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Pichaikuttia Pillai Vs. Ranganadan and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1915Mad951(2); (1915)28MLJ323
AppellantPichaikuttia Pillai
RespondentRanganadan and anr.
Cases ReferredPallamaraju v. Bapanna I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - in hindu law there is a clearly marked distinction between succession and devolution by survivorship, and as the preamble only refers to cases of succession, prima facie cases of survivorship are not within the ambit of the act. 4. speaking for myself, i fail to see upon what principle the qualification, that upon the face of the document the debt should appear to belong to the family, can be imposed. 578 is distinctly against this view......the promissory note sued upon was executed to his undivided uncle for monies advanced from the joint family-property. the district munsif held that without a succession certificate the suit upon the promissory note is not sustainable. it was not seriously contended that his conclusion can be sustained, in so far as he has not given the plaintiff an opportunity of producing, a succession certificate. this procedure of the district munsif is opposed to section 4 of the succession certificate act and does not find support in any of the reported cases.2. the important point argued by the learned vakils on either side is as to whether a succession certificate is necessary in the ease of debts due to a member of a joint family; and secondly, whether the fact that the document sued upon is.....
Judgment:

Seshagiri Aiyar, J.

1. The plaintiff's case is that the promissory note sued upon was executed to his undivided uncle for monies advanced from the joint family-property. The District Munsif held that without a succession certificate the suit upon the promissory note is not sustainable. It was not seriously contended that his conclusion can be sustained, in so far as he has not given the plaintiff an opportunity of producing, a succession certificate. This procedure of the District Munsif is opposed to Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act and does not find support in any of the reported cases.

2. The important point argued by the learned vakils on either side is as to whether a succession certificate is necessary in the ease of debts due to a member of a joint family; and secondly, whether the fact that the document sued upon is a promissory note should make any difference in regard to the law upon the subject. The Act itself is designed to facilitate the collection of debts on succession. In Hindu law there is a clearly marked distinction between succession and devolution by survivorship, and as the preamble only refers to cases of succession, prima facie cases of survivorship are not within the ambit of the Act. It has been argued by Mr. Ganesa Aiyar that under Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act what the court has to see is whether the debt which is sought to be recovered was recoverable by the person in whose favour the document was executed, irrespective of the question that the debt itself belonged to the joint family. He contended, that in the case of promissory notes as the suit can be brought only by the payee or the endorsee, the property in the note vests in the person in whose favour the document has been executed; and consequently no question of the debt being due to the joint family can arise in such cases. I am unable to accede to this contention. As was pointed out by Mr. Venkatrama Sastriar if monies had been advanced upon a promissory note from joint funds, and if the manager of the joint family collusively and fraudulently purported to discharge the executant from liability, it would still be open to the other members of the family to claim the debt from the person who had executed the document; therefore the fact that it is a debt due upon a promissory note can make no distinction in the construction of Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act. In all cases the question will be, whether the monies sought to be recovered were advanced from joint funds, or were the individual earnings of the person in whose favour the document was executed.

3. There are a large number of cases bearing on this question. The earliest of them in this Court is that of Venkataramana v. Venkayya I.L.R. (1890) M. 377. It was held in that case that, unless the fact that the money was due to the joint family was apparent upon the face of the document a succession certificate was necessary. This view was apparently accepted in Vaidynatha Aiyar v. Chinnasami Naich I.L.R. (1893) M. 108. But in Subratmainan Chetti v. Rakku Servai I.L.R. (1897) M. 232 the learned Judges pointed out that this qualification that in order to enable a member of a joint family to sustain a claim for the debt due to the family without producing a succession certificate there should be something on the face of the document indicating that the debt was due to the family, was altogether an unnecessary reservation. In Pallamraju v. Bapanna I.L.R. (1899) M. 380 the view of the learned Judges who decided 20 Madras was accepted as correct.

4. Speaking for myself, I fail to see upon what principle the qualification, that upon the face of the document the debt should appear to belong to the family, can be imposed. There is nothing in the Succession Certificate Act to countenance this view. And in other courts this principle of the debt appearing upon the face of the document to be due to the family has not been accepted. Pateshuri Partap Narain Singh v. Bhagwati Prasad I.L.R. (1895) A. 578 is distinctly against this view. In Jagmohandas Kilabhai v. Allu Maria Duskal I.L.R. (1894) B. 338 Beejraj v. Bhryo Persaud I.L.R. (1896) C. 912 and Gurpershad Singh v. Dhani Rai I.L.R. (1910) C. 182 the only question that was considered was whether the debt belonged to the joint family or was due to the deceased member in his individual capacity. The case in Mathura Prasad v. Durgawati I.L.R. (1904) A. 380 which Mr. Ganesha Aiyar very fairly brought to my notice is a direct authority against the position, that a document upon the face of it must have the impress of a joint family debt if a suc-cession certificate is to be dispensed with. The most recent decision of this Court is that of the learned Chief Justice in Perayya v. Ahmad Abdul Rahiman Sait (1914) M.W.N. 671 in which he follows the earlier decision in Venkatramana v. Venkayya I.L.R. (1890) M. 377 and points out that in the case of a promissory note unless the debt appears upon the face of the document to be due to the joint family, a succession certificate is required. The learned Chief Justice's attention was apparently not drawn to the later cases in Sub ramanian Chetti v. Rakku Servai I.L.R. (1897) M. 232 and Pallamaraju v. Bappanna I.L.R. (1899) M. 380 in which the learned Judges dissented from this view.

5. On principle and upon the language of Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act, the view taken in Pallamaraju v. Bapanna I.L.R. (1899) M. 380 which is also the view taken in all the other High Courts, seems to me to be sound. These are decisions of Benches and as my view is also in accordance with them, I must hold that the District Munsif was wrong in holding that a certificate was necessary in the circumstances of this case. Of course, on taking evidence if it appears to him that the monies were not advanced from the funds of the joint family, he will give the plaintiff an opportunity of producing a succession certificate within a reasonable time and then pass a final judgment in the case. I must reverse the decision of the District Munsif and direct him to take the case on his file and dispose of it according to Law. Costs to abide the result.


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