Pakistan v Waliullah Sufyani

CourtSupreme Court (Pakistan)
Date05 February 1965
Pakistan, Supreme Court.

(Cornelius C.J., S. A. Rahman, Fazle-Akbar and Kaikaus JJ.)

Waliullah Sufyani

States as international persons State succession Succession with regard to contractual obligations Delivery of goods to and work done for the Government of British India Independence of India Formation of two new States of India and Pakistan Places where goods delivered and work done becoming part of Pakistan Devolution of liability on successor Whether the new State of Pakistan liable Indian Independence (Rights, Property and Liabilities) Order 1947 The law of Pakistan.

Summary: The facts:In 1942 there was an influx of refugees from Burma into British India for whom the Government of India set up a refugee organization. Acting under Government orders the respondent supplied food-stuffs, clothing etc. to the organization and also constructed some buildings for it. In November 1944 he was stopped from providing further supplies. India became independent in 1947 with the formation of two new States, India and Pakistan. The area where the refugees and the organization were became part of Pakistan, and the Pakistan Government took over the management of the organization. Article 8 of the Indian Independence (Rights, Property and Liabilities) Order 1947 provided for devolution of liability on Pakistan in cases of contracts for the exclusive purpose of Pakistan; otherwise the liability would devolve on India. In 1949 the respondent sued Pakistan for the price of goods, remuneration for work done and damages for breach of contract.

Held:Pakistan was not liable as the contract was not for the exclusive purpose of Pakistan.

The following is the text of the relevant part of the judgment of S. A. Rahman J. with whom Fazle-Akbar J. agreed:

These are two appeals by special leave arising out of a suit filed by the respondent, in forma pauperis, for the recovery of a sum of Rs. 12, 17, 066 from the Government of Pakistan who is the appellant in the case. Cross-objections have also been filed in this Court by the respondent and this order will deal with the appeals as well as the cross-objections. Appeal No. 34-D of 1962 is directed against the order of the Dacca High Court by which it stayed money execution case pending in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, First Court, Dacca on condition that the appellant deposits the whole of the decretal amount in Court within a month and with the direction that the respondent decree holder would be entitled to withdraw this amount on furnishing sufficient security to the satisfaction of the Execution Court. The condition attached to the stay order is objected to on behalf of the appellant. In appeal No. 2-D of 1964, the question is raised whether the appellant is at all liable for the amount decreed.

The relevant facts are these. During the Second World War, in the year 1942, there was an influx of refugees from Burma, owing to the bombing of Rangoon and other places, into what is now the territory of East Pakistan. The Government of India set up an organization known as the Burma Refugee Organization and a camp was set up at Kantabari, Police Station Govindaganj, in the District of Rangpur, in March 1943, for accommodating those refugees. Two other camps were subsequently set up at Subirnagar and Mahimaganj. All these places are within East Pakistan.

The case of the plaintiff-respondent was that under orders of the officer-in-charge of the camp he had supplied various consumer articles, like food-stuffs, clothing, etc., to the refugee camp and had also constructed some buildings therein for office accommodation under orders of the officer in question. He was, however, peremptorily stopped from making further supplies, in November 1944, thereby causing him considerable loss. The claim made in the suit related not only to the price of the articles supplied and the construction and repairs work done in the camp but also included a sum on account of alleged damages suffered by the plaintiff for illegal breach of contract. He also asked for interest on the sums due to him. The suit was instituted in 1949.

The suit was decreed by the trial Court for Rs. 6,78,667-0-6 with proportionate costs. The plaintiff's claim on account of loss and damages suffered and...

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