1. This is an application to revise a judgment of the Court of Small Causes at Cawnpore. The plaintiff of the Court below is the applicant here. He brought the suit for recovery of money on foot of two promissory notes alleged to have been executed by the respondent. The suit was contested on several points, one of these being that at the date of execution of the promissory notes the defendant was a minor. The learned Judge found on all points in favour of the plaintiff. But on the question of defendant's minority ha laying the burden of proof on the plaintiff, came to the conclusion that the plaintiff had failed to establish that the defendant was a major at the date of execution of the promissory notes. It appears that no satisfactory evidence was adduced on either side and the Court had to rely on the question of onus of proof. The learned Judge was of opinion that it was for the plaintiff to establish that the contract wag a valid one and was entered into by people who wore majors. Two cases of this Court would support the view taken by the learned Judge, viz., Chittar Kuar v. Gaura Rao (1912) 34 All. 189, following an earlier case of Gaya Din v. Mt. Dulari (1609) 6 A.L.J. 693. On the other hand a Bench of two Judges of this very Court in the case of Narain Singh v. Chiranji Lal A.I.R. 1924 All. 730, laid down that the burden of proof lay on the party who asserts that ha was a minor at the data of the contract. In the last mentioned case their Lordships purported to follow the case of Jagannath Prasad Singh v. Abdullah A.I.R. 1918 P.C. 35, a decision of the Privy Council.
2. I have myself considered the case decided by the Privy Council and am of opinion that it does support the view taken in the case in Narain Singh v. Chiranji Lal A.I.R. 1924 All. 730, In the circumstances, the casa in Narain Singh v. Chiranji Lal A.I.R. 1924 All. 730, should be followed, not only because it is a later case but it is supported by the opinion of the Privy Council which was not available when the two earlier cases were decided by this Court. Sneaking personally, with respect, I should think that the burden of proof should be laid on the party who says that at the date of contract ho was a minor. There can be no doubt that it is for the plaintiff to prove the validity of a contract on which he relies. But the age of a person entering into a contract is not such an essential part of the contract as must be proved by the plaintiff. Take for example a case like this. A man apparently of the age of 60, borrows money from a money-lender. When a suit is brought to enforce the payment the borrower pleads that he is a minor. The plea may be ludicrous and may appear to be so to the Court who will see the defendant. But if the burden of proof, be laid on the plaintiff, he would be called upon to prove that his debtor was more than 18 at the data of the loan. If would be impossible for the plaintiff to find out the witnesses who would be able to prove the date of the birth of the defendant. Medical evidence can be accepted, only as a matter of expert opinion. But the question is whether it is desirable that the plaintiff should be called upon to prove such an obvious case. Question of age is eminently one which the party raising it alone can prove by satisfactory evidence, although he himself may not be able to swear to it with sufficient accuracy from personal knowledge.
3. When a party enters into a contract as a major he really makes an admission that he is of age. If, in spite of such an admission, he asserts that he was not of age at the date of the contract, the burden of proof should be on him to establish the fact. In any view of the case, the burden of proof should lie on the party who asserts that he was a minor at the date of the contract in which he entered.
4. The result is that the judgment of the Court below should be set aside. I accordingly set it aside and decree the plaintiff's claim with costs throughout, make no order as to interest after the institution of the suit.