1. This Rule was issued at the instance of the Union of India, as representingthe East Indian Railway Administration. After the division of British India into two independent territories, namely, the Union of India and Pakistan) the plaintiff, the opposite party in the present case, one Brajen Saha, entered into a contract of carriage with the Government of Pakistan, as representing the Eastern Bengal Railway, at Faridpore for carriage of some goods to Calcutta. It appears from the plaint that the goods were not delivered. It is now clear that the goods were seized by the Land Customs at the Indian Land Frontier and detained there as a result of which when the goods were released they were found in such a condition that they had to be sold. The Union of India, as pointed out by Mr. Bose never denied the liability to pay over the actual sale proceeds held by them but the present suit is not for realisation of the same.
2. The plaintiff Brajen Saha brought the suit against the Union of India for non-delivery of the goods and claimed damages. Objection was taken by the Union of India of the jurisdiction of the Court. The learned Munsif, 1st Court, of Sealdah decided that he had 'ample jurisdiction' to try this suit. Hence the revision petition to this Court.
3. It has been urged on behalf of the opposite party that no revision lies in the present case. I have been referred to a Full Bench decision of the Allahabad High Court and a Lahore decision to the effect that when the whole case is not decided but only a particular issue thereof, it is not a decision of the case and therefore Section 115, Civil P.C. will not apply. It is unnecessary for me to go into the question whether those two decisions are correct law or not. As far as this Court is concerned, it has been the uniform decision of all the Courts that decision of a part of a case is also a decision of a case within Section 115, Civil P.C. Under the circumstances, as by this decision the Munsif assumed jurisdiction where he has no such jurisdiction in law, clearly a revision will lie because that part of the order claiming 'ample jurisdiction' is not subject to an appeal as such.
4. It is clear law that one independent sovereign power is not the agent of another independent sovereign power as far as Municipal Courts are concerned unless specifically such a state of agency is for a particular purpose assumed and the Courts given jurisdiction. This has to be pointed out, because it is said, that the Government of India may be sued here as an agent of the Pakistan Government. This is not good law as the two countries are independent sovereign powers. The second ground for assuming jurisdiction in the present case is said to be because such jurisdiction is given under Section 80, Indian Railways Act. It is an accepted principle of private international law that in a case of this nature the 'lex loci contractus' will apply. Section 80, Indian Railways Act as now in force in this country cannot apply beyond its own territories to a foreign state, namely Pakistan. It is possible that there may be a corresponding law with a corresponding section applicable in Pakistan, but such, law again cannot apply beyond the limits of Pakistan and give a right to sue an independent sovereign power outside Pakistan because of a Pakistan law. Under the circumstances Section 80, Indian Railways Act or for the matter of that any corresponding Pakistani law, is of no help to the opposite party. Finally the order has been sought to be supported on theground that there may be some unknown arrangement; no such (ground?) has been alleged in the plaint between the Union of India & Pakistan as regards mutual liability. The short answer to this is that the plaintiff opposite party not being a party to any such arrangement or contract between the two sovereign powers, even if there is any such, cannot take advantage of any contract to which he is not a party. His remedy, therefore, was either to sue the Union of India for the amount of money belonging to him actually held in their hands by the Union of India as representing the East Indian Railway or to sue at Faridpore on his contract of carriage the Pakistan Government as representing the Eastern Bengal Railway for the breach of the contract entered into at Faridpore.
5. The result, therefore, is that it must be held that the learned Munsif had no jurisdiction to entertain the present suit and as the assumption of jurisdiction was illegal, the order of the learned Munsif must be set aside and the suit must be dismissed on the ground of absence of jurisdiction.
6. This Rule is, therefore, made absolute. Each party will pay his own costs throughout.