RANA BASHISHST CHAND RAI Vs. SARDARNI RADHIKA DEVI
LAWS(P&H)-1950-8-16
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Decided on August 22,1950

RANA BASHISHST CHAND RAI Appellant
VERSUS
SARDARNI RADHIKA DEVI Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) This is a rule against an order passed by the learned Subordinate Judge, Ist Class, Ambala, ordering that the Rana of Koti whose State is now merged in Himachal Pradesh should appear personally in the Court. The petitioner, the Rana of Koti, claimed privilege against appearing in Court under a Notification issued by the Punjab Government, No. IF, date the 1st of January 1909, which was issued under section 133 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Court, however, held that the Rulers are no longer exempt from personal appearance and the matter was entirely within the discretion of the Court whether to issue or not to issue process against them. It is against this order that this revision has been filed. Another rule has been added in Chapter 7, Volume I, High Court Rules and Orders, as foot-note No. 3 at the end of that Chapter, which is in the following term :
(2.) IMMUNITY FROM THE PROCESS OF COURTS OF LAW. It would be for the Courts to decide whether a Ruler is immune from civil and Criminal process and if so to what extent and under what circumstances. The ;Government of India have no doubt that such immunity as the Rulers enjoyed before the 15th of August 1947, in British India Courts would be regarded as a personal Privilege of the Rulers and in view of the express provision in the merger Agreements and Covenants, it will continue to be granted to them by all courts in India. The Government of India do not consider that any statutory provision in necessary. The learned Advocate for the respondent on the other hand urges that all the privileges are ultra vires because of Article 14 of the Constitution which is as follows :- "The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India."
(3.) The submission is that by giving privileges to the persons in the position of the Rana of Koti this Article is being infringed. This is a matter which might well be decided authoritatively once for all and I would therefore refer the case to a Division Bench. This petition would therefore be placed before my Lord the Chief Justice to be sent to a Divison Bench.;


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