HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
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R.S.Bachawat, J. -
(1.) This Reference arises out of a dispute between an un-incorporated association, named the All India Postal Employees' Union, having its head quarters at Delhi and its West Bengal Circle Branch. The plaintiff appellant claims to be a member as also a Secretary of the West Bengal Circle Branch. The defendant No.1 is the General Secretary and the defendant No.2 is the Deputy General Secretary of the All India Postal Employees' Union head quarters. These defendants do not reside, carry on business or personally work for gain in the city of Calcutta. The plaintiff instituted a representative suit in the City Civil Court for a declaration that a certain order of suspension of the West Bengal Circle Branch passed by the defendant No.1 on the 24th June, 1958, is illegal, void and liable to set aside and consequential injunction restraining the defendants from giving effect to the order. The plaintiff contended that part of the cause of action for the suit arose on the service of the suspension order on the plaintiff in the city of Calcutta. The defendants disputed this contention. They also urged that assuming that a part of the alleged City Civil Court had no jurisdiction to try the suit inasmuch as prior leave of the Court to institute the suit had not been obtained. One of the issues raised was "has the Court jurisdiction to try the suit." The learned Judge of the City Civil Court answered the issue in the affirmative. On the merits he dismissed the suit. The plaintiff preferred an appeal to the Court. In the appeal the defendant respondents repeated their contentions that the City Civil Court had no jurisdiction to try the suit. On the assumption that a part of the cause of action arose in the city of Calcutta one of the questions debated before the Division Bench was whether Section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 applied to the City Civil Court or whether that Court was governed by Clause 12 of the Letters Patent of the Calcutta High Court. If Section 20 C.P.C., 1908, applied, the suit could be instituted in the City Civil Court without obtaining prior leave of the Court to institute the suit; whereas if Clause 12 of the Letters Patent applied the suit was not competent unless prior leave of the Court to institute the suit was obtained by the plaintiff. The Division Bench acting under Chapter II Rule 1(ii) in Part I of the Appellate Side Rules referred to a Special Division Bench the following questions : (a) "Whether Section 20, and Section 20(c) in particular, of the Code of Civil Procedure, apply to the City Civil Court, or whether, in such matters, the City Civil Court is governed by Clause 12 of the Letters Patent. (b) "If the City Civil Court is at all governed by Clause 12 of the Letters Patent, whether a suit, in which part only of the cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of that Court, instituted without leave of the City Civil Court, becomes incompletely instituted and therefore, not maintainable."
(2.) The City Civil Courts Act, 1953, was passed with a view to establish an additional Civil Court for the city of Calcutta. The additional Court called the City Civil Court was established by a Notification issued by the State Government under Section 3 of the Act. Section 4 provides for construction of the Court and the appointment of its Judges. Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Act are as follows: 5. Jurisdiction. (1) "The local limits of the jurisdiction of the City Civil Court shall be the City of Calcutta." (2) "Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3) and (4) and of Section 9, the City Civil Court shall have jurisdiction and the High Court shall not have jurisdiction to try suits and proceedings of a civil nature, not exceeding rupees ten thousand in value." (3) "The City Civil Court shall have jurisdiction and the High Court shall not have jurisdiction to try any proceeding under - (i) The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, (VIII of 1890), and (ii) Part X of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (XXXIV of 1925), in respect of succession certificates." "(4) The City Civil Court shall not have jurisdiction to try suits and proceedings of the description specified in the First Schedule." (5) "All suits and proceedings which are not triable by the City Civil Court shall continue to be triable by the High Court or the Small Causes Court or any other Court, tribunal or authority, as the case may be, as heretobefore." 6. Procedure. "Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908) shall apply to all suits and proceeding under this Act so far as it is consistent with this Act." 7. Law to be administered by the City Civil Court. "All questions, other than questions relating to procedure or practice, which arise in suits or proceedings before the City Civil Court, shall be dealt with and determined according to the law for the time being administered by the High Court in the exercise of its ordinary original Civil jurisdiction".
(3.) Section 5 sub-section (1) defines the local limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the Court. Within those limits the officers of the Court can directly serve its processes and enforce its writs. The effect of Section 5 of sub-sections (2), (4) and (5) read with Section 21 is that the City Civil Court has now jurisdiction and the High Court has now no jurisdiction to try a suit or a proceeding of a civil nature which is of a value not exceeding rupees ten thousand and which is not of the description specified in the First Schedule to the Act.;
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