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P. Gopalakrishna Naidu Vs. the State of Madras - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.S. Appeal No. 35 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Mad463
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 181; Companies Act - Sections 38; ;Industrial Disputes Act - Sections 33-C(2); Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 151
AppellantP. Gopalakrishna Naidu
RespondentThe State of Madras
Cases ReferredAppayya v. Collector of Vizagapatnam
Excerpt:
court fees-application for payment out of court fees-right of state to payment out of amount lying to credit of suit other than one in which payment of court-fees was ordered-held state entitled to receive.; on a consideration of the question whether a court can order payment out of court-fee, out of funds lying to the credit of a suit, other than one in which the court-fee became payable to the state, merely on an application filed by the state and whether such application invoking that inherent power of the court under section 151 of the code of civil procedure for payment out, is governed by article 181 of the limitation act,; had, the state is entitled to the money in court. when there is fund lying to the credit of a suit and the state is entitled to payment of a sum from the party..........it or otherwise affecting it. the inherent power has not been conferred upon the court; it is a power inherent in the court by virtue of its duty to do justice between the parties before it".it is for this reason annada prasad v. sushilkumar, air 1942 cal 390 held that to an application under section 151 of the code would not be applicable article 181 of the limitation act. this view has been followed in bhuyan shyamsunder v. ch. nilkanth das, air 1956 orissa 165 and pooranchand v. komalchand, . in the last of these cases, the earlier decisions were noticed and it was held:"section 151 does not deal with any application nor does it lay down procedure for any application. it is a provision recognising the inherent power of the court to act ex debito justice. an application for invoking.....
Judgment:
1. This is an appeal from an order of Kunhamed Kutti J. agreeing with the Master that the State was entitled to payment out of court-fee out of the sum lying to the credit of C. S. 84 of 1952. That was a suit instituted by the second and third respondents to enforce a mortgage which had been executed by the appellant. In execution of the mortgage decree, a sum of Rs. 56,000 was realised, and after appropriating the amount towards discharge of the decree, there remained a balance of Rs. 3,979. The appellant's son instituted O. S. No. 1973 of 1956 on the file of the City Civil Court, Madras, for setting aside the mortgage decree and for partition and separate possession of half share in the hypotheca. This suit was decreed on 11-12-1957. That suit has been allowed to be instituted in forma pauperis. On 19-1-1961, the appellant's son died. Thereafter, the appellant, by Appln. No. 1253 of 1964, applied for withdrawal of the amount which stood to the credit of C. S. 84 of 1952. The Master directed that a sum of Rupees 1489-59 be paid to the appellant and that the court should retain a similar sum of Rs. 1489-58. He further directed that a period of three months from the date of his order, that is, till 1st March 1965, be allowed for a suitable application to be filed on behalf of the State, and if such an application was filed, the amount should be paid out to the State if it established satisfactorily the claim towards court-fee, but if no such application was filed or if the State failed to establish its claim the amount by way of court fee, the appellant should be entitled to payment out of the sum. Then followed Appln. No. 863 of 1965 filed by the State for payment out. That application was resisted by the appellant on the ground that it was barred by limitation. It was contended for him that since the State failed to keep alive the decree in O. S. 1973 of 1956, which was dated 11th December 1957, and the application of the State was made only on 28th December 1964, the State was not entitled to seek payment out and that too by an application. This contention was not accepted either by the Master or by Kunhamed Kutti J.

2. Before us the same contention was reiterated for the appellant. It was urged that Order XXXIII, C. P. Code does not provide for an application for payment out of court-fee out of funds remaining to the credit of a suit more especially a suit, other than the one in which the court fee became payable to the State, and that its proper remedy was either to execute the decree in O. S. 1973 of 1965 or to proceed under Order XXXIII Rule 14 C. P. Code. In any case, it is said, the application, even if it lay, was barred by time, as it would be governed by Article 181 of the Limitation Act. 1908.

3. It is true that none of the provisions of Order XXXIII of the Code enables the State to file an application for payment out of the court fee. Rule 12(1) of Order XXXIII, which has been relied on by the State, contemplates by its very language an application to the court for making an order for payment of Court fee under Rule 10, Rule 11 or Rule 11-A. This provision can be invoked by the State only where the court had failed earlier to make an order under Rule 10 of the Order XXXIII. With reference to sub-rule (2) of Rule 12, it was said that this threw light upon the scope of sub-rule (1) of Rule 12 and made it clear that an application by the State for payment out of the court fee from a sum lying to the credit of any suit was permissible. But sub-rule (2) of Rule 12 is intended for a different purpose. Where a sum of money stands to the credit of any suit which has been instituted in forma pauperis no application for payment of money thereout shall be ordered except after notice to the Government Pleader on behalf of the State. This is merely to safeguard the interests of the State to enable it to apply by way of an application for payment out of the sum. Also it may be noted that the application contemplated under sub-rule (2) of Rule 12 is one in the suit which has been instituted in forma pauperis.

Rule 14 only provides for a special remedy for the State, namely, that the State can recover the court-fee due from a person or property liable for payment as if it were an arrear of land revenue. But this remedy is without prejudice to any other remedy. It cannot, therefore, be said that merely because the State could recover under the provisions of the Revenue Recovery Act, therefore, it had no right to apply by an application for payment out. Nor for that same reason can it be said that if the Revenue Recovery Act is not resorted to, the only other available mode of recovery is by executing the decree. As a matter of fact, though under Rule 10 of Order XXXIII, the court is required to calculate the amount of court fees which the pauper plaintiff would have to pay if he had not been permitted to sue in forma pauperis, and the decree may order the party liable to pay the court fee, the State itself is not a party to the decree. All that Rule 13 of Order XXXIII says is that all matters arising between the State Government and any party to the suit under Rule 10, Rule 11, Rule 11-A or Rule 12 shall be deemed to be questions arising between the parties to the suit within the meaning of Section 47. In any case, in our view, the mode of recovery by the State of court-fee is not confined either to the Revenue Recovery Act or the execution of the decree.

4. We are inclined to think that the principle of Manikkam Chettiar v. Income-tax Officer, Madurai, 1938-1 Mad LJ 351 = (AIR 1938 Mad 360) will apply to recovery of court-fee payable in pauper suits. Though that was a case of an application by the Income-tax department to recover income-tax by filing an application for payment out from funds in court to the credit of the assessee, the principle in that case is capable of wider application. The learned Chief Justice in that case observed--

"Here, the Crown is entitled to the money in court.........There is no question about this and asks the court to pay it out. The right to payment being indisputable, justice requires that it should be paid out to the Crown and a formal application for payment has been made. It seems to me that both right and convenience demand that the court should exercise its inherent power."

The application there was made under S. 151 C. P. Code. Another learned Judge, Mockett J., in the same case, agreeing with that view, stated that it should be remembered that the court held the money for the purpose of paying it to the person entitled to it. Varadachariar J., in that case, though felt doubts whether from the mere Crown priority the right to apply for payment out by way of application could be spelt out, the learned Judge did not think his doubts were so strong as to enter a dissent. It should be taken, therefore, as well settled that so far as this court is concerned where there is a fund lying to the credit of a suit and the State is entitled to payment of a sum from the party liable, it could well apply for payment out by way of an application. This proposition would particularly apply to a case where the State can claim priority or a statutory first charge in respect of the amount of which it seeks payment out.

5. But the question is whether an application invoking the inherent power of the court under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code, for payment out is governed by Article 181 of the Limitation Act, 1908. In terms, Section 151 of the Code does not confer on the court any power as such. It merely declares the inherent power of the Court which undoubtedly exists and the power is not limited or affected by anything in the Code in order to make such orders as may be necessary to meet the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of court. It is well established by now that an application invoking such inherent power is not one made under the Civil Procedure Code. Sha Mulchand and Co. v. Jawahar Mills Ltd., though is one of an application under Section 38 of the Companies Act and not one under the Code, the principle deducible from it is that Art. 181 of the Limitation Act would be inapplicable to any application which is not made under the Code. Bombay Gas Co. v. Gopal Bhiva related to an

application made under Section 33-C(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, and here again the principle was applied that because it was not an application under the Code, therefore, Art. 181 of the Limitation Act would not be attracted. It is true that the application in this case was made under Section 151 of the Code. Even so, it is not an application under the Code. This has been held by the Supreme Court in Manohar Lal v. Seth Hiralal, . It observed:

"These observations have no bearing on the question of the court exercising its inherent powers under Section 151 of the Code. The section itself says that nothing in the Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect the inherent power of the court to make orders necessary for the ends of justice. In the face of such a clear statement, it is not possible to hold that the provisions of the Code control the inherent power by limiting it or otherwise affecting it. The inherent power has not been conferred upon the court; it is a power inherent in the court by virtue of its duty to do justice between the parties before it".

It is for this reason Annada Prasad v. Sushilkumar, AIR 1942 Cal 390 held that to an application under Section 151 of the Code would not be applicable Article 181 of the Limitation Act. This view has been followed in Bhuyan Shyamsunder v. Ch. Nilkanth Das, AIR 1956 Orissa 165 and Pooranchand v. Komalchand, . In the last of these cases, the earlier decisions were noticed and it was held:

"Section 151 does not deal with any application nor does it lay down procedure for any application. It is a provision recognising the inherent power of the court to act ex debito justice. An application for invoking this power is not one which a party is required to make under any provision of the Code for setting in motion any machinery of the court. Therefore it is not governed by Art. 181 of Art. 163 or any other Article of the Limitation Act."

We find ourselves in entire agreement with this view.

6. Before leaving this case, we may mention that Appayya v. Collector of Vizagapatnam, (1882) ILR 4 Mad 155 has been strongly relied on which held that an application under Section 111 C. P. Code to recover the amount of court fee from a party ordered by the decree to pay the same was subject to the provisions of Art. 178 of the Indian Limitation Act. It is not necessary to decide in this case whether the State is entitled to exemption from the provisions of the Limitation Act relating to applications though we may observe that obviously the State would be bound by the provisions of the Limitation Act where it is applicable to suits or applications made to it, but where an application has been made not under the Code, but invoking the inherent power of the Code, no question of limitation can arise. This is not because the State is not bound by the Limitation Act but because an application under Section 151 of the Code is not subject to any of the provisions of the Limitation Act for the reasons we have already mentioned.

7. The appeal is therefore dismissed with costs.

8. Appeal dismissed.


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