N.N. Mithal, J.
1. This appeal hag been instituted by the defendants against whom a suit has been filed by the Municipal Board, Rath for the recovery of a sum of money on the basis of the contract which was given to the defendant in a public auction for the recovery of Tehbazari. The contract admittedly was taken by the defendants for Rs. 37,800/- but they did not pay part of the contracted money for the recovery of which this suit has been filed.
2. The defendants contested the suit and apart from other pleas they contended that the contract in their favour was invalid and could not be enforced by the plaintiff. The contract was invalid as the same was not registered. Apart from this, the defendants also contended that due to certain lapses on the part of the plaintiff a loss of Rs. 5,500/- was caused to the defendant and for this reason the plaintiff was not entitled to claim- any amount. The suit was decreed by the trial court and the appeal by the defendants also met the same fate in the lower appellate court. Hence, the defendants have come up before this Court in second appeal.
3. A short point has been taken before this Court and it was to the effect that there was no valid contract between the parties as required under Section 97 of the Municipalties Act. The plaintiff, therefore, was not entitled to enforce the said contract and the lower courts had erred in granting the relief to the plaintiff under Section 66 of the Contract Act.
4. The finding of the trial court was that there was no contract in writing duly signed by the authorised officer of the Board nor the document was duly registered and, therefore, it was not enforceable in law. The lower appellate court also found that the document required registration but in fact had not been registered and was, therefore, not enforceable. Both the courts below have decreed the suit relying on Section 65 of the Indian Contract Act which reads as under:
'When an agreement is discovered to be void, or when the contract becomes void, any person who has received anyadvantage under such agreement or the contract is bound to restore it, or to make compensation for it, to the person from whom he received it.'
Before Section 65 of the Act would be applied in a given case it must be established that there was an agreement which was discovered to be void or a contract which becomes void later on. In the instant case, there was no agreement at all according to the learned counsel for the appellants. This position, however, does not appear to be correct. In this case, an auction took place on 29-2-1960 and the defendants were the highest bidders. Therefore, the Theka was given to them. This Theka was later on accepted by the Board vide its resolution No. 59 dated 4-4-1960. Defendant No. 1 began to collect Tahba-zari dues from 1-4-1960, Now the question is as to whether the acceptance of the bids followed by the resolution of the Board would or would not amount to an acceptance of the proposal made by the appellants. In these cases the general notification made by the Board announcing the public auction of the rights of Tahbazari would be deemed to be an invitation to make offers. The bids at the auction were in fact in the nature of offers given by the various rival contenders and after the bid was knocked down in favour of the defendants as being the highest the same was accepted by the Board and later on confirmed by means of the resolution dated 1-4-1960. It would be deemed in these circumstances that the proposal or the offer made by the defendants had been accepted by the Board. This would constitute an agreement within the meaning of Section 2 of the Indian Contract Act According to Section 10 of the Act, however, all agreements are contracts, if they are made with the free consent of the parties, who are competent to contract and the contract is for a lawful consideration and for any lawful purpose or have not been declared to be void under any Act. In order that an agreement between the parties may be converted into a contract it was necessary that it should be in accordance with the various provisions of the Act and also in accordance with any other law applicable to such a contract. But, according to Section 97 of the U. P. Municipalities Act a contract with the Board exceeding Rs. 260/- is required to be made in writing. The contention of the learned counselfor the appellants, therefore, was that although there might be an agreement between the parties yet it never ripened into a contract as no written agreement came into being and the same was also not registered. This, however, does not appear to be correct position of law. In fact, the agreement to be in writing does not necessarily mean that it should be in the form of a document in a particular form. There could be an agreement even from correspondence and in such a case also the requirements of law would be fully complied with. A reference in this connection may be made to the case i.e. B.C. Mohandra v. Municipal Board, Saharanpur (1970 All LJ 570) (SC). In that case also a theka for collecting Tahbazart dues was put to public auction and the same was signed by the Chairman and the Executive Officer of the Board. It was followed by a resolution by which the auction was confirmed. Then the question arose as to whether this amounted to a contract in writing within the meaning of Section 97 (1) and Section 97 (2) of the U. P. Municipalities Act. It was held by the Supreme Court that the bids and the resolution constituted a contract in writing within the meaning of Section 97 of the Municipalities Act and it was not necessary for the parties to comply with the provision of the section that the contract should be contained in one document signed by both the parties. It cannot, therefore, be said that in the instant case there was no agreement in writing or no contract within the meaning of Section 97 of the Municipalities Act. In that case also the document was neither in the form of bilateral agreement nor the same was registered. Yet, it was held that there was a contract between the parties.
5. It was then submitted that the agreement was not registered document and, therefore, it was a void contract and as such could not be enforced. Even if for the sake of argument, it may be accepted that the document required registration and on account of non-registration of the same it was not enforceable yet it will merely render the contract as void and attract the provisions of Section 85 of the Indian Contract Act. Section 65 has already been quoted above and it would appear from the same that whenever an agreement is discovered to be void or when ft contract, becomes void then, the per-son receiving advantage has to restore it to the other party, In this case, admittedly the defendant No. 1 had been realising the Tahbazari dues, He would be the person who must be maintaining the accounts of the amount received by him as Tahbazari dues from the various persons occupying the land and being the person who is specifically in the know of the real facts. It would be his duty to place before the court all the relevant materials from which it could be judged as to what was the advantage received by him. It has been urged by the learned counsel for the appellants that Section 65 of the Contract Act does not apply in the present case inasmuch as the contract has not been discovered to be void and it never fructified into a contract. According to the law, if the agreement was void ab intio then there was no contract at all and therefore, the provisions of Section 65 of the Act cannot legitimately be attracted. In this connection reference has been made to the case of Sheikh Kallan v. Municipal Board, Aligarh (1956 All LJ 715) wherein also a question of this very nature arose and it was held that Section 65 of the Act would apply even to a case in which the contract was void ab initio.
6. I am, therefore, of the view that there was an agreement between the parties on the basis of the auction bids and the resolution passed by the Board and that the agreement not having been duly registered Section 65 of the Contract Act would come to the aid of the plaintiff in claiming the amount due under the contract. The defendants have also failed to prove the actual profits and the benefit received by them under the agreement in question and, therefore, they cannot legally place the burden on the plaintiff to prove the benefits that may have been received by the defendants under the agreement in question. This would be contrary to the provisions of Section 106 of the Evidence Act which lays down that the burden of proving a particular fact within the special knowledge of a person lies upon that person himself. The defendants having failed to discharge that burden the courts below were fully justified in awarding the decree to the extent of the amount agreed to be paid by them to the plaintiff-Board.
7. In view of the above, I find that there is no force in this appeal andthe same is accordingly dismissed. However, the parties are directed to bear their own costs of this appeal.