Cheang Sunny v Ramanathan Chettiar

CourtSupreme Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date16 February 1948
Docket NumberCase No. 194
Date16 February 1948
Singapore Colony, Supreme Court.

(Thorogood, J.)

Case No. 194
Cheang Sunny
Ramanathan Chettiar and Others.

Belligerent Occupation — Judicial Functions of Occupant — Dismissal of Action for Want of Prosecution — Regularity — Recognition of Order after Resumption of Control by Legitimate Sovereign — Japanese Occupation of Singapore.

Belligerent Occupation — Courts Set Up by Occupant — Validity of Orders Made by Occupant's Courts — Order Dismissing Civil Proceedings for Want of Prosecution — Japanese Judgments and Civil Proceedings Ordinance, 1946 — Law of Singapore Colony.

The Facts.—In 1940 the applicant in this case, Cheang Sunny, commenced an action (Civil Suit No. 149 of 1940) against the defendants, of whom one was Cheang Soon Wah, now deceased. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore Colony the defendants were successful in applying to the Japanese Court for an order by which the action instituted by the applicant was dismissed for want of prosecution. It was agreed by the parties to the present case that the order of the Japanese Court was a final and not an interlocutory order. After the resumption of British control in Singapore Colony the Legislature enacted the Japanese Judgments and Civil Proceedings Ordinance (No. 37 of 1946) which, in section 6, provided that any interlocutory order made by a Japanese Court in proceedings was to be deemed valid. The previous section of this Ordinance authorized the making of Court orders in substitution for any Japanese Court order, but no such proceedings were instituted by the applicant. The present application by way of summons was instituted by the plaintiff in Civil Suit No. 149 of 1940 and was brought for the purpose of striking out the name of Cheang Soon Wah as one of the defendants and for the purpose of adding the names of his executor and executrix as defendants in his stead. In support of this application it was argued that the Japanese order fell outside the provisions of the Japanese Judgments and Civil Proceedings Ordinance, 1946, and that in any event it was an order which under international law a court set up by a belligerent occupant was not entitled to make.

Held: that having been made in accordance with international law and the local law and not being of a political complexion the Japanese Order was valid, and furthermore that it was covered by the provisions of the Japanese Judgments and Civil Proceedings Ordinance. The Court said:

“There is strong authority for the statement...

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