Skip to content


Thammanna Chinna Lakshiminarasimham and anr. Vs. Akarapu Venkanna Chenniah - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1920)38MLJ55
AppellantThammanna Chinna Lakshiminarasimham and anr.
RespondentAkarapu Venkanna Chenniah
Cases ReferredSanka Krishnamurthi v. Bank of Burma I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - the learned trial judge has however found that this is not proved by the evidence and he gives strong reasons for his conclusions. on the other hand we have a number of rulings which clearly are against the contention of the appellants. justice chandavarkar, the well known case in ramlal thakursidas v. 51, is cited with approval as laying down the law on the subject of family trades and there it is distinctly ruled that 'where a minor is a coparcener in a joint family, his share in the family property is liable for debts contracted by his managing coparcener for any family purpose or any purpose incidental to it. 692 we hold that the decree of the city civil judge is right on this point as well......the decree is right in so far as it makes the appellants' (2nd and 3rd defendants') shares in the family property liable for the amount of the decree. they were minors at the time of the transaction which gave raise to the debt, but it is found and not disputed that the trade in the course of which the debts were incurred was an ancestral family trade the defendants being komati chetties. the argument on behalf of the appellant is that the shares of the appellants in the assets of the business are alone liable and reliance is placed in this connection on the rulings of this court in the official assignee of madras v. palaniappa chetty,i.l.r. (1918) mad. 824 : 35 m.l.j. 473 and sanka krishnamurthi v. the bank of burma i.l.r. (1911) mad. 692 and on the decisions of the bombay high court.....
Judgment:

1. It is argued in this appeal that the 1st defendant on the one hand and the 2nd and 3rd defendants on the other settled their accounts and divided their business sometime in 1908 and therefore the appellants are not liable for any debts incurred in the course of the business since that date. The learned trial Judge has however found that this is not proved by the evidence and he gives strong reasons for his conclusions. Besides it is not sugges ed that if there was any division so far as this business was concerned, that the plaintiffs either knew of such a division or were informed of it.

2. The next question argued is one of law, namely, whether the decree is right in so far as it makes the appellants' (2nd and 3rd defendants') shares in the family property liable for the amount of the decree. They were minors at the time of the transaction which gave raise to the debt, but it is found and not disputed that the trade in the course of which the debts were incurred was an ancestral family trade the defendants being Komati Chetties. The argument on behalf of the appellant is that the shares of the appellants in the assets of the business are alone liable and reliance is placed in this connection on the rulings of this Court in The Official Assignee of Madras v. Palaniappa Chetty,I.L.R. (1918) Mad. 824 : 35 M.L.J. 473 and Sanka Krishnamurthi v. The Bank of Burma I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 692 and on the decisions of the Bombay High Court in Raghunathji Tarachand v. The Bank of Bombay I.L.R. (1909) Bom. 72 and Sakabhai v. Maganlal I.L.R. (1901) Bom 206 . The ruling in The Official Assignee of Madraf v. Palaniappa Chetty I.L.R. (1918) Mad. 824 : 35 M.L.J. 473 was by a Full Bench of this Court and does not contain anything which can be said to support the proposition put forward on behalf of the appellants. As regards Sanka Krishnamurthi v. The Bank os Burma I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 692 it does not appear to be very clear whether the learned Chief Justice intended to lay down any general proposition that in the case of an ancestral family business belonging to a trading family such as this, debts incurred in the course of such business are recoverable only from the shares in the assets of that business belonging to the minor members of the family and not from their shares in the family property including the assets of the business. In any case, as pointed out in Malaiperumal Chettiar v. Arunachala Chettiar (1917) 6 L.W. 417 by Ayling and Sadasiva Aiyar, JJ., the question did not arise for decision upon the facts found in that case and the statement which by no means is very clear on this point was by way of obiter. On the other hand we have a number of rulings which clearly are against the contention of the appellants. It is laid down in Muthaya Pillai v. Tinnevelly South Indian Bank (1916) 5 L.W. 341 that where money was borrowed for the purpose of an ancestral business carried on by the members of a joint Hindu family, all the members of the family including the minors are liable for the repayment of such money to the extent of their share in the family property as distinguished from their share in the assets of the business because the family property is swelled by the profits of the trade which is carried on with the credit of the entire family property. This view of the law is followed in the case just referred to in Malaiperumal Chettiar v. Arunachala Ghettiar (1917) 6 L.W. 417 where it is also laid down that the ordinary presumption in the case of such business is that the entire family property is embarked in the business and forms part of the asse's of the business. In Dulipalla Kanakam v. Maddipalli Venkataraju (1917) 7 L.W. 218 Seshagiri Aiyar and Napier, JJ. also acted upon this view of the law. With reference to the ruling of the Bombay High Court in Ragunathji Tarachand v. Bank of Bombay I.L.R. (1909) Bom. 72, it seems to have been conceded by the Counsel for the respondents that the personal decree given by Heaton, J. against the minor was wrong and the decree was modified in accordance with that concession. But in the body of the judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Chandavarkar, the well known case in Ramlal Thakursidas v. Lahshmi Chand Muniram (1861) 1 Bom. H.C.R.51, is cited with approval as laying down the law on the subject of family trades and there it is distinctly ruled that 'where a minor is a coparcener in a joint family, his share in the family property is liable for debts contracted by his managing coparcener for any family purpose or any purpose incidental to it. If the family is a trading firm, the same rule must apply with this difference that the term family purpose or purpose incidental to it must here give way to the expression trading purpose or purpose incidental to it, having regard to the nature and objects of the family business.' This exposition of the law has been followed as pointed out in Kutti Haji v. Kunhi Haji I.L.R. (1919) Mad. 761 : 37 M.L.J. 316 by all the High Courts and the learned Chief Justice himself cites this case with approval in Sanka Krishnamurthi v. Bank of Burma I.L.R. (1911) M. 692 We hold that the decree of the City Civil Judge is right on this point as well.

3. The appeal must be dismissed with costs.


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