. 296 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Raj242; 1970(3)WLN595
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 24(1)
AppellantBhanwar Lal
RespondentMoti Lal and ors.
Appellant Advocate I.C. Maloo, Adv.
Respondent Advocate N.L. Chhangani, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredSurjudei v. Rampati Kunwari
Excerpt:
.....to clause (b) of sub-section (1)--cpc--section 24--suit for rs. 2660/- pending before addl. civil judge--pecuniary to jurisdiction of munsif raised rs. 5000/- on 2-10-1969--d.j. transfers the suit to the court of munsif--whether munsif competent to try the suit.;section 24 cpc makes provisions for the general power of transfer and withdrawal, inter alia, of all suits pending in any court, and for its transfer for trial or disposal to any subordinate court competent to try or dispose of the same. this power is vested in the high court and the district court, and is exercisable at any stage of the suit, appeal or other proceeding as long as it is pending in any subordinate court. by virtue of the high court's notification dated september 1, 1969 mentioned above the court of munsif..........and the competence of his court to try the suit.2. the suit was instituted in the court of civil judge. jodhpur, on june 3, 1967, as its value was rs. 2,660/- and it was not triable by the munsiff whose pecuniary jurisdiction was up to rupees 2,000/-. the learned district judge transferred the suit for trial to additional civil judge, jodhpur. by virtue of the delegation of the state government's powers under sub-section (2) of section 19 of the rajasthan civil courts ordinance, 1950, hereinafter referred to as 'the ordinance,' the high court issued a notification under clause (b) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 19 directing that the jurisdiction of the munsiffs named in the notification shall, with effect from october 2, 1969, extend to the hearing and determination.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P.N. Shinghal, J.

1. This is an application in revision of defendant Bhanwarlai against the order of Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur, dated May 1, 1970, rejecting the challenge to the jurisdiction and the competence of his Court to try the suit.

2. The suit was instituted in the Court of Civil Judge. Jodhpur, on June 3, 1967, as its value was Rs. 2,660/- and it was not triable by the Munsiff whose pecuniary jurisdiction was up to Rupees 2,000/-. The learned District Judge transferred the suit for trial to Additional Civil Judge, Jodhpur. By virtue of the delegation of the State Government's powers under Sub-section (2) of Section 19 of the Rajasthan Civil Courts Ordinance, 1950, hereinafter referred to as 'the Ordinance,' the High Court issued a notification under Clause (b) of the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 19 directing that the jurisdiction of the Munsiffs named in the notification shall, with effect from October 2, 1969, extend to the hearing and determination of any suit or original proceeding of which the value does not exceed Rs. 5,000/-. The Registrar of the High Court issued letter No. Gen./II/28/69/10498 dated September 2, 1969 bringing the aforesaid direction to the notice of all the subordinate courts and clarifying that, for the present, civil suits and original proceedings of which the value does not exceed Rs. 5,000/-, pending in the Courts of Civil Judges, shall not be transferred to the munsiffs but shall continue to be heard and determined by them. This was followed by another order dated January 23, 1970, by which the Registrar informed all the District Judges that all civil suits of the value of RS. 5,000/- and below, pending in the Courts of Civil Judges, may be transferred by them under Section 24, Civil P. C. to the munsiffs having jurisdiction to try them. The District Judge of Jodhpur then passed an order on February 7, 1970 transferring the present case for trial to Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur, under Section 24, Civil P. C. The case therefore stood transferred to Additional Munsiff No. 1. The defendants moved an application on April 2, 1970 raising an objection that Additional Munsiff No. 1 had no jurisdiction to try the suit. As that objection has been rejected by the learned Additional Munsiff en May 1, 1970, as aforesaid, defendant Bhanwarlai has come up in revision to this Court.

3. It has been argued by Mr. Maloo, learned counsel for the defendant-applicant, that in the absence of any law depriving the Additional Civil Judge of his jurisdiction to try the suit, it was not legal for the learned District Judge to transfer it for trial to a lower Court, namely, the Court of Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur. He has tried to supporthis argument by a reference to Vaithilingam Chetty v. Kaliaperumal Mudali, AIR 1918 Mad 100; Jannat Husain v. Gulam Kutubuddin Ahmad, AIR 1920 Pat 29; Venugopala Rcddiar v. Krishnaswami Reddiar, AIR 1943 FC 24; C. P. Bannerjee v. B. S. Irani, AIR 1949 Bom 182; Gordhan Das, Baldev Das v. Governor General in Council, AIR 1952 Punj 103; Cyril Austin Spencer v. M. H. Spencer, 1955 All LJ 307; Ranulal v. Daudas, AIR 1957 Ral 241; Doongarmal v. Roopsinsh, AIR 1957 Raj 337 and Lakshmi Narain v. First Addl. Dist. J., Allahabad, AIR 1964 SC 489. On the other hand Mr. Chhangani has argued that a case can validly be transferred to a Court when, at the time of the transfer, it has jurisdiction to try it even though there may be no such jurisdiction in that court when the case was instituted. He has supported his argument by a reference to certain observations in Surjudei v. Rampati Kunwari, AIR 1962 All 503 with respect to the scope of Section 24, C. P. C.

4. I have already set out the facts and the developments bearing on the question of the jurisdiction of Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur, and they are not at all in dispute. It is also not disputed that the notification issued by the High. Court on September 1. 1969, referred to above, is a valid notification. It follows, therefore, that with effect from October 2. 1969, when the direction in the notification became effective in regard to the jurisdiction of the concerned munsiffs. Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur, had the jurisdiction to hear and determine any suit or original proceeding of which the value did not exceed Rs. 5,000/-. As the present suit has been valued at Rs. 2,660/-, it is auite apparent that the learned Munsiff had the jurisdiction to hear and determine it from October 2, 1969 onwards.

5. Section 24, Civil P. C. makes provision for the general power of transfer and withdrawal, inter alia, of all suits pending in any Court, and for its transfer for trial or disposal to any subordinate Court competent to try or dispose of the same. This power is vested In the High Court and the District Court, and is exercisable at any stage of the suit, appeal or other proceeding as long as it is pending in any subordinate Court. The relevant provision for withdrawal and transfer, with which I am concerned in the present case, is to the following effect,--

'24 (1) On the application of the parties......or of its own motion......theDistrict Court may, at any stage-

(a) ..... or

(b) withdraw any suit.........pendingIn any Court subordinate to it, and-

(i) .....: or

(ii) transfer the same for trial or disposal to any Court subordinate to it and competent to try or dispose of the same or

(iii) .....'

It will thus appear that the learned District Judge had the power to withdraw the present suit as it was pending in the Court of the Additional Civil Judge which was a Court subordinate to the District Court. He had the power to transfer it for trial to the Court of Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur. as it was also a Court subordinate to the District Court, So also, I have no doubt that, by virtue of the High Court's notification dated September 1. 1969 mentioned above, the Court of Additional Munsiff No. 1, Jodhpur. was competent to try the suit with effect from October 2, 1969 and possessed that competence on February 7, 1970 when the District Judge transferred it to that Court for trial. The competence of the transferee Court for purposes of Section 24(1)(b)(ii) Civil P. C. has to be judged with reference to the point of time at which the case is transferred, and It therefore appears to me that the District Judge's order of transfer dated February 7, 1970 is valid in law and that the objection of the defendants dated April 2. 1970 has rightly been rejected by the learned Additional Munsiff. As has been stated, Mr. Chhangani has placed reliance on AIR 1962 All 503 in which a similar view has been taken that the transferee court must be competent to try the case at the time when the transfer is ordered and not that it must have been competent for sometime previously or that it was competent to hear the suit when it was instituted, I am in respectful agreement with this view.

6. Sarjudei's case, AIR 1962 All 503 came up for consideration before their Lordships of the Supreme Court in AIR 1964 SC 489. As Mr. Maloo has relied on that judgment of their Lordships, I may as well refer to it in some detail. The suit in Lakshmi Narain's case, AIR 1964 SC 489 was instituted on January 26. 1949, in the court of Civil Judge, Mathura. It was dismissed on November 27, 1951 and first appeal No. 37 of 1952 was instituted in the High Court on February 8. 1952 as the valuation was above Rs. 5,000/-The appeal was however transferred to the District Judge after the Bengal. Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act (XII of 1887). was amended in 1954, so as to substitute Rs. 10,000/- for Rs. 5,000/- for purposes of the appellate jurisdiction. The District Judge could therefore entertain an appeal up to the value of Rs. 10,000/-, and the High Court of Allahabad made an order for the transfer of the appeal to him. The appellant objected to the jurisdiction of the transferee court to hear the appeal. but it was overruled. A writ petition was filed in the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution. It was dismissed by a learned Single Judge by a reference to the decision of the Division Bench in Sarjudei's case, AIR 1962 All 503. The appeal to the Division Bench was also dismissed for the same reason. On special leave, their Lordships of the Supreme Court held, on the basis of Section 3(1) of the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act. 1887, that under it only the High Court was competent to hear the appeal within the meaning of Section 24, C. P. C. so that it could not be transferred to a subordinate court. The decision in Lakshmi Narain's case, AIR 1964 SC 489 cannot therefore be said to have overruled the view taken in Sarju Dei's case, AIR 1962 All 503. On the other hand, their Lordships of the Supreme Court have taken care to make the following clear observation.-

'We are here not concerned with the question whether in the absence of a saving clause, like the one introduced bv Section 3(1), the High Court would have been right in taking recourse to Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But in the face of Section 3(1) of the Act, it is impossible to hold that the District Courts, were competent to hear appeals of the valuation of ten thousand rupees or less in suits decided before the Act came into force, and appeals from which were pending before the High Court.'

It will thus appear that the validity of that portion of the decision in Sarju Dei's case, AIR 1962 All 503 on which I have placed reliance, namely, that the case can be transferred under Section 24. C. P. C. if the transferee court is competent, at the time when the transfer is ordered, to try the suit, remains unshaken and deserves to be followed.

7. I have gone through the cases cited by Mr. Maloo, but none of them relates to the question of the competence of the transferee court with reference to the provisions of Section 24 C. P. C. In fact all of those cases are clearly distinguishable.

8. In the view I have taken, the revision application fails and is dismissed but. in the circumstances, there will be no order as to the costs.


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