LYALL GRANT J.—Perera o. Abdul Hamid.
1931Present: Lyall Grant J.
PKUKIiA v. ABDl’L II UHL.136—C. ft. Matale, 1M-7.
Contempt of Court—Disobedience to injunction—Power of Court of Requests to'punish as for contempt—Civil ProcedureCode, s. 60S—The Courts
Ordinance, s. 69.
The Court of Requests has power to punish* disobedience to at:injunction issued by it as for a contempt of Court.'
^ PPEAL from an order of the Commissioner of Requests, Matale.
Navaratnam (with him N. E. Weerasoona), for appellant.—Purporting'to follow the ruling in The King v. Samaraweem 1 the Commissioner holdsthat he has no jurisdiction to punish an act of contempt committed erfacie curiae. In that case it was held that, where an act of contempt is notdeclared by any law to be an offence punishable by an inferior Court, thenthe Supreme Court alone had jurisdiction to punish. The power of theSupreme Court to punish the offence of contempt is defined by section51 of the Courts Ordinance. This section further recognizes the powerof inferior Courts to punish the offence of contempt, as declared by section:-59. The latter section confers on inferior Courts the jurisdiction bo punishnot only acts of contempt committed in the presence of these Courtsbut also act's of contempt which are committed in the course of anyproceeding in the said Courts, provided that such acts are declared byany law to be punishable as contempts of Court. The power of a Courtof Requests to grant an injunction is recognized in section 87 of theCourts Ordinance and section 663 of the Code declares any disobedienceto an injunction an offence, punishable by the Court granting the in-junction. The Court, therefore, had jurisdiction to punish for contempt.The Judgments in Annamalay Chetty v. Gunaratne 2 make the legal positionquite clear.
December 4, 1931. Lyall Grant J.—
This is an appeal from an order made by the Court of Requests ofMatale in the course of proceedings in that Court. The plaintiff sued thedefendant for the recovery of Rs. 36 arrears of rent and also made various-other claims against the defendant. At the same time the plaintiffmoved for an injunction on the defendant restraining him from removingor selling the sewing machine and the furniture lying at No. 6. The-
119 N. L. R. 493.
11 N. L. R. 49.
liYAIfL GRANT J.—Perera t>. Abdul Hamid.
injunction was served upon the defendant-respondent on June 6. Therenan be no doubt, I think, as to the right or competence of the Court ofBequests to grant such an injunction under the powers vested in itunder section 87 of the Courts Ordinance. On June 10 the defendant-respondent removed from the premises an almirah and the sewingmachine which had been specifically mentioned in the injunction. There-upon the plaintiff served a notice on the defendant and three others toshow cause why they should not be punished as for contempt of Court.T'he defendant-respondent and the other three persons appeared onJuly 28 in Court and stated that they had cause to show and inquiry washeld on August 11. On that day the learned Commissioner dischargedthe defendant-respondent and the three others on the ground that thecontempt was not committed in the presence of the Court and, therefore,the Court had no jurisdiction to punish them as for contempt of Court.From this order the plaintiff now appeals.
The plaintiff does not press the case as against the 2nd, 3rd, and 4threspondents inasmuch as they were not parties to the action and theinjunction was directed against the 1st respondent, the defendant in thatcase. T( is, however, argued that the learned Commissioner was mistakenin holding that he had no jurisdiction to commit the defendant in theaction for contempt in respect of the injunction issued on him by the•Court. The Commissioner relies upon a Full Bench decision reportedin 19 N. L. R., p. 493 (The King v. Samaraweera). It was there heldthat possession of land by a receiver appointed by a District Court ispossession of the Court, and contumacious interference with the possessionof the receiver is punishable as a contempt of Court. Such contemptuousinterference ex fade curiae with the possession of the receiver is punish-able by the Supreme Court only, and not by the District Court. Thiscase was a Full Bench decision which restated the principles laid down bya Full Bench Court in the case of Annamalay Chetty v. Guneratne (supra).In order to understand this decision it is. T think, necessary first to examinesection 59 of ,the Courts Ordinance and the sections of the Civil ProcedureCode which govern the power of tile lower Courts in regard to contempt ofCourt and also in regard to the grant of injunctions. Section 59 of theCourts Ordinance gives special jurisdiction to Courts of Requests inrespect of every offence of contmpt of Court committed in the presenceof the Court itself that is not disputed. The section further gives powerto Courts of Requests to punish all offences which are committed in thecourse of any act or proceedings in .the said Courts respectively, andwhich are declared by any law for the time being in force to be punishableas contempts of Court. The principle upon which the Court proceededin the cases to which I have just referred to was that there was no law forthe time being to punish for contempt of Court the offences disclosed inthose cases. The Court held that not merely should it be proved that anoffence had been committed but it must be one which was declared bylaw to be so punishable. This contention was recognized in the judgment■of Withers J., to which I have just referred. He referred to section 663for the purpose of differentiating it from the case which came before him.This section provides that disobedience in respect of an injunctionigranted by Court may be enforced by the punishment of the offender as
DKIEBEEG J.—The King v. Mutalip.
for contempt of Court. In these circumstances and upon the factsdisclosed in this case it seems too clear that the Magistrate has taken toolow a view of the powers conferred on the Courts of Bequests. Theorder must be set aside so far as it concerns the 1st respondent and thecase will be remitted back to the lower Court for trial in due course. Theappellant is entitled to his costs of this appeal.
PERERA v. ABDUL HAMID