Narsingh Das vs Ajodhya Prosad Sukul on 27 August, 1903

Calcutta High Court
Narsingh Das vs Ajodhya Prosad Sukul on 27 August, 1903
Equivalent citations: (1904) ILR 31 Cal 203
Author: G A Pratt
Bench: Ghose, Pratt


Ghose and Pratt, JJ.

1. This appeal arises out of an application made under Section 525, Code of Civil Procedure, for the purpose of a private arbitration-award being filed in Court. The application was presented to the Munsif of Mozafferpore. That officer granted it; but his order has been set aside on appeal by the District Judge, on the ground that the Munsif had no jurisdiction to entertain the application in question. It appears that there were monetary dealings between the plaintiffs and the defendant; and the matter of the account between the parties was referred to the arbitration of one Rai Parmeshwar Narain Mahta Bahadur. He investigated the said matter of account, and it would appear that the plaintiff Narsingh Das claimed as due from the defendant Rs. 2,047-13-9, while, on the other hand, the defendant Ajodhya, Prosad Sukul claimed against Narsingh Das Rs. 4,774-15-6. The defendant, however, did not produce his own account books, but relied upon the accounts produced by the plaintiffs, and upon examination of such accounts the arbitrator found that the sum of Rs. 2,094-13-3 was really due to the plaintiffs, but that there was a sum of Rs. 265-2 due to the defendant’s wife, Musammat Sheobarat Koer, and he determined that the said amount should be set off against the plaintiffs’ claim, he being of opinion that the account of Ajodhya Prosad Sukul and Musammat Sheobarat Koer were but one and the same. In this view of the matter he awarded to the plaintiffs the sum of Rs. 1,829-11-3. It is this arbitration-award that the plaintiffs applied to the Munsif to be filed his Court.

2. It would appear that the pecuniary jurisdiction of the said Munsif is up to Rs. 2,003, and he apparently thought that inasmuch as the sum actually awarded to the plaintiffs was Rs. 1,829-11-3, he had jurisdiction to entertain the application. But, as already indicated, the District Judge, having regard to the language of Section 525, Code of Civil Procedure, held that the Munsif had no jurisdiction.

3. The question raised before us depends upon the construction of the language of Section 525 of the Code. That section suns, as follows: “When any matter has been referred to arbitration without the intervention of a Court of Justice, and an award has been made thereon, any person interested in the award may apply to the Court of the lowest grade having jurisdiction over the matter to which the award relates that the award be filed in Court;” and so on. The question we have to consider is what may be the meaning of the words “the matter to which the award relates;” whether it means the subject-matter of the arbitration, or the matter actually awarded’ by the arbitrator for it is obvious that, if the former be the correct interpretation, the Munsif had no jurisdiction to entertain the application, while in the other case he had such jurisdiction. It will be noticed that the section begins with the words “when any matter has been referred to arbitration,” and the words with which we are immediately concerned are “the matter to which the award relates.” It seems to us on consideration that “the matter to which the ward relates” must be the same matter referred to in the beginning of the section. In the present case, the matter referred to arbitration and the matter to which the award relates is the account between the two parties concerned, one party claiming Rs. 2,047 and odd, and the other claiming Rs. 4,774, and the arbitrator had to determine how the account really stood between the parties. He determined that though the plaintiffs were entitled to the sum of Es. 2,094 as claimed by them, yet that amount must be reduced by the sum of Rs. 265-2 in favour of the wife of the defendant. We do not think that the words “the matter to which award relates” could have been intended by the Legislature as referable to the precise amount, or the precise matter awarded to one party or the other by the arbitrator. In order to test the correctness of the argument of the learned vakil for the plaintiffs-appellant, let us put an illustration. Suppose the parties were in dispute as regards the partition of their joint-family property. They refer the matter to an arbitrator, and the arbitrator awards one portion of the property valued at Rs. 1,829 to the plaintiff, and the other portion of the property valued at over Rs. 5,000 to the defendant. If the plaintiff’s contention as raised before us be correct, the plaintiff would be entitled to present his application for the purpose of enforcing the award in the Court of the Munsif, while, so far as the other side is concerned, he should have to present his application to the Court of the Subordinate Judge, the result being that the same arbitration-award might be filed in two different Courts. It is obvious that such could not have been intended by the Legislature. It has, however, been said that if the plaintiffs were to bring a regular suit on the basis of the arbitration-award, they might do so in the Court where relief could he granted to him under the award, and that would be the Mimsif’s Court. But the plaintiffs in this ease do not seek any relief under the award in question, but they seek to have the award filed in Court. That is the award which deals with the whole matter referred to arbitration and not simply with the amount awarded to the plaintiffs.

4. For these reasons, we are of opinion, that the view adopted by the District Judge is correct, and that this appeal should be dismissed. At the same time we think that the District Judge should have, while reversing the order of the Munsif, returned the petition filed in the Court of the Munsif for the purpose of its being presented to that of the Subordinate Judge; and we order accordingly.

5. We make no order as to costs.

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