in Mohd.Mustafa Shareef (2 supra) wherein a learned Single Judge of this Court held that when a plaint is returned for presentation before proper Court under Order VII Rule 10- A of the Code, the plaint alone is returned and as such, the Court to which the plaint was later on presented will have to commence the proceedings on such plaint afresh and that the plaint so represented is not a continuation of the plaint presented in the former Court, whether for the purpose of limitation or for court fees or in any other respect, and that the plaint so presented in the proper Court is the fresh presentation of the plaint requiring all proceedings thereof to be taken up de novo.


The Hon'ble Sri Justice C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy

Civil Revision Petition No.1518 of 2012

13-09-2012

Gudur Seetharam (died) Per LR Gudur Venu  

Pathipaka Sudharshan

^Counsel for the petitioner: Sri P.V.Narayana Rao

!Counsel for the respondent:    Sri P.Giri Krishna

<Gist:

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:
1. (1983) APLJ 311
2. 2011 (4) ALD 614

Order:
This Civil Revision Petition is filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of
India by the sole surviving defendant in OS.No.94 of 2011 on the file of the
Court of the learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla, aggrieved by docket order,
dated 19-12-2011, passed therein.
A few facts, which need to be stated for the disposal of this Civil Revision
Petition, are as under:
The respondent has initially filed OS.No.98 of 2010 in the Court of the learned
Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, for permanent injunction against the petitioner
herein and his father Gudur Seetharam.  In IA.No.239 of 2010 filed by him, an ad
interim injunction was granted by the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla.
After the defendants filed the written statement, the respondent filed an
application for amendment of the plaint by incorporating the relief of
declaration of title wherein the market value of the suit schedule property was
shown as Rs.11,52,000/- and the suit was revalued at half of the market value
which came to Rs.5,76,000/-.  Consequently, the suit exceeded the pecuniary
jurisdiction of the Court of Junior Civil Judge.  Therefore, the respondent
appeared to have filed an application under Order VII Rule 10-A (1) of the Code
of Civil Procedure, 1908 (for short 'the CPC'), for return of the plaint.  The
learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, has passed docket order, dated 20-09-2011,
wherein, while referring to the above facts, he has posted the case for counter
to 29-09-2011.  Even though the parties before this Court have not filed any
order passed subsequently by the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, from the
subsequent events, it appears that the said Court has eventually returned the
plaint for being presented in the Court having pecuniary jurisdiction.  The
respondent has, accordingly, represented the plaint in the Court of the learned
Senior Civil Judge at Sircilla.
By docket order, dated 19-11-2011, the learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla,
accepted the valuation, directed renumbering of the suit and called for the
remaining record from the Court of the Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla.
Accordingly, the suit was renumbered as OS.No.94 of 2011.  As regards the
injunction application, the learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla, passed a
docket order on 19-12-2011 directing renumbering of the IA and posting of the
case for enquiry on 05-01-2012.  The petitioner filed this Civil Revision
Petition feeling aggrieved by Order, dated 19-12-2011, of the learned Senior
Civil Judge, Sircilla, to the extent of his calling for remaining record from
the Court of the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, and continuing the
injunction application from the stage at which it was returned by the learned
Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla.
At the hearing, Mr.P.V.Narayana Rao, learned Counsel for the petitioner, has
submitted that when once the plaint is returned for presentation in proper
court, the proceedings in the Court, which returned the plaint, end and the
order, if any, passed by the Court returning the plaint will not enure to the
benefit of the plaintiff.  He has further submitted that as representation of
the plaint in the proper Court constitutes filing of a fresh suit, the learned
Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla, committed a serious jurisdictional error in
treating the injunction application as continuation of the proceedings from the
Court of the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, and calling for remaining
record from the said Court.  In support of his submissions, the learned Counsel
placed reliance on the judgments of this Court in Musunuru Kasi Annapurnamma vs.
Musunuru Seshaiah and another1 and Mohd.Mustafa Shareef vs.  Masoom Ali Mohalla  
Committee, Warangal and others2.
Mr.P.Giri Krishna, learned Counsel for the respondent, while broadly accepting
the above-submission of the learned Counsel for the petitioner, however, stated
that when the suit for permanent injunction was filed, the learned Junior Civil
Judge, Sircilla, had jurisdiction to entertain the same and pass the order of
injunction; that the said Court has lost jurisdiction only on account of the
amendment of the suit consequent on enhancement of valuation of the suit and
that the injunction granted by the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, would,
therefore, enure to the benefit of the plaintiff till the injunction application
is disposed of by the learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla.
In Musunuru Kasi Annapurnamma (1 supra), a similar situation arose where before
the plaint was returned on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, an injunction was
granted by the District Munsif's Court.  When a CMA filed against the said order
of injunction was pending, the District Munsif's Court returned the plaint as it
lacked pecuniary jurisdiction and for being presented before the proper Court.
Accordingly, the plaint was represented in the Court of the Subordinate Judge.
The Court dealing with CMA has considered this subsequent event and held that
the injunction order granted by the District Munsif's Court before it has
returned the suit was void as the District Munsif Court had no jurisdiction to
entertain the suit.  In that background of the case, Justice K.Ramaswamy, as he
then was, held as under:
"Thus, it is a settled position of law that the Court having no pecuniary
jurisdiction when entertain a suit but ultimately when it found that it lacks
jurisdiction and returned the plaint for presentation to the proper Court, it is
not a continuation of the earlier proceedings initiated in the competent court
and the starting point of the date on which the suit is instituted  is the date
of re-presentation to the competent court having jurisdiction   All the
proceedings taken in the Court of first instance are thereby rendered void land
of no consequence.  Thereby, the proceedings before the Court of first instance
are nullity.  In this case, the Court of the District Munsif itself found to
have no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and returned the plaint for
presentation to the proper court.  Thereafter, it must be held that the court of
the District Munsif lacks inherent jurisdiction to seisin of the cause.  Under
those circumstances, the ad-interim injunction issued by the Court of the
District Munsif is nothing but a nullity.
-----
On a consideration of the authorities referred to above and on the facts of the
case, I have no hesitation to hold that the Court of District Munsif has no
pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the suit.  It lacks inherent jurisdiction.
Therefore, the proceedings initiated before that Court are without jurisdiction
and a nullity.  The consequential proceedings taken interlocutory stages are
also a nullity.  Therefore, the lower appellate Court is well justified in
holding the order under appeal is illegal.  I do not find any error of
jurisdiction in its exercise by the lower appellate Court and no material
irregularity has been committed by it.  Therefore, there is no case made out
warranting interference by this Court in revision.  Accordingly, the CRP is
dismissed but in the circumstances without costs."
The only distinction between the case in Musunuru Kasi Annapurnamma (1 supra)  
and the present case is that in former case, the suit was filed in the Court
having no pecuniary jurisdiction whereas in the present case, when the suit was
filed, the Court of the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, had jurisdiction,
but however, with the amendment of the suit, the said Court has lost
jurisdiction.  Even though the injunction granted by the learned Junior Civil
Judge, Sircilla, till the amendment of the suit was not void or a nullity, the
said order will lose its efficacy as with the amendment of the plaint which
resulted in enhancement in the valuation of the suit, the said Court has lost
pecuniary jurisdiction to deal with the suit.   However, the principle laid down
in Musunuru Kasi Annapurnamma (1 supra) would apply to this case as well and the
order of injunction looses its force from the time the Court, which granted it,
has returned the plaint.  Similar is the effect of the judgment in Mohd.Mustafa
Shareef (2 supra) wherein a learned Single Judge of this Court held that when a
plaint is returned for presentation before proper Court under Order VII Rule 10-
A of the Code, the plaint alone is returned and as such, the Court to which the
plaint was later on presented will have to commence the proceedings on such
plaint afresh and that the plaint so represented is not a continuation of the
plaint presented in the former Court, whether for the purpose of limitation or
for court fees or in any other respect, and that the plaint so presented in the
proper Court is the fresh presentation of the plaint requiring all proceedings
thereof to be taken up de novo.  The learned Judge has distinguished between the
representation of the plaint on account of the original Court not having/losing
jurisdiction and the transfer of suit from one Court to the other.
Applying the above principles of law to the case on hand,
I have no hesitation to hold that the injunction granted by the learned Junior
Civil Judge, Sircilla, in favour of the respondent/plaintiff ceased to be in
force from the time the said Court has returned the plaint.   The proceedings
before the learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla, should, therefore, commence de
novo as if it is a fresh suit.
On the analysis as above, Order, dated 19-11-2011, passed by the learned Senior
Civil Judge, Sircilla, in OS.No.94 of 2011, calling for the remaining record
from the Court of the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, cannot be sustained
and the same is, accordingly, set aside.  The respondent/plaintiff is, however,
given liberty to take return of the remaining record, if any, in addition to the
plaint from the Court of the learned Junior Civil Judge, Sircilla, and represent
the same before the Court of the learned Senior Civil Judge at Sircilla.  The
learned Senior Civil Judge, Sircilla shall proceed with the IA and the suit
treating the same as fresh proceedings.
The Civil Revision Petition is, accordingly, allowed.
As a sequel, CRPMP.No.2029 of 2012, filed by the petitioner for interim relief,
is disposed of as infructuous.
_________________________  
(C.V.Nagarjuna Reddy, J)
Date: 13-09-2012

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