1. This is a defendant's second appeal against the decision of the learned Additional District Judge Ambala, confirming on appeal the order of the trial Court decreeing the plaintiff's suit.
2. Messrs Produce Exchange Corporation Limited had its registered Head Office at Calcutta and their Branch Office at Ambala Cantonment. In the said Branch Office, this company had employed Harbans Lal Kapoor as an accountant to maintain the accounts. B. D. Handa Proprietor, Sudesh Trunk House of Ludhiana, stood as a surety for him to compensate the company in case of Harbans Lal Kapoor failed to discharge his duties or misappropriated any amounts entrusted to him. The duty of the accountant was to receive payments on behalf of the company and account for them in the registers maintained in the Branch Office. It appears that it came to the knowledge of the Company that Harbans Lal Kapoor has misappropriated several amounts o money and consequently they registered a case against him with the police. The said kappor was challenged and was, subsequently, convicted and sentenced. As the Company was unable to find out the exact amount of embezzlement made by Kapoor they brought a suit against him and the surety for rendition of accounts, after giving notice to both of them in that behalf.
3. The suit was contested by the defendants on a number of pleas and their main defence was that they were not under any legal obligation to render the accounts. They averred that the company should have brought a suit for a specific sum and the suit in the present form was not maintainable.
4. Both the trial Court and the lower Appellate Court have come to the conclusion that a suit for accounts was competent and Harbans Lal Kapoor was the account party. The trial Court passed a preliminary decree for rendition of accounts against the defendants and appointed on Advocate as a Commissioner to go through the said accounts. This decree was confirmed on appeal by the learned Additional District Judge. The defendants have come here in second appeal.
5. The learned Additional District Judge while dismissing the appeal, had also held that the appeal by the defendants before him was barred by limitation and further that it had been insufficiently stamped and the deficiency in court-fee was made good after the period of limitation was over It may be stated that in the present second appeal also the appellants made up the deficiency in court-fee for a period of limitation But it is needless to go into these points, because on the merits, I find that there is no substance in the appeal.
6. The main point for decision in this case was whether Harbans Lal Kapoor was an accounting party or not This Branch Office transacted a business worth about a lakh of rupees every year. Indisputably, Kapoor was employed as an accountant by the Plaintiff company and this duty was to maintain the accounts. It is also proved on the record that he used to receive money on behalf of the company and used to maintain the accounts. A criminal case was started against him, because he had misappropriated large amount of money, It is also in evidence that even before the criminal Court, It could not be found as to how much was the exact amount misappropriated by Kapoor. If some person has been specifically employed as an accountant to maintain the accounts, it is no understandable as to why he should not be able to render the same. I pointedly asked the learned counsel to cite any decided case, which had laid down that an accountant who was engaged for the precise purpose of keeping the accounts, was held to be not an accounting party so far as his employer was concerned. He was unable to do so. The learned Additional District Judge, while rejecting the contention of the appellants on this point observed:
'The learned counsel for the appellants has further contended that a s there was no relationship of principal and agent between the parties, no suit for rendition of accounts is competent. This point too is without any force. It was admitted by the appellant in his cross-examination that there were about 150 transactions each month and that the annual dealings involved amounts running into over a lakh of rupees. He further admitted that he used to receive moneys by cheques as well as in cash and the same used to be sent to the bank after necessary entries has been made in the relevant registers. It is further common ground between the parties that some embezzlements were discovered for which the appellant was tried and convicted. The plaintiff was not present at the Branch Office of the company where the appellant used to work. Clearly, therefore, he transacted business on behalf of his employer. AIR 1931 All 372 lays down that a person who is employed by another to invest money on behalf and to present him in his dealing with the debtors is an agent within the meaning of Section 182 of the Contract Act. As I look at the mater, the appellant was an agent of the respondent and, therefore, liable to render accounts. It was not necessary for the respondent to have brought a suit for a specific sum against the appellant because it was extremely difficult for him to have ascertained the sum. There is no doubt that some of the items were misappropriated by the appellant but all the sums misappropriated by him cannot be said to have been discovered during the investigation and trial of the criminal cases. The mere fact that the accounts books are not with the appellant would not absolve him of his liability to clear the accounts. In my view, therefore, he is liable to render the accounts of the transactions he did at the Branch Office of the respondent-company.'
7. It has not been shown by the counsel that the learned Judge has rejected the contention of the appellants on any irrelevant or illegal consideration. It has, therefore, to be held that the courts below were right in observing that Kapoor was the accounting party in this case. That being so, the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.
8. Appeal dismissed.