1. This case has come before me on settlement of issues. The issue which I have now to decide is as to whether this Court has any jurisdiction be try this suit. The remaining issues will have to be determined hereafter.
2. The suit is brought by the vendor of a patni taluk situate in the Burdwan district to enforce specific performance of the contract. A portion of the contract was made in Calcutta, and leave to sue has been obtained. The title is accepted in the contract. All the plaintiff really wants is the money for which he has contracted to sell the patni, though of course the relief is mere complicated than in a mere suit for money. I will only now consider the (a) and (c) portions of the prayer of the plaint. The first seeks the ordinary relief in a suit for specific performance, viz., that the agreement may be specifically performed, that a proper transfer may be settled, and that upon the execution and registration of the transfer the defendant may be ordered to pay the money. The (c) portion asks for damages.
3. The question is whether this is a suit for 'land' within the meaning of the Letters Patent.
4. A great many authorities have been cited to me, but I do not think that, so far as their application to the present case is concerned, there is any difference between them. The chief cases cited before me were Ramdhone Shaw v. Sreemutty Nobumoney Dossee (Bourke, 218) The Delhi and London Bank v. Wordie. I.L.R. 1 Cal 249 Kellie v. Fraser I.L.R. 2 Cal. 445 Sreenath Roy v. Cally Doss Ghose I.L.R. 5 Cal. 82 and Holkar H.H. Shrimant Maharaj Yashvantrav v. Dadabhai Cursetji Ashburner I.L.R. 14 Bom., 353. Ramdhone Shaw v. Nobumoney Dossee (Bourke, 218) has not been very accurately reported, but I have referred to the original judgment, and I think it clear that in that case Mr. Justice NORMAN held that a suit for specific performance would lie. That was a purchaser's suit.
5. It seems to me that, having regard to the expressions used in Kellie v. Eraser I.L.R. 2 Cal. 445 and The Delhi and London Bank v. Wordie I.L.R. 1 Gal. 249 as to the meaning of a 'suit for land,' that there is a distinction between a vendor's suit and a purchaser's suit for specific performance.
6. The question as to whether a purchaser's suit would lie is one which I need not decide here.
7. In The Delhi and London Bank v. Wordie I.L.R. 1 Cal. 249 Garth, C.J. at page 263 of the Report, defines a 'suit for land' as a suit for the purpose of acquiring title to or control over land. In Kellie v. Fraser I.L.R. 2 Cal. 445 the same learned Judge says: 'It will be observed, however, that in all, or almost all, the cases upon which the appellant relies, the suit was brought for the purpose of acquiring possession of, or establishing a title to, or an interest in, property which is subject to dispute.'
8. In Sreenath Roy v. Cally Doss Ghose I.L.R. 5 Cal 82 Mr. Justice PONTIFEX held that a suit for specific performance was a suit for land within the meaning of the Letters Patent. But that was a purchaser's suit, and as the object of a purchaser's suit is to get possession of the land, it might be properly described as a suit for land.
9. The Bombay case to which I have been referred goes much further than it is necessary for me to go in this case. That was practically a purchaser's suit and was put upon the authority of Paget v. Ede L.R. 18 Eq. 118. Mr. JACKSON has cited a decision of Mr. Justice LAWRANCE and Mr. Justice WRIGHT, decided on the 20th of February last [DeSousa v. British South African Company Times' Law Reports Vol. VIII, p. 369). That case, there is no doubt, shows the present tendency of the English Courts to abstain from interfering even in personam where the matter concerns land outside their jurisdiction, But I do not think, myself, that this case depends on those English cases. It depends entirely on what is a 'suit for land' within the meaning of the Letters Patent.
10. So far as the paragraphs of the prayer of the plaint in this case under the headings (a) and (c), I do not think that this is a suit for land. It is not a suit to sell or acquire possession of or title to land in any sense. Clearly it does not come within the definitions given by Sir R. Garth. I decline to hold that wherever land has anything to do with a suit it is therefore a 'suit for land.' I must go so far as that to accept Mr. Jackson's argument.
11. If the framers of the Letters Patent had intended to exclude the jurisdiction of this Court in the way suggested, they would have used different words.
12. I hold that, having regard to everything except paragraph (b) of the prayer of the plaint, this is not a suit for land. I am inclined to hold that, so far as that paragraph is concerned, this is a suit for land, but it is not necessary to determine that question now, as the right to relief under that prayer cannot be determined until the facts are found.
13. The case must be set down for final disposal for determination of the remaining issues, which are--
(1) Was there a concluded and binding arrangement for the sale of the property mentioned in the plaint
(2) If so, what is the legal effect thereof
(3) To what relief, if any, is the plaintiff entitled
14. The case must go to the bottom of the remanet list. The costs of the settlement of issues will be costs in the cause.