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Balasubramania and Company Vs. Penukonda Radhakrishnamurthy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1949)1MLJ518
AppellantBalasubramania and Company
RespondentPenukonda Radhakrishnamurthy and ors.
Cases ReferredFatechand v. Wasudeo I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - 10,000 or upwards is not satisfied. 10,000. 2. it was also urged before us that in any event the petitioner will be entitled to a certificate under clause (c) of section 109 of the code that this is a fit case for appeal to the federal court because it involves a point of general importance, public as well as private......diligence in obtaining a previous award on the same cause of action. their lordships held that,civil proceedings in a court must be held to cover civil proceedings before arbitrators whom the parties have substituted for the courts of law to be the judges of the dispute between them. the nagpur high court following this decision has held in fatechand v. wasudeo i.l.r. 1947 nag. 477 that arbitrators to whom parties refer their dispute are a ' court ' and the proceedings before them are civil proceedings before a court within the meaning of section 14 of the indian limitation act. but we are of the opinion that these decisions do not help the petitioner. it may be that for the purpose of the limitation act proceedings before a court may include proceedings before arbitrators. the.....
Judgment:

P.V. Rajamannar, C.J.

1. The decision of this Court in O.S.A. No. 49 of 1947, no doubt reversed the decision of the learned Judge on the Original Side and therefore our decree is not an affirming decree. It is also clear that the appeal does involve a substantial question of law. But the objection raised to the grant of leave to appeal to the Federal Court is that the condition in section no, first paragraph, viz., that the amount or value of the subject-matter of the suit in the Court of first instance must be Rs. 10,000 or upwards is not satisfied. Under the award the sum payable was Rs. 9,682-8-0 with interest thereon at six per cent per annum from the date of the award. Calculating interest till 17th July, 1946, the date of the filing of the Original Petition No. 153 of 1946 to pass a decree in terms of the award, the amount comes only to Rs. 9,896-3-0, which is less than the required amount. To get over this difficulty Mr. Radhakrishnayya, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, contended that in this case the Court of first instance must be deemed to be the Arbitrator before whom the claim exceeded Rs. 10,000. In support of his contention he relied upon the ruling of the Judicial Committee in Ramdutt Ramkissendass v. E.D. Sassoon and Co. (1928) 56 M.L.J. 614 : L.R. 56 IndAp 128 : I.L.R. 56 Cal. 1048 (P.C.) in which their Lordships held that in applying to an arbitration Article 115 of the First Schedule of the Indian Limitation Act, effect should be given by analogy to Section 14 of the Act so as to exclude the time occupied by the plaintiff acting bona fide and with diligence in obtaining a previous award on the same cause of action. Their Lordships held that,

Civil proceedings in a Court must be held to cover Civil proceedings before arbitrators whom the parties have substituted for the Courts of law to be the judges of the dispute between them.

The Nagpur High Court following this decision has held in Fatechand v. Wasudeo I.L.R. 1947 Nag. 477 that arbitrators to whom parties refer their dispute are a ' Court ' and the proceedings before them are civil proceedings before a Court within the meaning of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act. But we are of the opinion that these decisions do not help the petitioner. It may be that for the purpose of the Limitation Act proceedings before a Court may include proceedings before arbitrators. The question before us is whether arbitrators can be described as the Court of first instance within the meaning of Section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure. We think they cannot be. The word ' Court ' in Section 11 o of the Code must be understood with reference to the scheme of the Code in general. Under Section 3 there is a hierarchy of Civil Courts recognised and the subordination of Courts is also defined therein. Section 9 of the Code enacts that the Courts shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or. impliedly barred. The reference here is obviously to Civil Courts. Section 15 provides that every suit shall be instituted in the Court of the lowest, grade competent to try it. This again shows that the reference is to a Court which is included in the gradation of the Civil Courts in the land. Having regard to these and several other provisions in the Code, it appears to us to be clear that the Court of first instance mentioned in section no is one of the Courts in the hierarchy of Civil Courts in the country. The fact that an arbitrator can be deemed to be a Court for the purpose of a particular Act cannot necessarily lead to the result that the should be deemed to be a Court for the purpose of all enactments. For instance by virtue of the definition in the Evidence Act, an arbitrator would not be a Court. We therefore hold that in this case the Court of first instance must be held to be this Court on the Original Side and admittedly the amount or value of the subject-matter in that Court was less than Rs. 10,000.

2. It was also urged before us that in any event the petitioner will be entitled to a certificate under Clause (c) of Section 109 of the Code that this is a fit case for appeal to the Federal Court because it involves a point of general importance, public as well as private. It is true, as already mentioned, there is a substantial question of law. But it is not every substantial question of law that can be treated as a question of public importance to justify the grant of a certificate under Section 109 (c). On an analysis of the judgment of this Court in appeal, it is clear that the decision ultimately depended upon the peculiar facts of this case and not on any general legal considerations. We therefore do not think that this is a case which can be certified to be a fit case for appeal under section log (c) of the Code

3. The application is therefore dismissed.


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