B.D. Gupta, J.
1. This is a defendant's second appeal arising out of a decree for specific performance by which the appellant has been directed to execute a sale deed of certain agricultural plots in favour of the plaintiff.
2. The facts which are no longer in dispute in this second appeal are that on the 27th of November, 1954, the defendant executed document Ex. 1 which purports to be a sale deed of the plots in suit in plaintiff's favour for a sum of Rs 100/-. This document was never presented for registration and, on the 27th of November, 1957, the plaintiff instituted the suit giving rise to this appeal relying upon the aforesaid document as an agreement by the defendant to sell the plots in suit to the plaintiff. Plaintiff's allegation was that in spite of repeated requests from the plaintiff, the defendant did not bring about a conveyance of the property covered by the aforesaid document, even though the plaintiff had been in actual possession of the plots in suit.
3. The suit was contested on a number of pleas which were negatived by the trial court and the plaintiff's suit was decreed in certain terms. On appeal by the defendant, that decree was affirmed by the learned appellate Judge. The defendant then filed this second appeal. Having heard learned counsel for the parties I find this appeal devoid of merit.
4. Learned counsel for the defendant-appellant has raised two contentions. The first is that document Ex. 1 cannot itself be treated as an agreement of sale and, in view of the absence of any allegation of the plaintiff that any agreement of sale took place,the plaintiff was not entitled to a decree for specific performance. The second contention raised by learned counsel is that, in any case, specific performance being a relief in the discretion of a court, it should not have been granted to the plaintiff in the facts and circumstances of the present case.
5. In support of his first contention learned counsel has relied on a decision of a Division Bench of the Madras High Court in the case of K. Hutchi Gowder v. H. Bheema Gowder : AIR1960Mad33 . There is no controversy that this decision of the Madras High Court supports learned counsel's contention that the document dated the 27th of November 1954, cannot be read as an agreement to execute a deed of transfer in future.
6. Learned counsel for the respondent has, however, relied on the decision of a Division Bench of the Patna High Court in the case of Jhaman Mahton v. Amrit Mahton, AIR 1946 Pat 62 in support of the contention that a document which, for reason of non-registration, would be inoperative as a conveyance, would nevertheless be admissible in evidence in a suit for specific performance of a contract which must be deemed to have preceded the execution of the document and, further, that an incomplete deed of sale may itself be regarded as a contract for sale.
7. No decision of this Court bearing on this question has been referred by learned counsel who have stated that they have been unable to find any decision of this Court.
8. The conflict between the decisions of the Madras High Court and the Patna High Court centres round the interpretation of the proviso to Section 49 of the Indian Registration Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) which runs as follows:
'Provided that an unregistered document affecting immoveable property and required by this Act or the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, to be registered may be received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877, or as evidence of part performance of a contract for the purposes of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, or as evidence of any collateral transaction not required to be effected by registered instrument.'
Relying on the reasoning of the learned Judges of the Madras High Court, learned counsel for the appellant has urged that the document of the 27th of November, 1954, cannot be read as an agreement to execute a sale deed in future and that the expression 'may be received as evidence of a contract' cannot be interpreted to authorise that document as itself constituting a contract to execute a document in future. The reasoning of the learned Judges of the Madras High Court in the case of K. Hutchi Gowder, AIR1960 Mad 33 (supra) does not appear to suffer from any flaw but, after a careful consideration of the reasoning of the learned Judges of the Patna High Court in the case of Jhaman Mahton AIR 1946 Pat 62 (supra), 1 am inclined to follow the decision of the Patna High Court. In doing so I have been influenced mainly by the consideration that the language of the proviso to Section 49 of the Act is capable of the interpretation placed thereon by the Patna High Court and that interpretation is more consonant with rules of equitable construction inasmuch as I have not the slightest doubt that the execution of document Ex 1 must obviously have been the result of an agreement for sale between the parties.
There is no controversy that, in view of the explanation appended to Clause (2) of Section 17 of the Act, an agreement for sale of immoveable property is not required to be registered That being so, and the fact of an agreement to sell being inherent in the very fact of the execution of document Ex. 1, it appears reasonable to interpret the proviso to Section 49 of the Act as laying down that an incomplete deed of sale may itself, in a suit for specific performance of a contract to sell, be treated as a contract for sale. There is no controversy that if the decision of the Patna High Court in the case of Jhaman Mahton (supra) is followed, this appeal must fail.
9. As regards the next contention of learned counsel that having regard to the fact that a decree for specific performance is in the discretion of a court the said discretion should not have exercised in favour of the plaintiff, learned counsel urged that the value of the property must have considerably risen by the time the plaintiff instituted the suit on the last day of the limitation of three years. Learned counsel has been unable to point out anything in the judgment of either of the two courts below to indicate that such a plea was raised before any of those courts, and learned counsel confesses his inability to point out any material on the record to Indicate that the value of the plots in suit had gone up considerably during the period that passed between the execution of document Ex. 1 and the time when the suit was filed.
The question of discretion to be exercised by a court is a question primarily to be decided by that court and it may very well be that even a court of first appeal may legitimately go into the question whether the trial court exercised its discretion in a certain way in disregard of any established principles bearing on the matter In a court of second appeal the scope of investigation into this question is very narrow and in any case, in view of the circumstances mentioned above, it is impossible to hold that in decreeing the plaintiffs' claim the exercise of discretion in plaintiff's favour was, in any manner, improper or incorrect
10. No other contention has been raised.
11. This appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed with costs.