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Babban (deceased by L.R's.) Vs. Shiv Nath and Ors. (23.09.1985 - ALLHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 494 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1986All185
ActsNegotiable Instruments Act, 1881 - Sections 118; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 100; Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 67 and 101 to 104
AppellantBabban (deceased by L.R's.)
RespondentShiv Nath and Ors.
Appellant AdvocateSwaraj Prakash, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.B. Khare, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....act,1872 - suit for recovery filed on the basis of pro-note - pro-note written in hindi and signed by defendant at several places in hindi - pro-note and receipt were duly stamped - witnesses testified the signature - plea of executants that signature were procured under coercion was unbelievable - judgment of court affirmed. - - it is said that when defendant 1 went at the shop he was surrounded and was made to put his signature on a blank pronote and receipt and in case he failed to do so he was threatened with dire consequences. they gave good reasons to believe their testimony. under such circumstances i do not find any good reason to disbelieve the plaintiff's case specially when it is supported by a legal presumption under section 118 of negotiable instruments act (act no. shafi..........3 to 5 is alleged to have advanced a loan of rs. 4700/- to appellant on the basis of a pronote and receipt executed by him on 3-9-1967. it carried interest at the rateof re. 1% per month. nothing was paid despite demands, hence the suit.3. defendant 1 denied execution of the pronote and receipt in question. he also denied that any consideration for the said pronote and receipt passed to him. the defence was that deep chand son of defendant 1 and uma nath, plaintiff, son of ram autar carried on some thekedari business in assam. there was some misunderstanding between the two with the result that uma nath began to bear ill-will against deep chand.4. on 7-9-1967 at about 3 p.m. while the defendant 1 was going to see a relation of his in dharamshala he was called by one of the plaintiffs.....
Judgment:

N.N. Sharma, J.

1. This is a defendant's appeal directed against judgment and decree of Sri R. P. Pandeya, learned 1st Addl. District Judge, Gorakhpur who dismissed Civil Appeal No. 95 of 1973 with costs on 20-11-1974 and affirmed the judgment and decree of Sri S. N. Mishra, learned Civil Judge, Gorakhpur in Suit No. 234 of 1970. Learned Civil Judge had decreed the suit for recovery of Rs. 6392/-against defendant 1 with costs. Future and pendente lite interest was allowed at the rate of Rs. 4% per annum.

2. Ram Autar, father of plaintiffs 1 to 3 and defendants 3 to 5 is alleged to have advanced a loan of Rs. 4700/- to appellant on the basis of a pronote and receipt executed by him on 3-9-1967. It carried interest at the rateof Re. 1% per month. Nothing was paid despite demands, hence the suit.

3. Defendant 1 denied execution of the pronote and receipt in question. He also denied that any consideration for the said pronote and receipt passed to him. The defence was that Deep Chand son of defendant 1 and Uma Nath, plaintiff, son of Ram Autar carried on some Thekedari business in Assam. There was some misunderstanding between the two with the result that Uma Nath began to bear ill-will against Deep Chand.

4. On 7-9-1967 at about 3 p.m. while the defendant 1 was going to see a relation of his in Dharamshala he was called by one of the plaintiffs i.e. Jagarnath at the shop of Ram Autar. Uma Nath was also present there. It is said that when defendant 1 went at the shop he was surrounded and was made to put his signature on a blank pronote and receipt and in case he failed to do so he was threatened with dire consequences. The defendant 1 also lodged a report in the matter. Defendant denied to have borrowed any loan from the plaintiff.

5. Both the Courts below found that the pronote and receipt were executed for consideration as laid in the plaint and the impugned decree was drawn.

6. Aggrieved by this decision defendant has filed this appeal.

7. On behalf of the appellant Sri Swaraj Prakash, argued that lower appellate Court wrongly observed that after admission of his signatures on pronote and receipt in question burden lay on defendant to move that these were obtained under coercion.

8. In this connection reliance was placed upon my decision in Suresh Chandra v. Satish Chandra, reported in 1982 All WC 795 : AIR 1983 All 81. However, that case is distinguishable for the simple reason that in that suit material alteration was made by plaintiff in the pronote and so it was held that in such case plaintiff could not sue the defendant even on original contract.

9. Reliance was also placed upon Thakur Lal v. Rani Adhar, reported in 1968 All U 480 which posited : --

'Negotiable Instruments Act, Section 118(a) - Defendants merely admitting putting of their signatures and thumb marks on blank sheet of paper, plaintiff to prove due execution of pronote -- Presumption u/s. 118(a) can be raised only when execution of pronote is established.'

10. Reliance was also placed on Devidas v. Mamooji, reported in AIR 1924 Nag 103 which observed : --

'Evidence Act Section 101 Admission of thumb impression pr signatures must be taken with its qualifications if any.

When a party admits his subscription or thumb impression borne on any document he ought not to be presumed necessarily to have put it upon that document with full knowledge of its contents and the burden still lies on the party relying on the document to prove the execution and passing of the consideration.'

11. It is correct that mere admission of signatures on the pronote and receipt does not amount to admission of the execution of the pronote and receipt. However, in the instant case I find that there is ample evidence to prove the execution of the pronote and receipt by defendant 1. Leaving aside two marginal witnesses who turned hostile there was the sworn testimony of Shiv Nath, Uma Nath P.Ws. who testified that defendant 1 had borrowed a sum of Rs. 4700/- from their father Ram Autar and thereafter he executed the pronote and receipt in favour of Ram Autar in their presence. Both the Courts below found this evidence credible. They gave good reasons to believe their testimony. It is significant to note that no action was taken by defendant 1 on 3-9-1967 but it was an after-thought on 7-9-1967 that he lodged F.I.R. in the matter. Both the Courts below rightly pointed out that defendant 1 could not have agreed to go in the shop of Ram Autar if the relations amongst the parties were strained from before.

12. Pronote and receipt executed by defendant 1 were stamped and were written in Hindi and the signatures by defendant 1 were also in Hindi. He signed these documents at several places. The execution of documents was proved vide Section 67 of Evidence Act when witnesses testified that this document was signed in their presence after receipt of loan in cash. Defendant 1 himself had admitted hissignatures on those documents. His case that his signatures were procured under coercion was disbelieved by both the Courts below. Under such circumstances I do not find any good reason to disbelieve the plaintiff's case specially when it is supported by a legal presumption under Section 118 of Negotiable instruments Act (Act No. 26 of 1881) when the execution of the pronote and receipt was proved by the testimony of Shiv Nath and Uma Nath, such presumption was available to the plaintiffs. So I do not think it fit to interfere in Second appeal with the concurrent findings of fact arrived at by Courts below about the credibility of Shiv Nath and Uma Nath.

13. The next contention was that the two marginal witnesses Ori Prasad and Ram Chandra were wrongly declared hostile. The mere fact that these witnesses did not support the plaintiff's case did not justify the rejection of their testimony. They had simply spoken the truth. Mohd. Shafi, scribe of the pronote and receipt was summoned but did not choose to come forward and had been withheld. So non-production of Mohd. Shafi and testimony of two marginal witnesses simply supported the defence version that plaintiffs case was unreliable. Obviously plaintiffs were not bound to examine each and every witness so plaintiff's case could not be defeated simply because Mohd. Shafi even though summoned did not enter the witness box.

14. Learned counsel for the appellant also relied upon Saraswathamma v. Bhadramma reported in AIR 1970 Mys 157 which posited :

'A witness cannot be treated as hostile merely because his evidence is favourable to the other side, and the fact that the witness has become hostile has to be established by eliciting information such as could give an indication of hostility.

It is not possible for Court to say without giving reasons that he will not believe a witness after permission for treating the witness as hostile has been refused by the Court unless the Civil Judge himself comes to the conclusion that he has turned hostile.'

15. Next authority relied upon by learned counsel for the appellant has been reported in Sarjug Prasad v. State, reported in : AIR1959Pat66 which lays down : --

'When a Public Prosecutor declares a prosecution witness to be hostile and cross-examines him after taking the Court's permission it merely amounts to a declaration by him that the witness is adverse or unfriendly to the prosecution and not that the witness is untruthful. The true rule is that either party may rely upon the evidence of such a witness, and the Court can come to its own conclusion after a consideration of the whole of his evidence.'

16. None of these authorities is in point. Both the Courts below have carefully scrutinised the testimony of Ori Prasad, P.W. 1 and Ram Chandra P.W. 3. They did not support the defence version that defendant was persuaded to enter the shop of plaintiff where his signatures were procured under coercion or threats. They admitted that the plaintiff's documents were executed by defendant in their presence. Ram Chandra testified that the loan was not actually advanced in his presence but these documents were executed on account of earlier transaction of LEN DEN and a Panchayat had been convened in that connection. It was after a week of the Panchayat that signatures of defendant were obtained on the pronote and receipt. Such case of Panchayat was never put forward by the defendant in the written-statement. Similarly P.W. 1, Ori Prasad stated that Babban borrowed a sum of Rs. 4700/- from the plaintiffs and executed a pronote and receipt but such execution was not done in his presence nor the money was advanced in his presence. He volunteered that there was a business between Deep Chand and Uma Nath in Assam and in order to patch up the difference a Panchayat had taken place in the village and a sum of Rs. 4700/- was held as payable by Babban and so Babban executed a pronote and receipt. This statement of Ori Prasad, P.W. 1 also runs counter to the version laid by defendant 1 in his written statement. Both the Courts below pointed out various circumstances to justify the inference that plaintiff's case was correct. When evidence had been adduced by both the parties the question of onus of proof pales into insignificance. So I do not find any substantial question of law involved in this Second Appeal.

17. In the result appeal is dismissed withcosts: Impugned judgment and decree are affirmed.


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