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M. Krishnaswami Naicker Vs. A. Thiruvengada Mudaliar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation;Civil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935Mad245; 157Ind.Cas.272; (1935)68MLJ63
AppellantM. Krishnaswami Naicker
RespondentA. Thiruvengada Mudaliar and anr.
Cases ReferredSee Ramakrishna Chetty v. Venkatasubbiah Chetty
Excerpt:
- .....there is no provision in the act so retrospective in its effect as to revive and make effective a barred right. see the observations of the judicial committee in sachindranath roy v. maharaj bahadur singh .3. section 20 has been amended by act i of 1927, which came into force from 1st january, 1928, and long before that date the plaintiffs' right had become unenforceable by lapse of time. the reason therefore, on which the learned judges of the full bench rest their judgment, is unsound; but their conclusion can, i think, be supported on another ground. according to the cases decided under the repealed section, although the writing owing to some defect does not fulfil the requirements of section 20, it may nevertheless as an acknowledgment of liability operate to save the claim under.....
Judgment:

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. The trial Judge found that though the second endorsement was signed by the defendant, it was not in his handwriting. Unfortunately, he has not recorded a finding on the question whether or not there was a part-payment as mentioned in the endorsement; the judgment proceeds. I take it, upon the assumption that there was such a part-payment. The prevailing view of the law was, that a part-payment to be effectual under Section 20 of the Indian Limitation Act, must be in the case of a literate person appear in his handwriting and that it is not sufficient that he has merely signed it. In accordance with this view, the learned trial Judge, finding that the claim was barred, dismissed the suit. The Full Bench of the Small Cause Court reversed this decision on the ground that the amended Section has done away with this requirement.

2. The law has been made less stringent upon the point: either there should be an endorsement in the handwriting of the person making the payment, though unsigned or the writing should be signed by him, though not in his handwriting. But the Full Bench, in acting upon the Section as amended, has overlooked the principle that a new statute cannot revive barred debts. The Statute of Limitation, being a law of procedure, is generally retrospective in its operation, but there is no provision in the Act so retrospective in its effect as to revive and make effective a barred right. See the observations of the Judicial Committee in Sachindranath Roy v. Maharaj Bahadur Singh .

3. Section 20 has been amended by Act I of 1927, which came into force from 1st January, 1928, and long before that date the plaintiffs' right had become unenforceable by lapse of time. The reason therefore, on which the learned Judges of the Full Bench rest their judgment, is unsound; but their conclusion can, I think, be supported on another ground. According to the cases decided under the repealed section, although the writing owing to some defect does not fulfil the requirements of Section 20, it may nevertheless as an acknowledgment of liability operate to save the claim under Section 19. Although the respondents are not represented, Mr. P.R. Vasudeva Aiyar, the petitioner's Counsel, has very fairly referred me to the relevant cases on the point See Ramakrishna Chetty v. Venkatasubbiah Chetty (1914) 17 M.L.T. 139. Having regard to the terms of the endorsement in question, I must hold that it contains a sufficient acknowledgment of the plaintiffs' right to the balance of the amount due. Therefore, although, as I have said, the reason given by the Full Bench is wrong, I must uphold its decision.

4. In the result, the Civil Revision Petition fails and is dismissed.


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