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Dasa E. Krishna Chetty Vs. Kalavalu Pedda Narayanappa - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1938)1MLJ229
AppellantDasa E. Krishna Chetty
RespondentKalavalu Pedda Narayanappa
Excerpt:
- - he however contended that in so far as the defendant has failed to substantiate his allegation that the goods in suit were delivered to him at hindupur, it should be held that the village court had jurisdiction to entertain the claim. the respondent shall pay the costs of the petitioner in this court as well as those incurred by him so far in the district munsiff's court......j.1. the only question which has to be decided in this revision relates to the jurisdiction of village courts constituted under the madras village courts act (i of 1889). the facts of the case are simple and may be briefly stated. a suit was filed by one kalavalu peddanarayanappa in the village court at dharmavaram. the defendant in his written statement questioned its jurisdiction and moved the district munsiff under section 21 of the act to withdraw the suit from the village court. before this application was disposed of, the suit was decreed ex parte and the petition had therefore to be dismissed. the defendant then applied to the district munsiff for setting aside the decree under section 73. this has been dismissed and a revision petition has consequently been filed against that.....
Judgment:

Abdur Rahman, J.

1. The only question which has to be decided in this revision relates to the jurisdiction of Village Courts constituted under the Madras Village Courts Act (I of 1889). The facts of the case are simple and may be briefly stated. A suit was filed by one Kalavalu Peddanarayanappa in the Village Court at Dharmavaram. The defendant in his written statement questioned its jurisdiction and moved the District Munsiff under Section 21 of the Act to withdraw the suit from the Village Court. Before this application was disposed of, the suit was decreed ex parte and the petition had therefore to be dismissed. The defendant then applied to the District Munsiff for setting aside the decree under Section 73. This has been dismissed and a revision petition has consequently been filed against that order.

2. A perusal of Section 15 of the Act would show that the village courts can only entertain the suits which are filed against persons who either reside within the local limits of their jurisdiction at the time of the commencement of the suit or carry on business or personally work for gain within those limits. No jurisdiction has been conferred by the Act on Village Courts in cases other than those mentioned above. It has not been disputed before me that the defendant did not reside or personally work for gain within the limits of the Village Court's jurisdiction. The District Munsiff has rejected the defendant's application on the ground that it was admitted by him that he carried on business at Dharmavaram. If this were so, the order passed by the District Munsiff would be unassailable. But on going through the defendant's statement I do not find any such admission. He only stated that he purchases sarees at Dharmavaram. This surely does not mean that he was carrying on any business at Dharmavaram. The respondent's counsel did not support the interpretation put on the defendant's statement by the District Munsiff and rightly so in my opinion. He however contended that in so far as the defendant has failed to substantiate his allegation that the goods in suit were delivered to him at Hindupur, it should be held that the Village Court had jurisdiction to entertain the claim.

3. The other ground which was raised by the respondent was that as the defendant petitioner did not appear before the Village Court deliberately, the ex parte decree could not be questioned now. The first contention assumes and wrongly so in my opinion that the burden of proving the want of jurisdiction lay on the defendant. The plaint contained no allegation of fact from which it could be inferred that the defendant was alleged to have been carrying on business within the jurisdiction of the Village Court. A bare statement that the cause of action arose within its jurisdiction is certainly not enough. Moreover the delivery of the goods in dispute at Dharmavaram would not confer jurisdiction on the Village Court under Section 15 of the Act. The position might have been different if the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure had applied. But a special tribunal, different from the ordinary Courts of the land, has been brought into being by this Act and one must look to the specific grounds given in the Act itself which would confer jurisdiction on that tribunal. The general provisions contained in the Code of Civil Procedure cannot be extended to the Village Courts and cannot be permitted to be added to the provisions contained in Section 15 of the Act.

4. So far as the other ground is concerned, I should have agreed with the respondent's contention if any evidence was led on his behalf before the Village Court that the defendant was carrying on business at Dharmavaram and it was held by that tribunal that it was entitled to entertain the claim. Nothing of the kind appears to have been done by the Village Court and there is nothing on the record from which such an inference could be drawn. It was for that reason apparently that the District Murtsiff attempted to spell out the admission from the defendant's statement, which, as has been already stated, is incapable of the interpretation placed upon it. In the circumstances the Village Court must be held to have exercised jurisdiction not vested in it by law and to have passed a decree which it was not competent to pass.

5. The result is that the order of the District Munsiff dismissing the petitioner's application under Section 73 is set aside and the application before the District Munsiff is accepted and ordered. The District Munsiff will now proceed with the case and dispose of it according to law. The respondent shall pay the costs of the petitioner in this Court as well as those incurred by him so far in the District Munsiff's Court. Other costs will abide the event.


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