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Mohanlal Baheti and ors. Vs. Moulvi TabizuddIn Ahmed - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Limitation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1939Cal625
AppellantMohanlal Baheti and ors.
RespondentMoulvi TabizuddIn Ahmed
Cases ReferredSale and Supply Society Ltd v. Mafijuddin Ahmed
Excerpt:
- .....due by the defendant on the basis of an adjustment of accounts made on bhadra 1339 b. section the present suit was instituted on 27th january 1936 and on the face of it, it is beyond three years from the date of the alleged adjustment. to get round the plea of limitation the plaintiffs invoked the provisions of section 14, limitation act. it was stated by them in the plaint that they had instituted a suit against this defendant on the identical cause of action in the original side of this court on 19th july 1933. this was prosecuted in good faith and with due diligence, and on 21st january 1936 this court allowed the plaintiffs to withdraw from the suit with liberty to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action inasmuch as it had no jurisdiction to try the suit. the plaintiffs.....
Judgment:

B.K. Mukherjea, J.

1. This appeal is on behalf of the plaintiffs and the suit was one for recovery of a sum of Rs. 2364 annas odd alleged to be due by the defendant on the basis of an adjustment of accounts made on Bhadra 1339 B. Section The present suit was instituted on 27th January 1936 and on the face of it, it is beyond three years from the date of the alleged adjustment. To get round the plea of limitation the plaintiffs invoked the provisions of Section 14, Limitation Act. It was stated by them in the plaint that they had instituted a suit against this defendant on the identical cause of action in the original side of this Court on 19th July 1933. This was prosecuted in good faith and with due diligence, and on 21st January 1936 this Court allowed the plaintiffs to withdraw from the suit with liberty to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action inasmuch as it had no jurisdiction to try the suit. The plaintiffs claim that under Section 14, Limitation Act, they are entitled to a deduction of the period between 19th July 1933 and 21st January 1936 and it is not disputed that in that case the suit will be well within time. Besides the plea of limitation, several other defences were raised by the defendant. Both the Courts below have held on evidence that the plaintiffs' case was proved but they agreed in dismissing the plaintiffs' suit on the ground of limitation holding that Section 14, Limitation Act, 'was not applicable to the facts of the present case. It is against these concurrent decrees of dismissal that the present second appeal has been preferred.

2. The only point for our determination is whether or not the plaintiffs' suit is barred by limitation. It is not disputed on behalf of the appellants that the suit would be time barred unless the plaintiffs can have an extension of the period of limitation under Section 14, Limitation Act. The first question is whether the plaintiffs can claim the benefit of Section 14 even though they themselves withdrew the previous suit with liberty to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action. Order 23, Rule 2 lays down that in any fresh suit instituted on permission granted under the last preceding Rule the plaintiffs would be bound by the law of limitation in the same manner as if the first suit has not been instituted. This is apparently an exception engrafted on the provisions of Section 14, Limitation Act, and the Rule clearly means that the suit withdrawn is to be ignored altogether and deemed nonexistent for the purpose of considering the period of limitation for the fresh suit. I agree however with the view taken by the Allahabad High Court that there is no real conflict between Order 23, Rule 2 and Section. 14, Limitation Act, and the expression 'unable to entertain it' which occurs in Section 14, Limitation Act, does not merely mean that the Court has expressed its opinion that there is defect regarding jurisdiction or otherwise, but the Court must actually by its order terminate the litigation on the ground of defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature. In the present case the order of withdrawal passed by this Court stands as follows:

The point of jurisdiction is raised by the defendants, and the plaintiffs apparently feel that the question of jurisdiction may cause them some difficulty. The plaintiffs have asked leave to withdraw the suit with liberty to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action. The permission is given.

3. There is no decision here on the question of jurisdiction and from the order set out above it does not appear that the Court was unable to entertain it. There was no evidence adduced in the previous case and though the question of jurisdiction was raised by the defendant in his written statement, the allegations made in the plaint do not show that the suit was filed in the wrong Court which had no jurisdiction to entertain it. This fact in my opinion distinguishes the present case from the case in Narayangunj Central Co-operative Sale and Supply Society Ltd v. Mafijuddin Ahmed : AIR1934Cal448 upon which stress is laid by the learned advocate for the appellants. There the suit was filed in the original side of this Court with the leave of the Registrar only, under Clause 12 of the Charter. During the pendency of that suit it was decided by a Special Bench of the Court that the suit filed with the leave of the Registrar was bad in law and following that ruling the plaint was actually returned to the plaintiff, leave being given to with, draw the suit and file another suit on the same cause of action. It was held by Eletcher J. that in filing the new plaint the plaintiff could claim exclusion of the period which was occupied by the previous suit. It may be pointed out that the plaint here was actually returned to the plaintiff and the Court had definitely terminated the previous suit on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to entertain it. The order allowing the withdrawal of the suit must there, fore be deemed to be without jurisdiction and no such order could be passed after the plaint was returned on the ground that the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain it. I agree therefore with the Courts below in holding that Section 14, Limitation Act, is not attracted to the facts of the present case and consequently the plaintiffs' suit must be dismissed as being barred by limitation. The appeal accordingly fails and it is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs in this appeal.

Latifur Rahman, J.

4. I agree.


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