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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Admittedly the vessel is berthed at the Madras harbor and, therefore, the Madras High Court alone had jurisdiction to entertain any claim against the subject vessel as per provisions of Section 3(15) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. The arrest of vessel by the Madras High Court being the first arrest, the vessel and the sale proceeds are custodial legis of the said court and no proceedings in Bombay High Court can be maintained subsequently without leave of the Madras High Court. It is also not in dispute that after the decree got transmitted to the Madras High Court, appellant had again moved Bombay High Court and obtained attachment order without notice to the creditors and claimants before the Madras High Court, which act of the appellant clearly exposes that it conveniently wanted to avoid any contest of its claim by other creditors/claimants. It has not been disputed by the appellant that the Bombay High Court while passing the order of attachment was not aware about the fact that the vessel was seized by the Madras High Court much prior to the filing of the suit by the appellant in Bombay High Court. The Division Bench in the impugned order has recorded the finding that Madras High Court while deciding the issues in the suit filed under admiralty jurisdiction had considered the interest and also priorities of all interveners and also parties to the suit. It was held that the appellant ought to have made claim under Order XLII Rule 11 of the OS Rules. The Division Bench rightly held that no court is so prestige conscious that it will stand in the way of legitimate legal proceedings for redressal or relief sought for by the litigant. The Court also took notice of the fact that the necessary parties who had led their claims had not been impleaded by the appellant in the proceedings. 30. In the facts and circumstances of the case and having regard to the law settled, so far the admiralty jurisdiction of the Court is concerned, we do not find any reason to differ with the findings recorded by the Division Bench of the High Court in the impugned order. For the reason aforesaid, we do not find any merit in this appeal, which is accordingly dismissed, however with no order as to costs.

   



                                                            'REPORTABLE'

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.6156 OF 2005


Petromarine Products Ltd.                    ...Appellant (s)

                                  versus

Ocean Marine Services Company Ltd.
and others                              ...Respondent(s)

                                  JUDGMENT

M.Y. Eqbal, J.:


       This  appeal  is  directed  against  the  judgment  and  order  dated
27.11.2003 passed by a Division Bench of the High Court  of  Madras  in  OSA
No.175 of 1998, dismissing the appeal  of  the  appellant,  upholding  inter
alia the disbursements made by Single Judge of the  sale  proceeds  received
by sale of the ship in question named as motor vessel 'Eleni'.

2.    The factual matrix of the case is that in  February,  1997  Respondent
No.1 filed a suit being C.S.No.97 of 1997 under the  Admiralty  Jurisdiction
of High Court of Madras, for recovery of US$  22,705.84  against  Respondent
No.3 herein along with an application praying for an order of arrest of  the
vessel which arrived at Port of Madras. The High Court  in  terms  of  Order
dated 27.2.1997 issued arrest warrant.  Whereas in the  Bombay  High  Court,
Appellant filed an admiralty suit A.S.No.27  of  1997  in  March,  1997  for
recovery of amount of US$ 39,712.97 i.e. the security  of  Appellant's  suit
claim. On 19.03.1997, Bombay High Court directed  the  order  of  arrest  of
Vessel M.V. Eleni.

3.    Meanwhile, High Court of Madras appointed  Respondent  No.  2  as  the
Advocate Commissioner. On 25.04.1997, terms and  conditions  for  sale  were
approved by the Madras High Court. Publications with respect to the sale  of
the  said  vessel  were  made  in  various  newspapers.   Unaware  of   such
proceedings, Bombay High Court, on 11.09.1997, passed  an   ex-parte  decree
in the suit filed by  the  appellant  for  a  sum  of   US$  50,081.74  with
interest, which was communicated to the  Advocate  Commissioner  (Respondent
No.2), appointed by the Madras High Court,  with a request to take  note  of
their claim against the Vessel. The Sheriff of Mumbai  also communicated  to
Respondent No.2 on 21.10.1997 that the Vessel MV ELENI was arrested  in  due
compliance of Warrant of Arrest dated 18.03.1997 and  21.03.1997  passed  by
the High Court of Bombay and requested them  to  take  note  of  the  arrest
order  passed  by  Bombay  High  Court.    Before   the   aforesaid   decree
transmitted by the Bombay High Court was received by the Madras  High  Court
on 24.1.1998, learned Single Judge of the Madras High  Court  confirmed  the
sale in favour of M/s. Jansee Steel Industry Pvt. Ltd. on 24.10.1997.     In
the execution petition moved by the  appellant  in  February,  1998,  Bombay
High Court issued notice under Order 21 Rule 52 of  the  C.P.C.,  requesting
the Madras High Court to hold the decretal sum in  an  aggregate  amount  of
US$ 58,325.64 from and out of the  funds  deposited  by  M/s.  Jansee  Steel
Industries.

4.    It is worth to  note  here  that  the  tender  of  M/s.  Jansee  Steel
Industries had been challenged by another company M/s. Bancorex  by  way  of
another suit being O.S.A.No.15 of 1998,  which  ultimately  was  allowed  on
23.4.1998 by Madras High Court by setting aside  the  confirmation  of  sale
made in favour of M/s. Jansee and the matter  was  remanded  to  the  Single
Judge to ensure that the best  possible  price  is  secured.   Consequently,
learned Single Judge accepted the only bid of M/s.   Jansee  Steel  Industry
Pvt. Ltd. for a sum of US$ 4,70,000  and  they  were  directed  to  pay  the
balance consideration within three weeks, failing which  the  earnest  money
deposited by them would stand  forfeited.  Advocate  commissioner  was  also
directed to deposit the entire amount to the credit  of  the  suit.   Madras
High Court confirmed the sale made in favour of M/s. Jansee  Steel  Industry
Pvt. Ltd. on 05.10.1998 and ordered reimbursement of cost of  sale,  payment
to the crew members and charges to the statutory authorities.

5.    On 25.09.1998, Bombay High Court  informed  the  passing  of  ex-parte
decree in favour of appellant and asked Registrar of the Madras  High  Court
to remit the funds lying attached pursuant to Order 21 Rule 52  Notice.   On
7th October 1998, Bombay High Court made a further order in  favour  of  the
appellant who filed execution  petition  in  the  Bombay  High  Court.   The
Registry of Bombay High Court sent letters dated 28.01.1999, 09.03.1999  and
11.03.1999, requesting the Registrar of the Madras High Court to give  reply
for non-remittance of the attached funds.  Finally,  on  03.09.1999,  Bombay
High Court gave liberty to the appellant, to  obtain  suitable  orders  from
the Madras High Court and closed the Execution Application.



6.    Meanwhile after the confirmation of the sale, the sale  proceeds  were
disbursed to the crew members of statutory authorities and  a direction  was
issued on 6.10.1998 to the  commissioner to deposit the  balance  amount  of
Rs. 12,38,164/-.



7.    Thereafter, appellant challenged the order dated 06.10.1998 passed  by
single Judge in Application No.1217 of 1997 in C.S.No.97 of  1997,  pleading
before the Division Bench of the Madras High Court that on  the  service  of
notice issued by the Bombay High Court under  Order  21  Rule  52  CPC,  the
appellant was entitled to the decretal amount alone and the amount  attached
ought not to have been disbursed to third  parties  and  the  custody  court
namely  the  Madras  High  Court  has  no   authority   to   make   rateable
distribution.  Per contra, it was submitted on  behalf  of  the  respondents
before the Madras High Court that the  appellant  failed  to  bring  to  the
notice of the Bombay High Court that  the  Madras  High  Court  was  already
seized with the matter.  Had the appellant brought  to  the  notice  of  the
Bombay High Court about the  proceedings  entertained  by  the  Madras  High
Court, which were much prior to the suit filed  by  them,  the  Bombay  High
Court would not have passed the attachment order.



8.    After hearing learned counsel for the parties, Division Bench  of  the
Madras High  Court  dismissed  the  application  keeping  it  open  for  the
appellant to lay their claim under Order  XLII  Rule  11  of  Original  Side
Rules.  The Division Bench  held  that  once  the  suit  is  filed  invoking
admiralty jurisdiction of the  Madras  High  Court,  the  suit  in  rem,  it
decides the interest of not only parties to the suit but also other  parties
who are interested in the property under arrest or in the  fund.   The  High
Court observed thus:-

"Madras High Court, while deciding  the  issues  in  the  suit  filed  under
admiralty jurisdiction has considered the interest and  also  priorities  of
all interveners and also parties to the suit.  We  follow  the  judgment  of
Apex Court in M.V. Elisabeth and others vs. Harwan Investment & Trading  Pvt
Ltd., Hanoekar House, Swatontapeth,  Vasco-De-Gama,  Goa,  reported  in  AIR
1993 SC 1014. The catena of judgments relied on by the appellant are no  way
useful to them.  The appellant ought to have made the claim  under  Rule  11
of Order XLII of O.S.  Rules.  In  the  ordinary  course,  no  Court  is  so
prestige-conscious that it  will  stand  in  the  way  of  legitimate  legal
proceedings for redressal or relief sought for by  the  litigant.   We  find
that necessary parties are not impleaded by the appellant herein and  Jansee
Steel Industries Pvt. Ltd., which is  sought  to  be  impleaded  as  seventh
respondent in this appeal, is not a necessary party to resolve the  disputes
involved in this appeal.  It is not open to the  appellant  to  convert  the
appeal against the order dated 05.10.1998  instead  of  06.10.1998,  as  the
leave  was  granted  to  file  the  appeal  only  against  the  order  dated
06.10.1998. Liberty was granted to  Appellant  to  file  their  claim  under
Order XLII Rule 11 of O.S. Rules."


9.    Hence, this appeal by special leave by the appellant.

10.   Ms. Vijaylaxmi Menon, learned counsel  appearing  for  the  appellant,
assailed the impugned order passed by  the  Madras  High  Court  on  various
grounds.  At the very outset, learned counsel submitted that the High  Court
erred in holding  that  money  lying  with  the  Advocate  Commissioner  was
custodial legis.  Learned counsel contended  that  the  High  Court  in  the
impugned  judgment  overlooked   that   the   appellant-execution   creditor
attempted to intervene in the pending admiralty  suit  in  the  Madras  High
Court on 12th December, 1997 leading to an order dated 24th  January,  1998,
whereby the appellant was directed to work out its  remedies  in  execution.
In other words, the appellant was not allowed to intervene  in  the  pending
admiralty suit in the Madras High Court.  On the contrary,  the  High  Court
held that the appellant ought to have been intervened in the suit  with  its
application under Order 42 Rule 11 of the Original Side Rules of the  Madras
High Court.

11.   Ms. Menon  further contended that there is nothing  in  the  aforesaid
O.S.  Rules  that  requires  a  decree  holder,  who  has  secured  a  valid
attachment,  to  seek  to  intervene  in   the   pending   admiralty   suit,
particularly, when in the previous application filed by the  decree  holder,
an order  has already been passed directing the decree holder  to  work  out
its remedies in execution.

12.   Learned counsel further contended that the High Court  overlooked  the
grievances of the appellant and failed  to  appreciate  the  fact  that  the
custody Court was acting in a dual capacity of  an  admiralty  Court  vested
with the higher degree of responsibility and accountability  upon  both  the
Registrar of Madras High Court and the Advocate  Commissioner  appointed  in
the pending admiralty suit.

13.   Lastly, learned counsel submitted that the order of Bombay High  Court
dated 3rd September,  1999  at  no  stage  ever  ordered  dismissal  of  the
Appellant's Execution Application, either before or after the  disbursal  of
monies by the Madras High Court.  Thus, no scope or  requirement  arose  for
the Appellant to challenge the  Order  dated  3rd  September,  1999  of  the
Bombay High Court.  The surrounding circumstances preceding such  order  are
important,  viz.  that  faced  with  a  brazen  silence  and  the  lack   of
explanation, since the Registrar of the Madras High Court failed to  respond
despite order of the Bombay High Court, the only restrained option  left  to
the Bombay High Court was to enable the appellant  to  urge  matters  before
the Madras High Court.  Ordinary remedies of contempt of Court  in  relation
to non-compliance of orders of the Bombay High Court  by  the  Registrar  of
the Madras High Court were available, but were  rather  too  harsh  for  the
Appellant to pursue, hence the Appellant pursued its Appeal already  pending
before the Madras High Court.

14.    Mr. Vipin Nair, learned counsel appearing for the respondent  Nos.  1
to 4, firstly submitted that the Bombay High Court by order  dated  3.9.1999
had directed the appellant to make its claim before the Madras  High  Court,
but the  appellant  had  not  challenged  that  order,  which  attained  the
finality.   Moreover, the High Court  of Madras by order  dated  27.11.2003,
had given liberty to the appellant to lay the claim before  it  under  Order
42  Rule 11 of the Rules of the Madras High  Court.   Learned  counsel  then
submitted that there are seven other creditors,  whose  claims  are  pending
before the Madras High Court.  Those creditors are parties to the  suit  and
they have lost their claim before the Madras high  Court  against  the  sale
proceeds lying in the High Court.

15.   Learned counsel then submitted that the Madras High  Court  being  the
transferee Court had jurisdiction to determine the  inter-se  priorities  of
all the creditors or the claimants, in terms of proviso to Order 21 Rule  52
of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as the vessel/ ship was sold free  from
all encumbrances, being a sale conducted in an action in rem.

16.   Learned counsel submitted that the  appellant  had  knowledge  of  the
proceedings pending before the learned  Single  Judge  of  the  Madras  High
Court, where all the creditors  were  seeking  relief  for  disbursement  of
fund.  The appellant had chosen not to object to the said  disbursement  and
not participated in the proceeding.  The  appellant,  who  is  an  unsecured
creditor, by standing outside the Court  cannot  claim  exclusively  on  the
basis of an order of attachment.

17.   We have elaborately  heard  the  learned  counsel  appearing  for  the
parties.  It has been pleaded on behalf of the appellant that the  appellant
had obtained a decree for a sum of US$  50,081.74  with  interest  from  the
Bombay High Court in a  suit  against  the  judgment  debtor  and  had  also
obtained an order of sale of a ship of the judgment debtor which  was  lying
in the territorial waters of India at Madras.  The said ship had  also  been
attached by the orders  of  the  Madras  High  Court  in  a  suit  filed  by
respondent No.1 for US$ 15,975.04.  The Division Bench of  the  Madras  High
Court on 17.4.1997 appointed an Advocate Commissioner in order to bring  the
said ship to sale, with a view to preserve/prevent  her  from  deterioration
and thereby protect her creditors.  It is further  pleaded  that  in  April,
1997 the ship was brought to sale and  on  26.5.1997  an  earnest  money  of
Rs.35,60,000/- was received by  the  Advocate  Commissioner  from  one  M/s.
Jansee Steel Industries Pvt. Ltd.  On 24.8.1997, the  bid  of  Jansee  Steel
Industries Pvt. Ltd was accepted and the Madras  High  Court  confirmed  the
sale in its favour and the balance amount was directed to be remitted.   The
Advocate Commissioner was informed about the  decree  of  the  appellant  on
25.9.1997.  On 24.1.1998, the Madras High Court again confirmed the sale  in
favour of M/s. Jansee Steel Industries Pvt. Ltd.  In  April  1998,  however,
the said sale was set aside in appeal and a fresh sale was directed.



18.   It is appellant's case that in an execution application filed  by  the
appellant, Bombay High Court on 17.3.1998 issued an attachment  order  under
Order 21 Rule 52 of the CPC directing attachment of a sum of  US$  58,325.64
(approximately Rs.20 lakhs) from and out of  the  funds  deposited  by  M/s.
Jansee Steel Industries Pvt. Ltd. until further orders of  the  Madras  High
Court.  The said order of attachment was received by the Madras  High  Court
on 16th June, 1998.  Meanwhile, on 23.4.1998, the sale was set aside  and  a
fresh tender was directed by the Division Bench of the  Madras  High  Court.
However, the amount of earnest money lying with  the  Advocate  Commissioner
was not returned to M/s. Jansee Steel Industries  Pvt.  Ltd.   On  1.9.1998,
Madras High Court accepted the only bid  of  M/s.  Jansee  Steel  Industries
Pvt. Ltd. and directed that the moneys be held over to the  account  of  the
suit.   On  7.9.1998,  Registry  of  the  Madras  High  Court  effected  the
attachment and returned the notice of the  Bombay  High  Court  with  a  pro
order to the Bombay High Court confirming that the monies  directed  by  the
Bombay High Court to be attached stood  duly  held  to  the  credit  of  the
appellant.  On 25.9.1998, Bombay High Court passed an  order  directing  the
Registrar of the Madras High Court to remit the funds lying pursuant to  the
Order 21 Rule 52 attachment.



19.   The appellant's case in a nutshell is that  ignoring  the  decree  and
the attachment of the Bombay High Court, the Madras High Court on  5.10.1998
paid moneys to the crew and other charges to other  creditors  who  have  no
decree in their favour.  On  6.10.1998,  on  an  application  filed  by  the
Advocate Commissioner showing  the  disbursements,  the  Madras  High  Court
confirmed the disbursements and directed that the balance amount  be  placed
in a fixed deposit in view of the order of the Bombay High Court  which,  it
is specifically stated,  was  brought  to  its  notice  on  6.10.1998  only.
Learned counsel vehemently contended that the aforesaid  events  would  show
that even though the appellant was a decree holder  and  had  priority  over
all  other  creditors,  money  was  disbursed  without   there   being   any
adjudication of priority or dispute of  title  by  the  Madras  High  Court,
which disbursement could only have been done by Bombay High  Court.  Learned
counsel for the appellant also contended  that  Madras  High  Court  had  no
jurisdiction to deal with the moneys once the same were attached under  Rule
52 of Order 21 CPC.



20.   It is the case of the respondent that the appellant had  knowledge  of
the proceedings before the Madras High Court right from  its  inception  and
despite this, the appellant did not participate in any  of  the  proceedings
before the learned Single Judge and allowed orders to be  passed.   Division
Bench of the Madras High Court vide impugned judgment has, therefore,  given
liberty to the appellant to make its claims before the learned Single  Judge
under Order XLII Rule 11 of O.S. Rules of the Madras  High  Court.   It  has
been further contended that the appellant specifically stated  in  its  suit
filed before the Bombay High Court that the subject vessel is lying  in  the
port at Chennai and it is only to conveniently avoid the contest with  other
creditors who have all lodged their claims before the Madras High Court  the
suit was filed in Bombay.  Further, the  appellant  was  the  lone  claimant
before the Bombay High Court whereas all the other claimants  were  pursuing
their claims before the Madras High Court, which alone has  jurisdiction  to
decide on the rights of the parties and  the  inter  se  priorities  amongst
them.



21.     Admittedly  the  vessel  is  berthed  at  the  Madras  harbor   and,
therefore, the Madras High Court alone had  jurisdiction  to  entertain  any
claim against the subject vessel as per provisions of Section 3(15)  of  the
Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.   The arrest  of  vessel  by  the  Madras  High
Court being  the  first  arrest,  the  vessel  and  the  sale  proceeds  are
custodial legis of the said court and no proceedings in  Bombay  High  Court
can be maintained subsequently without leave of the Madras High  Court.   It
is also not in dispute that after the decree got transmitted to  the  Madras
High Court, appellant  had  again  moved  Bombay  High  Court  and  obtained
attachment order without notice to the creditors and  claimants  before  the
Madras High Court, which act  of  the  appellant  clearly  exposes  that  it
conveniently  wanted  to  avoid  any  contest  of   its   claim   by   other
creditors/claimants.



22.   We have gone through the relevant provisions of Order XLII  of  Madras
High Court Original Side Rules:  The said Rule reads as under:-

"Rule 3. In suits in rem a warrant for the arrest of  the   property   maybe
issued  at the instance either of the plaintiff or of the defendant  at  any
time after the suit has been instituted, but no warrant  of   arrest   shall
be issued  until  an  affidavit by the party or his agent  has  been  filed,
and the following provisions complied with:
A. The affidavit shall state the  name  and  description  of  the party   at
 whose instance the warrant is to be issued, the  nature  of  the  claim  or
counter-claim, the name and nature of the property to be arrested, and  that
the claim or counter-claim has not been satisfied.
B.  In a suit of wages or of  possession,  the  affidavit  shall  state  the
national character of the vessel  proceeded  against;  and  if   against   a
foreign  vessel,  that notice of the institution of the suit has been  given
to the consul of the State to which the vessel  belongs,  if  there  be  one
resident in Madras and a  copy  of  the  notice  shall  be  annexed  to  the
affidavit.
C.      In  a  suit  of  bottomry,  the  bottomry  bond  and  if  a  foreign
language also a notarial  translation  thereof,  shall   be   produced   for
the
inspection  and  perusal  of  the Registrar, and a copy of the bond,  or  of
the translation  thereof,  certified  to  be  correct   shall   be   annexed
to  the
affidavit.
D.      In  a  suit  of   distribution   of  salvage,  the  affidavit  shall
state the amount of salvage money awarded or agreed to  be   accepted,   and
the name and address and description of the party holding the same.

8.    In suits in rem, sevice of summons or warrant  against  ship,  freight
or cargo  on  board  is  to  effected by nailing or  affixing  the  original
writ or
warrant for a short time on the main mast or  on  the  single  mast  of  the
vessel and  by  taking off the process leaving a true copy of it  nailed  or
affixed in its place.

11.     In a suit in rem, any person not named in  the  writ  may  intervene
and appear  on  filing  an affidavit showing that he is  interested  in  the
property under arrest or in the fund in the Registry."


23.   Perusal of the aforesaid Rule  would  show  that  in  a  suit  in  rem
warrant of arrest of vessel is issued by  the  High  Court,  all  interested
persons shall have a right to intervene and lay their  claim  by  filing  an
affidavit showing that he is interested in the property under arrest.

24.   In the impugned judgment, Madras High Court has discussed  elaborately
the sequence  of  events  and  reasons  of  disallowing  the  claim  of  the
appellant.

25.   Indisputably in admiralty  proceedings,  where  several  persons  have
lodged their claim, even the attachment made by Bombay High Court has to  be
decided only if an application for  payment  of  attached  amount  is  made.
Admittedly the  appellant  without  approaching  the  admiralty  proceedings
sought a declaration that it is  not  entitled  to  priority.   Being  fully
aware of the development of the proceedings and suits  in  the  Madras  High
Court, the appellant did not  raise  any  objection.   In  the  result,  the
learned Single Judge  of  the  Madras  High  Court  after  hearing  all  the
parties, who had approached the Court, passed the order.  In our  considered
opinion, once the decree was transferred and transmitted by the Bombay  High
Court to the Madras High Court, the  appellant  could  not  have  moved  the
Bombay High Court and obtained an order without notice to the creditors  and
claimants.  We are further of the view that when the  property  was  in  the
custody of Madras High Court, being the  transferee  court  in  question  of
title of priority arisen between the person having decree in his favour  and
person not being the judgment debtor is to be determined by  the  transferee
court.  We are unable to accept the submission of the  learned  counsel  for
the appellant that after order of attachment under Order XX1  Rule  52  CPC,
the Registry of Madras High Court had to remit the  amount  to  Bombay  High
Court ignoring the pendency of proceedings in the Madras High Court.

26.   The decision in Shivshankar  Gurgar   vs.  Dilip,  (2014)  2  SCC  465
relied upon by Mrs. Menon, learned counsel appearing for the appellant,  for
the proposition that the executing court cannot go behind the decree is  not
at all applicable in the facts of the present case.  In the  said  decision,
while considering an order of modification of the compromise decree  by  the
executing court it was held that it will amount to  modification  of  decree
and, therefore, the same is without jurisdiction.  Similarly,  the  decision
in the case  of  Oil  and  Natural  Gas  Corporation  Limited   vs.   Modern
Construction and Company, (2014) 1 SCC 648, for the proposition that in  the
absence of any challenge to the decree the executing court cannot go  behind
the decree, will also be of no help to the appellant.

27.   Further Mrs. Menon relied upon a  decision  in  the  case  of  Shaukat
Hussain alias Ali Akram and Others vs. Smt. Bhuneshwari Devi (dead) by  Lrs.
and Others, (1972) 2 SCC 731 with regard to the power  of  the  court  which
passed the decree and the transferee court where the decree  is  transferred
will equally have no application in the present case where the  Madras  High
Court exercised admiralty jurisdiction.

28.   It is worth to mention here that the Bombay  High  Court  on  3.9.1999
gave liberty to the appellant to move the Madras High Court for  appropriate
order for disbursement of amount.  The Bombay Court  held  that  no  further
direction is required.  For better appreciation, the  order  dated  3.9.1999
in the admiralty suit filed by the appellant is quoted hereinbelow :-
"According to the office of the Prothonotary the position remains  the  same
as 31st august, 1999.  In other words, no communication  has  been  received
from the Madras High Court.  However, Ms. Sethna, learned counsel  appearing
for the plaintiff, has very fairly brought to the notice of  this  Court  an
order passed by the Madras High Court on 6th October, 1998.  After  noticing
the orders passed by this Court, the Madras High Court is directed that  the
amount of Rs.12,38,164/- should be  deposited  in  a  fixed  deposit  for  a
period of 46 days renewable periodically if necessary in  the  name  of  the
Registrar, High Court, Madras  to  the  credit  of  the  suit.   As  noticed
earlier, the plaintiff has already  filed  Appeal  No.175  of  1998  in  the
Madras High Court.  In view of the above the plaintiffs are  at  liberty  to
move the Madras High Court for appropriate orders for  disbursement  of  the
aforesaid amount on the basis of the decree passed by this Court.

In view of the above no further directions are required.

      ........"


29.   It has not been disputed by the appellant that the Bombay  High  Court
while passing the order of attachment was not aware about the fact that  the
vessel was seized by the Madras High Court much prior to the filing  of  the
suit by the appellant in Bombay High  Court.   The  Division  Bench  in  the
impugned order has  recorded  the  finding  that  Madras  High  Court  while
deciding the issues in the  suit  filed  under  admiralty  jurisdiction  had
considered the interest and also priorities  of  all  interveners  and  also
parties to the suit.  It was held that the  appellant  ought  to  have  made
claim under Order XLII Rule 11 of the OS Rules.  The Division Bench  rightly
held that no court is so prestige conscious that it will stand  in  the  way
of legitimate legal proceedings for redressal or relief sought  for  by  the
litigant.  The Court also  took  notice  of  the  fact  that  the  necessary
parties who had led their claims had not been impleaded by the appellant  in
the proceedings.

30.   In the facts and circumstances of the case and having  regard  to  the
law settled, so far the admiralty jurisdiction of the  Court  is  concerned,
we do not find any reason to  differ  with  the  findings  recorded  by  the
Division Bench of the High Court in the  impugned  order.   For  the  reason
aforesaid, we do not find any merit in this  appeal,  which  is  accordingly
dismissed, however with no order as to costs.


                                        ..................................J.
                                                                (M.Y. Eqbal)



                                        ..................................J.
(Shiva Kirti Singh)
New Delhi
February 17, 2015


ITEM NO.1A             COURT NO.11               SECTION XII

               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Civil Appeal  No(s).  6156/2005

PETROMARINE PRODUCTS LTD.                      Appellant(s)

                                VERSUS

OCEAN MARINE SERVICES CO. LTD. & ANR           Respondent(s)

[HEARD BY HON'BLE M.Y.EQBAL AND HON'BLE SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, JJ.]

Date : 17/02/2015 This appeal was called on for judgment
 today.

For Appellant(s) Ms. Fereshte D. Sethna, Adv.
                       Mr. Kuber Dewan, Adv.
                       Ms. Akriti, Adv.
                    for Ms. B. Vijayalakshmi Menon,AOR

For Respondent(s)      Mr. P.B. Suresh, Adv.
                       for M/s. Temple Law Firm

                    Mr. Nikhil Nayyar,AOR

                    Mr. Subramonium Prasad,AOR


            Hon'ble Mr. Justice  M.Y.Eqbal pronounced the  judgment  of  the
Bench comprising His Lordship and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Shiva Kirti Singh.

            The appeal is dismissed in terms  of  the  Reportable  judgment,
which is placed on the file.


(Parveen Kr. Chawla)                    (Indu Pokhriyal)
    Court Master                               Court Master

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