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Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887


Preamble.- An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Civil Courts in Bengal, the North - Western Provinces and Assam.
Whereas it is expedient to consolidate and amend the law relating to civil Courts in Bengal, the North-Western Provinces and Assam;
It is hereby enacted as follows:

CHAPTER I: Preliminary
1. Title, extent and commencement.-
(1) This Act may be called the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887.
(2) It extends to the territories (which were on the 11th March, 1887) respectively administered by the Lieutenant- Governor of the North -Western Provinces and the Chief Commissioner of Assam except such portions of those territories as for the time being are not subject to the ordinary civil jurisdiction of the High Court.
(3) It shall come into force on the first day of July 1887.
2. Repeal of Acts 6 of 1871 and 9 of 1887.-
(1) Repealed by the amending Act, 1891 (12 of 1891).
(2) All courts constituted, appointments, nominations, rules and orders made, jurisdictions and powers conferred, and lists published under the Bengal Civil Courts Acts, 1871 or any enactment thereby repealed, or purporting expressly or impliedly to have been so constituted, made, conferred and published shall be deemed to have been respectively constituted, made, conferred and published under this Act; and
(3) Any enactment or document referring to the Bengal Civil Courts Acts, 1871, or to any enactment thereby repealed, shall be construed to refer to this Act or to the corresponding portion there of.
CHAPTER II: Constitution of Civil Courts
3. Classes of Courts, There shall be the following classes of Civil Courts under this Act, namely.-
(1) the Court of the District Judge;
(2) the Court of the Additional judge;
(3) the Court of the Assistant District Judge; and
(4) the Court of the Munsif.
4. Number of District Judges, Subordinate Judges and Munsifs.- The State Government may alter the number of District judges, Subordinate judges and Munsifs now fixed.
5. Number of Munsifs.- Repealed by the Decentralization Act, 1914 (4 of 1914)
6. Vacancies among District or Subordinate Judges.-
(1) whenever the Court of a District Judge or Subordinate Judge is vacant by reason of the death, resignation or removal of the Judge or other cause, or whenever an under the provisions of S. 4, the State Government, or as the case may be, the High Court may fill up the vacancy or appoint the Additional District Judge or subordinate Judges.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a State Government from appointing a District Judge or Subordinate Judge to discharge for such District Judge or Subordinate Judge, all or any of the functions of another District Judge or Subordinate judge, as the case may be.

7. Vacancies among Munsifs.- Repealed by the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1937.
8. Additional Judges.-
(1) When the business pending before any District Judge requires the aid of Additional Judges for its speedy disposal, the State Government may, having consulted with the High Court, appoint such Additional judges as may be requisite.
(2) Additional Judges so appointed shall discharge any of the functions of a District Judge which the District Judge may assign to them, and in the discharge of those functions they shall exercise the same powers as the District judge.
9. Administrative control of Courts.- Subject to the Superintendence of the High Court the District Judge shall have administrative control over all the Civil Courts under this Act within the local limits of his jurisdiction.

10. Temporary charge of District Courts.-
(1) In the event of the death, resignation or the removal of the District Judge, or of his being incapacitated; by illness or otherwise for the performance of his duties, or of his absence from the place at which his Court is held, the Additional Judge, or, if an from the place at which his Court is held, the Additional Judge, or, if an Additional Judge is not present at that place, the senior Subordinate Judge present thereat, shall, without relinquishing his ordinary duties, assume charge of the duties of the District Judge, and shall continue in-charge there of until the office is resumed.
(2) While in charge of the office of the District Judge, the Additional Judge or Subordinate Judge, as the case may be, may, subject to any rules which the High Court may make in this behalf, exercise any of the powers of the District Judge.

11. Transfer of proceedings on vacation of office of Subordinate Judges.-
(1) In the event of the death, resignation or removal of a Subordinate Judge, or of his being incapacitated by illness or otherwise for the performance of his duties, or of his absence from the place at which his Court is held, the District judge may , transfer all or any of the proceedings pending in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, either to his own Court or to any Court under his administrative control competent to dispose of them.
(2) Proceedings transferred under sub-S (1) shall be disposed of as if they have been instituted in the Court to which they are so transferred.
(3) Provided that the District Judge may re-transfer to the Court of the Subordinate Judge or his successors any proceedings transferred under sub S. (1) to his own Court or any other Court.
(4) For the purposes of proceedings which are not pending in the court of the subordinate Judge on the occurrence of any event referred to in sub-S. (1), and with respect to which that Court has exclusive jurisdiction, the District judge may exercise all or any of the jurisdictions of that Court.

12. Temporary charge of office of Munsifs.- Repealed by the Adaptation of Laws Order, 1937.
13. Power to fix local limits of jurisdiction of Courts.-
(1) The State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, fix and after the local limits of the jurisdiction of any Civil Court under this Act.
(2) If the same local jurisdiction is assigned to two or more Subordinate Judge or two or more Munsifs, the District Judge may assign to each of them such civil business cognizable by the Subordinate Judge or Munsif as the case may be, as subject to any general or special order of the High Court, as he thinks fit.
(3) When civil business arising in any local area is assigned by the District Judge under sub- S. (2), to one or two or more Subordinate Judges or Munsif shall not be invalid by reason only of the case in which it if that place is within the local limits fixed by the State Government by sub-S (1).
(4) The Judge of a Court of Small Causes appointed be also Subordinate Judge or Munsif, as the case may be, within the meaning of this section.
(5) The present local limits of the jurisdiction of every Civil Court under this Act shall be deemed to have been fixed under this section.
14. Place of sitting of Courts.-
(1) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, fix or alter the place or places, which any Civil Court under this Act is to be held.
(2) All places at which any such courts are now held shall be deemed to have been fixed under this section.

15. Vacations of Courts.-
(1) Subject to such orders as may be made by the State Government the High Court shall prepare a list of days to be observed in each year as holidays in the Civil Courts.
(2) The list shall be published in the official Gazette.
(3) A judicial act done by a Civil Court on a day specified in the list shall not be invalid by reason only of its having been done on that day.
16. Seal of Court.- Every Civil courts under this Act shall use a seal of such form and dimensions as are prescribed by the State Government.

17. Continuance of proceedings of Courts ceasing to have jurisdiction.-
(1) Where any Civil Court under this Act has for any cause ceased to have jurisdiction with respect to have any case, any proceeding in relation to that case which, if that court have not ceased to jurisdiction, might have been, had the case therein may be had in the Court to which the business of the former Court has been transferred.
(2) Nothing in this section applies to cases from which provision is made in Ss. 36, 37 and 114 of, and R. 1 of Order XLVII to Schedule 1 to the Code of Civil procedure, 1908, or in any other enactment for the time being in force.
CHAPTER III Ordinary jurisdiction
18. Extent of original jurisdiction of District or Subordinate Judge.-
Save as otherwise provided by any enactment for the time being in force, the jurisdiction of a district Judge or subordinate Judge extends, subject to the provisions of S. 15 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to all original suits for the time being cognizable by civil courts.
19. Extent of jurisdiction to Munsif.-
(1) Save as aforesaid and subject to the provision of sub- S. (2), the jurisdiction of a Munsif extends to all the like suits of which the value does not exceed seven thousand rupees.
(2) The state Government may, on the recommendation of the High Court direct, by notification in the official Gazette with respect to any; Munsif named therein that his jurisdiction shall extend to all like suits of such value not exceeding twenty- five thousand rupees as may be specified in the notification;
Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, delegate to the High Court its power under this section.

20. Appeals from District and Additional Judge.-
(1) Save as otherwise provided by any enactment for the time being in force, an appeal from a decree or order of a district Judge or an Additional Judge shall lie to the High Court.
(2) Any appeal shall not lie to the High Court from a decree or order of an Additional judge in any case in which, if the decree or order has been made by the District Judge, an appeal would not lie to that Court.
21. Appeals from Subordinate Judges and Munsifs.-
(1) Save as afore said, an appeal from a decree or order of a subordinate Judge shall lie-
(a) to the district Judge where the value of the original suit in which or in any proceeding arising out of which the decree or order was made did not exceed fifty thousand rupees;
(b) to the High Court in any other case.

(2) Save as aforesaid, an appeal from a decree or an order of a Munsif shall lie to the district Judge.
(3) Where he function of receiving any appeals which lie to the District Judge under sub-S. (1) or sub-S .(2) has been assigned to an Additional Judge, the appeals may be preferred to the Additional judge.
(4) The High Court may, with the previous sanction of the State Government, direct, by notification in the official Gazette that appeals lying in the Court of the District judge under sub-S. (2) from all or any of the decree or orders of any Munsif shall be preferred to the Court of such Subordinate Judge as may be mentioned in the notification, and the appeals shall thereupon be preferred accordingly.
CHAPTER IV Special jurisdiction
22. Power to transfer to Subordinate Judges, appeals from Munsifs.-
(1) A District Judge may transfer to any Subordinate Judge Under his administrative control any appeals pending before him from the decrees or orders of Munsifs.
(2) The district Judge may withdraw any appeal so transferred and either hear and dispose of it himself or transfer it to a Court under his administrative control competent to dispose of it.
(3) Appeals transferred under this section shall be disposed, of subject to the rule applicable to like appeals when disposed of by the District Judge.

23. Exercise by Subordinate Judge or Munsif of jurisdiction pf District Court in certain proceedings.-
(1) The High Court may, by general or special order, authorise any Subordinate Judge or Munsif to take Cognizance of, or any District judge to transfer to a Subordinate Judge or Munsif under his administrative control, any of the proceedings next hereinafter mentioned or any class of those proceedings specified in the order.
(2) The Proceedings referred to in sub-S. (1) are the following namely:
(a) Proceedings under Bengal Regulation 5, 1799 (to timit the interference of the Zila and City Courts of Diwani Adalat in the execution of wills and administrations to the estates of persons dying intestate).
(d) Proceedings under the Indian Succession Act, 1925 which cannot be disposed of by District Delegates; and

(e) Reference by Collectors under paragraph 5 of the Third Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
(3) The District Judge may withdraw any such proceeding taken cognizance of by, or transferred to, a subordinate Judge or Munsif, and may either himself dispose of them or transfer them to a Court under his administrative control competent to dispose of them.
24. Disposal of proceedings referred to in last foregoing section.-
(1) Proceedings taken cognizance of by, or transferred to, a Subordinate Judge or Munsif, as the case may be under the last foregoing section shall be disposed of by him subject to the rules applicable to like proceedings when disposed of by the District Judge:
Provided that an appeal from an order of a Munsif in any such proceedings shall lie to the District Judge:
(2) An appeal from the order of the District Judge on the appeal from the order of a Munsif under this section shall lie to the High Court if a further appeal from the order of the District Judge is allowed by the law for the time being in force.
25. Power to invest Subordinate Judges and Munsifs with Small Causes Court jurisdiction.- The state Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, confer, with such local limits as it thinks fit, upon any Subordinate Judge or Munsif the jurisdiction of a Judge of a Court of small Causes under the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. 1887 for the trial of suits cognizable by such Courts up to such value not exceeding seven hundred and fifty rupees in the case of a Subordinate Judge or three hundred rupees in the case of a Munsif as it thinks fit, and may withdraw any jurisdiction so conferred;
Provided that the State Government may by notification in the official Gazette delegate to the High Court its powers under this section.

Chapters V and VI containing Ss. 26 to 29 and 30 to 35 have
been repealed
CHAPTER VII
Supplemental provisions
36. Power to confer powers of Civil Courts on officers.-
(1) The State Government may invest with the powers of any Civil Court under this Act, by name or in virtue of office-
(a) any officer in the Chota Nagpur (Sambalpur), Jalpaiguri of Darjeeling District, or in any part of the State of Assam; or
(b) After consultation with the High Court, any officer serving in any other part of the territories to which this Act extends and belonging to a class defined in this behalf by the State Government.
(2) Nothing in S.4, 5,6,8,10 or 11 applies to any officer so invested, but all the other provisions of this Act, shall so far as those provisions can be made applicable, apply to him as if he were a Judge of the Court with the powers of which he is invested.
(3) Where in the territories mentioned in Cl. (a) of sub – S (1), the same local jurisdiction is assigned to two or more officers invested with the powers of a Munsif the officers invested with the powers of a District Judge may, with the previous sanction of the State Government, delegate his functions under sub-S .(2) of S. 13 to the officer invested with the powers of a Subordinate Judge or to one of the officers invested with the powers of a Munsif.
(4) Where the place at which the Court of an officer invested with the powers under sub-S. (1) is to be held has not been fixed under S. 14 , the Court may be held at any place within the local limits of his jurisdiction.
37. Certain decisions to be according to native law.-
(1) Where in any suit or other proceeding it is necessary for a Civil Court to decide any question regarding succession, inheritance, marriage or caste, or any religious usage or institution, the Mohammadan Law in cases where the parties are Mohammadans, and the Hindu Law in cases where the parties are Hindus shall form the rule of decision except in so far as such law, by legislative enactment, been altered or abolished.
(2) In cases not provided for in sub-S (1) or by any other law for the time being in force, the Court shall act according to justice, equity and goods conscience.
38. Judges not to try suits in which they are interested.-
(1) The presiding officer of a civil Court shall not try any suit or other proceeding to which he is a party or in which he is personally interested.
(2) The presiding officer of an Appellate Civil Court under this Act, shall not try an appeal against a decree or order passed by himself in another capacity.
(3) When any such suit, proceeding or appeal as is referred to in sub-S. (1) or sub - S. (2) , comes before any such officer, the officer shall forthwith transmit the record of the case to the Court to which he is immediately subordinate with a report of the circumstances attending the reference.
(4) The superior Court shall thereupon dispose of the case under S. 24 of the Coder of Civil Procedure, 1908.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect the extraordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Court.
39. Subordination of Courts to District Court.- For the purpose of the last foregoing section, the presiding officer of a subject to the administrative control of the District Judge shall be deemed to be immediately subordinate to the Court of the District Judge, and for the purpose of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the Court of such an officer shall be deemed to be of a grade inferior to that of the Court of the District Judge.

40. Application of Act to Provincial Courts of Small Causes.-
(1) This section, and Ss. 15, 31, 37, 38 and 39 shall apply to the Court of Small Causes constituted under the Provincial Small Causes Courts Act. 1887.
(2) Save as provided by this Act, the other sections of this Act do not apply to those Courts.

 

 

 

 

 
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