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BANGHAMI v. KIBIHAMY.
D. C., Kandy, 14,938.
Jurisdiction—Action by trustee of Buddhist vihare to set aside lease—Improvi-dent execution of lease by incumbent—Residence of defendant and site oflands leased outside jurisdiction of Court—Grounds of cause of action—Civil Procedure Code, s. 9.
Id an action raised by a trustee of a Buddhist Vihare against the lesseeof certain lands to set aside the lease which had been executed within thejurisdiction of the District Court of Sandy, on the ground that suchlease was an improvident alienation,—
Held, that the true definition of “ cause of action " was the act on the partof the defendant which gives the plaintiff his cause of complaint; thatthe wrongful act of the defendant complained of was done in Kandy, inaccepting a lease from the incumbent which the latter had improperlyexecuted for his own benefit and to the injury of the vihare; and thattherefore the District Court of Kandy had jurisdiction to try the case,notwithstanding that the residence of the defendant and the site of thelands were beyond its limits.
HE facts of the case appear in the judgment of Layard, C.J.
Van Langenberg, for appellant.H. Jayawardene, for respondent.
4th June, 1903. Layard, C.J.—
The only question raised in this case is ..whether the KandyDistrict Court has jurisdiction.
^he plaintiff is the trustee of a vihare situated within thejurisdiction of the Kandy District Court, and he brings this action
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1903.to set aside a deed of lease' executed by the incumbers of the
■June £•vihare alleging, as his cause of action, that the deed of lease was
Layjuud.C.J. for a longer term than was consistent with the interests of thevihare, and was an improvident alienation of the property leased.
He further alleges that the consideration for the lease was inade-quate and for the private benefit of the incumbent. He prayed, forthe reasons given above, that the lease may be set aside, and the 'relief he seeks for is to be placed in possession of the lands.
The lands are situated outside the jurisdiction 'of the DistrictCourt of Kandy. The objection was raised in the Court below,and by the appellant in this Court, that as the defendant residedoutside the jurisdiction of the Kandy District Court, and the landsleased were also outside the jurisdiction of that court, the KandyDistrict Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Now, the jurisdiction of District Courts is laid down by section9 of the Ordinance No. 2 of 1889 to be (1) over parties residentwithin its jurisdiction, (2) over land situated, in whole or in part,withinitsjurisdiction, (3)where the cause of action hasarisen
withinitsjurisdiction, or(4) where the contractsoughtto be
enforced was made. The question then is whether the cause ofactioninthis case arosewithin the jurisdictionof theKandy
Cause of action, for the purposes of our Civil Procedure Code,has beendefined, amongst other things, as “awrong for the
prevention or redress of which an action may be brought. ” Thewrong alleged here appears to be the execution of a lease withinthe jurisdiction of the District Court of Kandy, whereby an injuryto the temple revenues payable to the trustee within such juris-diction was inflicted. From the definition given by our statute itappears therefore to me that the Kandy Court has jurisdiction inthis case. If we look to the English decisions with regard to thedefinition given to “ cause of action, ” we find Brett, J., in Cooke v.Gill, reported in L. R. 8 C. P. 116, has defined cause of action asmeaning “ every fact which is material to be proved to, entitle theplaintiff to succeed; every fact which the defendant would have aright to traverse. ”
Applying that definition to this case, the fact that was materialto be proved was, that* the lease, was executed, and that it wasimprovidently executed by the incumbent of the vihare. Thesewere the only facts,which, if successfully traversed, would haveentitled the defendant to obtain a dismissal of the plaintiff’s action,and even under .the definition gfveh in Cooke v. Gill it appears tome that it is clear that the Kandy District Court in the case hadjurisdiction. Brett, J., had previously in Jackson v. Spitial (5 C. P.
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558) laid down that a " cause of action was the act on the part of june '4
the defendant which gives the plaintiff his cause of complaint. ”'
Taking that as the true definition of " cause of action, ” the aotLAirAB®'0-J*of the defendant was done in Kandy in accepting a lease from theincumbent of the dhare which the incumbent had improvidentlyexecuted for his own benefit to the injury of the temple of whichhe was the incumbent. In that view also it appears to me thatthe Kandy Court had jurisdiction.
Respondent's counsel has invited our fettention to a passage in aTreatise on the Law of Res Judicata Joy Hukm Chand, p. 11, in whichhe cites Lord Watson’s decision in a Privy Council case. There hesays that Lord Watson laid down that “ cause of action * has ntfrelation whatever to the defence which may be set up, nor does itdepend upon the character of tfaerrelief prayed for by the plaintiff.
It refers entirely to the grounds set forth in the plaint as the causeof action, or, in other words, to the media upon which the plaintiffasks the. Court to arrive at a conclusion in his favour. ” I havebefore stated what are the media upon which the plaintiff reliesand asks this Court to arrive at a conclusion in his favour. Accept-ing again Lord Watson’s definition also, it is clear that the KandyCourt had jurisdiction in this matter. It has been suggested byappellant’s counsel that, as the plaintiff prays to be restored topossession and as the land leased is outside the Kandy District,the District Court of Kandy could not exercise jurisdiction oraward damages. In view of Lord Watson’s judgment it seems thatthe cause of action does not depend upon the relief sought by theplaintiff—viz., in this case the setting aside of the lease and the res-toration to possession of the lands leased—but upon the executionof the lease improvidently, and this execution took place within.the jurisdiction of .the District Court of Kandy. I am of opinion,therefore, that the judgment of the District Judge should beaffirmed. The appellant must bear the costs of this appeal.
1 am of the same opinion. 5t seems to me that the definitioncontained in the Civil Procedure Code of the term “ cause ofaction ” was intended to embody that interpretation which was firstput upon it in ,the case of Jackson v. Spittal (L. R. 5 C. P. 548) andafterwards adopted at a conference of all ,the Judges. Vaiighan*v. Waldon, L. R. 10 C. P. 47. The instances given fn our definitionare all of acts of the defendant parly, such as tjie denial of a right,the refusal to fulfil an obligation, the neglect to' perform a duty,and the infliction of an affirmatfre * inj ury. These are acts whichforfti the ground of the plaintiff’s complaint.
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There is, no doubt, in the present caBe a prayer for the restorationof the plaintiff to possession; but, even taking the wider definitionof the term “ cause of action, ’ which was enunciated in Cooke v.Gill (L. B. 8 C. P. 107), the defendant’s possession of the land leasedto him was not a material fact which the defendant was entitled totraverse, and which the plaintiff would have been obliged to provebefore he could have the lease cancelled. In the result, I think thatthe “ cause of action ” in the present case was the execution of theimprovident lease, and that having been effected within the juris-diction of the Court, the action was rightly brought in the DistrictCourt of Kandy.