1. This appeal by the plaintiff is directed against the judgment and decree dated 20-7-1974 passed by the Civil Judge, Bellary in R. A. No. 27,/73 on his Me enhancing the damages granted by the Munsiff. Bellary in O. S. 339/69 on his file awarding damages of Rs. 100/- in the suit to the plainiiff.
2. The plaintiff averred that the defendant 1 Municipal Council out of ill-will and malice served notice of distraint warrant on him on 16-11-1968 and 9eized his furniture on 18-11-1968 mainly on the ground that he instituted suits against the Municipal Council, the plaintiff being a practicing advocate. He further averred that it was done out of malice. As a result of such seizure and retention of the furniture and books for sonic time till the Court ordered release, the Municipal Council injured his reputation and for that he demanded Rs. 3,000/- as damages from the Municipal Council. The Municipal Council resisted the suit. The trial Court, appreciating the evidence on record, found that what was done by the Municipal Council was out of ill-will and malice and in that view, since there was no specific evidence in respect of damages, the trial Court awarded token damages of Rs. 100/-. Aggrieved by the said judgment and decree, the plaintiff appealed to the learned Civil Judge as stated above and the learned Civil Judge in the course of his judgment, re-assessing the evidence on record, found that the finding of the trial Court that the action of the Municipal Council lacked good faith and was inspired by malice was correct. But the learned Civil Judge further observed:
'It cannot be said that he (plaintiff) has suffered any considerable monetary loss because of the seizure of the articles from his house. Moreover, he has stated in his evidence that it is impossible for him to place any evidence before Court to show how much monetary loss he has sustained.
However, this much is sure that the plaintiff was put to mental agony. Because of the execution of the distraint warrant his reputation has also suffered in the eyes of public. The plaintiff is an advocate practising in Bellary and he is an income-tax and wealth-tax assessee also.'
In that view, the learned Civil Judge enhanced the damages from Rs. 100/- to Rs. 500/-. Aggrieved by the said judgment and decree, the plaintiff has instituted the above second appeal in this Court.
3. The learned counsel appearing for the plaintiff-appellant strenuously urged before me that the learned Civil Judge having agreed with the learned Munsiff that the plaintiff suffered injury to his reputation, the plaintiff being a practising advocate paying income-tax and wealth-tax, substantial damages ought to have been granted by the learned Civil Judge. That is the only point that arises for my consideration in this appeal.
4. It is no doubt true that when there is injury to reputation of a person, substantial damages ought to be granted as general damages by Courts. McGregor on Damages, 14th Edition, speaking on this aspect in para 1522 of his book, has stated thus :
'More technically, the damage is sometimes said to be 'presumed', particularly in cases involving injury to reputation. in defamation, the Court is entitled to award substantial damages although proof of damage is not produced; in Tripp v. Thomas, (1824) 3 B & C 427, it was held that 40 was properly awarded although no evidence of damage had been given at the trial.
Thus, it is obvious that the Court should grant substantial damages in the case of injury to the reputation of a person.
5. In the instant case, both the Courts below have found that the plaintiff is a practising advocate paying income-tax and wealth-tax and they have found that the action of the Municipal Council has caused injury to his reputation. That being so, they ought to have granted substantial damages even though there was no evidence regarding damages adduced by the plaintiff.
6. In the result, therefore, I am persuaded to enhance the damages to Rs. 1,500/- to make it substantial on the facts of the case.
7. In the result, the appeal is partly allowed. The damages of Rs.500/- awarded by the Civil Judge is enhanced to Rupees 1500/-. The defendant-respondent No. I shall pay the same along with costs of the plaintiff-appellant throughout.
8. Appeal partly allowed.