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Goswami Sri Raman Lalji Maharaj and anr. Vs. Hari Das - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1916All233; 34Ind.Cas.364
AppellantGoswami Sri Raman Lalji Maharaj and anr.
RespondentHari Das
Cases ReferredRang Lal v. Annu Lal
Excerpt:
.....upon which the earlier case had proceeded. , the words 'effects of the deceased person,'was not brought clearly to the notice of the court. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered, though the judgment of the court might possibly give them that relief as well. hari das, therefore, as transferee of seth amar chand and in his capacity as such is entitled to execute the decree and the application for execution cannot, therefore, be defeated on that ground. but the execution of the decree could not be defeated. i think as a representative of amar chand alone hari das was entitled to take out execution and his application could not be defeated......on the death of seth kishan das the property passed on by the law of survivorship to his sou seth amar chand. seth amar chand and has wife musammat golab bai brought a suit in the court of the subordinate judge for possession of certain items of property which has been sold to them, and in the alternative for the damages to the extent of rs. 8,000. on the 24th of november 1&09, the subordinate judge of agra made a decree directing the defendants to deliver possession over the property in dispute and pay future mesne profits up to the date of possession with costs. from the original decree itself it is not very clear whether the learned subordinate judge intended to give a decree for rs. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered, though the judgment of the court might possibly.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Walsh, J.

1. In this case the facts appear in the judgment of my brother Mr. Justice Sundar Lal. There is only one point of law involved in the appeal. But it is an important question of principle, the determination of which must necessarily involve the rights and interests of a considerable number of persons. I am deciding this case upon the hypothesis, which I adopt as correct, that this is a case of debt, and that if the authority of Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 relied upon by Mr. Pearey Lal Banerji was rightly decided Mr. Banerji is entitled to succeed. On the other hand if it was not rightly decided this appeal must fail. On a consideration of that case, the subsequent authority to which I will refer in one moment, and the language of the section itself, I entertain no doubt whatever that the decision relied upon by Mr. Banerji cannot be regarded as sound law. The contention is that an assignee of a debt due to the estate of a deceased person cannot recover the debt without producing a succession certificate. That argument is based upon the language of Section 4, subsection 1, of the Succession Certificate Act (VII. of 1889) which begins with these words: 'No Court shall pass a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person or to any part thereof except on production of, amongst other things, (1) Probate, (2) a certificate.' Now, to my mind a person claiming as an assignee of a debt which was due to the estate of a deceased person is not claiming 'the effects of the deceased.' From the date of assignment, the debt due, to the deceased ceases to be part of the deceased's effects. The consideration for the assignment is substituted for the debt due to the estate, and it is the consideration for the assignment which from the date of the assignment takes the place of the debt as part of the effects of the deceased person. I further think, apart from a narrow examination of the language used, though after all such an examination is really necessary for the determination of this question, that in order to arrive at a right conclusion it is necessary to bear in mind the scope and ambit of the Succession Certificate Act itself. All that it is purporting to do is to facilitate the collection of debts, to regulate the administration of succession and to protect persons who deal with the alleged representatives of deceased persons against the contingency which so often occurs, when disputes arise as to whether a claimant is or is not entitled as such personal representative, and the language used in Sub-section 1 of Section 4 is the language which is not merely appropriate but is the language which is invariably adopted to describe in legal terminology the position and claim of a person claiming as a personal representative of a deceased person. And my view of the language used in that sub-seition is that it was specially adopted in order to keep clear the narrow limits which the section was imposing for the requirements, and this is borne out in my view by the words which follow on the word production' viz, 'by the person so claiming.' I think that clearly indicates that the claim contemplated by this section is a claim made by a person in the capacity of and as a personal representative of a deceased person. it is quite clear that in the case which followed shortly afterwards and is reported as Rang Lal v. Annu Lal 22 Ind. Cas. 349 : 36 A. 21 : 11 A.L.J. 968, two learned Judges of this Court were confronted with a concrete example involving consequences, possibly unforeseen, of the decision in Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 to which I have referred and which they felt a difficulty about following. It is perfectly clear that they did not adopt the reasoning upon which the earlier case had proceeded. It is equally clear that, as they point out in their judgment, the ratio decidendi of the earlier case turned upon the construction of Section 16 of the same Act. Looking at the report it would appear, as Mr. Banerji has pointed out just now in the course of his arguments, that the mind of the Court which decided the case of Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 was really diverted from the real point by the argument which was addressed to them based upon the difference in the language employed with reference to the production of Probate and that employed with reference to the production of a certificate. The result was that the difficulty which I feel is the real difficulty in the way of adopting the view which they took, viz., the words 'effects of the deceased person,' was not brought clearly to the notice of the Court. If it had been, I cannot but think that they would have taken a different view. Feeling as we do no doubt whatever about the matter and that it is important to put the matter right and that two Judges of this Court have already in substance declined to follow that decision, i have no hesitation. in holding that the decision in Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 is no longer law.

Sundar Lal, J.

2. I have arrived at the same conclusion. I may shortly state the circumstances of the case in dealing with the two contentions which have been urged by Mr. Pearey Lal Banerji in support of the appeal. The facts broadly appear to be this. On the 31st of March 1907, Goswami Sri Raman Lalji and Brijpal Lalji sold certain property to one Seth Kishan Das by a deed of sale. They undertook to give possession to the purchaser of certain items of the property which were in the hands of a prior mortgagee. On the death of Seth Kishan Das the property passed on by the law of survivorship to his sou Seth Amar Chand. Seth Amar Chand and has wife Musammat Golab Bai brought a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge for possession of certain items of property which has been sold to them, and in the alternative for the damages to the extent of Rs. 8,000. On the 24th of November 1&09, the Subordinate Judge of Agra made a decree directing the defendants to deliver possession over the property in dispute and pay future mesne profits up to the date of possession with costs. From the original decree itself it is not very clear whether the learned Subordinate Judge intended to give a decree for Rs. 2,625 in the event of possession not being delivered, though the judgment of the Court might possibly give them that relief as well. We are not, however, construing the decree in this particular case at this stage of the case. This decree was appealed against to this Court ana affirmed on the 9th of May 1911. In the meantime Musammat Golab Bai had died on the 28th of November 1910. Under the Hindu Law Seth Amar Chand, the husband of Golab Bai, was her cole heir, and he succeeded to her estate. On February 1st, 1914, Amar Chand sold his interests in the decree, namely, that which he had as one of the original decree-holders as also as the heir to his wife to Hari Das, the respondent in this appeal. It also appears that on February 25, 1915, Amar Chand obtained Letters of Administration to the estate of his wife Musammat Golab Bai from the Bombay High Court under Act V of 1881 Hari Das as such purchaser has applied for the execution of the decree and the question before the Court is, is he competent to do so?

3. The first point urged by Mr. Pearey Lal Banerji is that the grant of Letters of Administration on the 25th of February 1915 did not operate to validate the sale of February 1914, and Hari Das must obtain a further sale-deed from Amar Chand to entitle him to execute the decree. The grant of Letters of Administration to the estate of the deceased person takes effect and operates from the date on which the deceased died and under Section 14 of the Probate and Administration Act Amar Chand's sale-deed would be an operative sale-deed in the same way as if he had obtained Letters of Administration prior to February 1, 1914. Apart from this fact, under the Hindu Law the property of Mnsammat Golab Bai vested in Amar Chand and it is not disputed that under the Hindu Law he was entitled to sell the property so inherited by him. The provisions of Section 191 of the Indian. Succession Act do not apply to Hindus and Muhammadans. In these Provinces the estate of the deceased person in such cases vests at once on the heir, who is competent to dispose of the same. The first point, therefore, taken by him fails. The second point raised in the appeal is that under Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act, although Letters of Administration had been granted to Seth Amar Chand, it was necessary in law for Hari Das to obtain fresh Letters of Administration to entitle him to apply for the execution of the decree. It may be noted that the decree was in favour of both Amar Chand and Golab Bai. Amar Chand alone as a decree-holder was entitled to execute the decree All that the Court has to do in such a case is to safeguard the rights of the other decree-holder under Rule 15 of Order XXI of the Code. As a vendee from him he was also entitled to execute the decree in the same way as his vendor A mar Chand. Hari Das, therefore, as transferee of Seth Amar Chand and in his capacity as such is entitled to execute the decree and the application for execution cannot, therefore, be defeated on that ground. He is entitled to proceed with the execution of such a decree under the rule already quoted. It is, however, urged that as he has also purchased the rights of Musammat Golab Bai which by inheritance had vested in Seth Amar Chand, so much of the decree as was in favour of Golab Bai could not be executed in this instance unless he obtains Letters of Administration or a certificate to collect the debts of Golab Bai. In the first place the decree was a joint and several decree and as purchaser of Amar Chand's rights he was entitled to execute the whole decree, and as Amar Chand himself was the heir of the other decree-holder the Court could have easily safeguarded his rights as such by a suitable order. But the execution of the decree could not be defeated. Again, Mr. Pearey Lal Banerji has relied upon a ruling of this Court in Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 and urged that the purchaser could not execute the decree without obtaining a certificate or a fresh Letters of Administration in respect of so much of the decree as represents her interest therein. In my opinion Act VII of 1889 was, as the preamble itself states, intended to facilitate the collection of debts on succession and offers protection to parties paying debts to the representatives of deceased persons. The Act was intended to offer protection to debtors and to assure that the certificate-holder was the person entitled as successor to the effects of the deceased person to receive payment of the debt. It was not intended to guarantee that the successor who had so obtained a certificate had also validly transferred his rights to a third party. An enquiry as to the validity of transfers made by a certificate-holder is, I think, foreign to the scope and object of Act VII of 1889. If that were so, the result might be that where an heir obtained a certificate to collect ten items of debts and subsequently transferred each item of the debts to different transferees, the ten transferees would have each to obtain ten certificates to collect the debts transferred to them and to apply for the revocation of the certificate granted to the original vendor. I do not think that it was ever intended by the Act that this should be so. I entirely. agree with the observation made by another Bench of this Court in Bang Lal v. Annu Lal 22 Ind. Cas. 349 : 36 A. 21 : 11 A.L.J. 968 on the point. If it were necessary to decide this point in this particular case I would have been inclined to come to a conclusion that the case of Allahdad Khan v. Sant Ram 17 Ind. Cas. 486 : 35 A. 74 : 10 A.L.J. 506 was not correctly decided, and that it has, in fact, been overruled by the later ruling of Rang Lal v. Annu Lal 22 Ind. Cas. 349 : 36 A. 21 : 11 A.L.J. 968. But for the reasons given by me it is not necessary to decide this point. I think as a representative of Amar Chand alone Hari Das was entitled to take out execution and his application could not be defeated. I would dismiss the appeal with costs, but in doing so I may observe that the other points of objection raised by the judgment-debtors have not been disposed of by the Court below and nothing that we say now would prevent the Court below from disposing of the said points.

4. By the Court.--The order of the Court is that we dismiss the appeal with costs, including in this Court fees on the higher scale.


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