Skip to content


G.P. Mallappa Vs. Matan Naga Chetty - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1918)35MLJ555
AppellantG.P. Mallappa
RespondentMatan Naga Chetty
Cases ReferredSlatterie v. Pooley
Excerpt:
- - 1. a subsequent agreement to take less than is due under a registered mortgage is clearly an agreement modifying the terms of a written contract; if the subsequent agreement in this case has to be proved, oral evidence is clearly inadmissible. 664 which accepted oral admissions of every kindas proving documents has no doubt been departed from in india (see section 22 of the evidence act and sections 59 and 65(b). it is open to argument that admissions in pleadings are in the nature of secondary evidence and that the prohibition in section 22 applies equally to pleadings as well......is clearly an agreement modifying the terms of a written contract; and, if it has to be proved, oral evidence is inadmissible under the 4th proviso to section 92 of the indian evidence act, which is designed to protect parties to registered instruments from false cases of subsequent modification of the original contract being set up and supported by oral evidence. if the subsequent agreement in this case has to be proved, oral evidence is clearly inadmissible. the contention however, is that it has not to be proved, as it is admitted in the pleadings. part ii of the evidence act deals with proof, and chapter iii, which is the first chapter of part ii, with 'facts which need not be proved.' under section 58 of this chapter, among the facts which need not be proved, are facts admitted.....
Judgment:

John Wallis, C.J.

1. A subsequent agreement to take less than is due under a registered mortgage is clearly an agreement modifying the terms of a written contract; and, if it has to be proved, oral evidence is inadmissible under the 4th proviso to Section 92 of the Indian Evidence Act, which is designed to protect parties to registered instruments from false cases of subsequent modification of the original contract being set up and supported by oral evidence. If the subsequent agreement in this case has to be proved, oral evidence is clearly inadmissible. The contention however, is that it has not to be proved, as it is admitted in the pleadings. Part II of the Evidence Act deals with proof, and Chapter III, which is the first chapter of Part II, with 'Facts which need not be proved.' Under Section 58 of this chapter, among the facts which need not be proved, are facts admitted in the pleadings, such as the subsequent agreement now in question. Evidence is tendered in proof of facts in issue; and no question of the admissibility of evidence, oral or documentary, arises when proof is dispensed with in consequence of an admission in the pleadings, either under Section 58 or under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. Where as in Chenbasapa v. Lahshman Ramachandra I.L.R. (1898) B. 369, the legislature had enacted, not only that an unstamped promissory note should not be receivable in evidence, but, also, that it should not be 'acted on', it was held that the Court was precluded from acting on the note by giving a decree on it, even though execution was admitted. It has not been shown that in giving effect to the subsequent agreement admitted in the pleadings in the present case we should be contravening any express statutory provision such as that contained in the Stamp Act, and I do not think that in the present case we are at liberty to restrict the operation of the plain language of Section 58 or of the Code of Civil Procedure by reference to considerations of alleged public policy. Here the subsequent agreement is one by a mortgagee to take less than was due to him under the terms of the mortgage, and I do not think we should be justified in refusing to give effect to the section, merely because, if the plaintiff had not admitted the subsequent agreement but put the defendant to the proof of it there does not appear to be any admissible evidence by which it could have been proved. Further I do not consider that in a case of this kind there is any public policy in refusing to give effect to the subsequent written agreement, because I think that the plaintiff's admission in the pleadings, gets rid of the danger which it was intended to guard against, by the prohibition of oral evidence in the 4th proviso to Section 92, Different considerations might arise if the admission were that more than was provided for in the mortgage bond should be due under it, I would agree with Bakewell, J. and dismiss the appeal with costs.

Oldfield, J.

2. With all due deference I cannot follow the judgment just delivered, so far as it lays down that acceptance of a statement in an unregistered writing as evidence of the modification of a registered contract is not contrary to public policy, as tending to defeat the provisions of the Registration Act. Those provisions are, as I understand them, intended to facilitate the investigation of titles by compelling their registration and by fixing the offices in which they must be registered and to which, therefore, investigation can be restricted. This intention would be frustrated if the investigation had to be wider; and none the less so, if it had to be extended, not only beyond those Registration offices, but also to pleadings in the records of courts. This however does not affect the validity of the broader ground of decision, which is available, viz., the unqualified nature of the language used in Section 58 of the Indian Evidence Act, and I therefore concur in dismissing the appeal with costs.

Seshagiri Aiyar, J.

3. I agree with the conclusion at which the learned Chief Justice has arrived.

4. The suit is on two mortgages executed by the defendant to the plaintiff. In or about March 1914 plaintiff threatened to sue on the bonds. Then certain mediators intervened. An oral agreement was come to by which the plaintiff agreed to accept in full satisfaction Rs. 1,400 in case Rs. 1,000 was paid within a week's time and the other Rs. 400 within three months thereafter. There was a further stipulation that if the Rs. 400 was not paid within three months an additional sum of Rs. 100 was to be paid by the defendant. This settlement was not reduced to writing. The question for consideration is whether this arrangement is admissible in evidence. There is a further question whether the admission contained in the counter statement of the plaintiff is not sufficient for the disposal of the case. On the first question I feel no doubt that the admission of this oral arrangement would contravene proviso 4 to Section 92 of the Evidence Act. The effect of the arrangement is to alter the terms of the two documents in question and as the original documents were in writing and registered, oral evidence of the arrangement is within the mischief of proviso 4. The decision of this Court in Karampalli Unni Kurup v. Thekku Veetil Muthorakutti I.L.R. (1902) M. 195 which was followed by the learned Chief Justice and Benson, J, in Kattika Bapanamma v. Kattika Krishnamma (1906) 30 M. 231, covers this point. Sitting with Kumaraswami Sastri, J., I acted on the principle enunciated in the above decisions in Namagiri Lakshmiammal v. Srinivasa Aiyangar (1918) 27 I.C.269 The contention of the learned Vakil for the respondent that the admission would not vary the document is unsupportable. The cases he drew our attention to, all relate to actual payments under documents which discharged the liability thereunder. An agreement which in future will have the effect of putting an end to the liability must be regarded as a subsequent agreement modifying the original contract. I am in entire agreement with the view enunciated by Mr. Justice Boddam in Goseti Subba Rao v. Varigonda Narasimham I.L.R. (1903) Mad. 368. The learned Judge says referring to proviso 4 of Section 92--' The words of the proviso are perfectly clear and in my opinion apply to any agreement whether executory or executed.' I am unable to see any justification in principle for not applying the proviso to all cases other than those in which there has been a perfected discharge by payment. I agree with Sadasiva Aiyar, J. on this question.

5. On the second question, I felt doubts whether Section 58 and the chapter in which it appears should not be restricted to admissions in pleadings which do not contravene the express provisions as to the mode of proof contained in the other sections of the Evidence Act. At the same time, I realise the force of the learned Chief Justice's observation that the language of the section takes the facts admitted in the pleadings out of the category of proof altogether. The rule of law enunciated in Slatterie v. Pooley (1840) 6 M. & W. 664 which accepted oral admissions of every kindas proving documents has no doubt been departed from in India (See Section 22 of the Evidence Act and Sections 59 and 65(b). It is open to argument that admissions in pleadings are in the nature of secondary evidence and that the prohibition in Section 22 applies equally to pleadings as well. Otherwise parties may compel a Court by a statement in pleadings to pronounce judgment upon evidence which is not legally admissible. There is the further fact that notwithstanding the admission in the pleadings. The court may call upon the party to prove a fact. In such cases, the proof must be restricted to the modes mentioned in the Act. It is therefore with hesitation that I agree in the conclusion arrived at by the learned Chief Justice on this point.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //