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Hirjibhoy Behramji Warden Vs. Ratanbai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectBanking
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberO.C.J. Appeal No. 53 of 1932 and Suit No. 137 of 1932
Judge
Reported inAIR1933Bom444; (1933)35BOMLR969
AppellantHirjibhoy Behramji Warden
RespondentRatanbai
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
negotiable instruments act (xx vi of 1881), section 29-promissory note-executors passing the note-no express limitation of liability-personal liability to pay.;a promissory note was headed 'estate of the late...'; it was passed by the defendants who were described as 'executors of the estate of...'; and it was signed by the defendants as 'executors of the estate of the late...' in a suit to to recover the amount of the promissory note from the defendants :-;that, under section 29 of the negotiable instruments act, 1881, in the absence of express words limiting their liability to the estate of the deceased in their hands, the defendants were personally liable to pay the amount. - .....england, it would, i think, be an arguable point whether the promissory note was given by the executors in their representative capacity or whether it was given by them personally with a mere description of their character as executors. but in india the case is governed by section 29 of the negotiable instruments act. that section says:-a legal respresentative of a deceased person, who signs his name bo a promissory note, bill of exchange, or cheque, is liable personally thereon, unless ha expressly limits his liability to the extent of the assets received by him as such.it is, in my opinion, impossible to argue that this note expressly limits the liability to the extent of the assets received by the promisors as executors. the very highest it can be put is that there is an implied.....
Judgment:

John Beaumont, C.J.

1. This is an appeal from a decision of Mr. Justice Wadia, and the short point which arises is whether on a promissory note, Ex. A, the gentlemen who signed that note are personally liable or whether they are liable only as executors of their deceased father. It is not disputed that the father Behramji had given a promissory note for Rs. 17,000 to one Screwvala. Behramji died in 1924 and the present appellants are his executors. After his death Rs. 1,000 was paid off and two promissory notes of Rs. 8,000 each were given to secure the balance of the, debt. That was in 1926, On January 29, 1929, the promissory note in suit was given by way of renewal of one of those promissory notes for Rs. 8,000 and it is clear that the consideration to be implied would be the giving of time. Indeed on the plaintiff's own evidence that was in fact the consideration. Now, the promissory note is in these terms. It is headed 'Estate of late Mr. Behramji H. Warden' and then it says :-

We, the undersigned, executors of the Estate of the late Mr. Behramji Hirjibhoy Warden, promise to pay on demand to Mr. Dossabhoy Dhanjibhoy Sorewvala or Bai Ratanbai Nowroji Surti or any one of them or survivor or order the sum of Rs. 8,000 with interest at the rate of annas ten percent, per month for value received in cash.

And then it is signed by one of the executors for self and as the constituted attorney of two of the other executors, and the fourth executor also has signed. Then at the bottom come these words 'Executors of the Estate of the late Mr, Behramji Hirjibhoy Warden'. If the case arose under Section 26 of the Bills of Exchange Act in England, it would, I think, be an arguable point whether the promissory note was given by the executors in their representative capacity or whether it was given by them personally with a mere description of their character as executors. But in India the case is governed by Section 29 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. That section says:-

A legal respresentative of a deceased person, who signs his name bo a promissory note, bill of exchange, or cheque, is liable personally thereon, unless ha expressly limits his liability to the extent of the assets received by him as such.

It is, in my opinion, impossible to argue that this note expressly limits the liability to the extent of the assets received by the promisors as executors. The very highest it can be put is that there is an implied limit, but the section requires an express limit. No doubt that limit might be expressed in various ways, but it must be expressed in some form or other, I think the judgment of the learned Judge was quite right and that the appeal must be dismissed with costs.

Rangnekar, J.

2. I agree.


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