1. Petitioner is the plaintiff who sued as a member of a charitable Jain Sangham, an institution which sought to provide for the education of Jains, the maintenance of a school and so on. He sought permission under Order 1, Rule 8, Civil Procedure Code, to sue in a representative capacity the Secretary of the Sangham and 9 committee members for certain reliefs, inter alia for a direction to call a general body meeting, elect new office-bearers, render account, etc. After the Court had given publicity as required by Order 1, Rule 8, 12 members of this Sangham filed affidavits strenuously opposing the petitioner's right to represent them or the majority of the members of the Sangham. The learned Subordinate Judge, on the strength of Harikisandas Shivlal v. Chhaganlal Narsidas I.L.R. (1915) 40 Bom. 158 held that in view of these affidavits, the plaintiff cannot be allowed to represent or sue on behalf of the members of the Sangham. This Bench decision of the Bombay High Court is no longer followed in this Presidency and has been specifically dissented from in Sivathal Periyava Nadar v. Nana, Chuna, Velumuruga Nadar (1920) 30 M.L.T. 47 by Napier and Krishnan, JJ. In a recent decision A. Mohammad Hassan Sahib v. The Podanur Sunnath Jamath by President C.A. Alli Sahib : AIR1948Mad516 , Govinda Menon, J., held that where there are large numbers on both sides contending respective rights against each other, leave cannot be refused on the ground that parties are equally balanced and that the main question that the Court should decide is whether the plaintiffs bona fide wanted to file the suit.
2. The first condition for the operation of Order 1, Rule 8 is that there should be ' numerous persons having the same interest in one suit.' In such a case, one or more such persons may, with the permission of the Court, sue or be sued on behalf of all persons so interested. It is not necessary that all members of a Sangham or of an Association should have an identical interest in the suit. There may be opposition between two groups and bona fide representatives of each group can file a representative suit to have such disputes resolved under Order 1, Rule 8, to save multiplicity of suits. The sole criterion is whether the plaintiff or the plaintiffs' are representatives of numerous persons having the same interest in one suit. In the present case, the mere fact that 12 members of the Sangham have appeared and filed affidavits dissociating themselves from the petitioner's suit and strongly opposing him, would not per se deprive the plaintiff of his right to file a representative suit. But as matters stand, he is in a position of splendid isolation and has taken no steps to rebut the affidavits filed against him by bringing forward before the Court any representative members of the numerous body whom he claims to represent. I observe in the written statement filed a claim made that a general body meeting has in fact been held since the suit and that fresh office-bearers have been elected. The main grievance appears to be that the office-bearers elected in 1943 for a period of 3 years are still in office.
3. On the materials available before the Subordinate Judge at the time he passed his order, I am not satisfied that the petitioner should have been given permission to file a representative suit, he having taken no steps to satisfy the Court, in view of these affidavits opposing his claim, that he did really and bona fide represent ' numerous Jains ' in the suit he sought to file. In the circumstances, I see no grounds for interference in revision, although I have corrected the learned Subordinate Judge's error in law in following the Bombay Bench decision which, so far as this. Presidency is concerned, is no longer law. The petition is dismissed without any order as to costs in the circumstances.