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Munnalal Vs. Jagannath Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 32 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1981MP51; 1980MPLJ592
ActsStamp Act, 1899 - Sections 35, 36 and 61
AppellantMunnalal
RespondentJagannath Prasad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.K. Mangal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.L. Agarwal, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredJaverchand v. Pukhraj Surana
Excerpt:
- .....reason behind this is that the provisions of the stamp act excluding unstamped or insufficiently stamped documents are not intended to put an end to or to create rights of the parties. they are primarily in the interest of government revenue. therefore, when once a document has passed the ordeal of an investigation and the judge trying the action has applied his mind to the question of liability to stamp duty or insufficiency thereof, it was not thought proper to subject that aspect to further discussion and decision by superior courts at the appellate or revisional stage. according to the legislature, if there was enough to persuade the judge trying the suit to admit a document his decision was final. if, therefore, the trial court happens to reject the documents and refuses to admit.....
Judgment:
ORDER

J.P. Bajpai, J.

1. The scheme behind the provisions of Section 36 of the Stamp Act appears to be that where a court trying any action happens to rule rightly or wrongly that a particular document in its opinion either did not require stamp or was sufficiently stamped and admits the document then its decision is final and not liable to be questioned at any stage of the suit or proceeding in any other manner except as provided by Section 61 of the Stamp Act. The reason behind this is that the provisions of the Stamp Act excluding unstamped or insufficiently stamped documents are not intended to put an end to or to create rights of the parties. They are primarily in the interest of Government revenue. Therefore, when once a document has passed the ordeal of an investigation and the Judge trying the action has applied his mind to the question of liability to stamp duty or insufficiency thereof, it was not thought proper to subject that aspect to further discussion and decision by superior courts at the appellate or revisional stage. According to the legislature, if there was enough to persuade the judge trying the suit to admit a document his decision was final. If, therefore, the trial Court happens to reject the documents and refuses to admit the same on the ground that it was either unstamped or insufficiently stamped, the right of the party aggrieved to question such a decision against the admissibility of the document at the appellate or revisional stage has been kept intact and such a party could move the court for having the document admitted.

2. In view of the above said legal position, the present revision which seeks interference with the order made by the trial Court admitting a document is not at all tenable due to the bar created by Section 36 of the Stamp Act. In the suit giving rise to this revision, the plaintiffs relied on a document which was styled as a promissory note. The trial Court, however on going through its contents was of the opinion that the document though having been styled as a promissory note, was, in substance, an agreement and, therefore, the prohibition as contained under Section 35 did not apply to such a document and the same was liable to be admitted on payment of deficit stamp duty, penalty, etc. The deficit stamp duty and penalty was paid and the document was admitted by the order impugned. The defendant has come up inrevision questioning the correctness of the said order.

3. Shri K. L. Mangal, learned counsel for the applicant-defendant contended that the bar created by Section 36 of the Stamp Act did not apply to such documents which had been specifically excluded by Section 35 of the Stamp Act. In the opinion of this Court there is nothing in the language of Section 36 so as to curtail its scope in the manner as suggested by the learned counsel for the applicant. Shri Mangal relied on certain observation made by the learned single Judge of the Assam High Court in the case of Jatindra Mohan v. Khara Singh (AIR 1964 Assam 138). It is true that to some extent the observations made in the said case do support the contention of the applicant. But in view of the constant trend of decisions repeatedly given by this Court right from 1962 onwards in the below-noted cases, I am not inclined to take a different view and adopt that as taken by the learned single Judge of the Assam High Court in Jatindra Mohan's case (supra).

4. Shri Mangal, thereafter, referred to a recent decision of the Supreme Court reported in the case of Ramratan v. Bajrangalal, (1978) 3 SCC 236 : (AIR 1978 SC 1393) wherein the trial Court tentatively subject to objection admitted a document in evidence tendered by the plaintiff without deciding an objection raised by the other side about its admissibility. Their Lordships observed that if a document is tendered in evidence by the plaintiff and an objection is raised by the defendant about its admissibility, it is obligatory upon the trial Court to apply its mind to the objection and decide it according to law. It was further observed that if the document is admitted without the Court applying its mind to the objections the instrument could not be said to have been admitted in evidence so as to attract Section 36 of the Stamp Act. It is true that if a document has been provisionally admitted subject to the fate of the objection raised by the other side about its admissibility and no decision has been given on the objection by the trial Court there is actually no order admitting the documents so as to attract the bar of Section 36. In such a situation it is merely a postponement of the decision. In the present case it isnot so. The objection raised by the defendant about the admissibility of the document had already been decided by the trial Court by the order impugned. The trial Court directed admission of the document by taking a part of particular view about the liability of the document for the purposes of stamp duty. To such a case the bar of Section 36 stands fully attracted.

5. Shri Mangal, thereafter, contended that since in the present case the applicant-defendant has been alert and had already raised an objection about the admissibility of the document, Section 36 does not deprive the defendant of his right to challenge the correctness of the order made on his objection. The argument was that since the objections had been raised prior to the admission of the document the correctness of the decision given by the trial Court was liable to be examined in revision. He further urged that the observations made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of Javerchand v. Pukhraj Surana, (AIR 1961 SC 1653) supported this contention. In my opinion, the observations made by the Supreme Court in Javerchand's case (supra) are of no avail to the applicant. It is true that it has been observed in the said case that a party shall remain alert and raise objections regarding sufficiency or insufficiency of stamp duty at the proper stage before the admission of a document. There is no quarrel about this proposition in the present case. In Javerchand's case (supra) the Supreme Court had not laid down that if an order has been passed admitting a document after close scrutiny of the objections raised at a proper stage about its admissibility, the same will not be hit by the bar, created by Section 36 of the Act. If a party does not raise an objection at the proper stage, it loses its right to get the same examined even by the trial Court after the document has been admitted by it. But it cannot be said that if such an objection has been raised the same will remain open for further investigation by the superior Court.

6. Thus, in view of the discussions made above, this revision itself is not tenable and as such, there is no question of dealing with the order impugned on merits by finding out whether the view taken by the trial Court regarding the nature of the documents is correct or not. This revision, therefore, fails and is dismissed. However, parties will bear their own costs of this revision.


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