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Rameshwar HarnaraIn and anr. Vs. Smt. Bhagwatibai Ramkishan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 51 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1962MP384; 1962MPLJ280
ActsStamp Act, 1899 - Sections 36
AppellantRameshwar HarnaraIn and anr.
RespondentSmt. Bhagwatibai Ramkishan
Advocates:S.L. Dubey, Adv.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredMunnalal v. Sampatlal
Excerpt:
.....on the other hand, seems to have felt that the possible loss of revenue in problematic cases is more than compensated by the saving in public time, and again that a party seeking to exploit the failure of the other to use adequate or sufficient stamps should be given one chance and one chance only. so the courts, including the high court, should follow it in a straightforward manner, and not be party to any device of evasion however well intentioned......firstly, it might result in a loss of revenue from the stamps, which cannot be corrected by superior courts; secondly, a party which seeks to shut out a document that is otherwise binding on him, might find that the trial court's decision is against him, and he is helpless in invoking the aid of the superior courts. the legislature on the other hand, seems to have felt that the possible loss of revenue in problematic cases is more than compensated by the saving in public time, and again that a party seeking to exploit the failure of the other to use adequate or sufficient stamps should be given one chance and one chance only. whatever the purpose, the law has expressly made the trial court's decision conclusive; so the courts, including the high court, should follow it in a.....
Judgment:
ORDER

H.R. Krishnan, J.

1. This is an application by the defendant in a pending suit, where the plaintiff wants to adduce in evidence a document executed by the defendant, creating against him a liability for Rupees 2,000/-. The defence in this regard is that this is a promissory note, not having been properly stamped and as such not admissible into evidence in any event oven after impounding or validation after taxation and realisation of penalty by the Collector. The plaintiff's position is that this was not a pro-note, but a receipt which should be admitted after the payment of penalty. Hearing this as a preliminary issue that court found that the document was a receipt and therefore admissible into evidence.

2. Unlike problems relating to the merits of the suit, the admission of any document into evidence after considering the sufficiency or otherwise of the stamps is final. No superior court can reinvestigate the matter in appeal or revision. Section 36 of the Stamp Act runs :

'Whether an instrument has been admitted in evidence such admission shall not, except as provided in Section 61, be called in question at any stage of the same suit or proceeding on the ground that the instrument has not been duly stamped.'

We are not concerned with Section 61 in this case.

3. The trial court has heard the parties, and has decided that the instrument is not a pronote. The defendant has come up in revision, and has inter alia, cited an array of authorities to the effect that this should have been held to be a pro-note; but we are not immediately concerned with that question. Having given that finding and having also decided that the instrument should be sent for impounding for taxation, the trial court has not done so, and has, on the prayer of the defendant given him some time, so that, on the suggestion contained in Munnalal v. Sampatlal, 1953 Raj LW 389, he could come up in revision after that court's decision but before the admission into evidence of that instrument. The idea is to evade the operation of Section 36 of the Stamp Act, by creating a time-gap, between that decision which might give a grievance; and before the admission which alone bare the reagitation of the question in the superior court.

4. Whether or not the Rajasthan High Court has embodied this suggestion in a rule is not clear; but there is no decision of this High Court, nor any rule made by it, justifying this course, which, while certainly indended to enable a re-examination by a superior court, is really a device to evade the effect of Section 36 of the Stamp Act. Whether or not, in regard to a question which involves only stamp taxation, which is usually of a small value, and does not concern the merits, it is really wise to have made the court's decision final, is a problem with which the courts are not concerned. It is entirely within the province of the Legislature, and it has enacted Section 36, which places the duty of deciding it on the trial court only, and made that decision final. Quite conceivably that provision may have in certain case, two consequences. Firstly, it might result in a loss of revenue from the stamps, which cannot be corrected by superior Courts; secondly, a party which seeks to shut out a document that is otherwise binding on him, might find that the trial court's decision is against him, and he is helpless in invoking the aid of the superior courts.

The Legislature on the other hand, seems to have felt that the possible loss of revenue in problematic cases is more than compensated by the saving in public time, and again that a party seeking to exploit the failure of the other to use adequate or sufficient stamps should be given one chance and one chance only. Whatever the purpose, the law has expressly made the trial court's decision conclusive; so the courts, including the High Court, should follow it in a straightforward manner, and not be party to any device of evasion however well intentioned. The duty of the trial court is to decide with due regard to the facts and circumstances, and the authorities the parties might place before it. But once it has decided, it has to take consequential steps straightway. It cancon put them off just that the parties aggrieved might move a superior court in revision, which the Statute has expressly excluded.

5. The application is summarily dismissed.


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