Decided on July 15,1970

Union Of India, New Delhi And Others Appellant
R.K. Binodo Singh And Others Respondents


R.S. Bindra, J. - (1.) THIS Misc. Civil Appeal by the Union of India, the Chief Commissioner. Manipur the Deputy Commissioner, Manipur, and the Sub -Deputy Collector, Imphal West, is directed against the order dated 8 -9 -1969 by which the Subordinate Judge, Manipur, issued temporary injunction restraining them, at the instance of the plaintiffs -respondents of Suit No. 48 of 1969, from executing against the latter the orders dated 4 -5 -1959 (passed by the Deputy Commissioner) and 4 -8 -1969 (made by the Chief Commissioner), or taking action pursuant to notices dated 19 -8 -1969 issued by the Sub -deputy Collector, Imphal West, calling upon them (Plaintiffs -respondents) to vacate the plots in dispute by dismantling the buildings standing thereon.
(2.) THE facts of the suit brought by the plaintiffs, briefly summarised, are that they had constructed some buildings on plots bearing C.S. Dag Nos. 758 to 783, measuring 15 acres in all, as lessees and had been in possession thereof for a long time. The Deputy Commissioner, Manipur, made an order on 4 -5 -1959 directing that the plaintiffs should be evicted from the possession of those plots by dismantling the buildings constructed by them. The plaintiffs having felt aggrieved challenged the validity of that order by filing Revenue Appeal No. 26 of 1959 in the Court of the Chief Commissioner. That appeal was dismissed on 4 -8 -1969, almost 10 years after it was instituted. After the dismissal of that appeal, the Sub -deputy Collector issued notices to the plaintiffs on 19 -8 -1969 intimating them that they shall be evicted from the plots on 25th or 26th or 28th or 30th of August 1969. It appears that a part of the buildings was dismantled by the plaintiffs after the receipt of notices dated 19th August and the land underneath vacated. However, apprehending that part dismantling of the buildings and partial surrender of the land would not meet the requirements of the notices dated 19 -8 -1969, the plaintiffs filed a suit on 23 -8 -1969, claiming the relief of permanent injunction restraining the defendants from executing the orders dated 4 -5 -1959 and 4 -8 -1969 or giving effect to the notices dated 19 -8 -1969. Along with the plaint of the suit, the plaintiffs filed an application under Rules 1, 2 and 3 of Order XXXIX, Civil Procedure Code, hereinafter called the Code, claiming temporary injunction until the disposal of the suit. That prayer having been allowed by the trial Court by order dated 8 -9 -1969, the defendants have come up in appeal to assail the validity thereof. The fate of this appeal will depend on reply to the question whether the suit of the nature instituted by the plaintiffs is maintainable without first giving notice enjoined by Section 80 of the Code. That section provides in substance that no suit shall be instituted against the Government or against a public officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity until the expiration of two months next after notice in writing has been delivered to, or left at the office of, the Government or the public officer. The dispute between the parties counsel centred around the true meaning of the expression "any act" used in Section 80. Shri Imo Singh urged for the plaintiffs -respondents that the word "act" of that expression meant and connotes a past act and not an act threatened to be done but not yet done. Shri Ibotombi Singh, representing the defendants -appellants, submitted, on the other hand, that the terms of Section 80 are of imperative nature and admit of no exceptions or implications. In other words, his contention was that the Section takes in acts both past and future. Shri Imo Singh placed reliance to : AIR 1960 Pat 530. State of Bihar v. Baghunandan Singh, in support of his contention, whereas Shri Ibotombi Singh cited, AlR 1927 PC 176, Bhagchand v. Seey of States for India, : AIR 1960 SC 1309 State of Madras v. C.P. Agencies. : AIR 1957 ap 675. State of Madras v. Chitturi Venkata, and : AIR 1959 All 675 Smt. Abida Begum v. Rent Control and Eviction Officer, to shore up his submission. He also invited the attention of this Court to the latest authority of the Supreme Court bearing on the scope of Section 80 which is reported in : AIR 1969 SC 227, Amalgamated Electricity Co. v. Municipal Committee. After examining the rival contentions in the light of the authorities relied upon in support thereof, I have reached the conclusion that the stand taken by Shri Ibotombi Singh appears to be more sound and in accord with the letter and spirit of Section 80 of the Code and so it must prevail.
(3.) THE Privy Council held in the case of Bhagchand, : AIR 1927 PC 176 (supra) that Section 80 is to be strictly complied with and that it is applicable to all forms of action and all kinds of relief including that of injunction. This view of the Privy Council was approved by the Supreme Court in the case reported in : AIR 1960 SC 1309. The Supreme Court held therein that Section 80 is express, explicit and mandatory and admits of no implications or exceptions, and that object of the Section is manifestly to give the Government or the public officer concerned sufficient notice of the case which is proposed to be brought against it or him so that it or he may consider the position and decide for itself or himself whether the claim of the plaintiff should be accepted or resisted. It was observed further that in order to enable the Government or the public officer to arrive at a decision it is necessary that it or he should be informed of the nature of the suit proposed to be filed against it or him and the facts on which the claim is founded and the precise reliefs asked for. It is apparent that it is in the context of this object of Section 80 and on the plain reading of its phraseology that the expression "any act" has to be interpreted.;

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