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Narayana Pillai Vs. Narayanan Vanajakshi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 163 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1957Ker93
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 52
AppellantNarayana Pillai
RespondentNarayanan Vanajakshi
Appellant Advocate N. Krishnaswami Iyengar, Adv.
Respondent Advocate R. Narayana Pillai, Adv.
Cases ReferredAtmaram Vinayak v. Lalji Lakhamsi
Excerpt:
- - even though the cause of action in a case, like the present one may be one for all the items delivered to the defendant, the starting point of limitation must be taken to be the date of delivery of the goods......the goods, and it seems to me that, although the cause of action is one for the price of all the goods delivered, the court is bound to check the various items which go to constitute that cause of action and to apply article 52 to deliveries which took place more than three years before the filing of the suit.'4. if i may say so with respect this is the correct view, and applying this principle, the suit must be held to be barred by limitation except as regards the last item in the accounts, namely a sum of rs. 6-8-0 which represents the price of goods delivered on 11th february 1953. the suit was filed on 10th february 1956 and this item alone can escape the bar of limitation, as the rest of the amount represents the value of goods delivered before 1953. the suit is therefore barred.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This Civil Revision Petition by the defendant in a Small Cause Suit is directed against the decree passed against him for recovery of a sum of money alleged to be due as the price of goods 'sold. The plaintiffs' case is that the defendant was getting goods on credit from the shop belonging to Neelakantan Nanoo, the deceased husband of the 1st plaintiff and father of plaintiffs 2 to 5. The balance due on 11-2-1953 was Rs. 75-12-2. The plaintiffs as heirs of Neelakantan Nanoo sued for recovery of the same. The defendant denied the transaction alleged in the plaint. According to him the transactions were closed before 1952. There was a further contention that the suit was barred by limitation. The learned Munsiff found that the defendant was getting goods on credit as alleged by the plaintiffs. The question of limitation was not decided. The suit was accordingly decreed in terms of the plaint.

2. The two points pressed by the petitioner are : (i) that the plaint transaction is not proved, and (ii) that the suit is barred by limitation. As regards the first point the learned Munsiff believed P. W. 1 and disbelieved the defendant who was examined as D. W. 1. I do not think it proper to interfere with this finding in revision. On the question of limitation, the defendant is entitled to succeed in respect of the major portion of the claim. The suit admittedly is one governed by Article 52 of the Limitation Act which provides a period of three years from the date of delivery of the goods.

The point raised by the learned counsel lor the plaintiffs-Respondents is that the cause of action arises on the date of the last transaction and that the suit having been instituted within a period ofthree years from that date, is not barred by limitation. In support of this argument, reliance was placed on the decision of Mulla, J., as he then was in Najan v. Salemahomed, AIR 1923 Bom 113 (A). The view taken by Sir Mulla is that if all the items constituting the transaction form but one cause of action, it is idle to suggest that a part of it can be barred by limitation and that the rest may not be so barred. Sir Mulla relied on the following passage in Bonsey v. Wordsworth, (1856) 18 CB 325 (B): '...... .Where a tradesman has a bill against aparty for any amount in which the items are so connected together that it appears that the dealing is not intended to terminate with one contract, but to be continuous, so that one item, if not paid, shall be united with another, and form one continuous demand, the whole together forms but one cause of action, and cannot be divided.'

3. This question came before a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in Atmaram Vinayak v. Lalji Lakhamsi, AIR 1940 Bom 158 (C). Beaumont, C. J., who wrote the leading judgment considered the decision referred to above and dissented therefrom. It was observed by the learned Chief Justice that the principle that limitation does not destroy the right but bars only the remedy was not noticed by Sir Mulla in the earlier case. The learned Chief Justice pointed out instances in which it is possible to have one cause of action which is enforceable in part and unenforceable in part, such as a claim for mesne profits part of which may be barred by limitation.

It was also pointed out that according to Article 52, the starting point of limitation was not the accrual of the cause of action but the date of delivery of the goods. Even though the cause of action in a case, like the present one may be one for all the items delivered to the defendant, the starting point of limitation must be taken to be the date of delivery of the goods. These goods were delivered on various dates and the date of the last delivery cannot be taken to be the date of delivery of goods on earlier occasions. I may here extract the following passage from the judgment of Beaumont, C. J.:

'These goods were not delivered on the date of the last delivery; they were delivered on various dates during the preceding year, and one cannot alter that fact, nor can one read Article 52 as if the starting point of time was the accrual of the cause of action. The starting point of time is the date of the delivery of the goods, and it seems to me that, although the cause of action is one for the price of all the goods delivered, the Court is bound to check the various items which go to constitute that cause of action and to apply Article 52 to deliveries which took place more than three years before the filing of the suit.'

4. If I may say so with respect this is the correct view, and applying this principle, the suit must be held to be barred by limitation except as regards the last item in the accounts, namely a sum of Rs. 6-8-0 which represents the price of goods delivered on 11th February 1953. The suit was filed on 10th February 1956 and this item alone can escape the bar of limitation, as the rest of the amount represents the value of goods delivered before 1953. The suit is therefore barred except in respect of a sum of Rs. 6-8-0.

5. In the result the decree of the Court belowis 'modified and the plaintiff is given a decree forrecovery of a sum of Rs. 6-8-0 from the defendant.The plaintiff will get interest at 6 per cent. perannum on the above sum from 11-2-1953 till date ofdecree and thereafter on the consolidated sum atthe same rate. Both sides are directed to bear theircosts.


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