Decided on July 12,1901



Ameer Ali and Pratt, JJ - (1.) These are several matters referred to us by the Deputy Registrar for the consideration of the question how the forty-three appeals preferred by the appellants in certain land acquisition oases decided by the Subordinate Judge of Bhagalpur should be dealt with under the circumstances which have happened.
(2.) It appeal's that a large area of land belonging to the appellants was taken up for public purposes. The proprietors who are appellants, did not appear before the Land Acquisition Deputy Collector in time. The tenants appeared and accepted the award made by him, and so far as they are concerned the matter appears to have been concluded. But regarding the interest of the proprietors several references were made by the Deputy Collector to the Court, inasmuch as the lands acquired consisted of separate plots occupied not entirely by the same set of tenants, some, it is alleged, being held exclusively by the landlords. Those references came in due course before the Subordinate Judge, and on the 14 May 1900, the appellants put in a petition asking the Court to try them as analogous suits, inasmuch as the point in dispute in all of them was one and the same, and the evidence to be tendered was to be of one and the same nature. That prayer was acceded to, and the Court recorded the following order: "Petition filed. This case made analogous with case No. 1 of 1900. Statement of Government pleader made and preliminary issues framed in analogous case No. 1 of 1900." The cases seem to have been disposed of by the Subordinate Judge not satisfactorily to the appellants. Hence 44 appeals were preferred to this Court. The appellants then applied for and obtained from this Court a rule in these terms: "On the motion of Mr. Bill, let a rule issue calling upon the other side to show cause why the 44 references and the appeals arising out of them should not be amalgamated and the Court fee levied on the consolidated claim, or why the appeal out of reference No. 132 should not be treated as a test case, and all proceedings in the appeals arising out of the other references stayed until the decision of the said test appeal." That was on the 31 August 1900. By the word "amalgamated" we understand the learned Judges to mean consolidated.
(3.) The rule came on for hearing before a different Bench on the 31 January 1901, and the following order dealing with the subject of the rule was made by the learned Judges before whom the matter was discussed: "We think, after hearing learned Counsel on the one side and the senior Government pleader on the other, that the second part of the Rule ought to succeed, and that is this appeal out of reference No. 132 should be treated as a test case, and the proceedings arising out of the other references should be stayed, until the decision of the said test appeal. It must be understood that we do not now deal with the question, which we understand has been or will be raised, namely, whether the appeals arising out of the other references have been preferred to this Court upon proper and adequate Court fee stamps. That matter will be dealt with after the appeal in connection with reference No. 132 has been decided." It is quite clear from the phraseology of that order that no definite order was made with regard to the other 43 appeals. They were allowed to stand over for the time, and the question as to the sufficiency of stamps upon which the appeals were preferred was to be considered later on. The appeal from reference No. 132 was made a test case for the benefit apparently of the appellant, but reading the order as it stands, it does not seem to preclude the appellants from requiring the consideration of the Court with regard to the other appeals. The appeal out of reference No. 132 has been disposed of against the appellants, and they now apply that their other appeals should be taken up and heard, and that they should be allowed to make up any deficiency that there may be in the Court fee stamps, upon which the appeals have been preferred.;

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