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S.B. Industries, Freegunj and anr. Vs. United Bank of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.F.O. No. 146 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1978All189
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 39, Rules 1 and 2 - Order 40, Rule 1 - Order 49, Rule 1
AppellantS.B. Industries, Freegunj and anr.
RespondentUnited Bank of India and ors.
Appellant AdvocateA.K. Banerji, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.K.S. Choudhary, Adv.
DispositionAppeal partly allowed
Excerpt:
.....and interest of all parties to be considered - temporary injunction not a bar upon appointment of receiver - receiver's powers are limited to those conferred upon him by order of appointment. - - consequently, the bank called upon the defendants through a notice to pay the amount due to it, but since the defendants failed and did not pay, therefore, the bank had to file a suit for recovery of rs. the requirement thus is that he must establish a good prima facie case. by this agreement a lien had further been created in favour of the bank on the plants and machinery as well as other movable properties mentioned in schedules 'c' and 'e' respectively. clause 6 of the agreement was accordingly a prima facie good ground upon which the learned civil judge could order the appointment of..........arrangement so arrived at, the amounts advanced were duly entered in accounts maintained by the bank. the defendants 1 to 4 had also executed a number of documents to serve as corroborative evidence or collateral securities. these documents were amongst other the letters of hypothecation, hypothecating bills, movable goods, stock-in-trade, in process etc. the bank pressed the defendants for the payment of the amounts due on several occasions but the same had been put off by them on one pretext or the other. consequently, the bank called upon the defendants through a notice to pay the amount due to it, but since the defendants failed and did not pay, therefore, the bank had to file a suit for recovery of rs. 14,72,473.42 p. the bank claimed a number of reliefs in the plaint. one of the.....
Judgment:

K.C. Agarwal, J.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order of the learned Second Additional Civil Judge, Agra, dated February 2, 1976, allowing an application filed by the plaintiff respondent for appointment of receiver over the properties mentioned in Schedules 'C' and 'E' of the plaint.

2. Briefly stated the facts are these: Suit No. 64 of 1972 was filed by the United Bank of India, a banking concern against the defendants for recovery of Rs. 14,72,473.42 P. along with future interest against the appellants and others (hereinafter referred to as the defendants). The said defendants were the part-ners of M/s Hindustan Metal Works which was impleaded as defendant No. 1 in the suit. The defendants 2 to 4 opened an account in the name of defendant No. 1 with the Belanganj Branch, Agra which was of the nature known as the 'Current Account'. The facilities offered by the said current account were not adequate for the trade purposes of the defendants 1 to 4. They, therefore, requested the Bank to give them further facilities in the nature of cash-credit/over draft with the limit and terms to be mutually agreed between the parties. The bank agreed to give these facilities to the defendants on terms mutually agreed between the bank and the defendants. Under the arrangement so arrived at, the amounts advanced were duly entered in accounts maintained by the bank. The defendants 1 to 4 had also executed a number of documents to serve as corroborative evidence or collateral securities. These documents were amongst other the Letters of hypothecation, hypothecating bills, movable goods, stock-in-trade, in process etc. The bank pressed the defendants for the payment of the amounts due on several occasions but the same had been put off by them on one pretext or the other. Consequently, the bank called upon the defendants through a notice to pay the amount due to it, but since the defendants failed and did not pay, therefore, the bank had to file a suit for recovery of Rs. 14,72,473.42 P. The bank claimed a number of reliefs in the plaint. One of the reliefs was to appoint a receiver over the properties mentioned in Schedules 'A' to 'E' for realisation of the amount due to the bank.

3. The bank thereafter filed an application on 10th of May, 1973 for appointment of a receiver over the properties mentioned in Schedules 'C and 'E' of the plaint. The case of the bank was that in order to secure the payment of the amounts which was advanced to the defendants 1 to 4, the said defendants hypothecated plants and machinery which were mentioned in Schedule 'C' of the plaint and had executed agreement in this connection. This document has been described as Board No. 37-A. The other was Board No. 35-A regarding the hypothecation of the movable goods mentioned in Clause 'E', One of the terms incorporated in the aforesaid bonds with which we are concerned in the present appeal is Clause (g). The same is quoted below: (sic).

'The allegations made in the application by the bank were that in the eye of law the. defendants held possession of the properties on behalf of the plaintiff bank and as such they were not entitled either to change possession or encumber that possession in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the bank but as the defendants did not pay the amount and further after filing of the suit they tried to remove certain machinery which had already been hypothecated with the bank. Therefore, the plaintiff was entitled to have a receiver appointed over the properties of Schedules 'C' and 'E'. In this connection, the plaintiff further alleged that the defendants had also leased out the properties to M/s N. K. Woollen and Silk Mills, Agra, hence that was also a ground for appointment of receiver. The application for appointment of receiver was accompanied by an affidavit of Shri P. C. Mazumdar who was the agent of the United Bank of India, Belanganj, Agra.'

4. The application was contested by the defendant No. 2 who filed an objection alleging that there was no ground for appointment of receiver inasmuch as he had not done anything which damaged or jeopardised the security of the plaintiff.Further allegations made in the objections were that the plaintiff had no right to take possession of the goods hypothecated with the bank, and, therefore, had no right to the appointment of receiver. It was also contended that the appointment of receiver was not a matter of contract but a matter of judicial discretion of the court. Therefore, the plaintiff could not get the receiver appointed merely by relying on Clause (g) as quoted above. (sic).

5. The learned Civil Judge held that as the defendants agreed for the appointment of the receiver in the event of danger to the bank security and that since the plaintiff felt that its security had been endangered by giving the properties to M/s N. K. Woollen and Silk Mills, the defendants had no right to raise any objection against the appointment of receiver. It also found that the lessee inducted into possession by the defendants 1 to 4 could create danger or loss to the properties hypothecated. Therefore, the plaintiff had a right in the terms of the agreement to get the receiver appointed. In this view of the matter, the application for appointment of the receiver was allowed by the court below and the receiver was directed to take possession of the plants and machinery mentioned in Schedule 'C' and movable properties detailed in Schedule 'E'. Feeling aggrieved the defendants 1 and 2 have filed the present appeal.

6. The first question raised by the counsel for the defendants was that the court below committed an error in appointing a receiver over the properties of Schedules 'C' and 'E' without examining the merits of the case and finding out whether it was just and convenient in the present case to appoint him. Learned counsel contended that the appointment of receiver could be made by the court only in accordance with the provisions of Order 40 Rule 1 of the C.P.C. In the instant case, it was neither just nor convenient to appoint receiver, therefore, the same is liable to be set aside. It is no doubt true that the power of a civil court to appoint a receiver in a civil suit is regulated by the provisions contained under Order 40, Rule 1 of the C.P.C.

7. Order 40, Rule 1 of the C.P.C. lays down that whether it appears to the court to be just and convenient the court may by order appoint a receiver of any property, whether before or after a decree. In order to justify the appointment of receiver, the plaintiff must establish a reasonable possibility that the plaintiff will ultimately succeed in obtaining the relief claimed in the suit. The requirement thus is that he must establish a good prima facie case. It may further be remembered that the appointment of a receiver is, as a general rule, discretionary, and not a matter of right, A court will make an appointment of a receiver with great caution and circumspection. In a case where the remedy of the appointment of a receiver seems necessary to prevent fraud, to protect and preserve the property against an imminent danger of loss or diminution in value, destruction, squandering, wastage or removal from jurisdiction, the court may appoint a receiver. It may further be stated in this connection that a court in exercise of its discretion to appoint or refuse a receiver must take into account all the circumstances and facts of the case, the presence of conditions and grounds justifying the relief, ends of justice, the rights of all the parties interested in the subject-matter and the adequacy of other remedies.

8. We have now to consider whether the court below took into account the relevant principles while making the order of appointment of receiver or it did so without addressing itself to the same. The facts as mentioned above would show that the allegations made in the application for appointment of a receiver were that the defendants had entered into an agreement with the plaintiff which conferred upon the plaintiff the right to appoint a receiver for the realization of its dues and further that the defendants had conducted in the manner that had endangered the security offered to the plaintiff. We have already quoted Clause (g) of the hypothecatien bond. The said clause would show that the plaintiff bank had been given the right to recover the money paid by it by appointment of a receiver. By this agreement a lien had further been created in favour of the bank on the plants and machinery as well as other movable properties mentioned in Schedules 'C' and 'E' respectively. As a result of this agreement it could be seen that the plaintiff stood in the position of a creditor who had a right against the properties mentioned in the bonds. The plaintiff was thus entitled to a receiver on the ground that he had a special or equitable charge or lien upon the defendants' properties. Clause 6 of the agreement was accordingly a prima facie good ground upon which the learned Civil Judge could order the appointment of receiver.

9. Dealing with the right of a creditor to get a receiver appointed on the properties of the debtor, Woodroff in his book 'Law Relating to Receiver' VI Edition at page 138 has said that 'creditors even before judgment may have such a special or equitable charge or lien upon the debtor's property as to entitle them to a receiver......................' Kerr alsosaid the same thing in his book on Receiver 14th Edition of page 35. The same is as below:--........................'Where a plaintiff has aright to be paid out of a particular fund, the court will appoint a receiver in order to prevent that fund from being dissipated so as not to defeat his rights. The appointment of a receiver being such a case not by way of equitable execution, but analogous to it.'

10. In Halsbury's Laws of England 3rd Edition, Volume 32 page 400, it has been said that 'An encumbrancer is entitled to a receiver if the principal money has become payable, or, in the case of an equitable charge, if his interest has been in arrear, and, even if no default has been made, he may have a receiver appointed if he satisfies the court that his security is in jeopardy. ......................'

11. In the instant case, it would be found that under the agreement between the defendants and the plaintiff, the defendants had themselves conferred a right upon the plaintiff to appoint a receiver in case default were committed by them in making payment of the advances made to them. The plaintiff has clearly stated in the plaint that the defendants did not pay the amounts due to it despite repeated demands. Accordingly, the defendants committed default in making payment of the advances. The plaintiff has become entitled to get the appointment of the receiver made. Besides this the evidence brought on record showed that the defendants committed a breach of the agreement by giving property on lease to M/s. N. K. Woollen and Silk Mills. Agra. The lessee could create danger or cause loss to the property hypothecated, therefore, the plaintiff had a right in the terms of the agreement to get the receiver appointed.

12. Learned counsel for the defendants, however, contended that since the trial court had already issued an injunction restraining the defendants from disposing of the properties, therefore, there was no occasion for the court below to order the appointment of a receiver. There is no such law that the issue of a temporary injunction affects the rights of the plaintiff to get the receiver appointed. A receiver can be appointed even after the issue of injunction if exigencies of the situation require it and the court feels that it would be just and convenient to make an order in that respect. Accordingly we are not impressed by the argument of the learned counsel for the defendants that simply because an injunction had been earlier issued, the court below had no jurisdiction to order the appointment of receiver. The allegations made in the affidavit of the plaintiff would show that the defendants were trying to remove and dispose of the properties despite the injunction hence the order of the court below cannot be said to be wrong on this ground.

13. The only other question that remains to be considered is about the powers which have to be conferred upon the receiver. It may be said in a general way that a receiver has no powers except such as are conferred upon him by the order by which he is appointed. Under Order 40, Rule 1 of the Civil P. C. the court may grant to the receiver such powers as to bringing and defending suits and for the realization, management protection, preservation and improvement of the property, the collection of rents and profits thereof, the application and disposal of such rents, and the execution of instruments in writing etc. as the owner himself has or such of those powers as the court thinks fit. It is open to a court not to confer all those powers stated in the aforesaid paragraph. It may confer upon him only such powers as may be necessary to preserve the property pending litigation so that it may not be damaged or dissipated.

14. In the instant case, the plaintiff applied for the appointment of a receiver over the properties mentioned in Schedules 'C' and 'E'. Schedule 'C' is the list of properties (plants and machinery) hypothecated on 26-6-1969, whereas Schedule 'E' contains the details of the stock of M/s. S. B. Industries, defendant No. 1 charged in favour of the plaintiff bank. By the impugned order the court below authorised the receiver to take possession of the properties mentioned in these Schedules and directed him to seek directions of the court about their disposal after suggesting ways in which they could be sold. It would be noticed that the court below did not authorise the receiver to take over their business or their management and to sell it as a going concern, as a result of which the business of the defendants may come to a standstill. It may be true that if the court below can appoint a receiver, then it has ample power to provide for the management of the running business as well, but the facts of the present case do not warrant or justify such action. But since on the basis of the material placed before us we are satisfied that the application has established a good prima facie case and the plaintiff would be in a worse situation if the appointment of receiver is not ordered, we would, therefore, like the receiver appointed by the court below to continue. In our view, facts do not justify that he should either be permitted to take possession of the plants or machinery of Schedule 'C' or to dispose them of. In fact Sri V. K. S. Chaudhary learned counsel for the plaintiff also stated before us that his client was also not keen about the plants and machinery mentioned in Schedule 'C' being disposed of by the receiver. He stated that the bank would be satisfied in case the receiver appointed by the court below was continued to keep a watch on the activities of the defendants so that they do not remove or pilfer the plants and machinery. As already indicated above, we were also not inclined to permit the receiver to take possession of the plants and machinery mentioned in Schedule 'C' and to direct him to sell it in the market. We, therefore, set aside the order of the trial court in so far as it directed the receiver to take possession of the properties mentioned in Schedule 'C' and called upon him to prepare the scheme for the disposal of those plants and machinery. The appointment of the receiver is upheld for the purposes of keeping a watch on the activities of the defendants so that they do not remove the plants and machinery fixed in the factory. The receiver would be entitled to make such arrangement in order to give effect to his duties as may be necessary. We, however, with the consent of the parties, in order to obviate practical difficulties which may arise, wish to lay down the terms and conditions on which the receiver would function. These terms and conditions are being agreed to by the learned counsel appearing for both the parties. They are as follows :--

i) The appointment of the receiver is confined to the plants and machinery specified in Schedule 'C' only and not write report (sic) to other fittings and fixtures or equipment found in the factory which are not part of Schedule 'C' or which may be added in future by Way of improvement.

ii) If some part or parts of any plant or machinery included in Schedule 'C' isrequired to be taken out for repairs, the defendants would be entitled to get the same done with the prior permission of the receiver.

iii) If any change or replacement of the machinery or its part included in Schedule 'C' is required to be done in case of breakdown or outside, the defendants would be entitled to do so after obtaining prior permission of the receiver.

iv) Subject to the permission of the receiver, the defendants would be entitled to remove and take away the broken and useless parts of the plants and machinery after replacement.

v) The receiver will not put his board on the factory premises.

vi) If the defendants bring some additional machinery on hire for the purposes of running factory of processing the produce, defendant would be entitled to remove them and that the receiver would not interfere with the removal. This would, of course, again be done by appellant after the permission of the receiver.

15. We are now required to deal with Schedule 'E' over which the receiver was appointed by the court below. This Schedule consists of stock of M/s. S. B. Industries, Agra. It consists of raw materials and finished stock. The court below had authorised the receiver to sell the stock mentioned in the Schedule in the market. Sri Rajeshwari Prasad counsel appearing for the defendants did not raise any objection to the direction given by the court below to the receiver to dispose of the stock mentioned in this schedule. He, however, further made an offer in the court that the raw materials hypothecated by the defendant No. 1 which were mentioned in Schedule 'D' may be sold by the receiver and the price fetched by the sale of the properties of these two Schedules be appropriated towards the dues recoverable by the plaintiff from the defendants. Accordingly, with the agreement of the learned counsel for the parties, we maintain the order of the court below directing the receiver to dispose of the stock mentioned in Schedule 'E' and further authorise him to dispose of the raw material mentioned in Schedule 'D'. The sale proceeds would be given by him to the bank and the receipt obtained by him in lieu of the payment would be kept on the record of the present suit.

16. The receiver will work in accordance with the directions which may be given by the court below from time to time and on the remuneration as has already been fixed by it. Sri Rajendra Singh already appointed by the court below may be asked to assume the charge and function in accordance with the directions given by us, but in case he does not agree to continue, the court below will have full powers to appoint any other advocate for the said purpose.

17. Before parting with the judgment, we wish to note that it is unfortunate that though more than five years have passed, the defendants did not even file the written statement. This was a case which ought to have been disposed of by now. One party lays the blame on the other for the delay. Without entering into controversy, we wish to give direction to the court below to proceed with the suit as expeditiously as possible. Sri Rajeshwari Prasad learned counsel for the defendants stated before us that the defendants would file the written statement within a month from the date on which they are permitted to inspect the account books filed by the plaintiff. These account books were filed by the plaintiff in the suit and since they are not requisitioned by this Court in this appeal, the defendants may complete the inspection of those account books before 10th Sept. 1977. The inspection would be done by the defendants either in the presence of the counsel appearing for the bank or its representative. The defendant would thereafter file the written statement by the 10th of Oct. 1977.

18. In the result, the appeal succeeds in part and is allowed. The order of the court below directing the receiver to take possession of the plant and machinery mentioned in Schedule 'C' and further authorising him to dispose of the same is set aside. The receiver would now function in accordance with the direction contained in this judgment. The parties shall bear their own costs. The office of the High Court is directed to despatch the record within a week requisitioned by it


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