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Hari Das Vs. Goswami Sri Raman Lalji and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1916)ILR38All474
AppellantHari Das
RespondentGoswami Sri Raman Lalji and anr.
Excerpt:
.....a person in the capacity of a personal representative of a deceased person. , the words 'effects of the deceased,'was not brought clearly to the notice of the court. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered though the judgment of the court might possibly give them that relief as well. hari das therefore as transferee of seth amar chand and in his cam city as such is entitled to execute the decree and the application for execution cannot therefore be defeated on that ground he is entitled to proceed with the execution of such a decree under the rule already quoted. i think as a representative of amar chand alone hari das was entitled to take out execution and this application could not be defeated......on the death of seth kishan das, the property passed on by the law of survivorship to his son seth amar chand, seth amar chand and his wife musammat gulab bai brought a suit in the court of the subordinate judge for possession of certain items of property which had been sold to them and in the alternative for damages to the extent of rs. 8,000. on the 24th of november, 1909, the subordinate judge of agra made a decree directing the defendants to deliver possession over the property in dispute and pay future mesne profits up to the date of possession with costs. from the original decree itself it is not very clear whether the learned subordinate judge intended to give a decree for rs. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered though the judgment of the court might possibly give.....
Judgment:

Walsh, JJ.

1. In this case the facts appear in the Judgment of my brother Mr. Justice Sundar Lal. There is only one point of law involved in the appeal. But it is an important question of principle, the determination of which must necessarily involve the rights and interests of a considerable number of persons. I am deciding this case upon the hypothesis, which I adopt as correct, that this is a case of debt, and that if the authority of Allah Dad Khan v. Sant Ram (1912) I.L.R. 35 All. 79, relied upon by Mr. Peary Lal Banerji was rightly decided, Mr. Banerji is entitled to succeed. On the other hand if it was not rightly decided this appeal must fail., On a consideration of that case, a subsequent authority to which I will refer in one moment, and the language of the section itself, I entertain no doubt whatever that the decision relied upon by Mr. Banerji cannot be regarded as sound law. The contention is that an assignee of a debt due to the estate of a deceased person cannot recover the debt without producing a succession certificate. That argument is based upon the language of Section 4, Sub-section 1, of the Succession Certificate Act (VII of 1889), which begins with these words, 'no court shall pass a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person, or to any part thereof except on production of amongst other things, (1) probate, (2) a certificate.' Now, to my mind a person claiming as an assignee of a debt which was due to the estate of a deceased person is not claiming 'the effects of the deceased.' From the date of assignment, the debt due to the deceased ceases to be part of the deceased's effects. The consideration for the assignment is substituted for the debt due to the estate and it is the consideration for the assignment, which from the date of the assignment, takes the place of the debt as part of the effects of the deceased person. Further it is important to bear in mind the scope and ambit of the Succession Certificate Act itself. All that it purports to do is to facilitate the collection of debts, to regulate the administration of succession and to protect persons who deal with the alleged representatives of deceased persons against the difficulty which may occur when disputes arise as to whether a claimant is or is not entitled as such personal representative, and the language used in Sub-section 1 of Section 4, is the language which is not merely appropriate, but is the language which is invariably adopted, to describe in legal terminology the position and claim of a person claiming as a personal representative of a deceased person. My view of the language used in that sub-section is that it was specially adopted in order to keep clear those narrow limits and this is borne out, by the words which follow on the word 'production' viz., 'by the person, so claiming.' I think that clearly indicates that the claim contemplated by this section is a claim made by a person in the capacity of a personal representative of a deceased person. It is quite clear that in Rang Lal v. Annu Lal (1913) I.L.R. 36 All. 21, two learned Judges of this Court were confronted with a concrete example involving consequences, possibly unforeseen, of the decision in I.L.R. 35 All. 74 : (1912) I.L.R. 35 All. 74, to which I have referred and which they felt a difficulty about following. It is clear that they did not adopt the reasoning upon which the earlier case had proceeded. It is equally clear that, as they point out in their judgement, the ratio decidendi of the earlier case turned upon the construction of Section 16 of the same Act. - Looking at the report it would appear that the mind of the Court which decided the case in 35 All. : (1912) I.L.R. 35 All. 74 was really diverted from the real point by the argument which was addressed to them based upon the difference in the language employed with reference to the production of probate and that employed with reference to the production of the certificate. The result was that the difficulty, which I feel is the real difficulty, in the way of adopting the view which they took, viz., the words 'effects of the deceased,' was not brought clearly to the notice of the court. If it had been, I cannot but think that they would have taken a different view. I have no hesitation in holding that the decision in Allah Dad Khan v. Sant Ram (1912) I.L.R. 35 All. 74 is no longer law.

Sundar Lal, J.

2. I have arrived at the same conclusion. I may shortly state the circumstances of the case in dealing with the two contentions which have been urged by Mr. Peary Lal Banerji in support of the appeal. The facts broadly appear to be this. On the 31st of March, 1907, Goswami Sri Raman Lalji Maharaj and Brijpal Lalji sold certain property to one Seth Kishan Das by a deed of sale. They undertook to give possession to the purchaser of certain items of the property which were in the hands of a prior mortgagee. On the death of Seth Kishan Das, the property passed on by the law of survivorship to his son Seth Amar Chand, Seth Amar Chand and his wife Musammat Gulab Bai brought a suit in the court of the Subordinate Judge for possession of certain items of property which had been sold to them and in the alternative for damages to the extent of Rs. 8,000. On the 24th of November, 1909, the Subordinate Judge of Agra made a decree directing the defendants to deliver possession over the property in dispute and pay future mesne profits up to the date of possession with costs. From the original decree itself it is not very clear whether the learned Subordinate Judge intended to give a decree for Rs. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered though the Judgment of the court might possibly give them that relief as well. We are not however construing the decree in this particular case at this stage of the case. This decree was appealed against to this Court and affirmed on the 9th of May, 1911. In the meantime Musammat Gulab Bai had died on the 28th of November, 1910. Under the Hindu law, Seth Amar Chand, the husband of Gulab Bai, was her sole heir, and he succeeded to her estate. On February 1st, 1914, Amar Chand sold his interest in the decree, namely, that which he had as one of the original decree-holders as also as the heir to his wife, to Hari Das, the respondent in this appeal. It also appears that on February 25th, 1915, Amar Chand obtained letters of administration to the estate of his wife Musammat Gulab Bai from the Bombay High Court, under Act V of 1881. Hari Das as such purchaser has applied for the execution of the decree and the question before the court is, is he competent to do so? The first point urged by Mr. Peary Lal Banerji is that the grant of letters of administration on the 25th of February, 1915, did not operate to validate the sale of February, 1914, and Hari Das must obtain a further sale deed from Amar Chand to entitle him to execute the decree. The grant of letters of administration to the estate of the deceased person takes effect and operates from the date on which the deceased died, and under Section 14 of the Probate and Letters of Administration Act, Amar Chand's sale deed would be an operative sale deed in the same way as if he had obtained letters of administration prior to February 1st, 1914. Apart from this fact, under the Hindu law the property of Musammat Gulab Bai vested in Amar Chand and it is not disputed that under the Hindu law he was entitled to sell the property so inherited by him. The provisions of Section 191 of the Indian Succession Act do not apply to Hindus and Muhammadans in these provinces. The estate of the deceased persons in such cases vests at once in the heir who is competent to dispose of the same. The first point therefore taken by him fails. The second point raised in the appeal is that under Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act, although letters of administration had been granted to Seth Amar Chand, it was necessary in law for Hari Das to obtain fresh letters of administration to entitle him to apply for the execution of the decree. It may be noted that the decree was m favour of both Amar Chand and Gulab Bai Amar Chand alone as a decree-holder was entitled to execute the decree. All that the court has to do in such a case is to safeguard the rights of the other decree-holder, under Rule 15 of Order XXI of the Code. As a vendee from him he was also entitled to execute the decree in the same way as his vendor Amar Chand. Hari Das therefore as transferee of Seth Amar Chand and in his cam city as such is entitled to execute the decree and the application for execution cannot therefore be defeated on that ground He is entitled to proceed with the execution of such a decree under the rule already quoted. It is however urged that he has also purchased the rights of Musammat Gulab Bai which by inheritance had vested in Seth Amar Chand, so much of the decree as was in favour of Gulab Bai could not be executed in this instance unless he obtained letters of administration or a certificate to collect the debts of Gulab Bai. In the first place the decree was a join and several decree and as purchaser of Amar Chand's rights he was entitled to exeeute the whole decree, and as Amar Chand himself was the heir of the other decree-holder the court could have easily safe-guarded his rights as such by a suitable order But the execution of the decree could not be defeated. Again Mr. Peary Lal Banerji has relied upon a ruling of this Court in Allah Dad Khan v. Sant Ram (1912) I.L.R. 35 All. 74 and urged that the purchaser could not execute the decree without obtaining a certificate or a fresh letters of administration in respect of so much of the decree as represents her interest therein. In my opinion Act VII of 1889 was, as the preamble itself states, intended to facilitate the collection of debts on succession, and offers protection to parties paying debts to the representatives of deceased persons. The Act was intended to offer protection to debtors and to assure them that the certificate-holder was the person entitled as successor to the effect of the deceased person to receive payment of the debt. It was not intended to guarantee that the successor who had so obtained a certificate had also validly transferred his rights to a third party. An inquiry as to the validity of transfers made by a certificate-holder is, I think, foreign to the scope and object of Act VII of 1889. If that were so, the result might be that where an heir obtained a certificate to collect ten items of debts and subsequently transferred each item of the debt to different transferees, the ten transferees would have each to obtain ten certificates to collect the debts transferred to them, and to apply for the revocation of the certificate granted to their vendor. I do not think that it was ever intended by the Legislature that this should be so. I entirely agree with the observation made by another Bench of this Court in Rang Lal v. Annu Lal (1913) I.L.R. 36 All. 21 on this point. If it were necessary to decide this point in this particular case I would have been inclined to come to the conclusion that the case in 35 All. 74, was not correctly decided, and that it has in fact been overruled by the later ruling in 36 All. 21. But for the reasons given by me it is not necessary to decide this point. I think as a representative of Amar Chand alone Hari Das was entitled to take out execution and this application could not be defeated. I would dismiss the appeal with costs, but in doing so I may observe that the other points of objection raised by the judgement-debtors have not been disposed of by the court below, and nothing that we say now would prevent the court below from disposing of the said points.

3. The order of the Court is that the appeal is dismissed with costs.


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