Order For Addition Of Party Under Order 1 Rule 10(2) Of CPC Is Not Appealable In Admiralty Suit U/s. 14 Of Admiralty Act: SC
The Supreme Court has observed that an order for addition of a party under Order 1 Rule 10(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure is not appealable under section 14 of the Admiralty Act.
The bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice AS Bopanna further held that "…an appeal does not lie to the Commercial Appellate Division of the High Court from an order of the Commercial Division (Single Bench) of the same High Court for addition of a party in an admiralty suit governed by the Admiralty Act."
The Court made this observation while dealing with an appeal challenging the Order passed by the Commercial Appellate Division of the Madras High Court allowing Commercial Appeal filed by the Respondent, and setting aside the order passed by the Commercial Division (Single Bench) of the High Court, adding Gulf Petroleum FZC as defendant in the Admiralty Suit filed by the Respondent, Banque Nationale De Geneve.
Senior Advocate Vishwanathan appeared for the appellant whereas Advocate Aditya Verma represented Respondents.
The Court noted that both Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act and Section 14 of the Admiralty Act contain non-obstante clauses giving the Sections overriding effect.
Section 14 of the Admiralty Act which begins with a non- obstante clause, provides that notwithstanding contained in any other law for the time being in force, an appeal shall lie from any judgment, decree or final order or interim order under the Admiralty Act, of a Single Judge of the High Court to a Division Bench of the High Court.
Section 13(2) of the Commercial Courts Act says notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, or the Letters Patent of the High Court, no appeal shall lie from any order or decree of a Commercial Division or Commercial Court otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act.
The Court observed that when two or more enactments operating in the same field contain a non obstante clause stating that its provisions will have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law, the conflict has to be resolved upon consideration of the purpose and policy underlying the enactments.
The Court noted that "it is clear from a reading of the Admiralty Act and the Commercial Courts Act, that orders passed under the Admiralty Act pertaining to the exercise of in rem jurisdiction by the High Court are the only orders which are appealable under section 14 of the Admiralty Act, whereas orders passed in the trial of a suit and on applications made under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 are not orders under the Admiralty Act but orders under the CPC which would be appealable only if they fall under Order 43 of the CPC as provided in Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act."
The Court further observed that "It could not possibly have been the legislative intent of the Admiralty Act to make all interim orders appealable. Such a wide interpretation of the expression "interim order" would mean that any party would be able to delay the trial and final disposal by filing appeals even from inconsequential orders calling for affidavits and the like."
The Court held that the Division Bench erred in law in allowing the appeal from the order of the Commercial Division (Single Judge) adding Gulf Petroleum as party defendant to the suit.
Cause Title- Owners and Parties Interested in the Vessel M.V. Polaris Galaxy v. Banque Cantonale De Geneve