Decided on December 08,1954

SRI PRITHI RAJ Respondents


Falshaw, J. - (1.) THIS Letters Patent Appeal has arisen in the following circumstances. The respondent Prithi Raj claims to be a displaced per. son from Lahore now residing at Delhi where he carries on the business of a building contractor. In 1949 he entered into a contract with the negistered society known as the Jamia Millia Islamia for the construction of a Teachers' Training Institute Hostel and according to his allegations completed the building in July 1951. He claimed that allowing for payments made by the Society and the material supplied by it a sum of Rs. 1,97,000/- was still due to him and he therefore filed a petition before a Tribunal constituted under Act LXX of 1951 under Section 13 of that Act which deals with the claims by displaced creditors against persons who are not displaced debtors. The claim was resisted by the Society which denied that the subject-matter of the claim was a debt within the meaning of the Act, and also applied for the stay of proceedings before the Tribunal under Section 34, Arbitration Act. It was in fact alleged by the Society not only that there was an arbitration clause in the contract between the parties but that there had actually already been a reference Co arbitration under it.
(2.) ON these pleadings the Tribunal framed preliminary issues. (1) Whether the subject-matter of dispute in the petition was referable to arbitration under the contract between the parties, whether the petitioner did so refer the matter to arbitration and accept the award and is estopped from bringing this petition? (2) Whether the Displaced Persons (Debt Adjustment) Act LXX of 1951 is not applicable to the claim in question? By its order dated 11-2-1954 the Tribunal held that the claim was a debt within the meaning of the Act, and that proceedings under Section 13 of the Act could not be stayed under Section 34, Arbitration Act. Incidentally it was also held that the particular dispute, namely regarding payment after completion of the building was not covered by the terms of the arbitration clause in the contract. In these circumstances the Tribunal ordered, the Society to put in its written statement on the merits of the petitioner's claim. The Society filed an appeal in this Court under Section 39, Arbitration Act and Section 40 of Act LXX. This appeal was decided by Khosla. J., by his order dated 13-5-1954. in which he upheld the findings of the Tribunal that the claim amounted to a debt within the meaning of the Act and that Section 34, Arbitration Act had no application to proceedings under Section 13 of Act LXX. He accordingly dismissed the appeal and the present appeal is against his order.
(3.) THE preliminary objection has been raised on behalf of the respondent that no appeal lay to this Court at all against the order of the Tribunal dismissing the Society's application under Section 34, Arbitration Act, and therefore the present appeal did not lie, since if no appeal lay to the learned Single Judge, his order, must be deemed to have been passed in exercise of the revisional powers of the Court, and no Letters Patent Appeal lies against such an order. It is dear that the Tribunals set up under the Act are entirely creatures of the Act and that any rights of appeal which may exist against their orders must be confined to such rights as are prescribed in the Act. Section 40 contains the following previsions as regards the appeals. "Save as otherwise provided in Section 41, an appeal shall He from - (a) any final decree or order of the Tribunal or (b) any order made in the course of execution of any decree or order of the Tribunal, which if passed in the course of execution of a decree or ordet of a Civil Court would be appealable under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, to the High Court within the limits of whose jurisdiction, the Tribunal is situate." Section 41 provides that notwithstanding anything contained in Section 40, where the subject-matter of the appeal relates to the amount of a debt and such amount on appeal is less than Rs. 5,000/-, no appeal shall lie.;

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