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M.S.A.P.L. Palaniappa Chetty Vs. Raman Chetty and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in117Ind.Cas.724
AppellantM.S.A.P.L. Palaniappa Chetty
RespondentRaman Chetty and ors.
Cases ReferredRepublic of Liberia v. Roye
Excerpt:
contempt of court - party in contempt, right of, to be heard--power to dismiss proceedings. - .....w.r. 389 : 90 l.t. 597 : 20 t.l.r. 272 and in the circumstances of that case it was held that the party in contempt could be heard. in the course of the judgment vaughan williams, l.j. thus observed:--'taking it generally, it has not been disputed in the discussion before us that this rule that a person who is in contempt cannot be heard prima facie applies to voluntary applications on his part--when he comes and asks for something, and not to cases in which all that he is seeking is to be heard in respect of matters of defence'. this observation is entirely applicable to the facts of this case. the petitioner wishes to be heard in prosecution of his own appeal, that is, to obtain a decree in accordance with the relief sought in his plaint. it is clearly different from the facts of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

William Watkins Phillips, J.

1. This petition is an application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council against the order of this Court dismissing the petitioner's appeal on the ground that, as he was in contempt, he could not be allowed to proceed with the appeal and that the proceedings could not be stayed indefinitely until he purged his contempt. It is contended firstly, that although the petitioner was in contempt, he ought to have been heard as there is nothing debarring him from such a privilege. He relied on two cases. One is Ricketts v. Mornington (1834) 7 Sim. 200 : 4 L.J. Ch. 21 : 58 E.R. 813 : 40 R.R. 107. It is somewhat difficult to know exactly what the circumstances were in that case and it appears that the plaintiff was allowed to proceed with his case as it had been brought to hearing by the rules of the Court. What happened thereon does not appear from the. report. The other case relied on is Gordon v, Gordon (1904) P. 163 : 73 L.J.P. 41 : 52 W.R. 389 : 90 L.T. 597 : 20 T.L.R. 272 and in the circumstances of that case it was held that the party in contempt could be heard. In the course of the judgment Vaughan Williams, L.J. thus observed:--'Taking it generally, it has not been disputed in the discussion before us that this rule that a person who is in contempt cannot be heard prima facie applies to voluntary applications on his part--when he comes and asks for something, and not to cases in which all that he is seeking is to be heard in respect of matters of defence'. This observation is entirely applicable to the facts of this case. The petitioner wishes to be heard in prosecution of his own appeal, that is, to obtain a decree in accordance with the relief sought in his plaint. It is clearly different from the facts of Gordon v. Gordon (1904) P. 163 : 73 L.J.P. 41 : 52 W.R. 389 : 90 L.T. 597 : 20 T.L.R. 272 where the order had been passed against the defendant with regard to payment of a sum of money and that defendant was allowed to be heard against such an order. This being so, it is clear that the petitioner until he purged his contempt could not be heard in prosecution of his appeal.

2. It is contended that this Court had no power to dismiss the appeal but ought to have merely continued stay of proceedings perpetually for an indefinite period until the petitioner chooses to comply with the orders of the Court which he had for a long time disobeyed. This principle is negatived by the decision in Republic of Liberia v. Imperial Bank (1874) 9 Ch. A. 569 which is confirmed by the House, of Lords in Republic of Liberia v. Roye (1876) 1 A.C. 139 : 34 L.T. 145. In the latter, the Lord Chancellor (Lord Cairns) said:--'The Court of Chancery must have of necessity the right to go further, and to say that after a proper interval the proceedings which have been stayed shall be altogether expelled from the Court.' It seems only a reasonable proposition that a party should not be compelled, owing to the default of the opposite party in purging his contempt, to be kept before the Court for an indefinite period, which might possibly extend to centuries.

3. On another ground also this petition might be dismissed and that is, that the petitioner is again seeking relief from this Court while still in contempt and he cannot be heard. The petition is accordingly dismissed with costs.

4. The Civil Miscellaneous Petition No. 5081 of 1927 is also dismissed.

Reilly, J.

5. I agree.


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