1. In this case the suit was dismissed without trial on the ground that the plaintiff, upon the allegations in his plaint, was not entitled to rely on his alleged right to a share of the ship referred to in the plaint in consequence of the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 (57 and 58 Vict, Chapter 60). The ship in question was owned in shares by the defendants Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and the brother of the first defendant. The ship is registered under the Act in the name of the fourth defendant who, however, has no proprietary interest in the vessel, being merely the agent of defendants. Nos. 2 and 3. The plaintiff claims to have purchased from the first defendant his one-fourth share of the ship. There was no bill of sale, nor any registry in the name of the plaintiff. He sues for a declaration of his right to be registered, and for recovery of his share of certain profits said to have been derived from the ship. Following the decision in Ramanadan Chetti v. Nagooda Maracayar I.L.R. 21 Mad. 395 the Subordinate Judge held that, in the absence of registration as required by Section 24 of the Act, the plaintiff was disentitled to set up any right to an interest in the ship. No doubt that case supports the view taken by the Subordinate Judge, but in the present case we allowed the question of the soundness of that view to be argued as it appeared that certain authorities opposed to that view were not cited or considered by the Court. In that Judgment it. was assumed that the case of Ward v. Beck 32 L.J. C.P 113 which was decided in 1863, was a decision under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854, as modified by the Act of 1862, and that it therefore applied the decision in The Liverpool Borough Bank v. Turner 29 L.J. Ch. 827 which was a decision under the Act of 1854, prior to amendment to the provisions of the Act as it stood after the Act of 1862 was passed. The transaction which was in question in Ward v. Beck 32 L.J. C.P. 113 was however in fact, a transaction goverened by the Act of 1854 before the amendment enacted in 1862. The references to the amendments introduced in 1802 made by Willes, J., in the course of his judgment were only by way of argument in support of the view, which he held as to the true construction of the Act of 1854 with reference to the matter in dispute before him.
2. In these circumstances neither Ward v. Beck 32 L.J. C.P. 113, nor the case in Ramanandan Chetti v. Nagooda Maracapar I.L.R. 21 Mad. 395 can be relied on with reference to the construction of the present Act, which contains new provisions admitting of the recognition of equitable interests including those arising under contract. Section 57 of the Act declares that the intention of the Act is that 'interests arising under contract or other equitable interests may be enforced by or against owners and morgagees of ships in respect of their interest therein in the same manner as in respect of any other personal property' without prejudice, however, to three classes of cases specified in the section, no one of which has any application to the present case. It is not necessary for us to discuss the decision of Grove, J, in Batthyany v. Bouch 50 L.J. Q.B. 421 is which the learned Judge dissents from the earlier decision of Wood, V.C., in The Liverpool Borough Bank v. Turner 29 L.J. Ch. 827 already referred to, since the matter, so far as the Courts in India are concerned, is practically concluded by the observations of the Judicial Committee in the case of Chasteaunuf v. Capeyron L.R. 7 A.C. 127. The Judicial Committee there dealt with the Act as amended in 1862 and after referring to the state of the law up the decision in The Liverpool Borough Bank v. Turner 29 L.J. Ch. 827, they point out that the law had been altered by the amendment made in 1862 and that the effect of the amendment was to allow the recognition of equitable interests subject only to the three classes of cases specifically excepted by the Act. The provisions of the Act of 1894, now in force, are practically identical, so far as concerns the present case, with the provisions of the law which the Judicial Committee had before them.
3. In the present case if the plaintiff's allegations are true, the interest of his vendor was only equitable, and it is competent to him to establish his alleged right to the share in the ship and its income without any registered bill of sale.
4. We therefore set aside the decree of the Subordinate Judge and remand the case for disposal according to law. Costs in this Court will be provided for in the decree of the lower Court.