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Report No. 3

Section 14

41. The Rankin Committee suggested that, following the language of section 11 of the C.P.C., in section 14, for the words "cause of action" the words "matter in issue" may be substituted. The words "cause of action" have the effect of making the relief too narrow and adequate relief would be available if, as suggested by the Civil Justice Committee, the words "matter in issue" are substituted for the words "cause of action". We are also of the view that prior proceedings in a court of Revision should be brought within the scope of this section. We recommend amendments to section 14 to give effect to these suggestions.

42. The view has been taken that Order 23, rule 1(2) of C.P.C. supersedes this section even in cases where the grounds of withdrawal are identical with the grounds under section 14 on which a suit or application could not be entertained by a court. If the withdrawal is based on grounds not covered by section 14, the plaintiff should not be allowed to take advantage of the exclusion of time under section 14. But there is no reason to deny him that right when the grounds of withdrawal are those contemplated by that section. To avoid this hardship, it is necessary to introduce a suitable amendment in section 14 to the effect that if a suit or application is withdrawn on grounds similar to those specified in that section, the litigant should be allowed to exclude the time spent in prosecuting such proceedings. Rule 2 of Order XXIII C.P.C. should not apply in such cases.

43. A suggestion was made that a further explanation to section 14 should be added extending the scope of the expression "other cause of a like nature" so as to bring within its ambit cases where the High Court exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution rejects a petition in the exercise of its discretion on the ground that the applicant has an alternative remedy by way of suit. The object of section 14 is to give relief to a person who institutes proceedings which by reason of some technical defect are thrown out.

If a party knowing that he has a remedy by way of suit which has to be instituted within the period of limitation waits till the last moment and considers it better or more convenient to have resort to a cheaper remedy by invoking the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and the Court dismisses the application on the ground that the party has another remedy, such rejection should not be treated as a technical defect by reason of which the applicant could not obtain the relief he wanted. He elects between two remedies and the Court rejects the application on the ground that the appropriate remedy was by way of suit. There may be cases of suits or other proceedings in which similar situations might arise. Thus the supposed hardship is confined to an application under Article 226 of the Constitution. To accept this suggestion would be to extend the policy underlying the section to cases not contemplated by it. The ground suggested cannot be regarded as a "cause of a like nature".

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