1. This Civil Revision Petition arises out of a suit for accounts filed by a principal against his agent. Both the Courts have held that no part of the cause of action arose within the limits of the Chicacole Munsif's Court's jurisdiction and the plaint has been returned for presentation to the proper Court, as the conditions of Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 20 of the Civil Procedure Code are not satisfied in the present case.
2. The learned Counsel for the petitioner contends that either as a matter of law or even as an inference of fact as to the intended place of performance of the contract, I should hold that the cause of action arose in whole or in part within the Chicacole Court's jurisdiction. I am unable to accede to this contention. As pointed out by the learned District Judge, the reasoning' in Tika Ram v. Daulat Raw (1924) I.L.R. 46 All. 465, where a very similar question arose, is clearly in favour of the view taken by the Courts below.
3. Mr. Jagannadha Das, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, has mainly relied on the decision of the Judicial Committee in Soniram Jeetmull v. R.D. Tata & Co. Ltd. (1927) 53 M.L.J. 25 : L.R. 54 IndAp 265 : I.L.R. 5 Rang. 451 (P.C.), I am not able to accept his interpretation of that judgment. It is difficult to read that decision as laying down that as a rule of law, the principle that the debtor is bound to seek out his creditor and pay his debt is applicable in this country even for the purpose of determining the local jurisdiction of particular Courts. Their Lordships have taken care to indicate at the end of the judgment that their decision was based upon the inference drawn from the terms of the contract itself or from the necessities of the case. In an earlier part of the judgment, they referred to the fact that the business transactions out of which the outstanding debts arose in that case took place in Rangoon where a branch of the plaintiff's firm was situate and from this circumstance and from the nature of the contract, they seem to have drawn the inference that the parties must have intended by necessary implication that the monies were to be paid in Rangoon.
4. Even assuming that, the English rule either in terms or by analogy could be applied in this country, I am unable to extend it to a case like the present, which did not arise out of the relationship of debtor and creditor. Where the contract itself is one of loan, it might be possible to presume that payment must have been intended to be made at the creditor's place. But here the contract was one of agency and it is not disputed that though the principal was resident at Chicacole, the agent who was a resident of Cocanada was to attend to business to be done at Cocanada.
5. It seems to me necessary to emphasise the distinction between the contract itself and legal obligations or liabilities incidental to the contract of principal and agent; within the meaning of Section 182 of the Contract Act, the agent was employed to do acts for the principal at Cocanada. The legitimate inference therefore is that the contract was to be performed at Cocanada. It is only as one of the legal incidents arising out of the relationship of principal and agent that Section 213 provides that an agent is bound to render proper accounts to the principal. This cannot be read as if there was an express contract between the parties to render accounts so as to support the inference that the intention must have been to render the account at the principal's place. It is also noteworthy that the section imposes the duty 'on demand' by the principal. If anything, these words suggest that the demand should be made on the agent at his place of business. Every consideration of convenience is also in favour of that view because the books relating to the business of the agency and all material information connected therewith might naturally be expected to be available at the place of business of the agency.
6. Mr. Jagannadha Das contended that if on the taking of accounts it should be found that money was payable by the agent to the principal, the relationship of debtor and creditor would arise between the agent and the principal. But it is equally conceivable that on the taking of accounts it might be found that money would be payable by the principal to the agent. It. does not therefore seem to me right to base any inference as to the intended place of performance on the possible result of the taking of accounts. It is the nature of the main contract that must determine the intended or presumed place of performance. The suit itself has been rightly framed as a suit for accounts and it is on that basis that the question of jurisdiction must be determined.
7. I am of opinion that the Courts below were right in the view they took that no part of the cause of action arose at the principal's place of residence, in the circumstances of the case. The Revision Petition fails and is dismissed with costs.