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Baij Nath Goenka Vs. Padmanand Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1912)ILR39Cal818
AppellantBaij Nath Goenka
RespondentPadmanand Singh
Cases Referred and Bishnu Priya Chowdhurani v. Bhaba Sundari Debya
Excerpt:
res judicata - execution proceeding--decision in such proceeding not appealed against--finality of such decision--erroneous decision on a question of law, whether res judicata. - .....be decided on the same principles, whether it arises under section 11 of the code or in successive execution proceedings. there is considerable divergence of judicial opinion on the point, and we have been referred to numerous cases, of which all the most important are cited in aghore natli mukerjee v. srimati kamini debi (1909) 11 c.l.j. 461. the learned judges there held that an erroneous decision on a point of pure law cannot have the force of a res judicata in a subsequent case in which the cause of action is not the same. this decision was followed in purna chandra sarbajna v. basik chandra chakrabarti (1910) 13 c.l.j. 119. it appears to us that so long as the former decision merely lays down what the law is, it cannot have the force of res judicata in a subsequent proceeding to.....
Judgment:

Coxe and Imam, JJ.

1. The appellant in tins case in a former execution proceeding attached an allowance payable to the respondent. The attachment was contested, but the case was decided against the respondent and the decision was not appealed against, It is clear that what was sought to be attached in that case was not any particular instalments but the whole allowance as it fell due. Subsequently it has been held in a case between the respondent and another creditor, to which the appellant was not a party that this allowance could not be attached in this general way, and that instalments could not be attached before they respectively fell due. The appellant again took out execution and the respondent again pleaded that this attachment could not be made. This plea was accepted by the Subordinate Judge and the decree-holder accordingly appeals.

2. The only point that really arises in the appeal is whether the liability of the allowance to attachment is or is not a res judicata between the parties. The former proceeding was an execution in the same suit and was not a former suit, so that Section 11 of the Code has no application and the matter mast be decided on the principles laid down in Ram Kirpal v. Rup Kuari (1883) I.L.R. 6 All. 269. The question, however, whether an erroneous decision of law can have the force of a res judicata must necessarily be decided on the same principles, whether it arises under Section 11 of the Code or in successive execution proceedings. There is considerable divergence of judicial opinion on the point, and we have been referred to numerous cases, of which all the most important are cited in Aghore Natli Mukerjee v. Srimati Kamini Debi (1909) 11 C.L.J. 461. The learned Judges there held that an erroneous decision on a point of pure law cannot have the force of a res judicata in a subsequent case in which the cause of action is not the same. This decision was followed in Purna Chandra Sarbajna v. Basik Chandra Chakrabarti (1910) 13 C.L.J. 119. It appears to us that so long as the former decision merely lays down what the law is, it cannot have the force of res judicata in a subsequent proceeding to recover different relief. But if it is a decision that is confrary to law, when that expression is used in the wide sense attributed to it, for example, in Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code, it may or may not have the force of a res judicata. For instance, in the case Ram Kirpal v. Rup Kuari (1883) I.L.R. 6 All. 269 cited above, the two proceedings did not relate to the same mesne profits, and in the first the proper construction of the decree of which execution was sought was decided. This would be a question of law under Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code, but the decision did not profess to lay down what the law on the subject was. But when a decision does lay down what the law is and is found to be erroneous, it cannot, in our opinion, have the force of res judicata in a subsequent proceeding for different relief. A decision cannot alter the law of the land. Rai Churn Ghose v. Kumud Motion Dutta Chaudhuri (1897) I.C.W.N. 687 and Bishnu Priya Chowdhurani v. Bhaba Sundari Debya (1901) I.L.R. 28 Calc. 318.

3. We think, therefore, that although it was decided between the parties in a previous execution proceeding that the allowance could be attached, the Subordinate Judge has no more power now, than he really had then, to attach the allowance before it was due; and that the former decision cannot alter the law in this respect or give the Subordinate Judge a jurisdiction that he would not otherwise possess.

4. It has been argued that the judgment-debtor is precluded from attacking the attachment, because in the former proceeding he accepted benefits under it. But we think that there is nothing in this contention. The decree-holder sought to attach the whole allowance, but the executing Court, moved apparently by compassion, permitted the attachment of three-quarters only and left the rest for the judgment-debtor to enjoy. The judgment-debtor may have received this indulgence, which in the view taken by the executing Court was quite unjustifiable; but it certainly cannot preclude him from contesting the whole attachment.

5. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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