1. This revision petition arises out of an order made on an application under Order XXI, Rule 90 for setting aside a re-sale and is concerned with the scope of the word 'forthwith' occurring in Order XXI, Rule 84 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
2. A few more facts are necessary to appreciate the contention urged. In execution of a decree, against the petitioner, his immovable property was brought for sale at 10-45 A. M. on 27th July, 1966. There were several intending purchasers. One Mahabaleshwar offered the highest bid of Rupees 10,000/-. The bid was accepted, but the purchaser did not deposit 25 per cent of he sale price as required under Order XXI, Rule 84 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The matter was brought to the notice of the Court. The Court cancelled the sale and directed a re-sale. At that time, the decree holder, the respondent before me, came forward with a prayer for leave to bid and set-off under Order 21, Rule 72. The leave was granted and the sale was held at about 5-45 P. M. on the same day. The decree-holder was the only person present and offered the bid. His bid was accepted, and the property was sold for Rs. 622.81. That was the decretal amount.
3. The re-sale was followed by an application from the judgment - debtor for setting aside the sale under Order XXI, Rule 90, complaining that there was material irregularity or fraud in publishing or conducting it. The evidence regarding the material irregularity consists of the sole testimony of the judgment-debtor, and in rebuttal the decree-holder has examined himself.
4. The executing Court, after considering the evidence, has held that there was no irregularity in conducting the re-sale, and it was not illegal to hold it on the same day. The same was the view taken by the Appellate Judge.
5. Before me, Shri. T. S. Ramachandra, learned counsel for the petitioner, urged that the re-sale held on the same day after the abortive sale was illegal and it should have been held after a reasonable time so that the bidders may come after notice.
6. The contention turns on the meaning of the word 'forthwith' occurring in Order XXI, Rule 84 (1) of the Code of Civil Procedure which reads as follows:-
'On every sale of immovable property the person declared to be the purchaser shall pay immediately after such declaration a deposit of twenty-five per cent. On the amount of his purchase-money to the officer or other person conducting the sale, and in default of such deposit, the property shall forthwith be re-sold.'
7. In support of the contention counsel relied upon two decisions: (1) Madhao Narayanrao v. Mt. Watsalabai, (AIR 1948 Nag 142) and (2) Venkatasubbiar v. Akkamma (AIR 1930 Mad 761) (FB).
In Madhao Narayanrao Ghatate's case. Hidayatullah, J., as he then was, observed that the word 'forthwith' is ordinarily to be understood to mean 'within a reasonable time.'
In (Chintala) Venkatasubbiah's case, Beasley, C. J., who spoke for the Full Bench observed:
'It is very difficult to say haw the word 'forthwith' should be defined; but we think that the rendering of it by Jackson J., is probably as good a one as there can be and that 'as expeditiously as circumstances permit' is probably the correct definition of that word. Another rendering might be 'such time as appears to be reasonably early having regard to all 'the circumstances.' Obviously in some cases it might reasonably be held that the resale should take place immediately following on the abortive sale.'
In both the cases, it has not been observed that a re-sale held after the abortive sale on the same day was illegal or contrary to Order XXI, Rule 84 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If the interpretation proposed for the petitioner is accepted, it would run counter to the plain meaning of the word 'forthwith'. The word 'forthwith' ordinarily means immediately or without delay, but how soon it should be, all depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. As Beasley, C. J., observed in Venkatasubbiah's case that it should be 'as expeditiously as circumstances permit', for which I may add that every care should be taken to avoid all unnecessary delay. If I may put it, as fresh sale proclamation is not called for, the re-sale on the same day immediately following on the abortive sale should be encouraged if circumstances justify.
8. Regarding the material irregularity complained of, there is nothing on record to help the case of the petitioner. She has stated in her evidence that there is no evidence to prove that the property sold, was of the value of Rs. 10,000/-. This shows that the highest bid of Rs. 10,000/- offered by Mahabaleshwar at the first sale was not genuine offer. He was none other than the natural father of the adopted son of the petitioner. He had no interest in buying the property except to sabotage the sale. The Courts below were, therefore, right in holding that there was no material irregularity in conducting the sale. That finding cannot be disturbed in this revision petition.
9. In the result, the petition fails and is dismissed; but I make no order as to costs.
10. Petition dismissed.