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Sudamdih Coal Company Ltd. Vs. Empire Coal Company Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in31Ind.Cas.581
AppellantSudamdih Coal Company Ltd.
RespondentEmpire Coal Company Ltd.
Excerpt:
jurisdiction - letters patent, 1865, clause 12--'suits for land', meaning of--compensation for wrong to land. - .....suits of every description, if, in the case of suits for land or other immoveable property, such land or property shall be situated...within the local limits of the ordinary 'original jurisdiction of the high court.'2. the matter in dispute here relates to a mining property outside the jurisdiction so defined. but on behalf of the plaintiff it is contended that having regard to the pleadings it cannot be said that it is a suit for land or other immoveable property. the question is, what was intended by that expression? it appears to me that it was not a mere formal test that was proposed--a test to be determined by the precise form in which a suit might be framed; but that regard was to be had to the substance of the suit, and i cannot help thinking that the particular expression was.....
Judgment:

Lawrence Jenkins, C.J.

1. This is an appeal from a judgment of Mr. Justice Fletcher who has dismissed the suit with costs. This was done on a preliminary hearing upon settlement of issues, and the only question involved is whether this is a nit for land or ether immoveable property within the meaning of Clause 12 of the Letters Patent. That clause was intended to define the original jurisdiction of the High Court as to suits, and it empowered the Courts to receive, try and determine suits of every description, if, in the case of suits for land or other immoveable property, such land or property shall be situated...within the local limits of the ordinary 'original jurisdiction of the High Court.'

2. The matter in dispute here relates to a mining property outside the jurisdiction so defined. But on behalf of the plaintiff it is contended that having regard to the pleadings it cannot be said that it is a suit for land or other immoveable property. The question is, what was intended by that expression? It appears to me that it was not a mere formal test that was proposed--a test to be determined by the precise form in which a suit might be framed; but that regard was to be had to the substance of the suit, and I cannot help thinking that the particular expression was used, because there was its equivalent in the Civil Procedure Code of 1859, Section 6. Indeed, it is a matter of common knowledge that the Secretary of State's despatch forwarding the Letters Patent to this Court makes special reference to that circumstance. The course of decisions on the Charter shows that the description cannot be limited to suits for the recovery of land in its strict sense, and as to that there can be no dispute: and, running on parallel lines with that, we find the Code of Civil Procedure of 1859 developed in 1877, so as to embrace a number of topics which perhaps would not in strictness be regarded as suits for land, and it is instructive to observe what they are. They are suits for the recovery of immoveable property (with or without rent or profits), suits for the partition of immoveable property, suits for foreclosure, or redemption of a mortgage of immoveable property, suits for the determination of any other right to or interest in immoveable property, and suits for compensation for wrong to immoveable property. This appears to me to be in accordance with principles of general, if not universal, application, according to which suits for land in its strict sense must come before the Court where the land is situate. The system on which our procedure is based, the English procedure, regards a suit for damages for trespass to land in the same way, and it is interesting to notice that Chancellor Kent in his commentaries on American Law states that an injury to real property is local as to jurisdiction, and trespass on real property situated in one State cannot be sued ft r in another.' Therefore, it seems to me that we are not giving a construction that is opposed to the general trend of legal though, if we hold that suits for land at any rate extend to a suit of this kind, which is a suit for compensation for wrong to land, when, as I hold to be the case here, the substantial question is the right to the land. In my opinion, the suit is one to which Clause 12 of the Letters Patent applies in the sense I have indicated and, therefore, if was rightly dismissed. The appeal should, therefore, be dismissed with costs.

Woodroffe, J.

3. I agree.


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