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Sant Bakhsh and ors. Vs. Dwarka Das and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1896)ILR18All92
AppellantSant Bakhsh and ors.
RespondentDwarka Das and anr.
Excerpt:
act no. i of 1882 (indian evidence act), section 34 - account-books--corroborative evidence necessary to render defendant liable upon entries in plaintiffs' books. - .....knowledge, or whether his evidence was solely based on the entries which he found in the account-books. ajudhia was cross-examined at length. no question suggesting that he was not speaking from his own personal knowledge was put to him, and no objection was taken at the time to the questions put to him, on the plaintiff's behalf, or to his answers. consequently, in our opinion, ajudhia's evidence should receive the favorable construction which would entitle us to treat it as substantive evidence in this case, and not to exclude it as evidence which was inadmissible. there is no reason to suppose that ajudhia was speaking falsely. he is corroborated by balbhaddar, and he is corroborated also by the entries in the books of his firm, which are relevant, those books having been properly.....
Judgment:

John Edge, Kt., C.J. and Burkitt, J.

1. The plaintiffs, who are respondents in this appeal, brought their suit to recover moneys alleged to be due by the defendants to the plaintiff's firm. They were moneys alleged to have been advanced to the defendants upon different dates and over a series of years. The District Judge found in favor of the plaintiffs in respect of all the amounts claimed which were not barred by limitation. He found that the plaintiffs had proved so much of their case as was not barred by limitation by putting in evidence their account-books, and he disbelieved all the corroborative evidence of the loans which was called, with the exception to some extent of the evidence given by the witness Balbhaddar. The District Judge found that the books were regularly kept, and he assumed in point of law that an account-book which was proved to have been regularly kept was prima facie evidence as against the opposite party of the matters stated in it. He relied upon Section 34 of Act No. I of 1872 (The Indian Evidence Act). The interpretation put by him upon Section 34 is, in our opinion, erroneous. Section 34 applies only to entries in books of account which are regularly kept in the course of business, and the District Judge's view of the evidence which he believed was that the books of the plaintiff's firm were regularly kept in the course of business. No doubt the entries in question were entries, on the Judge's finding, to which Section 34 of the Evidence Act applies; but Section 34 of the Evidence Act only makes entries in books of account regularly kept in the course of business relevant, when they refer to a matter into which the Court has to enquire, and what the Judge apparently overlooked was that Section 34 expressly enacts: 'but such statements shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability.' On the findings of facts of the Judge he ought, in our opinion, to have dismissed the suit. The entries alone were not sufficient evidence under the Act to charge the defendants with liability, and the District Judge did not believe the oral evidence as to the loans having been made.

2. Mr. Simeon, who has appeared here for the plaintiffs-respondents has referred us to Section 4 of Act No. XVIII of 1891. That section does not help us. Even if it applied, which it does not, to the books of the plaintiff's firm, it would not give the extracts from those books any greater force as a matter of evidence than the books themselves would have had.

3. We have to see whether the plaintiffs did in fact make out a case for their decree. We agree with the District Judge as to the oral evidence of the advances, with the exception of that of Balbhaddar. In our opinion Balbhaddar's evidence was true, and it did make out a prima facie case with regard to some of the transactions in question. However, that would not be sufficient to support the decree in full. One of the plaintiffs, Ajudhia, was called, and, on looking at the bahi (account-book) he stated the amounts which were advanced to the defendants and the amounts of the repayments. He says also that some of the entries were in the writing of Sheo Tahal and some had been made by himself; further, that the credit and debit entries of certain of the items had been made at the request of the defendants. His evidence in chief is consistent with its being evidence given by a man as to transactions of which he had personal knowledge, upon refreshing his memory by looking at accounts which were entered up either by himself personally or under his personal supervision, and it is also consistent with the case of a man who had no personal knowledge of (he transactions entered in the account-books beyond the fact that there were entries in the account-books, some made by himself and some by another man, and those entries showed certain results. Ajudhia was somewhat loosely examined. It was, in our opinion, the duty of the pleader for the defendants, if he wanted to put an adverse interpretation on Ajudhia's evidence or wished to have it excluded from consideration, to have objected at the time and cross-examined Ajudhia as to whether the transactions of which he was speaking were within his own personal knowledge, or whether his evidence was solely based on the entries which he found in the account-books. Ajudhia was cross-examined at length. No question suggesting that he was not speaking from his own personal knowledge was put to him, and no objection was taken at the time to the questions put to him, on the plaintiff's behalf, or to his answers. Consequently, in our opinion, Ajudhia's evidence should receive the favorable construction which would entitle us to treat it as substantive evidence in this case, and not to exclude it as evidence which was inadmissible. There is no reason to suppose that Ajudhia was speaking falsely. He is corroborated by Balbhaddar, and he is corroborated also by the entries in the books of his firm, which are relevant, those books having been properly kept in the ordinary course of business.

4. We do not believe the evidence for the defendants.

5. We dismiss this appeal with costs. The plaintiffs have filed objections. They objected to the view which the Judge took of the truthfulness of some of their witnesses. That did not form a ground of objection under Section 561 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as it did not go to any part of the case upon which they had not succeeded. The other ground of objection which was filed, was as to the disallowance of their coats in the Court below. We will not interfere with the discretion of the District Judge. The plaintiffs came into Court with apparently a true case, but determined to back that true case up by perjured evidence. In this Court their perjured evidence very nearly induced us to discredit their whole case. We disallow the objections with costs.


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