Sunday, 8 March 2020

Whether court can entertain temporary injunction application in pauper suit?

In those cases, it was held that a plaint filed by a pauper with an application to sue in forma pauperis cannot be treated as a suit. In those cases the question whether temporary injunction can be granted in exercise of inherent powers in a plaint with an application for permission to sue as pauper, was not even remotely involved. Dharmeshwar Nath Tewari's case (supra) though accepts the position that no suit comes into existence till the application to sue in forma pauperis is allowed, it was held that an injunction to protect the rights of the indigent person can be passed in exercise of the inherent Jurisdiction under Section 151 of the Code. In my view, the law laid down in Dharmeshar Nath Tewari's case is a good law and it was for this reason that it was followed by a Division Bench of Calcutta High Court as well as subsequently by this Court in Pankaj Kumar's case (supra). The legal position which admits of no doubt boils down to this : that an order of temporary injunction can be passed in exercise of Inherent powers under Section 151 of the Code on the plaint which has been presented by an indigent person with an application for leave to sue as such.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD

C.M.W.P. No. 19466 of 1999

Decided On: 24.05.1999

 Bal Kishan Agarwal  Vs.  Pulin Garg and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Om Prakash Garg, J.



1. The dominant sole question involved in the present writ petition is whether in a suit which has been filed in forma pauperis for relief of temporary injunction can be granted. This question has come up in the following circumstances.

2. It is common case of the parties that one Dwarka Prasad Agarwal was owner of the properties Nos. 217/34 and 217/37 situate at Bhuteshwar, Mathura. He left behind him his two sons, namely, Bal Kishan Agarwal, the present petitioner and late Kanhaiya Lal Agarwal who died leaving behind Suit. Kavita Rani his widow and two sons respondent Nos. 1 and 6, besides three daughters, who are respondent Nos. 3 to 5. Pulin Garg, one of the sons of late Kanhafya Lal Agarwal respondent No. 1 filed Suit No. 65 of 1996 in the Court of Civil Judge, (Senior Division), Mathura, for the relief of partition of his 1/12th share in the disputed properties and for permanent injunction against the present petitioner-defendant No. 1 to restrain him from interfering with his joint possession over the properties in dispute and from alienating them in any manner. With the institution of the suit, an application for temporary injunction was moved by the plaintiff-respondent No. 1. The present petitioner filed an objection setting up the plea that though the properties belong to late Dwarka Prasad Agarwal. a family settlement had taken place between the parties on 16.4.1990 in respect of which a document was reduced to writing on the said date. It was asserted by him that besides disputed properties, which have been shown to be joint, he had also thrown to the common lot properties Nos. 50 and 51 situate at Okhla Industrial Area. Delhi which, at one point of time, were owned by him exclusively. Okhla properties were also made the subject of partition.

3. After taking into consideration the respective submissions of the parties, the trial court refused to grant temporary injunction in favour of the plaintiff- respondent No. 1 who filed a Misc. Civil Appeal No. 43 of 1998. This appeal has been decided by the 1st Additional District Judge, Mathura, by order dated 6.4.1999. Annexure-1 to the writ petition. The application for temporary injunction moved by the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 was allowed to the extent that the present petitioner-defendant No. 1 was restrained from interfering in Joint possession of the plaintiff-respondent No. 1, or, from raising constructions over any portion of the properties and from alienating the properties, as detailed at the foot of the plaint. The other defendants were also restrained from making any further constructions. Aggrieved, the petitioner has come before this Court invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

4. Heard Sri R. P. Goyal. Senior Advocate assisted by Sri Manish Goyal, learned counsel for the petitioner (defendant No. 1) and Sri P. K. Misra, who appeared on behalf of the plaintiff-respondent No. 1, at considerable length.

5. A preliminary objection was raised by Sri P. K. Misra, learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 that the present writ petition is not maintainable as all the defendants have not been arrayed as party to the suit and that since the orders of Civil Judge (Senior Division). Mathura and 1st Additional District Judge. Mathura have been challenged and a direction is sought against them, they were necessary parties to the petition. It was also urged by Sri Misra that in a writ in which directions in the nature of certiorari and mandamus are claimed, it is necessary to implead the Presiding Officers who have passed the orders. On the objection of Sri Misra and at the direction of this Court, defendant-respondent Nos. 2 to 6 have been impleaded and In this manner all the persons who were party to the suit have been arrayed in the writ petition. Now the question is whether Civil Judge (Senior Division). Mathura, who rejected the application for temporary injunction and the 1st Additional District Judge. Mathura. who has allowed the injunction application by the impugned orders are required to be impleaded as party to the writ petition. Sri P. K. Misra made a reference to Udit Narain Singh Mal Paharia v. Additional Member, Board of Revenue, Bihar MANU/SC/0045/1962 : AIR1963SC786 : Syed Yakub v. K. S. Radhakrishnand and others MANU/SC/0184/1963 : [1964]5SCR64 : Prahodh Varma and others v. State of U. P. and others MANU/SC/0061/1984 : [1985]1SCR216 on the point. It is not necessary to go into the details of the various observations made in the aforesaid decisions for one simple reason that a complete answer to the preliminary objection taken by Sri Misra is furnished by a recent decision of the Apex Court in Savitri Devi v. District Judge, Gorakhpur 1990 (90) RD 214. Hon'ble Supreme Court deprecated the tendency of arraying the judicial officers as contesting parties. The lamentation of the Apex Court would be evident from the following observations made in para 14 of the decision :--

"Before parting with this case, it is necessary for us to point out one aspect of the matter which is rather disturbing. In the writ petition filed in the High Court as well as the Special Leave Petition filed in this Court, the District Judge, Gorakhpur and the Additional Civil Judge (Junior Division), Gorakhpur have been shown as respondents and in the Special Leave Petition, they are shown as contesting respondents. There was no necessity for impleading the judicial officers who disposed of the matter in a civil proceeding when the writ petition was filed in the High Court nor is there any justification for impleading them as parties in the Special Leave Petition and describing them as contesting respondents. We do not approve of the course adopted by the petitioner which would cause unnecessary disturbance to the functions of the concerned judicial officers. They cannot be in any way equated to the officials of the Government. It is high time that the practice of impleading judicial officers disposing of civil proceeding as parties to writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India or Special Leave Petitions under Article 136 of the Constitution of India was stopped. We are strongly deprecating such a practice."
In the light of the above decision, it is no longer necessary to array the judicial officers, who in the performance of their judicial functions pass the orders-one way or the other-as party to a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. It is neither necessary nor proper to array them as a party. In any case, they cannot be said to be the contesting respondents. However, sometimes it may be necessary when a judicial officer may be required to be arrayed as party to the proceeding, if his personal conduct is subject-matter of challenge or certain motives or mala fide are imputed to him. Therefore, the long standing practice of arraying the judicial officers as party to the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, merely because they have passed the impugned orders, has to be brought to a halt. In the present writ petition, the petitioner has done well by not arraying the judicial officers as respondents. The preliminary objection raised by Sri P. K, Misra, lacks merit and has been stated simply to be rejected.

6. Sri R. P. Goyal, learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the lower appellate court has committed a grave illegality in passing an order of injunction in a suit which was filed in forma pauperis by the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 who claimed himself to be an indigent person. According to Sri Goyal. unless permission to sue as an Indigent person is granted, there is no suit in existence and the provisions of temporary injunction contained in Order XXXIX of the Code of Civil Procedure (for short 'Code') cannot be invoked. A reference to the provisions of Order XXXIX of the Code was made to urge that there must be a suit before the Court can have jurisdiction to issue an injunction. His contention is that until the application for leave to sue as a pauper has been granted or the necessary court fee has been paid by the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 on his plaint, there is no suit. To fortify his submission, learned counsel placed reliance on a decision of Bombay High Court in Dwarka Nath Narain and another v. Madhab Rao Visvanath.ILR 1886 207. wherein it was observed that enquiry takes place before any suit is in existence for until an application to sue as a pauper is granted, there is no plaint and consequently no suit. A reference was also made to Noor Mohd. v. Maulvi Jamil Ahmad 1919 IC 688. It was held that an application of leave to sue as a pauper is not a plaint and it only reaches the stage of a plaint when it is granted. Chunna Mat. v. Bhagwant Kishore MANU/UP/0209/1936 : AIR1936All584 , was also relied upon. In that case, it was observed that where an application for permission to sue as a pauper is rejected under Order XXXIII, Rule 5, the Court while rejecting the application can, under Section 149 allow the appellant to pay the requisite court fee and treat the application as a plaint, if however, the Court has refused to allow the applicant to sue as a pauper under Order XXXIII. Rule 7 (3), then the Court while rejecting the application for permission to sue as pauper, cannot under Section 149 allow the applicant to pay the requisite court fee and treat the application as a plaint. This decision appears to be wide off the mark and has hardly any relevance to decide the controversy in hand. It is an indubitable fact that a plaint filed by an indigent person with an application to sue as such under Order XXXIII, of the Code, does not ripen into a suit unless the requisite permission, after due enquiry is granted or the deficiency of the court fee required to be paid is made good. A plaint filed by a pauper is not a suit.

7. Now the question is whether on the plaint with an application for permission to sue in forma pauperis which has not been allowed on account of pending enquiry, an order of temporary injunction can be passed. Sri Goyal placed reliance on a Division Bench decision of the Mysore High Court in Thimmayya v. M. B. Sadasivappa and another AIR 1952 Mys 76, in which it was held that in the course of proceedings relating to the application for permission to sue in forma pauperis before an order registering the case as a suit is passed, an order for temporary injunction cannot be passed under Section 94(c), read with Order XXXIX. According to the words employed in Order XXXIX. it was further observed that the order is possible only if there is a 'suit' Since the permission to sue as pauper was not granted in that case. It was held that it cannot be said that there was a suit pending.

8. Sri P. K. Misra, learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 urged that there is a direct authority of a Division Bench of this Court in Dhaneshwar Nath v. Ghanshyam Dhar MANU/UP/0214/1939 : AIR1940All185 , in which it was held that the Court can pass temporary injunction for preservation of property in respect of which a person has filed plaint and has applied for leave to sue as pauper. This observation was founded on the reasoning that apart altogether from Order XXXIX of the Code, the Court has ample jurisdiction to pass an order directing for the protection and security of the property, which is subject-matter of litigation. The above decision was followed by a Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in Manorama Dasi v. Sahita Dasi MANU/WB/0272/1950 : AIR1951Cal357 , in which the view taken was that till the decision of a pauper application, the Court has no jurisdiction to grant an injunction under Order XXXIX, Rule 1 of the Code as there is no pending suit at that time. But the Court has inherent power to pass an order of such a nature. A note of caution was made that in exercising jurisdiction under Section 151, the Court should be extremely careful in passing orders and it is only when no other relief is possible and when relief is urgently called for that it would exercise its inherent power and when it does exercise that power, should limit the scope of such exercise as narrow a compass as possible. In that case. injunction was granted in exercise of inherent powers pending decision of a pauper application by a minor to sue her step-mother for declaration of a charge for her maintenance on the property of her deceased father. The minor-petitioner sought the injunction to restrain her mother from selling any property without the permission of the Court till the disposal of the suit. It was held that grant of injunction in such a case was eminently reasonable one. In that case, a reference was made to the decision of the Bombay High Court in MANU/MH/0126/1942. wherein Beaumont C.J. held that the filing of an application in forma pauperis really commences the suit and pending determination of the application, the defendant has the right to apply under Order XXXIX, Rule 7 of the Code. On the strength of these observations, it was held in Manorama Dasi's case (supra) that the Court has inherent jurisdiction to make an order like the one which had been made in exercise of the inherent powers saved by the provision of Section 151 of the Code. Both the decisions referred to above were considered by a learned single Judge of this Court in Pankaj Kumar Bisnai v. Smt. Urmila Devi 1982 (8) ALR 718. In that case, Civil Judge had rejected the application for interim injunction on the ground that it was not maintainable prior to the grant of permission to sue as pauper. It was held that the Civil Judge had failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him. From the above three decisions cited by Sri P. K. Misra, it is well established that even in a case in which permission to sue as forma pauperis has been sought and the suit has not yet come into existence, an order of temporary injunction for the protection and preservation of the properties of the pauper can be passed in exercise of the inherent powers of the Court, as conferred under Section 151 of the Code.

9. On behalf of the petitioner, it was urged by Sri Goyal that the decision of the Division Bench of this Court in Dhaneshwar Nath Tewari's case (supra) was per incurium as the earlier decision of this Court in Noor Mohd.'s case (supra) as well as Chunna Mal's case (supra) on the point were not noticed. At the outset. it may be mentioned that this Court sitting singly cannot brand a decision rendered by a Division Bench of this Court as per incurium, particularly when the decision has been followed by a learned single Judge in Pankaj Kumar Bisnoi's case (supra). Even the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court in Manorama Dasi (supra) has followed Dharmeshwar Nath Tewari's case. Even otherwise, earlier decisions, which have been relied upon to hold that Dharmeshwar Nath Tewari's case is per incurium, are not directly on the point. In those cases, it was held that a plaint filed by a pauper with an application to sue in forma pauperis cannot be treated as a suit. In those cases the question whether temporary injunction can be granted in exercise of inherent powers in a plaint with an application for permission to sue as pauper, was not even remotely involved. Dharmeshwar Nath Tewari's case (supra) though accepts the position that no suit comes into existence till the application to sue in forma pauperis is allowed, it was held that an injunction to protect the rights of the indigent person can be passed in exercise of the inherent Jurisdiction under Section 151 of the Code. In my view, the law laid down in Dharmeshar Nath Tewari's case is a good law and it was for this reason that it was followed by a Division Bench of Calcutta High Court as well as subsequently by this Court in Pankaj Kumar's case (supra). The legal position which admits of no doubt boils down to this : that an order of temporary injunction can be passed in exercise of Inherent powers under Section 151 of the Code on the plaint which has been presented by an indigent person with an application for leave to sue as such.

10. Sri Goyal wanted me to enter into the questions of fact Involved in the suit filed by the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 to demonstrate that the order for temporary injunction was wrongly passed by the lower appellate court. Supporting his submissions with reference to decisions in Hemendra Lal Roy v. Indo Swiss Trading Co. Ltd. AIR (32) 1945 Pat 483 ; Kumar Kant Narayan Singh v. Chandra Bhal Singh MANU/UP/0404/1950 : AIR1951All603 and Gupteshwar Misir v. Chaturanand Missir and others MANU/BH/0081/1950 : AIR1950Pat309 , it was urged that it was not a fit case for the grant of temporary injunction as the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 had not been able to establish a prima facie case or the balance of convenience In his favour as well as the fact that in case temporary injunction is not granted, he was likely to suffer irreparable injury. It was also urged that even if all the above three essential ingredients are established, the Court would not be bound to grant temporary injunction.

11. A short and swift reference may be made to the crux of the controversy which came to be raised in the suit. Admittedly, as said above, the disputed properties are joint properties of the parties. The present petitioner-defendant had pleaded partition relying upon a family settlement and a document dated 16.4.1990. The plaintiff-respondent No. 1 has denied partition by family settlement or the execution of the document dated 16.4.1990. The appellate court in its elaborate and well reasoned order has come to the tentative prima facie conclusion that it is yet to be determined whether the disputed properties have been partitioned or not. If the theory of family partition, which is yet to be proved by the present petitioner Is not taken into consideration, the plaintiff-respondent No. 1, undoubtedly is the joint owner of the properties in dispute to the extent of his share which is said to be 1/12th. The real issues between the parties are to be decided only after evidence. The appellate court has recorded a finding that the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 has made out a strong prima facie case in his favour and the other two essential ingredients for the grant of relief of temporary injunction are also in his favour, it was for this reason that . the appellate court passed an order of temporary injunction. Sri P. K. Misra learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent No. 1 has placed reliance on the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Harish Chander Varma v. Kayastha Pathsala and others MANU/SC/0120/1998 : [1998]1SCR772 , in which it was held that where a decree for permanent injunction has been sought, it would not be appropriate to permit the defendant to raise construction subject to the condition that in the event of decree being affirmed, the construction shall be pulled down. The Apex Court observed that apart from the convenience of the parties and equity arising on the facts and In the circumstances of the case, a larger principle Is involved in the matter. The above decision was referred to and relied upon by the learned single Judge of this Court in the case of Ram Kalp v. IVth Additional District Judge 1989 All CJ 13. In a pending suit for a permanent Injunction, it was held that propriety demanded that strict status quo between the parties should be maintained. The present is a suit for partition as well as for permanent injunction. The plaintiff-respondent No. 1 is admittedly, subject to the plea of partition by family settlement, is joint owner of the property. The petitioner-defendant or for that matter, any other defendant, cannot be permitted to use the property to the exclusion of another joint owner. The very purpose of institution of the suit shall be defeated and frustrated if the petitioner-defendant is successful in alienating the disputed property or any part thereof or if some of the defendant-respondents disturb the status quo by raising constructions. It is an eminently suited case in which status quo Is required to be preserved. Therefore, on factual as well as legal matrix, the order passed by the lower appellate court below does not call for any interference by invoking the extraordinary powers in writ jurisdiction.

12. Apart from it, there is yet another aspect of the matter. In Swetambar Jain Samiti v. Alleged Committee of Management JT 1936 (3) SC 21. the Apex Court has held that the High Court will not permit the extraordinary jurisdiction to be converted into civil court under the ordinary law. If the suit is pending, interim miscellaneous orders cannot be challenged in writ jurisdiction. In Ganga Saran v. Civil Judge, Hapur MANU/UP/0025/1991 : AIR1991All114 , similar view was taken and it was held that ordinarily in the writ jurisdiction, orders passed by the civil courts should not be Interfered with unless they violate fundamental principles of law or cause substantial Injustice.

13. In the result, the writ petition falls and is accordingly dismissed without any order as to costs.


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