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Mt. Mewa Kunwari Vs. Bourey and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1934All388
AppellantMt. Mewa Kunwari
RespondentBourey and anr.
Excerpt:
- .....his suit, which was based on a promissory note which has been held to be inadmissible as not duly stamped. the promissory note when tendered in evidence bore one half anna stamp, but the learned judge has held that at the time of execution it bore two half anna stamps and was therefore at that time duly stamped. but one of the stamps appears to have been lost or removed, with the result that when tendered in evidence it was no longer 'duly stamped' and as the judge has pointed out section 35, stamp act, 1899, provides that:no instrument chargeable with duty shall be admitted in evidence...unless such instrument is duly stamped,and he has therefore held that the force of the word 'is' in the section is such that he had no power to admit the document in evidence. i have been asked by.....
Judgment:

Kendall, J.

1. This is a plaintiff's application for the revision of an order of the Judge of the Small Cause Court of Cawnpore, dismissing his suit, which was based on a promissory note which has been held to be inadmissible as not duly stamped. The promissory note when tendered in evidence bore one half anna stamp, but the learned Judge has held that at the time of execution it bore two half anna stamps and was therefore at that time duly stamped. But one of the stamps appears to have been lost or removed, with the result that when tendered in evidence it was no longer 'duly stamped' and as the Judge has pointed out Section 35, Stamp Act, 1899, provides that:

No instrument chargeable with duty shall be admitted in evidence...unless such instrument is duly stamped,

and he has therefore held that the force of the word 'is' in the section is such that he had no power to admit the document in evidence. I have been asked by Mr. Pathak on behalf of the applicant to construe the section in a more liberal manner. The words 'duly stamped' as defined in Clause (11), Section 2 of the Act, mean that the instrument

bears an adhesive or impressed stamp of not less than the proper amount, and that such stamp has been affixed or used in accordance with the law for the time being in force in British India.

2. This definition does not in itself appear to help the applicant, but it has been pointed out that if the promissory note had been lost altogether it would have been open to the applicant to prove its contents, and it appears to be absurd that he should be put in a worse position because a part of the document only and not the whole of it has been lost. It may further be observed that if the promissory note had been executed without the affixation of a stamp at all, and the stamp had subsequently been affixed it would have been, according to the Judge's interpretations of the provisions of Section 35 of the Act, admissible in evidence, although at the time of execution it had not been duly stamped. Yet Section 17 of the Act, provides that:

All instruments chargeable with duty and executed by any person in British India shall be stamped before or at the time of the execution.

3. The question is therefore whether the word 'is' in Section 35 may be so interpreted as to include the words 'has been.' In Chap. 9 of his work on the interpretation of Statutes, Edn. 7, p. 198, Sir Peter Maxwell remarks as follows:

Where the language of a statute, in its ordinary meaning and grammatical construction, leads to...some inconvenience or absurdity, hardship or injustice, presumably not intended, a construction may be put upon it which modifies the meaning of the words, and even the structure of the sentence. This may be done by departing from the rules of grammar by giving an unusual meaning to particular words, by altering their correlation, by rejecting them altogether, or by interpolating other words, under the influence, no doubt, of an irresistible conviction that the legislature could not possibly have intended what its words signify, and that the modifications thus made are mere corrections of careless language and really give the true meaning. Where the main object and intention of a statute are clear, it must not be reduced to a nullity by the draftsman's unskilfulness or ignorance of the law, except in a case of necessity, or the absolute intractability o{ the language used.

4. In my opinion, the language of the Act is not absolutely intractable. It is not even necessary to depart from the rules of grammar or to do any violence to the language of the section. It is only necessary to interpret the word 'is' in a liberal manner and in the manner that it appears to me the Legislature must have intended. I think that in the circumstances the document ought to be held to be admissible, and the plaintiff ought to have an opportunity of pursuing his claim. I therefore allow the application, set aside the decree and order of the trial Court and direct that the suit be readmitted on its original number and tried according to law. The opposite party has not opposed the present application and I direct therefore that the costs abide the result.


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