Skip to content


Secy. of State Vs. Firm Girdhari Lal Shambhu Nath - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1932All220
AppellantSecy. of State
RespondentFirm Girdhari Lal Shambhu Nath
Excerpt:
- - 9. where the property descends to the crown by escheat it could not be said that the crown was claiming the property by right of 'succession' within the meaning of section 214, succession act, section 381, succession act, provides that the succession certificate granted by the district judge with respect to the debts and securities specified therein will be conclusive against the person owing such debts or liable on such securities and, shall afford full indemnity to all such personas regards all payments made, or dealings had in good faith in respect of such debts or securities to or with the person to whom the certificate was granted......granted under part 10 and having the debt specified therein.9. where the property descends to the crown by escheat it could not be said that the crown was claiming the property by right of 'succession' within the meaning of section 214, succession act, section 381, succession act, provides thatthe succession certificate granted by the district judge with respect to the debts and securities specified therein will be conclusive against the person owing such debts or liable on such securities and, shall afford full indemnity to all such personas regards all payments made, or dealings had in good faith in respect of such debts or securities to or with the person to whom the certificate was granted.10. no authorities have been cited in support of the proposition that the provisions of.....
Judgment:

Sen, J.

1. This is an application for civil revision by the Secy, of State who figures as plaintiff in the action. The suit was to recover interest-on five hundies of various dates which were drawn by the firm of Girdhari Lal Shambhu Nath on the firm Ram Narain Chunni Lal. The hundis were payable 61 days after the date of execution.

2. The firm of Ram Narain Chunni Lal was owned by Chunni Lai. He died in April 1925 before the hundis had matured. He is said to have died without leaving any issue.

3. Upon his death, three rival claimants appeared on the scene; one claimed to be the collateral, heir of Chunni; the second claimed under a will and the third in the right of escheat. A triangular dual is-going on between these three and I am informed that litigations are pending in appeal before this Court.

4. On 14th July 1925, Rai Bahadur Seth Soorajbhan, Government Treasurer of Agra, sent a notice on behalf of the Collector of Agra to the defendant calling upon him to pay up the principal and interest due on the hundis. The defendant did not make the desired payment. On 21st April 1927, the defendant appears, to have to a certain extent changed his mind; for on that date the defendant deposited the principal amount due on the hundis in the Imperial Bank of Agra to the credit of the Collector of Agra.

5. The Collector served a notice upon the defendant asking him to pay the interest due on the hundis from the date of their maturity up to 21st April 1927, when the principal sum was paid. The defendant did not respond to this notice; hence the suit. The suit was instituted on 5th March 1929. Various points were raised in defence but the one which was seriously pressed was that, in view of the provisions of Sections 214 and 381, Succession Act (39 of 1926), the plaintiff was not entitled to claim interest without obtaining a succession, certificate. It may be noticed that this plea had not been taken in the written statement as originally filed. At a later stage, the defendant applied for the amendment of his written statement by the inclusion of this plea. His written statement was allowed to be amended.

6. On 20th December 1929, the Court passed an order directing the plaintiff to obtain a succession certificate. Thereupon the plaintiff applied for and obtained the required certificate on 2nd June 1930. This certificate was duly filed in Court. The Court however dismissed the plaintiff's suit on the following ground:

The present plaintiff obtained succession certificate on 2nd June 1930 after the filing of the present suit. Evidently up to 2nd June 1930, there was none who could give a valid discharge and so the defendant cannot be hold liable for interest for the period in question.

7. Where there is a vacant inheritance, the property lapses to the Crown by the 'rule of escheat. The escheat to the Crown is not due to any rule of succession. The right of escheat is a prerogative of the Crown and the said prerogative is recognize 1 universally in every system of civilized jurisprudence. I would emphasise the fact that upon the death of a person without leaving any heirs his estate devolves upon the Crown under its general prerogative and not by the reason of any rule of succession. Escheat is the vanishing point in the law of inheritance. Where succession ends, escheat begins. The law on the subject has been discussed in a number of cases and reference may be usefully made to the Collector of Masulipatam v. Cavahy Vencata Narainapah [1859-61] 8 M.I.A. 500, Cavaly Vanoata Narainapah v. Collector of Masulipatam [1866-67] 11 M.I.A. 619 and Sonet Kooer v. Himmat Bahadur [1876] 1 Cal. 391 at p. 401.

8. Section 214, Succession Act, provides that

no Court shall pass a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming on succession, to be entitled to the effects of the deceased parson or to any part thereof...except on the production by the person so churning of...(III) a succession certificate granted under Part 10 and having the debt specified therein.

9. Where the property descends to the Crown by escheat it could not be said that the Crown was claiming the property by right of 'succession' within the meaning of Section 214, Succession Act, Section 381, Succession Act, provides that

the succession certificate granted by the District Judge with respect to the debts and securities specified therein will be conclusive against the person owing such debts or liable on such securities and, shall afford full indemnity to all such personas regards all payments made, or dealings had in good faith in respect of such debts or securities to or with the person to whom the certificate was granted.

10. No authorities have been cited in support of the proposition that the provisions of Sections 214 and 381, Succession Act, are applicable to the Crown, where the property vests in the Crown by reason of a vacant inheritance. This case therefore is one of first impression. Upon general principles, I am of opinion, that the Succession Act is not applicable to the Crown, when it takes the property upon escheat. The ground therefore upon which the judgment proceeds cannot be supported.

11. An important plea was raised by the defendant in para. 9 of the written statement which runs as follows:

Neither were the hundis presented to the contesting defendant on the due date nor did there appear any person entitled to take the money.

12. The question therefore which still remains for determination is whether the plaintiff could claim interest on the hundis without presenting the hundis after their maturity.

13. I allow the application, set aside the decree of the Court below and remand the case to that Court for disposal of the case with reference to the issue indicated above. Costs here and heretofore shall abide the event.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //