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Ramier Vs. Muthukrishna Aiyar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in137Ind.Cas.305; (1932)62MLJ687
AppellantRamier
RespondentMuthukrishna Aiyar and ors.
Cases ReferredRainamaihan Chetty v. Alagappa Chetiy.
Excerpt:
.....be regarded as good law. 9. i think it necessary to set forth the notification clearly because in my opinion much of the conflicts of opinion and such' decisions as in my opinion are erroneous are due to the non-reference to the actual wording of the notification'.i observe that in none of the former decisions is the notification actually set forth or its language specifically referred to. such an application may entail a delay of a few days if the courts are situated in different places, but in a case like the one, before us in which the courts are in the same building the delay cannot een amount to a day......chettiar. (1928) 28 l.w. 885. the contention of the learned advocate is that even after the full bench decision in seeni nadan v. muthusami pillai (1919) i.l.r. 42 m. 821 : 37 m.l.j. 284 (f.b.) the court which passed the decree has no jurisdiction within the meaning of section 37(b) of the code of civil procedure after the notification. he therefore contends that strictly the second court is the only court which has jurisdiction to execute the decree. one would have thought that such an argument is impossible to maintain on its face after the decision of the full bench in seeni nadan v. muthusami pillai (1919) i.l.r. 42 m. 821 : 37 m.l.j. 284 (f.b.) in which it was held that the first court had still jurisdiction to execute its own decree. the learned advocate contended that the word.....
Judgment:

Ramesam, J.

1. The facts out of which this C.M.S.A. arises are these. The respondents before us obtained a final mortgage decree on 20th January, 1916, in the District Munsif's Court of Melur in respect of properties part of which were situated within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court of Melur and part within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court of Madura Town. Subsequent to the passing of the decree (in February, 1920) there was a notification by the High Court re-arranging the jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Courts in the District the result of which was that the suit properties came within the jurisdiction of a third District Munsif's Court, namely, the District Munsif's Court of Madura Taluk. The present application for execution was filed on 27th July, 1927, in the Court of the District Munsif of Madura Taluk without applying for the transfer of the decree from the Melur Court. The Melur Court has always continued to exist. The District Munsif of the Madura Taluk Court, following the decision of myself and Devadoss, J. in Subramania Aiyar v. Swaminatha Chettiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 held that until the decree was transmitted by the Melur Court the Taluk Court cannot execute the decree.

2. He therefore dismissed the application. On appeal the District ' Judge of Madura refused to follow our decision on the ground that the decision of the Full Bench in Seeni Nadan v. Mitlhu-sami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) contained an expression of opinion to the contrary which he preferred and, reversing the decision of the District Munsif, remanded the application to the Lower Court for disposal according to law. The judgment-debtor files this second appeal.

3. When this second appeal came on for hearing before our brother Jackson, J., he found not: only that there was some conflict of opinion between the decision in Subramania Aiyar v. Szvaminatha Chettiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 and the Full Bench judgment in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) but also that there was some other conflict of opinion between our decision in Subramania Aiyar v. Swaminathai Chettiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 and another decision in Sivas-kanda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1927) I.L.R. SO M. 882 : 52 M.L.J. 605 on a matter intimately connected with the main question. He therefore thought it desirable to refer the case for disposal to a Full Bench.

4. On the facts stated above and on the view taken by the District Judge, strictly the only question that should arise before the Full Bench is which is the correct rule to be followed, the decision of myself and Devadoss, J., in Subramania Aiyar v. Swaminatha Chettiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 or the opinion expressed by the Full Bench on the effect of Section 150, if any, when jurisdictions are changed by notification. But before I deal with this question, I would like to dispose of a connected question because this point has been strenuously urged before us by the learned advocate for the respondents and it is implied in the reference by Jackson, J., to the conflict between the decision in Sivaskanda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1927) I.L.R. SO M. 882 : 52 M.L.J. 605 and that in Subramania Aiyar v. Swaminatha Chettiar. (1928) 28 L.W. 885. The contention of the learned advocate is that even after the Full Bench decision in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) the Court which passed the decree has no jurisdiction within the meaning of Section 37(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure after the notification. He therefore contends that strictly the second Court is the only Court which has jurisdiction to execute the decree. One would have thought that such an argument is impossible to maintain on its face after the decision of the Full Bench in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) in which it was held that the first Court had still jurisdiction to execute its own decree. The learned advocate contended that the word 'jurisdiction' in Section 37 has two meanings: (1) the general territorial jurisdiction over the properties, and (2) jurisdiction to execute the decree, and that after the notification the first Court had certainly lost its territorial jurisdiction over the properties and therefore the first Court ceased to have jurisdiction and the second Court is the only Court that can be regarded as falling within the definition of the words 'Court which, passed a decree' in Section 37. But assuming' for a moment that this distinction in the two meanings of the word 'jurisdiction' can be supported, the distinction does not avail the learned advocate because the words used in Section 37(b) are not merely 'where the Court of first instance has ceased to have jurisdiction' in which case some countenance may be given to his argument but they are 'Where the Court of first instance has ceased to have jurisdiction to execute it,' that is, only when the first Court had, lost jurisdiction to execute the decree that the second Court will take the place of the Court which passed the decree by reason of the section. This is the particular point which was dealt with by the Full Bench and the Full Bench held that the first Court never lost its jurisdiction to execute the decree. Apart from the binding nature of the decision of the Full Bench, we entirely agree with the actual decision in that case, namely, that the first Court which passed the mortgage decree never lost its jurisdiction to execute the decree by reason of the later notification by which the mortgaged properties are taken off from its jurisdiction. If so, the first Court continues to be 'the Court which passed a decree within the meaning of Section 37 and the second Court cannot take its place. Apparently the learned advocate was emboldened to urge this argument striking at the jurisdiction of the first because of the decision in Sivask'anda. Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.). It was held in Sivaskarida Raju v. Raja of Jeyporez that the Sub-Court of Vizagapatam which passed a mortgage decree could not execute its decree because the properties to1 be sold were taken away from the jurisdiction of that Court. Now it seems to me in the 'first place that this decision is directly opposed to the Full Bench decision in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Filial (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) which overruled the earlier decision in Subbiah Naickcr v. Ramanathan Chettiar in which it was held that the first Court had no jurisdiction and the second Court only had jurisdiction. Towards the end of Sivaskanda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1927) I.L.R. SO M. 882 : 52 M.L.J. 605 the following observation occurs:

I am of opinion that Subbiah Naicker v. Ramanathan Chettiar (1914) I.L.R. 37 M. 462 : 26 M.L.J. 189 so far as it lays down the opposite of this proposition, has not been overruled by the Full Bench case in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.).

5. The proposition referred to there is that the Court which originally passed the decree retains jurisdiction to execute and sell in execution. Now, with great respect, to the learned Judge who made this observation I am unable to agree with the statement that the decision in Subbiah Naicker v. Ramanathan Chettiar so far as it lays down that the first Court lost its jurisdiction has not been overruled by the Full Bench case in Se-eni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai. (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.). On the other hand, in so far as the powers of the first Court are concerned, every part of Subbiah Naicker vRamanathan Chettiar has been completely overruled by the Full Bench in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai. (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.). The portion in Subbiah Naicker v. Ramanathan Chettiar (1914) I.L.R. 37 M. 462 : 26 M.L.J. 189 which has not been overruled by the Full Bench case in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai is the portion which relates to the powers of the second Court. It is this point that arises now directly for decision but it did not arise for decision before the Full Bench and will be dealt with lower down. All that I now wish to say is that the decision in Subbiah Naicker v. Ramanathan Chettiaf1 is completely overruled by the Full Bench so far as the powers of the first Court are concerned. But apart from this observation, the decision in Sivaskanda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1927) I.L.R. 50 M. 882 : 52 M.L.J. 605 is not only opposed to the Full Bench decision itself but to a long series of rulings relating to the powers of a Court which fossed a mortgage decree to execute its own decree. Ever since the Code of Civil Procedure of 1859 was passed, it was held that the first Court which passed a mortgage decree can execute its own decree whatever changes in jurisdiction may happen after the passing of the decree. It is enough simply to mention a list of decisions which have so held. Masteyk v. Steel and Co. Kartick Nalh Pandey v. Tilukdhari Lall (1888) I.L.R. 15 C. 667 Gopi Mohan Roy v. Doybaki N'undun Sen (1891) I.L.R. 19 C. 13. Tincouri Deoya v. Shib Chandra Pal Chozvdhury,s Latahman Pundeh v. Maddan Mo haft Shye (1880) I.L.R. 6 C. 513 Jahar v. Kamini Debi (1900) I.L.R. 28 C. 238 and the opinion of Mookerjee, J., in Begg, Dunlop and Co. v. Jagannaih Marwari (1911) I.L.R. 39 C. 104 at 109 Rajagopala Pandarathar v. Tirupathia Pillai (1925) 50 M.L.J. 161 and Abdul Hadi v. Kabultun-nissa (1924) 80 I.C. 901 In my judgment in Subramania Aiyar v. Swaminatha Chetiiar both myself and Devadoss, J., expressed the view that we could not agree with the decision in Sivaskmda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1894) I.L.R. 21 C. 639 and incidentally mentioned some of these cases. It is these decisions that Wallis, C.J., obviously had in his mind when he stated in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 at 835 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.):

Further the decision is opposed to a long line of authorities which I think the legislature accepted in 1908. Both on principle and on the balance of authority and convenience my answer is that the Court which passed the decree is a proper Court.

6. It is clear from the judgment of Wallis, C.J., that not only with reference to the language of Section 37 but also with reference to the long line of authorities from 1859 he held that the first Court had jurisdiction to execute the mortgage decree. In my opinion, the decision in Sivaskanda Raju v. Raja of Jeypore (1927) I.L.R. 50 M. 882 : 52 M.L.J. 605 is directly opposed to the actual Full Bench decision in Seeni Nadan v. Muihusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 at 835 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) and cannot be regarded as good law. As myself and Devadoss, J., were not sitting in Full Bench but merely as a Division Bench we then merely expressed our dissent.

7. I now come to the real point that has to be decided in this case with reference to the decision of the District Judge and this point is whether the second Court which acquired the territorial jurisdiction by means of notification can execute the-decree without transmission of the decree from the first Court which passed the decree. It is in the consideration of this question that the observations in Seeni Nadan v. Muthusami Pillai (1919) I.L.R. 42 M. 821 at 835 : 37 M.L.J. 284 (F.B.) have to be remembered. I am very anxious to observe at the outset that, both when I and Devadoss, J., decided the case in Subramania Aiyar v. Szvamina, the Chettiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 and now. I am fully conscious of the fact that I ought to give the utmost weight possible to the observations in the Full Bench decision even though they do not touch the actual decision in the caseI make this observation apart from the great respect I always had for the three learned: Judges who were sitting in the Full Bench. But 'giving every consideration to this aspect, myself and Devadoss, J., felt bound to differ from the opinion as to the power of the second Court with reference to Section 150 of the Code of Civil Procedure. I still adhere to that opinion. But in doing so I do not wish to repeat the arguments I already mentioned in the former judgment but to supplement them by other arguments'for most of which I am indebted to the observations of my Lord, the Chief Justice, in the course of the argument. But before I do so I think it necessary first to set forth the notification changing the jurisdiction of the Courts. The notification runs as follows:

His Excellency the Governor in Council having sanctioned in G.O. No. 1056, Home (Judicial), dated the 10th May, 1919, the establishment of two Additional District Munsifs' Courts for the Madura District, the High Court hereby directs under Sections 5 and 11 of the Madras Civil Courts Act, 1873, as amended by the Madras Civil Courts Act, 1885i that the said Courts shall continue to hold their sittings at Madura and Dindigul until further orders, and shall be styled 'The Court of the District Munsif of Madura Taluk at Madura' and 'The Court of the District Munsif of Palni'. The Court of the District Munsif of Madura (Principal) and the Court of the Second Additional District Munsif of Madura shall be styled The Court oif the Principal District Munsif of Madura Town' and 'The Court of the Additional District Munsif of Madura Town'.

8. The High Court further directs, in supersession of all previous notifications on the subject, that the following District Munsifs' Courts in the Madura District shall be located and have local jurisdiction as follows:

Number and name Place of Present Proposed

of Court. sitting. jurisdiction. jurisdiction.

1. The Principal Madura Madura Munici- Madura Municipality.

District Munsif's Court pality.

of Madura to be styled

'The Court of the Prin-

cipal District Munsif of

Madura Town.

2. The first Addi- Do. Madura Munsif Madura cusba (ex-

tional District Munsif's (but trying trans- cepting Madura Munici-

Court of Madura to be ferred suits). pality) and Tirupparan-

styled 'The Court of kundrank firkas of

the District Munsif of Madura Taluk and

Madura Taluk at Alanganallur firka of

Madura.' Nilakkottai Taluk.

3. The District Mun- Do. Melur Taluk and Melur taluk and

sif's Court of Melur. Madura Taluk except Samayanallur, Tiru-

Madura Municipality mukur, Chatrapatti,

and Alanganallur Kunnathur and Kelen-

firka of Nilakkottai dri firkas of Madura

Taluk. Taluk.

9. I think it necessary to set forth the notification clearly because in my opinion much of the conflicts of opinion and such' decisions as in my opinion are erroneous are due to the non-reference to the actual wording of the notification'. I observe that in none of the former decisions is the notification actually set forth or its language specifically referred to. It is possible that in some of these decisions that notification actually amounted to a transfer of a certain amount of business either by specifying the cases themselves or the classes of cases from one Court to another. If so, those decisions would be right and I need not expressly dissent from them. It is now unnecessary for me to trace the actual notification in each of the earlier cases which have been cited before us. It is enough for me to look at the notification in the particular case before me. Only if the notification is not such that an inference can be made that business has been transferred from one Court to another these decisions can be regarded as erroneous and my dissent from them applies. Now looking at the language of this notification, in the first place I observe that it talks of the future; it does not apply to the past; it gives guidance to the people as to what they shall do in future; it tells them what Court has jurisdiction over certain regions. Following this information suitors who have got to file suits relating to properties have got to file their suits in the Court which has jurisdiction over those properties after the notification. But all this has nothing to do with the past. The notification does not in terms transfer any business pending or closed from one Court to a new CourtMyself and Devadoss, J., have already pointed out some practical disadvantages apart from the inappropriateness of construing a notification which makes no reference to transfer as effecting a transfer of1 business. It is unnecessary to repeat these disadvantages in this judgment. But as I have already said I will mention some more for which I am indebted to my Lord, the Chief Justice. Let us suppose that some suits or applications relating to one property were pending in one Court. A notification is then issued taking away the properties from the jurisdiction of that Court and it comes to the knowledge of the presiding officer of that Court. Can it be said that ipso facto without anything further, without an order of the District Court or the High Court under Section 24, Civil Procedure Code, transferring certain work from that Court to the new Court all the business is transferred? When we put this question to the learned advocate he said that it must be regarded as so transferred. The next question that arose on this answer was whether the first Court can proceed with the trial of the pending suits. When we put this question to the learned advocate He' at once replied that the first Court also can proceed with the trial of those suits though he might also send them to the second Court. He had to give this answer because of the decision of our brothers Phillips and Venkatasubba Rao, JJ., in Chokkalinga Pillai v. Velayudha Mudaliar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 in which it was' held tfiat on'ce a suit is filed in one Court that Court can try the suit even if there is a change of jurisdiction by notification. Though Venkatasubba Rao, J., bases his decision on the consent of the parties, Phillips, J., does not do so. And when we remember the decisions of the Privy Council, Ledgard v. Bull (1922) I.L.R. 46 M. 83 : 43 M.L.J. 713 and Minakshi Naidu vSubraniania Safin,T that consent cannot give jurisdiction where there is none, it is clear that it is not consent that validates the trials and I agree with the reasons given by Phillips, J., namely, that the jurisdiction to try the suits was never lost. At this stage my Lord, the Chief Justice, pointed out that if even after the notification the first Court had jurisdiction to try the suit, how can it be said that the business of the Court has been transferred to another Court? How can the effect of the notification be properly described as transfer if the first Court still can go on with it? The actual result in practice would be worse if the suit: is one which is partly heard by the District Munsif at the time of the notification. Can it be said that he should stop further trial of the suit and send it on to the other Court or can it be said that he can continue the trial of the suit though the suit is transferred from his Court to another? The transfer must be a complete transfer and the suit cannot go on in the place from which the transfer takes place. When this point was put by my Lord to the learned advocate he had to contend that the further trial of the suit itself by the first Court was not permissible. Such an answer comes into direct conflict with the decision in Chokkalinga Pillai v. Velayudha Mudaliar. (1928) 28 L.W. 885. Illustrations of this kind can be multiplied ad infitiit'um to show the anomalies that would result from a construction of the notification merely effecting future change in jurisdiction as effecting transfer of past business. It seems to me that: unless the language of the notification is'plain, directions as to future regarding pending business cannot be implied. In my opinion unless the notifications of these cases are different in language and purport to transfer business specifically or by general description, such a construction of the notification as was adopted in the decision in Subbiah Navcher v. Ramanaihan Chettiar (1914) I.L.R. 37 M. 462 : 26 M.L.J. 189 which was reiterated by Sadasiva Aiyar, J., in Venkntachallam vSithayamma17 and followed by other learned Judges in Ranganatha Rao v. Hanumantha Raols and Gwmszvami Naicke v. Mahomntadlw Roiwther is not permissjble. In Venkatackallawi v. Sithayaanma : (1916)31MLJ22 Sadasiva Aiyar, J.; went a step further and said that the transfer of business referred to in Section 150 can be only by a notification effecting change of jurisdiction and not transfer of business by specific orders. In this extreme view he was not supported by the later decisions which hold that Section 150 applies to both kinds of transfer. But whatever that may be, in my opinion we cannot interpret a notification effecting change of jurisdiction for the future as effecting transfer of past business without doing violence to the language and because myself and Devadoss, J., were of this-opinion we had to decide the case in Swbramania Aiyar v. Swaminaihck Cheitiar (1928) 28 L.W. 885 as we did even after giving every weight to the opinion of the Full Bench. Now coming to the opinions of the Full Bench so far as Wallis, C.J., is concerned, reference to the effect of Section 150 is contained in two sentences, one at page 832 and another in the middle of page 833. In neither of these sentences is there any reference to the actual language of the notification, nor is there a discussion, of the phrase 'transfer of business' or of the practical disadvantages which would result from such a construction of the notification. It looks to me as if all persons concerned, namely, the Advocates and the Judges, assumed that a notification effects a transfer of business and there is really no argument to the opposite effect. Under such circumstances whatever respect we may feel for the eminent Judges that were sitting in the Full Bench we thought we were entitled to take a different view. I may add that this expression of opinion on Section 150 following a notification is not part of the chain of reasoning leading to the main conclusion in the case, namely, that the first Court has not lost jurisdiction. If it is a link in the chain of reasoning, myself and Devadoss, J., would not have felt at liberty to differ from it because not only the actual decision but steps in the reasoning of the Full Bench will be binding on us. As to the other learned Judges, Ayling and Sadasiva Aiyar, JJ., it must be remembered that they were the Judges who decided Subbiah Naicker v. Ramanathan Chettiar which was being overruled by the Full Bench. And one Judge Ayling, J., made an observation that what after all was necessary for the former decision was not so much the power of the first Court as the power of the second Court and then proceeded to make observations with reference to Section 150 though the point ch'd not arise before them. As to Sadasiva Aiyar, J., his actual observations were against the correctness of the Full Bench decision. But he was willing to subscribe to the opinion of the other Judges for the sake of uniformity. Under such circumstances it is permissible to observe that their observations with reference to Section 150 have less weight than it would have been otherwise. Here I may now point out that the view of myself and Devadoss, j., construing the notification as merely changing the jurisdiction is in accord with the opinion of the Calcutta High Court in Munshi Md. Kazemal v. Mutisjii Jafiamuddin Ahmed,20 with the reasoning of which I entirely agree if I may say so with respect This is also the view taken by Cur-genven, J., in Rainamaihan Chetty v. Alagappa Chetiy. (1929) I.L.R. S3 M. 378 at 380 : 59 M.L.J. 102. I may here add one word with reference to the opposite construction of Section 150 which some time prevailed in this Court. Assuming that on account of the change of territorial jurisdiction the: second Court is the more convenient Court for execution, all that the decreet-holder has to do is to apply to the first Court for transmission of the decree under Section 39 of the Code. Such an application may entail a delay of a few days if the Courts are situated in different places, but in a case like the one, before us in which the Courts are in the same building the delay cannot een amount to a day. Under such circumstances what is tHe need for enacting another section conferring jurisdiction on the second Court? At this stage I may refer to the draft section which was originally inserted in the Code b)4 the legislature but afterwards dropped. Is it not a more natural inference from the dropping of the draft section that the legislature found it unnecessary in view of the complete machinery provided in Section 39 and not because the result was also effected by the language of Section 150--an inference that can only be made by implying in the section what is not specifically stated there? There is only one remark that falls to be made by me. One always feels very unwilling to give the: advantage, to a judgment-debtor of escaping liability under a decree validly passed against him, as the District Judge observes, an observation, with which I agree. But the District Judge then proceeded to observe 'If the present execution application is dismissed, any further application is time-barred.' Strictly it is so. But having regard to the fact that the present application was filed by the judgment-creditor in December, 1927, when the decision of myself and Devadoss, J., was not passed, it may be possible for the Courts to hold that the decree-holder was pursuing bona fide his remedy in another Court though wrongly and it is open to the Court to excuse; the delay if there is nothing more to be said against him. We can express no final opinion in regard to this matter. If the conduct of the decree-holder is explainable it is open to the Court to excuse: the delay and the apprehension that the application will be necessarily time-barred is not justified. I may add that in the case decided by me and Devadoss, J., later on an application for execution was filed, objection as to limitation was taken and it was excused by both the Lower Courts. The case came up in Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal to the High Court and our brothers Reilly and Anantakrishna Aiyar, J J., excused the delay. To lay down a wrong proposition of law in order that the execution of the decree may not become time-barred is not justified.

10. The Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal must be allowed and the order of the District Munsif restored with costs here and in the Lower Appellate Court without prejudice to the decree-holder applying to the Melur District Munsif's Court for transmission of the decree and having the delay excused on proper cause being shown.


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