Daniels and Neave, JJ.
1. The question in this appeal is whether a private sale in favour of the plaintiffs should prevail against an auction-sale made under execution proceedings in which the property was attached prior to the sale to the plaintiffs. The trial court held that the sale to the plaintiffs was invalid. The lower appellate court has held that it was valid on the ground that it is not proved that the prior attachment was carried out in accordance with the law. The defendant has filed this second appeal to this Court. The sale to the plaintiff took place on the 20th of June, 1916. Some time previous to this, one Musammat Parbati Kunwar had obtained a decree against the owner of the property, and, on the 25th of April, 1916, she obtained an attachment of the property by means of a prohibitory order under Order XXI, Rule 54, of the Code of Civil Procedure. In continuation of that attachment the property was brought to sale and a 6 anna share was actually sold to the defendant on the 22nd of August, 1916, about two months after the sale to the plaintiffs. It is this 6 anna share which is now in suit.
2. It was found by the trial court, on inspection of the record, and the finding is not dissented from by the lower appellate court, that the prohibitory order was duly served on all the judgment-debtors. The lower appellate court based its judgment on the fact that it is not proved that service was effected in the other modes described in Order XXI, Rule 54, Clause (2). It is, however, found that as the suit was brought considerably more than three years after the attachment took place, that portion of the record which contains the sale proclamation and the prohibitory order, and which would have enabled the court to determine definitely whether the prohibitory order was affixed in the prescribed manner, has been weeded out and is not available. The question is whether under these circumstances the court should throw on the defendant the burden of proving facts which the destruction of record renders it difficult, if not impossible, to prove. The court below relies on three rulings, namely Nur Ahmad v. Altaf Ali (1878) I.L.R. 2 All. 58, Ganga Din v. Khushali (1885) I.L.R. 7 All. 702, and Satya Charan Mukherji v. Madhub Chunder Karmokar (1905) 9 C.W.N. 693.
3. All these were rulings either under Act VIII of 1859 or under Act XIV of 1882. The language of the corresponding section of these Acts was not identical with that of Order XXI, Rule 54. In all three cases the suit was brought within three years of the attachment, while the record was still in existence. In all three cases it was definitely proved that the requirements of the law as to publication had not been carried out. The judgment in Nur Ahmad v. Altaf Ali (1878) I.L.R. 2 All. 58, which is very brief, says indeed, 'it is not proved that a copy of the court order was posted in a conspicuous part of the court house,' but a reference to the summary of the facts on the preceding page shows that the matter was not left in doubt but that the proclamation was not so posted.
4. For these reasons the rulings relied upon by the court below are distinguishable. We think that the court below should have applied the presumption that official acts were regularly performed; and. that in view of the fact that a material portion of the record is no longer in existence, the learned Judge was wrong in throwing on the defendant the burden of proving by definite evidence the due service of the notice. We accordingly allow the appeal, and, setting aside the decree of the court below, restore the decree of the court of first instance. The appellant will get his costs of this appeal. The remaining issue raised in the court below was not argued in this Court.