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Pandarathil Abdulla of Androth Island Vs. Komalath Thanga Koya of Androth Island and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad855; (1938)2MLJ447
AppellantPandarathil Abdulla of Androth Island
RespondentKomalath Thanga Koya of Androth Island and ors.
Cases ReferredAhmed Koya v. Aisamma I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- .....of grave disturbance, that it was not intended to invoke his criminal jurisdiction also. the amin appears to have passed, an order on the same day, apparently without hearing the other side, and without proceeding in the manner indicated in section 22 of the laccadive islands and minicoy regulation i of 1912, which requires that the amin sitting with four or more assessors shall be the civil court for the island and shall have jurisdiction over all civil claims arising therein. the order passed does not purport to have been made by the amin after sitting with four or more assessors, and the fact that the order was passed on the same date as the date of the petition appears to show that the order passed by the amin was a kind of interlocutory order on his own authority in view of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Pandrang Row, J.

1. This is a petition to revise the order of the Collector of Malabar dated 20th May, 1933, dismissing the appeal from the order of the Amin of Androth Island dated 12th March, 1933.

2. It appears there was a petition filed by the Koyas of the Island against the petitioner and another person on the 12th March, 1933, bringing to the notice of the Amin that the petitioner, who is a Melacheri, had agreed to hire a boat and register the agreement of hire contrary to the long prevailing custom in the Island. The Koyas alleged that the new departure threatened by the petitioner was likely to cause great hardship to them and would give rise to grave disturbances. The prayer in the petition was:

We therefore request that the Court may be pleased to cancel the agreement regarding the chartering of the odam and order that the Melache-ries should not sail with odams as owners of goods.

3. It appears therefore that the application was made to the Court of the Amin with a view to invoke his civil jurisdiction, though it is not quite clear, in view of the reference to the likelihood of grave disturbance, that it was not intended to invoke his criminal jurisdiction also. The Amin appears to have passed, an order on the same day, apparently without hearing the other side, and without proceeding in the manner indicated in Section 22 of the Laccadive Islands and Minicoy Regulation I of 1912, which requires that the Amin sitting with four or more assessors shall be the Civil Court for the island and shall have jurisdiction over all civil claims arising therein. The order passed does not purport to have been made by the Amin after sitting with four or more assessors, and the fact that the order was passed on the same date as the date of the petition appears to show that the order passed by the Amin was a kind of interlocutory order on his own authority in view of the urgency of the matter. The order of the Amin was to the effect that in his opinion it was contrary to law and custom for Melacheries to own goods and take them in odams and that if such things were permitted, there would be great trouble in the island and disturbances between the Melacheries and the Koyas. He expressed the opinion that the petition should be brought to the notice of the superior Court in order that it might be heard and that it must be heard and decided according to the directions of the higher authorities. The order wound up with the following sentence:

Therefore I hereby order and direct that the abovenamed Abdulla should not act according to the Kararand sail as owner of goods to the main land thereby breaking the long-established custom till final orders are passed.

4. The petitioner's advocate is not able to say whether the matter has been taken up by the Amin once more for the purpose of passing final orders. The appeal preferred from this order of the Amin to the Collector of Malabar was dismissed by the Collector who apparently thought that the order appealed from was a final order. The Collector stated that the practice referred to by the Amin in his order is an established custom of the island and an integral part of the system of land tenure and that any interference with that custom would upset the economic arrangements of the island. Accordingly he confirmed the Amin's order and dismissed the appeal.

5. A preliminary objection was raised to the competency of the revision petition by Mr. Pocker who appeared for the respondents and as the matter was of some importance, notice of the petition was given to the Government Pleader so that his assistance may be available in deciding the question of jurisdiction as was done some years ago in a similar case - see Ahmed Koya v. Aisamma I.L.R.(1925) Mad. 419. The learned Government Pleader has not put forward any new notifications which have a bearing on the subject and the point has to be decided more or less in the light of the Regulation I of 1912. Under Section 26 of the Regulation, an appeal is provided to the High Court from any decision of the Collector in the exercise of his original jurisdiction and this shows that the Collector while exercising his original jurisdiction under the Regulation is subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court. It is however contended by Mr. Pocker that this does not make the Collector when acting in his appellate jurisdiction subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court. I am unable to accept this contention. It is not possible in my opinion to regard the Collector exercising original jurisdiction as a different tribunal from the Collector exercising his appellate jurisdiction. The Collector is a judicial tribunal constituted under the Regulation and merely because appeals are not permitted by the Regulation from his appellate orders on the general principle enunciated in Section 15 of the Regulation that no second appeal shall be in any case whatever, it does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the appellate orders of the Collector cannot be revised by the High Court. The appellate jurisdiction must be deemed to have been exercised by a tribunal subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court even though no appeals are permitted from orders passed by the Collector in his appellate jurisdiction. Under Section 107 of the Government of India Act the petition for revision was maintainable, and in my opinion it does not cease to be competent because that section has been repealed by the new Government of India Act of 1935 which came into force on the 1st April, 1937. The effect of the repeal is not to destroy or take away the jurisdiction which existed at the time when proceedings were initiated, vide Section 38 of the English Interpretation Act. I therefore overrule the preliminary objection and find that the petition is competent and that this Court has jurisdiction to entertain and dispose of the revision petition.

6. On the merits it is really impossible to deal with the question finally in view of the utter absence of material in the record. The order of the Amin appears to have been passed, as I have already observed, as an urgent order without hearing the other side and mainly to prevent a disturbance of the public tranquillity. It is obvious that, whether the Amin had authority to make such an order or not, at this distance of time no useful purpose will be served by investigating the question whether there was sufficient ground for making such an order. The Collector in dealing with the matter in appeal appears to have thought that the Amin had finally decided that the custom pleaded by theKoyas was along-established custom which could b^ enforced and the Collector appears to have agreed with the view of the Amin. It is obvious that a matter of this importance cannot be decided in this manner without some semblance of a trial and without some regard to rules of natural justice and in particular without hearing what the other side has to say before pronouncing a decision, which does not appear to have been done by the Amin. In these circumstances, all that can be done is to point out that the order of the Amin is only an interlocutory order and that it does not finally determine the rights of any party and that the Collector's order in appeal also does not decide finally the rights of the parties. It is perhaps necessary to add that the petition should be treated as a civil suit by the Amin and disposed of according to law. The learned Advocate for the petitioner has brought to my notice that the Amin is himself a Koya and is biassed and prayed that the suit should be transferred from the Amin to the file of the Inspecting Officer or of the Collector. This is not a matter to be decided by the Hi^h Court but only by the Collector or Inspecting Officer who are empowered to transfer civil suits from the Amin's file to their own file under Section 24 of the Regulation. It will be open to the petitioner to make an application for transfer under this section and there is no reason why the High Court should interfere with the discretion given by Section 24 of the Regulation as regards transfer to the Collector and the Inspecting Officer. In the circumstances of the case, I direct the parties to bear their own costs in this Court.


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