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Saradambal Ammal and anr. Vs. T.C. Kuppusami Sastrigal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1942Mad663; (1942)2MLJ281
AppellantSaradambal Ammal and anr.
RespondentT.C. Kuppusami Sastrigal
Cases ReferredKarinagisetti Chennappa v. Karinagisetti Onkarappa I.L.R.
Excerpt:
..............by the lower court that payments subsequently made by the first defendant could not bind him as valid acknowledgments or part payments and that accordingly the suit was barred by time as against him. but the court held that as the defendant 3 was still a minor, the payments by the first defendant who was the guardian of her minor son was a valid acknowledgment and saved the suit from limitation so far as he was concerned.3. it is argued for the petitioner that this view is wrong as, after the second defendant attained majority, he became the manager of the joint family and he alone was competent to make valid acknowledgments or part payments so as to bind the defendant 3, and that the defendant 1 had no authority to do so as the liability of the third defendant was only in respect of.....
Judgment:

Patanjali Sastri, J.

1. Two questions have been argued in this appeal: first, that the suit is barred by limitation so far as the third defendant is concerned, and, secondly, that the payments made have been wrongly appropriated by the lower Court towards interest though they were made towards principal and interest without any specific appropriation to principal or interest.

2. The facts so far as they are material for the first question may be briefly stated. The promissory note on which the suit was brought was executed by the first defendant on her own behalf and as the guardian of her minor sons defendants 2, and. 3 who were members of an undivided Hindu family. Various payments were made by the first defendant from time to time and endorsed on the note, and the last of such payments was on 9th October, 1937. The suit was filed on 9th September, 1940. The second defendant who was the elder attained majority in 1930, and it was held by the lower Court that payments subsequently made by the first defendant could not bind him as valid acknowledgments or part payments and that accordingly the suit was barred by time as against him. But the Court held that as the Defendant 3 was still a minor, the payments by the first defendant who was the guardian of her minor son was a valid acknowledgment and saved the suit from limitation so far as he was concerned.

3. It is argued for the petitioner that this view is wrong as, after the second defendant attained majority, he became the manager of the joint family and he alone was competent to make valid acknowledgments or part payments so as to bind the Defendant 3, and that the Defendant 1 had no authority to do so as the liability of the third defendant was only in respect of his share of the joint family properties. It is well established law that in respect of a minor's interest in the joint family properties the manager of the family alone can bind the minor within certain well recognised limits, and that no guardian of property can be appointed or recognised. See Gharib-ul-lah v. Khaluk Singh (1903) L.R. 30 IndAp 165 : I.L.R. 25 All. 407 and Bindaji v. Mathurabai I.L.R. (1905) 30 Bom. 152. It is therefore difficult to see how the Defendant 1 could by her acknowledgment or part payment bind the Defendant 3 after 1930.

4. Mr. Viswanatha Sastri for the respondent contended that Section 2l, Limitation Act, specifically empowered lawful guardians of minors to make valid acknowledgments or part payments, and that inasmuch as the provision does not say that the lawful guardian must be the guardian of the minors' property the acknowledgment by Defendant 1 who was the lawful guardian of Defendant 3 must be held to be a valid acknowledgment. He placed reliance on the Pull Bench decision reported in Karinagisetti Chennappa v. Karinagisetti Onkarappa I.L.R. (1940) Mad. 358, holding that for purposes of Section 21, the father or the mother alone can be the lawful guardian of a Hindu minor. I do not think that the decision has any application here as it dealt with a case of a minor having separate property of his own of which his grandmother claimed to be the guardian. Surely, where a minor has separate guardians for his person and for his property it cannot be said that an acknowledgment by the guardian of his person falls within Section 21 of the Act. The section clearly contemplates the guardian of the minor's property making acknowledgments on his behalf. If so, as there can be no such guardian in respect of a minor's interest in his joint family property, the only person who can bind him by a valid acknowledgment can be the manager, and Clause (b) of Sub-section (3) of Section 2.1 makes provision for such cases. Mr. Viswanatha Sastri has not been able to bring to my notice a single case where a guardian's acknowledgment of liability has been held to bind a minor in respect of a liability enforceable against his interest in joint family properties. I therefore hold that the Defendant 1's payment after the Defendant 2 attained majority cannot operate to save the suit from limitation against the Defendant 3.

5. On the second question it is no doubt true that it has been held that mere payment towards the principal and interest of a debt is not a payment specifically appropriated to either principal or interest. But on the facts of this case, the parties must be taken to have proceeded on the footing that the payments were to go in reduction of the interest so far as there was any interest due and the balance was to be applied towards the principal. On any other view no amount would remain outstanding after 1st October, 1934, but payments still continued to be made and the creditor issued a demand Ex. C. on 20th June, 1935, calling upon the Defendant 1 to 'pay balance of principal and interest remaining due after deducting the payments made.' This conduct of the parties is consistent only with an intention that the payments were first to be appropriated towards the interest and the balance to the principal. The decision of the lower Court on this point is therefore right.

6. The civil revision petition is allowed so far as the second petitioner is concerned. He will have his costs here and below. As against the first petitioner the civil revision petition is dismissed with costs.


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