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Judicial persons are included in the word persons under Order 33, Rule 1 of CPC

Esheta Lunkad ,
  10 September 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :

Brief :
Before declaring the judgment the court very well explained the provisions under Order 33 before and after the amendment. It referred several cases as well. It finally held that, person refers to one who is capable of filing a suit and Order 33 being a benevolent provision, it is to be given an extended meaning. A public limited limited company, which is entitled to maintain a suit as a legal person, can very well maintain an application under Order 33, Rule 1 of CPC. The word ‘person’ mentioned in Order 33 includes not only a natural person but other judicial persons also. The appeal was therefore dismissed and declared to be without any merit without any order as to costs.
Citation :
Petitioner: Union Bank of India Respondent: Khader International Construction & Ors. Citation: Civil Appeal No. 943 of 1993

UNION BANK OF INDIA vs KHADER INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION AND OTHERS

Bench:

  1. U.C. Banerjee
  2. K.G. Balakrishna

Issue:

Can a limited company sue as an indigent person under Order 33 Rule 1 of CPC.?

Facts:

' The respondent files a suit before the Sub-Court, Kochi, and sought permission to sue as an indigent person. The appellant raised objections and contended that plaintiff is a public limited company and thus not a 'person' within the preview of Order 33, Rule 1 of CPC. The word 'person' their in applies only to natural person and not to other juristic persons.

• The sub-ordinate Judge permitted the respondent-plaintiff to sue as an indigent person.

• Aggrieved by this, the appellant filed a revision and same was dismissed by the learned Single Judge of the HC.

Appellant's Contentions:

• Under Order 33, Rule 1, an explanation is given as to who shall be an indigent person, and an indigent person is one who does not possess sufficient means to pay the fee prescribed by law, or the one who is not entitled to property worth one thousand rupees other than the property exempt from attachment in execution of a decree, and subject matter of the suit.

• Prior to the amendment of the aforesaid Rule, an 'indigent person' was the one who is not entitled to property more than one hundred rupees other than his necessary wearing apparel and subject-matter of the suit, and this according to natural person and not other juridical person.

• Under Rule 3 of Order 33, the application to sue as an indigent person shall be presented by the applicant in person unless he is exempted from appearing in court, in which case through an authorized agent.

• A public limited company being a juristic person cannot present an application in accordance with Rule 3 of Order 33. Under Rule 3, the person presenting the application must be the one who can answer all material questions relating to the application and therefore, the scheme of Order 33 of CPC envisages only a natural person to file a suit as an indigent person.

Respondent's Contentions:

• The suit can be filed as an indigent person not only by an natural person but also by all juristic persons who are permitted to file a suit in that capacity.

• Order 33 id a benevolent provision intended to help the litigants who are unable to pay the court fee at the initial stage of the suit and that provision is to be constructed liberally.

• When a company, firm, deity, etc. are permitted to file a suit in their juristic capacity, there is no reason why they should not be allowed to sue as an indigent person.

• The definition of the word 'person' contained in the General Clauses Act will apply and that extended meaning is to be attributed to the word 'person' referred in Order 33.

Judgment:

Before declaring the judgment the court very well explained the provisions under Order 33 before and after the amendment. It referred several cases as well. It finally held that, person refers to one who is capable of filing a suit and Order 33 being a benevolent provision, it is to be given an extended meaning. A public limited limited company, which is entitled to maintain a suit as a legal person, can very well maintain an application under Order 33, Rule 1 of CPC. The word 'person' mentioned in Order 33 includes not only a natural person but other judicial persons also. The appeal was therefore dismissed and declared to be without any merit without any order as to costs.

 

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Published in Constitutional Law
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