1. The appellant before me applied to sue in forma pauperis. His application was summarily dismissed by the learned Master against whose decision this appeal has been preferred.
2. The plaint is drafted by the appellant himself and although it does not set out as concisely and succinctly the matters of the claim which he desires to prefer as would have been the case had a qualified and experienced lawyer been the draftsman, the substance of the claim which he makes against the two defendants is as follows. The first defendant is a doctor living in Secunderabad in the dominion of the Nizam and is employed by the State Railways. The second defendant is an advocate of this Court living in Vizagapatam. The appellant appears to allege that the first defendant in Secunderabad wrote a medical certificate in respect of the plaintiff which contained defamatory matter concerning his mental condition. There is no allegation that the letter was published in Madras and the appellant before me has stated that this was not the case. The second defendant is alleged to have made oral statements containing matters to the same effect as were written in the medical certificate of the first defendant. These oral statements, it is alleged, were made in Madras within the jurisdiction of this Court. It is alleged that the statements both in the medical certificate and orally made by the second defendant are defamatory of the plaintiff. The plaint does not use the language which would have been employed by a professional gentleman and it is not alleged in the form which is adopted in England that in consequence of the defamatory statements, the plaintiff has suffered in his character, credit and reputation and has been brought into public odium, hatred and contempt. But the substance is that by reason of the written and oral statements, he has been defamed and has suffered damage. The claims preferred are for a declaration that the medical certificate is invalid and for Rs. 12,500 damages in respect of the defamatory statements.
3. The learned Master dismissed the application on the following grounds. In so far as the first defendant is concerned, leave to sue had not been obtained. On the face of the plaint, the first defendant lives in Secunderabad and the cause of action of which complaint is made against him arose in Secunderabad also. Consequently, the learned Master held that the plaintiff would have failed in the suit. In regard to the second defendant, the learned Master held that the damages claimed could not in any event exceed Rs. 5,000 and consequently the plaintiff should be referred to a Court of lower jurisdiction to agitate his claim. In regard to the first defendant, I agree with the finding of the learned Master and there is no need for me to elaborate the reasons which he expresses. Leave to sue not having been obtained, the cause of action arising outside the jurisdiction of this Court and the defendant not having an address or residing within its jurisdiction, the learned Master's conclusion is correct and in regard to the first defendant, this appeal fails'.
4. In regard to the second defendant, I am satisfied that the appeal should be allowed. Although the claim is not neatly or clearly expressed, it is one for damages for slander, a claim in which the damages are at large and until there has been an examination of all the evidence, the amount of the damages cannot be ascertained nor can it be said that they cannot in any event exceed any particular sum. The learned Master examined in some detail whether there would be any damage flowing from some allegations which the plaintiff made in his plaint, such as, he was caused mental suffering and had lost the benefit of the hospitality of his friends. Those matters, as I see them, were included as grounds to increase the damage in addition to what ordinarily would flow from the establishment of a slanderous statement made by the defendant in regard to the plaintiff. It is not necessary to consider those matters in detail now. This is not an action for wrongful dismissal although the plaintiff says in consequence of the statements of which complaint is made, he was dismissed from his employment by the railway company in Hyderabad. The claim so far as the second defendant is concerned is one for damages for slander. The grounds upon which the learned Master summarily dismissed the application for leave to sue are wrong. The appeal is allowed and the learned Master is directed to enquire into the application for leave to sue the second defendant in forma pauperis in the usual way. The appellant appears in person and there will be no order as to costs.