Mansur Ali v Arodhendu Shekhar Chattarjee

CourtSupreme Court (Pakistan)
Date10 May 1968
Pakistan, Supreme Court.

(S. A. Rahman C.J., Hamoodur Rahman, Yaqub Ali and Sajjad Ahmad JJ.)

Mansur Ali
Arodhendu Shekhar Chattarjee and Others

States as international persons In general Sovereignty and independence Conclusiveness of statements of the executive Existence of a state of war Matter for the executive and not for the courts Conflict between India and Pakistan The law of Pakistan

War and neutrality War in general Termination of war Declaration of the commencement of war and existence of a state of war Cessation of hostilities Declaration of ceasefire in the Security Council of the United Nations Joint declaration of warring parties acknowledging end of belligerency Original declaration of war not revoked Whether war terminated Whether courts competent to decide the question Authority competent to do so Proper procedure when question arises Enemy subject residing in foreign territory Whether entitled to institute legal proceedings The law of Pakistan

Summary: The facts:On 6 September 1965 the President of Pakistan declared that Pakistan was at war with India. The hostilities came to an end with the announcement of a ceasefire in the United Nations Security Council. A joint declaration was made by India and Pakistan acknowledging the end of belligerency but the original declaration of war by Pakistan was not revoked. The respondents were Indian nationals resident in Calcutta. In 1966 they instituted a suit against the appellant. Section 83 of the Code of Civil Procedure barred suits in Pakistan by alien enemies residing in a foreign country.

Held:The respondents could not institute the suit as long as the state of war between India and Pakistan existed. Whether the war had terminated or not was a question within the domain of the Executive and not the Court. The correct procedure was for the courts to obtain the view of the Government and to follow that view. A direction would accordingly be given for the enquiry to be sent to the Executive.

The following is the text of the judgment of the Court, delivered by Sajjad Ahmad J.:

Sajjad Ahmad, J.Are we still at war with India? This delicate political question has arisen for an answer in the course of a judicial proceeding in the following circumstances.

A Certificate Case No. 595-R/C of 194849 was started for the rocovery of arrears of education cess amounting to Rs. 8, 797.60 against respondents Nos. 1 and 2, namely Arodhendu Shekhar Chattarjee and Amalendu Shekhar Chaitarjee, their younger brother Arunendhu Shekhar and their mother Sarat Kumari Devi (hereinafter described as the certificate-debtors). who are admittedly Indian nationals residing in Calcutta. In consequence...

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