Rewa Shankar v Narasinghji Mahara

CourtJudicial Commissioner's Court (India)
India, Judicial Commissioner's Court of Himachal Pradesh.

(Ramabhadran C.J.)

Rewa Shankar and Another
and
Narasinghji Maharaj and Others.

Jurisdiction — Exemptions from — Heads of States — Position of Rulers of Former Indian States — Ruler Acting as Trustee.

The Facts.—This was an action for possession of certain lands in Kanaur and Bajhar and for mesne profits. The lands in question belonged to the Ruler of the Dhami State and as they had been dedicated to Sri Narasinghji Maharaj, who was the family deity of the ruling house of the Dhami State, the latter appeared as the first defendant in the action while the present Ruler acted as the trustee. The question arose whether in these circumstances the present Ruler was entitled to the immunities granted to Indian Rulers in s. 86 of the Code of Civil Procedure. According to sub-clause (I) of s. 86, no Ruler of a foreign State may be sued in any court otherwise competent to try the action except with the consent of the Central Government. Section 87 (b), which was incorporated in the Code of Civil Procedure after the enactment of the Constitution of 1950, applied the provisions of s. 86 to Rulers of the former Indian States who had been under the paramountcy of the British Crown. The Court of first instance held, inter alia, that the sanction of the Governor-General of India required by s. 86 had not been necessary for the bringing of the present action, and gave judgment for the plaintiffs. The District Judge, acting as a Court of Appeal, reversed the decision of the Court below and held that the action must fail in view of the provisions of s. 86.

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