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T.N. Ranganathan Vs. T.K. Subramaniam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1971)2MLJ126
AppellantT.N. Ranganathan
RespondentT.K. Subramaniam
Cases ReferredVeeraswami v. Lakshmud
Excerpt:
- - if the court grants the petitioner the permission to withdraw, but refuses the permission to institute a fresh suit, the result would be that the plaintiff would be deprived of carrying on with the suit as best as he can and would also not be permitted to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action, and it was not the intention of the legislature that the plaintiff should be put to this loss by breaking up the prayer for withdrawal with permission to file a fresh suit about the same subject-matter into two parts. but from the records it is seen that the lower court passed an order both in the application as well as in the suit simultaneously and that there was no time lag between the disposal of the application as well as the suit......by the dismissal of the suit on the same day with the following observations. 2. 'taken up today. suit withdrawn on petition'. the petitioner questions the correctness of the order of the lower court passed in his application for withdrawal of the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. 3. it is contended firstly that, the grounds mentioned by the petitioner in support of the application are sufficient for the grant of leave to withdraw the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action and that the lower court was in error in refusing the leave as prayed for. secondly it is contended that, even if the petitioner has not made out a case for grant of liberty, the lower court had no jurisdiction to cut up the prayer in his petition and grant.....
Judgment:

G. Ramanujam, J.

1. The petitioner herein filed a suit, O.S. No. 982 of 1966 on the file of the District Munsif's Court, Salem, for declaration that the suit wall is common both to the plaintiff and the defendant and for consequential reliefs. It appears that the petitioner obtained an interim order of injunction at the first instance but it was later on vacated at the instance of the respondents herein. After the interim 'injunction was vacated the petitioner filed an application in I.A. No. 919 of 1968 for permission to withdraw the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit under Order 23, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code. The said application was opposed by the respondent on the ground that the petitioner was not entitled to have liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. The application was considered by the lower Court and it felt that the petitioner has not made out a case for the grant of liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. But at the same time the lower Court granted permission to the petitioner to withdraw the suit without liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action and the Court also directed the costs of the suit being paid by the plaintiff to the defendants. The order in I.A. No. 919 of 1966 was followed up by the dismissal of the suit on the same day with the following observations.

2. 'Taken up today. Suit withdrawn on petition'. The petitioner questions the correctness of the order of the lower Court passed in his application for withdrawal of the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action.

3. It is contended firstly that, the grounds mentioned by the petitioner in support of the application are sufficient for the grant of leave to withdraw the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action and that the lower Court was in error in refusing the leave as prayed for. Secondly it is contended that, even if the petitioner has not made out a case for grant of liberty, the lower Court had no jurisdiction to cut up the prayer in his petition and grant permission to withdrawal the suit without liberty and proceed to dismiss the suit on the ground that the petitioner (plaintiff) has withdrawn the suit.

4. As regards the first contention I am not inclined to agree with the learned Counsel. The Court below has gone into the circumstances under which the suit is sought to be withdrawn and has held that the petitioner has not made out a case for permission to withdraw the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. I am inclined to agree with the reasoning given by the lower Court for holding that the petitioner is not entitled to have the liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. In this case it is not for any formal defect that the suit is sought to be withdrawn. The reason given for the withdrawal of the suit is that the interim injunction granted earlier by the Court has been withdrawn as a result of which, the respondents are proceeding with the construction on the common wall. The above facts, even if true, cannot entitle the petitioner to have the liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. I am of the view that there are no sufficient grounds for the petitioner to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action and the lower Court was right in taking the view it did with reference to the petitioner's right to have the liberty to file a fresh suit.

5. As regards the second contention however I find that there is considerable force. When the petitioner seeks to withdraw the suit with liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action, the lower Court cannot direct the withdrawal of the suit without giving liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. If the Court thought that the petitioner is not entitled to the liberty sought for by him, it should have dismissed the application without dismissing the suit on the basis that it has been withdrawn. As pointed out by Wanchoo, C.J., (as he then was) in Maru v. Mt. Najo , when an application for permission to withdraw a suit with permission to institute a fresh suit is made under Sub-rule (2) of Order 23, Civil Procedure Code, is not open to the Court to treat it as if it is an application under Sub-rule (1) without any condition and to grant the prayer for withdrawal and refuse the prayer for permission to bring a fresh suit and the prayer under Sub-rule (2) must be treated as one whole and the Court may either reject the entire prayer and allow the suit to proceed or allow the entire prayer, that is, permit the withdrawal of the suit with liberty to bring a fresh suit. The reason is obvious. If the Court grants the petitioner the permission to withdraw, but refuses the permission to institute a fresh suit, the result would be that the plaintiff would be deprived of carrying on with the suit as best as he can and would also not be permitted to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action, and it was not the intention of the Legislature that the plaintiff should be put to this loss by breaking up the prayer for withdrawal with permission to file a fresh suit about the same subject-matter into two parts. This is also the view taken in Marudachala Nadar v. Chinnamuthu Nadar : AIR1932Mad155 .

6. The learned Counsel for the respondents, however, submits that the facts in this case will fall within the ruling of Panchapakesa Ayyar, J., in Veeraswami v. Lakshmudu (1951) 1 M.L.J. 194. In that case the plaintiff filed a petition to withdraw suit with permission to file a fresh suit regarding the same subject-matter under Order 23, Rule 1 (2), Civil Procedure Code, and the Court was not willing to grant the permission sought for but passed an order 'the petitioner may withdraw the suit if he wants. This is not a case for which permission can be given to withdraw the suit with liberty to bring a fresh suit. Petition is dismissed.' When that order was challenged in revision before this Court, it was expressed that the order passed by the lower Court gave an option to the plaintiff to withdraw the suit if he wants and there is no order by the Court dismissing the suit as having been withdrawn. I do not see any similarity between the facts in that case and the facts arising in this case. In this case the lower Court has actually passed an order permitting the petitioner to withdraw 'the suit without liberty and providing for the costs of the suit to the respondents and dismissing the suit simultaneously as having been withdrawn on petition'. The learned Counsel for the respondents submits that the petitioner could have resisted the dismissal of the suit as having been withdrawn and offered to go on with the trial of the suit without allowing the suit to be dismissed as having been withdrawn. But from the records it is seen that the lower Court passed an order both in the application as well as in the suit simultaneously and that there was no time lag between the disposal of the application as well as the suit. Even in the decision in Veeraswami v. Lakshmud (1951) 1 M.L.J. 194, it has been made clear that when an application is filed for withdrawal of the suit with permission to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action, the Court has a right to dismiss the petition telling the petitioner that he might withdraw the suit if he wants, but it will not give him permission to file a fresh suit regarding the same subject-matter, and that such an application must be allowed or refused in to and that if the liberty is refused the suit should not be dismissed at once but retained for trial in the usual course and the Court cannot divide the petition into two and accept the withdrawal and refuse the liberty in the same order. In this case the lower appellate Court after finding that the petitioner is not entitled to the liberty sought for should have dismissed the application and given a liberty to the petitioner to proceed with the suit. But the lower Court has, however, proceeded to order the petition permitting him to withdraw the suit without liberty and actually dismissed the suit as having been withdrawn. The order of the lower Court cannot be supported and has to be set aside. I, however, uphold the order of the lower Court that the petitioner has not made out a ground for giving liberty to file a fresh suit on the same cause of action. The result is that the order giving him permission to withdraw the suit is set aside land the consequential order passed in the suit dismissing the suit as having been withdrawn on petition is also set aside. The lower Court is directed to restore the suit to file and dispose of the same on merits. As the suit is of the year 1966, the lower Court is directed to dispose of the suit as early as possible. No costs.


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