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Prem Sukh Das and anr. Vs. Lachmi Tewari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1918All94; 46Ind.Cas.542
AppellantPrem Sukh Das and anr.
RespondentLachmi Tewari
Excerpt:
guardians and wards act (viii of 1890), sections 31 and 47 - sale of minor's property with sanction of court--re-sale, whether can be ordered--appeal, whether lies--district judge, duty of. - - the minor's guardian made an application in which he stated that the minor's property consisted of a number of houses in very bad repair, that if one house was sold the other houses might be repaired and become of value. 1,000 the report of the munsif reflects very little credit on him, when the district judge sent for a report from him as to the value of the minor's property he ought to have taken very good care that he had proper independent evidence as to what was the real value of the property bearing in mind that it is the duty of the court to look carefully after the interests of minors......judge has power to sanction the sale by the certificated guardian of whole or portion of the minor's property. the minor's guardian made an application in which he stated that the minor's property consisted of a number of houses in very bad repair, that if one house was sold the other houses might be repaired and become of value. the value of the house to be sold was stated as rs. 400. the learned district judge directed the munsif to enquire what was the value of the house. the munsif reported that the value of the house was rs. 400 and the appellant here, who was the proposed purchaser, was willing to give this sum. the district judge sanctioned the sale at rs. 400 and the draft deed of sale was prepared. before, however, it was executed one hanuman prasad informed the court that.....
Judgment:

1. The facts of this case are somewhat unusual. Under the Guardians and Wards Act the District Judge has power to sanction the sale by the certificated guardian of whole or portion of the minor's property. The minor's guardian made an application in which he stated that the minor's property consisted of a number of houses in very bad repair, that if one house was sold the other houses might be repaired and become of value. The value of the house to be sold was stated as Rs. 400. The learned District Judge directed the Munsif to enquire what was the value of the house. The Munsif reported that the value of the house was Rs. 400 and the appellant here, who was the proposed purchaser, was willing to give this sum. The District Judge sanctioned the sale at Rs. 400 and the draft deed of sale was prepared. Before, however, it was executed one Hanuman Prasad informed the Court that he was willing to give Rs. 1,000 for the house. Thereupon the District Judge passed an order that the appellant might have the house if he was prepared to pay the thousand instead of Rs. 400 but otherwise it would be sold to Hanuman Prasad. This order was passed upon the application of the guardian. The appellant thereupon appears to have waived all rights which he might have had under the original order sanctioning the sale at Rs. 400 and agreed to pay the Rs. 1,000. The deed of transfer was duly executed and registered. His rival then came in with a fresh offer of Rs. 1,400 whereupon the District Judge directed the property to be sold by auction. The appellant complains of this order. Mr. Lakshmi Narain on behalf of the guardian raises the preliminary objection that no appeal lies. If this house was really worth Rs. 1,400 or even Rs. 1,000 the report of the Munsif reflects very little credit on him, when the District Judge sent for a report from him as to the value of the minor's property he ought to have taken very good care that he had proper independent evidence as to what was the real value of the property bearing in mind that it is the duty of the Court to look carefully after the interests of minors. The fact that after the sale at Rs. 400 was sanctioned, an offer was made for Rs. 1,000 certainly suggests that Rs. 400 was an under-value. It is possible, however, that there may have been some unexplained or ulterior motive which induced this Hanuman to make the offer of Rs. 1000 subsequently increased to Rs. 1,400. It has been said (we do not know with what accuracy) that the house used to be let at Rs. 2 a month. We may now disregard altogether the first order sanctioning the sale at Rs. 400. The sale was not carried out at that price but it is quite clear that there was a sanction by the District Judge to the guardian to sell the house to the appellant for Rs. 1,000. This order was never set aside and the order directing a sale by auction was made after execution of the sale and its registration. Nowhere in the judgment of the District Judge does he find that the appellant has been guilty of fraud. It seems to us that after an unconditional sanction had been given to the sale at Rs. 1,000 and after the sale had been executed and registered, the learned District Judge had no jurisdiction to order a re-sale of the property. Under these circumstances, and assuming that no appeal lies, we can treat the present appeal as an application in revision and we propose to do so. We could call the attention of the learned District Judge to the conduct of the guardian. Of course, if the property was only valued at or about Rs. 400 and Hanuman's offer were not based on the real value of the property, no blame can be attached to the guardian. But if be made an application to the Court to sanction the sale for Rs. 400 of property which was worth Rs. 1,000 or Rs. 1,400, he was guilty of gross neglect of duty. If he knows that Rs. 400 was far below the value of the property he was guilty of fraudulent conduct. As guardian of the minor it was his duty to ascertain what was the real value of the property and to inform the Court of its real value when he made the application for sanction to sell. We have had in numerous cases to point out to District Judges that it is their duty to look after the interests of minors and to see that guardians do their duty and file proper accounts, and that when guardians are appointed they are in the majority of cases at least called upon to furnish security. The order of the Court is that the order of the District Judge directing a sale of the property by auction he set aside. We make no order as to costs. The District Judge should consider as to whether the guardian under the circumstances of the present case ought to be allowed his costs out of the minor's property.


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