I.K. Kotwal, J.
1. Decision of this appeal turns upon the short question as to whether or not a District Judge has jurisdiction to try a petition under Section 13 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriages Act, 1980, hereinafter, to be referred to as the Act, for a decree of divorce, wherein the petitioner hasalso claimed a decree under Section 33 of the Act, for the return of property, the value whereof exceeds Rs. 20,000/-.
2. The respondent brought a petition under Section 13 of the Act against the appellant in the Court of Additional District Judge, Srinagar, claiming against him; firstly, a decree of divorce dissolving the marriage between the parties, and secondly, a decree for return of some cash and other movable property, the value whereof she herself put at more than Rs. 50,000/-. The appellant appeared, but did not file his detailed written statement to the petition, and merely raised a preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Court to try the petition on the ground that its pecuniary jurisdiction being up to Rs. 20,000/- only, it had no jurisdiction to try and dispose of the petition wherein the value of the property claimed was admittedly more than Rs. 20,000/-. This preliminary objection gave rise to the following issue:--
'Whether the Court has no jurisdiction to try the instant application as the plaintiff has prayed for the return of articles valued at more than Rs. 20,000/-?'
The trial Court on hearing arguments on this issue found it against the appellant, hence the appeal.
3. At the very outset, it may be pointed out that albeit no objection to this effect was taken on behalf of the respondent, nor was this fact noticed by the Court at the time of the admission of the appeal, yet it has to be pointed out that no appeal lay against the impugned order. Provision for appeals against decrees and orders passed under the Act is made in Section 34. Under this section, even though every decree under the Act is appealable, yet no appeal lies against any order, except the one passed under Section 31 or 32 of the Act. The order impugned in this appeal is not a decree, nor does it fall under any of these two sections. It, therefore, follows that it is not an appealable order. Be that as it may, since the point raised in the appeal is purely legal, which has a bearing on the jurisdiction of the trial Court to try the petition, besides being a point of first impression, I shall treat this appeal as a revision. The appellant shall hereinafter be called the petitioner.
4. Section 33 confers power on the District Judge to make such provision in the decree, in the main case, in regard to any property belonging to the parties, as he may deem just and proper, in the peculiar circumstances of the case Pendency of a main proceeding before him, e.g. a petition for judicial separation, or a petition for divorce, is, however, a condition precedent for the exercise of this power by him, which he can on the plain language of the section exercise irrespective of the money value of such property. No other Court, including the High Court has power to try such a ease on its original side. The District Judge is thus clearly a Court of exclusive jurisdiction, who can try and dispose of matters falling within the purview of the Act, notwithstanding the pecuniary limits of his ordinary original jurisdiction, fixed by any other law. The contention is, therefore, overruled.
5. A feeble attempt to challenge the jurisdiction of the trial Court on the ground that the property on her own showing being the exclusive property of the respondent, Section 33 had no application to the case, was also made by Mr. Raina during the course of his arguments. This contention cannot be considered for the simple reason that neither the petition under Section 13 contains a clear statement on the point, nor has the petitioner herein so far filed his detailed written statement to that petition. He has merely filed a preliminary statement, wherein also he has not taken this plea at all. This contention too, therefore, fails. At this stage, it becomes necessary to point out that the Civil P. C. no doubt provides for framing of preliminary issues, but surely there is no provision in it for filing a preliminary written statement, Courts must, therefore, insist on a written statement that contains replies to all the averments made in the plaint, and should not accept preliminary statements, like the present one, which are not only not contemplated by the Code, but which also tend to delay the disposal of suits.
6. In the result, the revision petition fails which is dismissed with costs accordingly.