1. In the Rule and the application, which arise out of two appeals preferred on behalf of the Union of India beyond the period of limitation of 30 days prescribed by Section 8 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act, 1953, the principal question that arises for consideration is whether Section 8 (2) (a) is ultra vires Article 254 of the Constitution.
2. It appears that the said two appeals arise out of two orders, both passed by the learned Chief Judge, City Civil Court. By one order be refused to set aside the award of the Arbitrator under Sections 30 and 33 of the Arbitration Act and by the other he set aside another award and remitted the matter to the Arbitrator. Section 8 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act, 1953 provides that the period of limitation for en appeal from a decree or order of the City Civil Court shall be thirty days from the date of such decree or order. The Union of India has, however, preferred the said two appeals beyond 30 days. The memoranda of appeals were returned by the Stamp Reporter to the learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the appellant and thereafter, two applications have been filed on behalf of the petitioner challenging the vires of Section 8 (2) (a).
3. It is contended by Mr. Sen, learned Advocate for the petitioner that the City Civil Court Act does not confer any right of appeal from the order passed by the City Civil Court setting aside or refusing to set aside an award, but the right of appeal has been conferred by Section 39 of the Arbitration Act and, as such, the period of limitation for preferring such appeals is 90 days as prescribed by Article 116 of the Limitation Act, 1963 which is a Central Act. We are unable to accept this contention. It is true that clause (vi) of Sub-section (1) of Section 39 specifically lays down that an appeal shall lie from an order setting aside or refusing to set aside an award. Sub-section (1), however, does not provide for any period of limitation for such an appeal, but it specifically lays down the forum to which the appeal, has to be filed. It says that an appeal shall lie from the orders specified under Sub-section (1) to the Court authorised by law to hear appeals from original decrees of the Court passing the order. By virtue of Sub-section (1), the impugned orders having been passed by the City Civil Court, appeals lie to this Court as provided in Section 8 (1) of the City Civil Court Act. It has been already noticed that Section 8 (2) (a) prescribes a period of limitation of 30 days for an appeal from a decree or order of the City Civil Court. The said two appeals which arise out of the orders of the City Civil Court arc governed by Section 8 (2) (a) for the purpose of limitation. The period of limitation for preferring the appeals is 30 days and not 90 days as contended.
4. It is argued on behalf of the petitioner that the law of limitation is a matter under item 13 of the Concurrent List, and Parliament by virtue of its power derived from item 13 having enacted the Limitation Act, 1963, the provision of Section 8 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act is repugnant to Article 116 of the Limitation Act, 19(33, and is consequently void in view of Article 254(1) of the Constitution. This contention is without any substance. The City Civil Court Act, 1953 has not been enacted under item 13 but it has been enacted by the State Legislature in exercise of its powers under item 3 of the State List which is 'Administration of justice'; constitution and organisation of all courts, except the Supreme Court and the High Court; officers and servants of the High Court; procedure in rent and revenue courts; fees taken in all courts except the Supreme Court'. The source of the City Civil Court Act is, therefore, item 3 of the State List and not item 13 of the Concurrent List. The question of repugnancy or encroachment will arise when the two enactments, one of Parliament and the other of the State Legislature, occupy the same field or operate in the same area or the provision of one is such that it cannot co-exist with that of the other. But in the instant case, neither the City Civil Court Act nor the Limitation Act occupies the same field, but they have different fields of operation. We do not think that Section 8 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act having prescribed the period of limitation for appeals to the High Court from decrees or orders passed by the City Civil Court, occupies or purports to occupy the same field as occupied by the Limitation Act. Item 3 of the State List applies in pith and substance to the City Civil Court Act, and even assuming that there is an encroachment by Section 8 (2) (a), such encroachment, in our view, is purely incidental. It is well settled that incidental encroachments are permissible and cannot be held to be unconstitutional and void under Article 254(1) of the Constitution. Moreover, item 13 being a matter of the Concurrent List, the State Legislature has also the power to enact on limitation, subject to this that no provision of the State Act comes in conflict with that of the Central Act. It has been already stated that the provision of Section 8 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act can coexist with the provision of Article 116 of the Limitation Act, 1963. In our opinion, there is no conflict and no inconsistency between these two provisions.
5. Apart from what has been stated above, Section 29 (2) of the old Limitation Act as also the new Limitation Act, 1963, recognises different periods of limitation prescribed by the special on local law. Such provisions in the special or local law are expressly saved by Section 29 (2). In view of the above, there is hardly any question of repugnancy or conflict between Section 3 (2) (a) of the City Civil Court Act and Article 116 of the Limitation Act. 1963.
6. It is next contended that by prescribing 30 days as the period of limitation for preferring appeals. Section 8 (2) (a) has sought to discriminate between the petitioner and other persons similarly situated and, as such, the said provision is ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution. In our opinion, there is no substance in this contention and it is fit to be rejected on the face of it. It is now well settled that Article 14 forbids classification, but if there be an intelligent differentia for the classification, that is, persons, who are grouped together, are equally treated from others who are left out of the group and that such differentia has a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the statute, such classification is permissible, and any provision of the statute by which the classification is made is not unconstitutional by reason of Article 14. In this case, the question of any discrimination, in our opinion, does not at all arise, for there is no classification Further, no unequal treatment has been made or sought to be made between the, petitioner and other persons similarly situated. Section 3 (2) (a) provides a period of limitation of 30 days for all persons preferring appeals from the decrees for orders passed by the City Civil Court. If different periods of limitation had been prescribed by the City Civil Court Act in respect of the same decree or order for different persons similarly situated, in that case a grievance might be made of discrimination. But. as no such discrimination has been made by Section 8 (2) (a), we do not think that the petitioner has any reasonable grievance to make on the ground that Section 8 (2) (a) has sought to make a discrimination between the petitioner and other persons similarly situated. In this view of the matter, we do not think that it is necessary to consider the other submissions made on behalf of the parties on Article 14 of the Constitution.
7. The result is that the Rule is discharged and the application is dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs in either of them.