Interpleader suit in Tanzania (notes, examples & pdf)

Here I will provide easy-to-understand notes for the Interpleader suit in Tanzania.

These notes will cover

  • meaning and example of interpleader
  • the law governing Interpleader Proceedings in Tanzania
  • who may file an interpleader suit?
  • who may not file an interpleader suit?
  • conditions to institute interpleader suit
  • Plaint in Interpleader Suits and Proceedings
  • sample of interpleader plaint pdf
  • etc

Let’s get started

What is an interpleader suit?

An interpleader suit is a legal action brought by a third party, typically someone holding property or funds, to resolve a dispute between two or more other parties claiming a right to the same property or funds.

In an interpleader suit, the dispute is not between the plaintiff and defendant but between the defendants who claim the property which is in the plaintiff’s possession.

Are we together?

if not, let me give you an example;

Assume you have a shop, and X comes to your shop. After a long shopping session, he forgets his bag and leaves.

You don’t know the owner, but you decide to keep the bag. Later on, Y comes to your shop, sees the bag, and claims it is his bag for reasons known only to him.

Suddenly, X returns to your shop and asks for his bag. Now that you have the bag, you claim no interest in it and you’re willing to hand it over to the rightful owner. The bag is claimed by both X and Y.

In this situation, you may file an interpleader suit against both X and Y so the court may decide who is the rightful owner of the bag.

Your case will look like this;

YOU……..PLAINTIFF

vs

X………1st Defendant

Y………2nd Defendant

Mulla in his wonderful book, Code of Civil Procedure stated that an interpleader suit is a suit in which the real dispute is not between a plaintiff and a defendant but between the defendants who interplead against each other; unlike in an ordinary suit in an interpleader suit, the plaintiff is not really interested in the subject matter of the suit.

Further Section 63 of CPC provides that

Where two or more persons claim adversely to one another the same debt, sum of money or other property, movable or immovable, from another person who claims no interest therein other than for charges or costs and who is ready to pay or deliver it to the rightful claimant, such other person may institute a suit of interpleader against all the claimants for the purpose of obtaining a decision as to the person to whom the payment or delivery shall be made and of obtaining indemnity for himself:

NB: The interpleader suit can not be instituted where there is a pending case in which the rights of parties can properly be decided. (kuwa makini sana hapa, linaweza likaja swali la scenerio, mtego ukawa hapa)

Law Govern Interpleader Proceedings in Tanzania

The law which governs interpleader proceedings in Tanzania is Section 63 and Order XXXIII of the Civil Procedure Code [CAP 33 R.E. 2002; R.E. 2019] (CPC)

See also  Introduction to contract law notes (meaning, sources, formation, etc)

Who may institute an Interpleader suit?

The person who has the legal right (locus standi) to file an interpleader suit is the one who is in possession of the disputed property but has no interest in it and he is ready to deliver it to the rightful owner. -(see the CRDB case below)

Who May Not Institute  Interpleader Suit?

Certain people have been precluded from instituting an interpleader suit by law. 

Generally, agents cannot institute interpleader suits against their principles and tenants cannot institute interpleader suits against their landlords. (see Order XXXIII RULE 5) (hapa pia kuna mtego, kuwa makini)

Conditions to Institute Interpleader Suit

The following are the conditions that must be satisfied before an interpleader suit can be instituted.

  1. There must be a property in dispute. (ie. some debt, sum of money or other property movable or immovable)
  2. Two or more persons claiming it must be adversely to one another
  3. The person in possession of that property must not be claiming an interest therein other than the charges and costs and he must be ready and willing to pay or deliver it to the rightful claimant/owner
  4. There must be no pending suit where the ownership of disputed property between the claimants can properly be decided.
  5. There must be no collusion between the plaintiff and any of the defendants.

NB. In an interpleader suit, the plaintiff must be in a neutral position. Otherwise, he cannot file an interpleader suit.

In the case of Jugnath v Tulka (1908) 32 Bom.592, it was held that ‘A person who has taken an indemnity from one of the claimants is not entitled to file an interpleader suit.’

In that case, A had a sum of Rs.10, 000 which sum was claimed from him both by X and Y, adversely to each other. A instituted an interpleader suit against X and Y.

It was found at the hearing that A had agreed with X before the suit was instituted, that if X succeeded in the suit, he would accept from A, R.s 7,500 only in full of the satisfaction of his claim.

Here A had an interest in the subject matter of the suit by his agreement with X. He was therefore not entitled to institute an interpleader suit and accordingly his suit was dismissed.

The rationale for Interpleader Suit

In the case of Groundnut Extractions Export Development Assn. v State Bank of India (1977) 79 Bom LR 184 it was stated that the rationale behind filing an interpleader suit is to get claims of the rival defendants adjudicated.

It is the process wherein the plaintiff calls upon the rival claimants to appear before the court and get their claims decided.

The decision of the court in an interpleader suit affords an indemnity to the plaintiff on the payment of money or delivery of property to the person whose claim has been upheld by the court

See also  Judicial review notes in Tanzania (grounds, procedures, cases+pdf)

Plaint in Interpleader Suits and Proceedings

In every interpleader suit, the plaint shall in addition to other statements necessary for plaint state;

  1. that the plaintiff claims no interest in the subject matter in dispute other than for charges or costs;
  2. that the claims made by the defendants severally
  3. that there is no collusion between the plaintiff and any of the defendants.

See the sample of interpleader plaint below

Procedures in Interpleader suit

After starting the interpleader lawsuit, the court might tell the person who filed it to put the money or property they’re fighting over into the court’s care before they can get any decisions from the court about it.

At the first hearing, the court may decide that the person who filed the lawsuit (the plaintiff) is not responsible for anything, the judge will also order that the plaintiff be paid for their legal expenses and end their involvement in the case.

However, if the judge believes it’s necessary for fairness, all parties involved in the case may have to stay involved until the case is completely resolved.

If the court can figure out who owns something based on what the people involved say or other proof, it can decide who owns it.

If the court can’t decide based on what the parties said, it can do two things:

  1. order that an issue or issues between the parties be framed and tried
  2. order that any claimant be made a plaintiff instead of or in addition to the original plaintiff, and shall proceed to try the suit ordinarily. (see PRAYGOD MBAGA case below)

Real-life cases on Interpleader suit in Tanzania

CRDB BANK PLC………………………………………………………………. PLAINTIFF
VERSUS
MWANANCHI INSURANCE COMPANY LIMITED……………………… 1st DEFENDANT
EDNA ELIAS NYANG’ORO…………………………………..……………………. 2nd DEFENDANT
ELIAS MASIJA NYANG’ORO………………………………….…………………….3rd DEFENDANT
EPHRAEM CHRISTOPHER MANASE MREMA……………………….……….4th DEFENDANT

CIVIL CASE NO. 23 OF 2022, HC, ARUSHA

In this case, the Plaintiff, By way of an interpleader suit, instituted this suit against the Defendants jointly and severally seeking a Declaration as to who is the rightful recipient as between the first, second, third, and fourth Defendants of payment amounting to TZS 277,000,000/= being the amount deposited in fixed deposit account with the Plaintiff plus interest of 12% from 7th January 2013 to 7th January 2014;

On diverse dates, the 2nd and 3rd Defendants on the one part and the 4th Defendant on the other visited the Plaintiff Meru Branch in Arusha claiming to have interest in the fixed deposited account, therefore demanding to be paid the principal sum and the accrued interest

COURT

  • In every interpleader suit, there must be some debt or sum of money or other property in dispute between the Defendants only, and the Plaintiff must be a person who claims no interest therein other than for charges or costs and who is ready to pay or deliver it to such of the Defendants as may be declared by the court to be entitled to it
  • Interpleader suit applies irrespective of the nature of the cause of action, the determinant factors being that the dispute is between the Defendants while the Plaintiff claims to have no interest in the subject matter of the suit other than claiming charges or costs.
  • since there exists a dispute between the Defendants herein each claiming interest in the fixed deposit amount, and since the said amount is in possession of the Plaintiff who does not claim any interest save for the charges or costs and has expressed intention to release the funds to the rightful owner after being declared by the Court, the suit was properly filed as an interpleader suit. That applies irrespective of the existence of the contractual relationship between the Plaintiff and the 1st Defendant.
See also  Types of jurisdiction in Tanzania notes (guide & law applicable)

PRAYGOD MBAGA………………………………………………………. APPELLANT
VERSUS

GOVERNMENT OF KENYA, CRIMINAL
INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT………1st RESPONDENT

THE HON. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TANZANIA
2nd RESPONDENT

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9 OF 2011, CAT, DSM

The second respondent filed an interpleader suit against the appellant and the first respondent. The subject matter of the interpleader suit was a motor vehicle Toyota Landcruiser Hardtop (the motor vehicle).

According to the plaint filed by the second respondent, the appellant had reported to the Regional Police Commander of Dar es Salaam that the motor vehicle bearing Registration No. T 690 ACE was his property having been stolen from him at gunpoint.

The police launched an investigation and in the due course, they were informed by the appellant that the motor vehicle had been located near his business premises at Sinza Dar es Salaam following which the police impounded it and found the same with Registration No. T 867 AEX is being driven by one Patrick Ulomy Ngiloi.

Meanwhile, on 5th November 2004, a motor vehicle with Registration No. KAP 920 C (GKA 522E) Toyota Landcruiser Pick up property of the first respondent was reported stolen.

Through Interpol Nairobi, the first respondent received information that its stolen motor vehicle had been found and impounded in Tanzania. The officers of the first respondent came to Tanzania and identified the motor vehicle to be
the one stolen from Kenya.

Now, because there were two parties claiming ownership of the motor vehicle, the second respondent filed the interpleader suit for the court to declare who among them was the lawful owner of that property.

Court

In this case, the court decided to use its power vested by Order XXXIII Rule 4 (3) (b) of the CPC which allows a court to make any claimant in an interpleader suit a plaintiff and order the suit to proceed in an ordinary manner.

The court discharged the second respondent from the suit and ordered the appellant to file his plaint against the first respondent and the case to proceed in an ordinary manner.

Sample of interpleader plaint pdf

The following sample is based on the example I provided before when explaining what is an interpleader suit.

Conclusion

My aim here was to provide Interpleader suit in Tanzania notes in an easy-to-understand way.

Hope you have found these notes useful, in case you have any questions concerning this topic, feel free to leave a comment right now!

Don’t forget to like and share this post with your colleagues.

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  1. Very Helpful content, I almost started to forget about interpleader suits, but this post has jogged my memory, hopefully, I will never forget anything concerning interpleader suit again.

    • Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad the content was helpful in refreshing your memory about interpleader suits. If you have any more questions or need further clarification on the topic, feel free to ask. Keep up the great learning!

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