HEARNE J.—Aseervatham v. Seveity.
1939Present: Hearne J.
ASEERVATHAM et al. v. SEVEITY et al.
209—C. R. Jaffna'll,547.
Courts of Requests—Action to have water-course declared appurtenant—
Damages for obstruction—Jurisdiction.
The plaintiffs brought an action for a declaration that- a water-coursewas appurtenant to their land and valued the claim at Rs. 75. Theyalso claimed Rs. 300 as damages for wrongful obstruction.
Held, that the claim for damages was incidental to the main cause ofaction and that the Court of Requests had jurisdiction to entertain theaction.
PPEAL. from a judgment of the Commissioner of Requests, Jaffna.
N. Nadarajah (with him Curtis), for defendants, appellants.
L. A: Rajapakse (with him H. W. Thambiah), for plaintiffs, respondents.
Cur. adv. vult.
February 21, 1939. Hearne J.—
The plaintiff sued the defendants in the Court of Requests, Jaffna,for a declaration that a water-course, valued at Rs. 75 was “ rightfullyappurtenant ” to his land and for an order that the defendants berequired to remove obstacles placed by them which prevented him fromusing the water-course. He also claimed that by reason of the defend-ants’ wrongful obstruction his plants had died involving him in a loss ofRs. 300. This amount he asked as damages up to the date of plaint,and he also asked for continuing damages at the rate of Rs. 10 permensem.
The question of jurisdiction was raised both in the lower Court and onappeal.'
It is agreed that the main cause of action falls within the meaning ofthe words “ All actions in which the title to, or interest in, or right to thepossession of, any land shall be in dispute ” appearing in section 77 of theCourts Ordinance, Nor 1 of 1889.
Pounds v. Ganegama.
It is conceded, on the authorities, that the test of jurisdiction in a landcase is the value of the land or the interest in dispute irrespective of anydamages or other relief claimed on the cause of action: but it is objectedthat, while the claim to damages at Rs. 10 per mensem is incidental andsubsidiary and does not affect the jurisdiction of the Court, the claim toRs. 300 for damages that had already accrued was a claim sounding onlyin damages and was, therefore, not incidental or subsidiary.
In my opinion, the damage suffered by the plaintiff was the consequenceof the denial to him, as he claimed, of his right to use the water-course:the loss of his plants was directly the result of the trespass on which hefounded his action: and his claim to Rs. 300 damages is thereforeincidental to the main action. It is not in my opinion an independenthead of claim for “debt, damage or demand” constituting within themeaning of these words in section 77 of the Courts Ordinance a distinctmoney claim.,
It is argued that the plaintiff could in a separate action have maintaineda claim to these damages. If he could it is clear that the main issuesin such an action would have been whether the plaintiff was entitled to aright of way and water-course and whether the defendants had wrong-fully obstructed the plaintiff in the use of the water-course, and these arealso the main issues in the present case. This would have involved aconflict.with the policy of the Civil Procedure Code, which is to preventa multiplicity of actions. It is precisely on this principle that judgmentsof this Court, notably Pedris v. Mohideen have proceeded.
On the facts of the case I agree with the learned Commissioner and Idismiss the appeal with costs.
ASEERVATHAM et al. v. SEVEITY et al