S.P. Bharucha, J.
1. The suit is filed by a bank against the acceptor of a bill of exchange. An objection is raised by counsel for the defendants to the admissibility of the bill in evidence on the ground that it is not duly stamped.
2. The bill is drawn on hundi paper. It has 17 such hundi papers stitched together to make up the value of stamp fee required. The bill is written only on the face of the first sheet. There is towards the bottom of the first sheet a round rubber stamp bearing the name of the plaintiffs' Veer Nariman Road Branch. Within it the following is written : 'L.B.D. 2/22'. The 16 succeeding hundi papers of the bill are blank except for the same round rubber stamp at the bottom of each, with the same contents.
3. Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, states that no instrument chargeable with duty shall be admitted in evidence unless it is duly stamped. 'Duly stamped' is defined to mean, as applied to an instrument, that it bears an adhesive or impressed stamp of not less than the proper amount and that such stamp has been affixed or used in accordance with the law for the time being in force in India. Stamps embossed or engraved on stamp paper are impressed stamps within the meaning of the Act. Section 13 states that every instrument written upon paper stamped with an impressed stamp shall be written in such manner that the stamp may appear on the face of the instrument and cannot be used for or applied to any other instrument. By reason of the provisions of section 13, every instrument written upon paper stamped with an impressed stamp must be written in such manner that the stamp cannot be used for or applied to any other instrument. By reason of section 15, an instrument written otherwise shall be deemed to be unstamped. Rule 7 of the Indian Stamp Rules, 1925, made under the Act provides, inter alia, that where two or more sheets of paper on which stamps are engraved or embossed are used to make up the amount of duty chargeable in respect of any instrument, a portion of such instrument shall be written on each sheet so used.
4. It is the plaintiffs' evidence that the round rubber stamps of the plaintiffs' branch were put upon the bill at the time particulars of the bill were entered in the plaintiff's register. The evidence is that the bill was entered in the register on March 21, 1975. The bill was made on March 18, 1975. The evidence also is that at the time the bill was entered in the register, it had been accepted.
5. It is clear that at the time the bill was written, the 16 hundi papers of the bill subsequent to the first were altogether blank. Hence, the bill cannot be said to have been written in such manner that the paper stamped with an impressed stamp upon which it was written could not be used for or applied to any other instrument. The provisions of section 13 and rule 7 not being satisfied, the provisions of section 15 and, consequently, of section 35 would be attracted. The bill of exchange must, therefore, be held to be unstamped and not receivable in evidence.
6. Reference may be made to the judgment in Mohanlal Kanailal v. Kesari Mull Chordiya AIR 1914 Mad 358, which takes a similar view.
7. Mr. Khambata, learned counsel for the plaintiffs, drew attention to the evidence that at the time when the bill was received by the plaintiffs for the purposes of discounting, all the hundi papers comprising the bill were stitched together and made into one set, that the round rubber stamps upon the bill had been placed within 3 days of the making of the bill and that the 16 sheets of the bill had not been used for any other purpose to date. In my view, none of this can make any difference.
8. The requirement of the section and the rule relates to the point of time when the instrument is written. If it is not so written, it is unstamped.
9. The objection to admissibility is upheld.