1. The question for determination in this appeal is whether the Lower Courts were right in holding that the respondent was entitled to restitution under Section 144, Civil Procedure Code. One Kami Setti Ghatta as president of a certain fund obtained a money-decree against the respondent and two others in Original Suit No. 985 of 1897, in the District Munsifs Court, Gooty, on 12th February 1898. One Y. Narayana Rao styling himself president of the fund transferred the decree to the appellant. The objection raised by the judgment-debtor to the transferee's right to execute the decree was overruled and the transfer was recognized by the Court on 12th July 1904. The appellant received Rs. 315-14-4 from the respondent (first defendant in the suit) in execution on 12th August 1904.
2. Prior to the payment of the decree-amount, the respondent and another had instituted a suit--Original Suit No. 479 of 1904--in the Gooty Munsif's Court against the appellant and his transferor for a declaration that the transfer of the decree in Original Suit No. 985 of 1897 was invalid and for an injunction restraining the appellant from executing the decree and receiving the amount deposited in Court.
3. Finally after a remand by the High Court, the District Munsif on 29th November 1909 passed a decree (which was affirmed on appeal) declaring the transfer of the decree in Original Suit No. 985 of 1897 to be invalid and restraining the present appellant from executing the decree and receiving the amount deposited in Court. The respondent applied by an execution petition on 22nd March 1912 to recover the amount with interest from the appellant. The Lower Courts following the ruling in Shiam Sundar Lal v. Kaisar Zamain Begam I.L.R. (1907) All. 143 held that the respondent was entitled under Section 144, Civil Procedure Code, to recover the amount which she paid under the decree in Original Suit No. 985 of 1897 with interest.
4. It is contended on behalf of the appellant that Section 144, Civil Procedure Code, has no application inasmuch as there is no decree which has been varied or reversed, the decree under which the money was recovered in execution not having been reversed, varied or set aside. The words of Section 144, Civil Procedure Code, are very wide, and the section is not confined to cases where restitution is claimed on the reversal of a decree in first or second appeal.
5. Provided the decree is varied or reversed the section applies, however, the reversal or variance has been effected. Reference may be made to Shama Purshad Roy Chowdery v. Hurro Purshad Roy Chowdery (1865) 10 M.I.A. 203 where their Lordships of the Privy Council laid down the law thus: 'The original decree or judgment must be taken to be subsisting and valid until it has been reversed or superseded by some ulterior proceeding. If it has been so reversed or superseded the money recovered under it ought certainly to be refunded. The true question, therefore in such cases is, whether the decree or judgment under which the money was originally recovered has been reversed or superseded.' We think that the Lower Court's decision can be supported on the ground that the order of that Court passed in Execution Petition No. 728 of 1904, recognizing the transfer in favour of the respondent and allowing execution to proceed, which determined a question arising between the judgment-debtor and the representative of the decree-holder under Section 144, Civil Procedure Code, was a 'decree,' as defined in the Code of 1882 and that order was superseded by the subsequent decree in Original Suit No. 479 of 1904, between the same parties. The order for payment made to the appellant in execution of the first decree and the receipt of money by him in pursuance of that order were in fact superseded by the decree for injunction granted against him in the second suit restraining him from receiving such money. It is unnecessary for us to express a final opinion on the question whether Shiam Sundar Lal v. Kaisar Zamain Begam I.L.R. (1807) All. 143 was rightly decided. In that case, the subsequent decree only declared the right of the claimants to an attached property as against the claim put forward by the decree-holder in the first suit to have it attached. The subsequent decree did not grant an injunction against the decree-holder in the first suit to refrain from selling the attached property in execution or from taking possession of it as purchaser (if he happened to become the purchaser at the execution sale). And yet it was held by the learned Judges that restitution of possession could be granted in favour of the successful party in the second suit by a summary order passed on a summary application made in the first suit. We may, however, say that, as at present advised, we are not prepared to go to the extreme length that that decision has proceeded. For the foregoing reasons we have come to the conclusion though not without some hesitation that the view taken by the lower Courts is right.
6. The appeal is dismissed with costs.