1. The defendant in this case appeals against the decree for damages caused to the plaintiff's land by the loss of irrigation facilities, resulting from the action of the defendant in obstructing the legitimate construction of a temporary dam across an irrigation channel and in obtaining orders from the Courts which prevented the plaintiff from having the use of water to which he was entitled, pending Magisterial and Civil Courts' proceedings.
2. There is no doubt about the facts. The obstruction was on 31st August, 1924. After interfering with the making of this dam, the defendant moved the Magistrate and procured an order under Section 147, Criminal Procedure Code, on 21st November, 1924, restraining the plaintiff from damming the channel and taking water to his land. The plaintiff consequently had to file a civil suit to establish his right and he also applied for a temporary injunction against the defendant to restrain him from interfering with the exercise of this right. The defendant opposed the grant of any such injunction and it was consequently refused. Eventually, the plaintiff got a decree recognising his right to the water and he now claims damages for the loss of the crops which would have been harvested in January 1926, January 1927 and January 1928.
3. This appeal has once been heard by Cornish, J., but the judgment, unfortunately, was of no effect because one of the parties was dead at the time when the appeal was heard.
4. Now, quite clearly the plaintiff's claim for damages is based not on the original obstruction of the defendant in August 1924 which could not have affected the crops grown at the end of 1925, 1926 or 1927. The basis of the plaintiff's claim is the action of the defendant in procuring from the Courts orders which had the effect of preventing the plaintiff from taking the water to which he was entitled. If so much be conceded, it is difficult to see how the damages accruing to the plaintiff can have been caused at all by the extra-judicial act of the defendant. Assuming, however, that the defendant's act in obstructing the construction of the dam was the first of a series of acts which together caused the damage, it is, I think, well established that no action will lie against any one for damages resulting from an erroneous decision of the Court, merely because that person has set the Court in motion, provided that malice is not established-Rani Mina Kumari Debi v. Surendra Narain Chakravarty (1909) 14 C.W.N. 96. It is also well established that the defendant is only liable for the direct consequences of his wrongful acts and that the intervening act of an independent third person bound by law to make a judicial decision breaks the chain of causation. When once it is established that the party moving the Court is not, in the absence of malice, responsible for the Court's erroneous orders, it will be clear that the order of the Court, even though erroneous and even though passed at the instance of the defendant, is an act of a third party independent of the control of the defendant and bound to decide judicially. It is, therefore, a new act intervening and there is no chain of causation from the original act of the defendant which started the interference with plaintiff's rights. It seems to me unnecessary to say anything more. The case-law on the subject has been fully discussed in the judgment of Cornish, J., which unfortunately became inoperative. I agree entirely with the reasoning in that judgment and allow the appeal and dismiss the plaintiff's suit with costs throughout.
5. Leave to appeal refused.