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THE PRESIDENCY SMALL CAUSE COURTS ACT, 1882

Title : THE PRESIDENCY SMALL CAUSE COURTS ACT, 1882

Year : 1882



There shall be in each of the towns of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay a Court, to be called the Court of Small Causes of Calcutta Madras or Bombay, as the case may be.



The Small Cause Court shall be deemed to be a Court subject to the superintendence of 1*[The High Court at Calcutta], Madras or Bombay, as the case may be, within the meaning of the Letters Patent, respectively, dated the twenty-eighth day of December, 1865, for such High Courts, and within the meaning of the {See now the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act 5 of 1908)} Code of Civil Procedure (14 of 1882) { Inserted by Act 1 of 1895, section 2}[and to be a Court subordinate to the High Court within the meaning of section 6 of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1879 (18 of 1879)], and the High Court shall have, in respect of the Small Cause Court, the same powers as it has under the {The Indian High Courts Act, 1861, was repealed by the G.of I.Act, 1915.See now the Constitution of India, Art.227}twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth of Victoria, Chapter 104, section 15, in respect of Courts subject to its appellate jurisdiction. {Substitute by the A.O.1937 for the original section 7.Cf.Constitution of India, Arts.233-236.}

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1. Substituted for the words "the High Court at Judicature at Fort William" by the Presidency Small Cause Courts (West Bengal Amendment) Act 1958 w.e.f. 01-11-1958.

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There shall be appointed from time to time a Chief Judge of the Small Cause Court and as many other Judges as the State Government thinks fit.]



The Chief Judge shall be the first of the Judges in rank and precedence. The other Judges shall have rank and precedence as the State Government may, from time to time, direct. {Subs.by Act 3 of 1899, s.3, for the original s.

8A which had been ins.by Act 1 of 1895, s.4.}[8A.Performance of duties of absent Judge.-

(1) During any absence of the Chief Judge or any Judge of the said Court, or during the period for which any Judge is acting as Chief Judge, the State Government may appoint any person, having {Subs.by the A.O.1937 for "the qualifications required by s.7".As to requisite qualifications of Chief Judge, see Constitution of India, Art.233; of other Judges see rules under Art.234, ibid.}[the requisite qualifications], to act as Chief Judge or Judge of the said Court, as the case may be.

(2) Every person so appointed shall be authorized to perform the duties of the Chief Judge or a Judge of the said Court until the return of the absent Chief Judge or Judge, or of the Judge acting as Chief Judge, or until the State Government sees cause to cancel the appointment of such acting Chief Judge or Judge, as the case may be.] {Subs.by Act 1 of 1895, s.5, for the original section.}

8A - Performance of duties of absent Judge

(1) During any absence of the Chief Judge or any Judge of the said Court, or during the period for which any Judge is acting as Chief Judge, the State Government may appoint any person, having {Subs.by the A.O.1937 for "the qualifications required by s.7".As to requisite qualifications of Chief Judge, see Constitution of India, Art.233; of other Judges see rules under Art.234, ibid.}[the requisite qualifications], to act as Chief Judge or Judge of the said Court, as the case may be.

(2) Every person so appointed shall be authorized to perform the duties of the Chief Judge or a Judge of the said Court until the return of the absent Chief Judge or Judge, or of the Judge acting as Chief Judge, or until the State Government sees cause to cancel the appointment of such acting Chief Judge or Judge, as the case may be.



(1) The High Court may, from time to time, by rules {Cf.the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act 5 of 1908), s.8, proviso} having the force of law,-

(a) Prescribe the procedure to be followed and the practice to be observed by the Small Cause Court either in supersession of or in addition to any provisions which were prescribed with respect to the procedure or practice of the Small Cause Court on or before the thirty-first day of December, 1894, in or under this Act or any other enactment for the time being in force; and

{Inserted by Act 3 of 1899, section 4.} [(aa) empower the Registrar to hear and dispose of undefended suits and interlocutory applications or matters, and]

(b) Cancel or vary any such rule or rules.

Rules made under this section may provide, among other matters, for the exercise by one or more of the Judges of the Small Cause Court of any powers conferred on the Small Cause Court by this Act or any other enactment for the time being in force.

(2) The law, and any rules and declarations made, or purporting to be made, thereunder, with respect to procedure or practice, in force or treated as in force in the Small Cause Court on the thirty-first day of December, 1894, shall be in force, unless and until cancelled or varied by rules made by the High Court under this section.]



Subject to such rules, the Chief Judge may, from time to time, make such arrangements as he thinks fit for the distribution of the business of the Court among the various Judges thereof.



Save as hereinafter otherwise provided, when two or more of the Judges sitting together differ on any question, the opinion of the majority shall prevail; and if the Court is equally divided, the Chief Judge, if he is one of the Judges so differing, or, in his absence, the Judge first in rank and precedence of the Judges so differing, shall have the casting voice.



The Small Cause Court shall use a seal of such form and dimensions as are for the time being prescribed by the State Government. {Substituted by the A.O.1937 for the original section 13.}



There shall be appointed an officer to be called the Registrar of the Court who shall be the chief ministerial officer of the Court; there shall also be appointed a Deputy Registrar and as many clerks, bailiffs and other ministerial officers as may be necessary for the administration of justice by the Court and for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties conferred and imposed on it by this Act or any other law for the time being in force.

The Registrar and other officers so appointed shall exercise such powers and discharge such duties, of a ministerial nature, as the Chief Judge may, from time to time, by rule direct.]



The State Government may invest the Registrar with the powers of a Judge under this Act for the trial of suits in which the amount or value of the subject-matter does not exceed twenty rupees.And, subject to the orders of the Chief Judge, any Judge of the Small Cause Court may, whenever he thinks fit, transfer from his own file to the file of the Registrar any suit which the latter is competent to try.{Inserted by Act 1 of 1895, section6.}

[Explanation.-For the purposes of this section an application for possession under section 41 shall be deemed to be a suit.]



No Judge or other officer appointed under this Act shall, during his continuance as such Judge or officer, either by himself or as a partner of any other person, practice or act, either directly or indirectly, as an advocate, attorney, vakil or other legal practitioner, or be concerned, either on his own account or for any other person, or as the partner of any other person, in any trade or profession.
Any such Judge or officer so practicing, acting or concerned shall be deemed to have committed an offence under section 168 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prohibit any such Judge or officer from being a member of any company incorporated or registered under Royal Charter, Letters Patent, {Substituted by the A.O.1950 for "Act of Parliament or Act of the Central Legislature or of any Legislature established in a Province of India".The words in italics were Substituted by the A.O.1948 for "any British Indian Legislature".}[Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom or Central Act or Provincial Act or1*[State Act].

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1. Substituted by 2 A.L.O. 1956 for the Words " Acts of the Legislature of a Part A State or a Part C State.
 
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All questions, other than questions relating to procedure or practice, which arise in suits or other proceedings under this Act in the Small Cause Court shall be dealt with and determined according to the law for the time being administered by the High Court in the exercise of its ordinary original civil jurisdiction.



The local limits of the jurisdiction of each of the Small Cause Courts shall be the local limits for the time being of the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Court.



Subject to the exceptions in section 19, the Small Cause Court shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature-

When the amount or value of the subject-matter does not exceed two thousand rupees: and

(a) The cause of action has arisen, either wholly or in part, within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Small Cause Court, and the leave of the Court has, for reasons to be recorded by it in writing, been given before the institution of the suit; or

(b) All the defendants, at the time of the institution of the suit, actually and voluntarily reside, or carry on business or personally work for gain, within such local limits; or

(c) Any of the defendants at the time of the institution of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or personally works for gain, within such local limits, and either the leave of the Court has been given before the institution of the suit, or the defendants who do not reside, or carry on business, or personally work for gain, as aforesaid, acquiesce in such institution; {Ins.by Act 1 of 1895, s.7.}[Provided that where the cause of action has arisen wholly within the local limits aforesaid, and the Court refuses to give leave for the institution of the suit, it shall record in writing its reasons for such refusal.]

Explanation I.- When in any suit the sum claimed is, by a set-off admitted by both parties, reduced to a balance not exceeding two thousand rupees, the Small Cause Court shall have jurisdiction to try such suit.

Explanation II.- Where a person has a permanent dwelling at one place and also a lodging at another place for a temporary purpose only, he shall be deemed to reside at both places in respect of any cause of action arising at the place where he has such temporary lodging.

Explanation III.-A Corporation or Company shall be deemed to carry on business at its sole or principal office in1[India], or, in respect of any cause of action arising at any place where it has also a subordinate office, at such place. {Ins.by Act 1 of 1895, s.8}

[18A.Plaintiff may abandon suit against defendant resident out of jurisdiction.-

The Small Cause Court may allow a plaintiff at or before the first hearing of a suit in which a joint and several liability is alleged on a cause of action arising either wholly or in part within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Court to abandon the suit as against any defendant who does not reside or carry on business or personally work for gain within such local limits, and to sue for a decree against such defendants only as do so reside, carry on business or personally work for gain.]

18A - Plaintiff may abandon suit against defendant resident out of jurisdiction

The Small Cause Court may allow a plaintiff at or before the first hearing of a suit in which a joint and several liability is alleged on a cause of action arising either wholly or in part within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Court to abandon the suit as against any defendant who does not reside or carry on business or personally work for gain within such local limits, and to sue for a decree against such defendants only as do so reside, carry on business or personally work for gain.

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1.Substituted for the words " a Part A State or a Part C State" by 2 A.L.O., 1956 w.e.f. 01-11-1956

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Last updated on July, 2016

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