1. Having gone through the papers carefully since the matter was argued at the Bar, we are of opinion that the sanction granted by the lower appellate Court to prosecute the appellant before us under Section 191, Indian Penal Code, ought to be set aside. As we understand the order of the District Judge he founds the sanction, on paragraph 6 of the written statement filed by the present appellant in a suit instituted against him. by the respondent who is his daughter-in-law for the recovery of certain jewels.
2. Paragraph 6 of the written statement is in these words that the defendant denies all the allegations in the plaint except those contained in paragraph 2. Having regard to the allegation in the plaint and the answer given thereto in the rest of the written statement we are clearly of opinion that this paragraph only means that the defendant does not admit the allegations of the plaint except those made in its second paragraph he having in the 3rd, 4th and 5th paragraphs of the written statement given his version of what happened. No doubt denial is something stronger than not admitting but it must be remembered that in the moffussil pleadings one does not expect any great exactitude of expression.
3. The only safe guide in such cases is to look to the entire pleadings and the conduct of the suit in order to find out what is meant by a certain plea. That even the respondent herself or her legal advisers in the mofussil understood that by paragraph 6 the defendant meant only to guard himself from being taken to admit, what he does not expressly admit, so that the plaintiff may not be relieved of the burden of proving her allegation is shown by the fact that though in the petition for sanction no less than four statements in the written statements, including even the plea in paragraph 7 that the plaintiff's claim is collusive and vexatious and a number of statements made by the defendant in the witness-box, are alleged to be false and sanction is asked for with. respect to them, no such sanction is asked for with respect to paragraph 6 of the written statement. This to our minds is conclusive to show that by paragraph 6 of the written statement the defendant only intended to ask the plaintiff to prove her allegations except those contained in paragraph 2 of the plaintiff which he admits.
4. Then a glance at paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the plaint shows that they contain charges of fraud and misrepresentation and can it be said that a defendant is to be prosecuted for denying such charges? Further in those paragraphs there are certain statements of fact apparently of a neutral character and in respect of which it would not be in the interest of the defendant to say that the events alluded to never happened but which are mixed up with other facts and inferences and imputations which the defendant may not be prepared to admit. And we find that the defendant in his examination-in-chief admitted some of the facts mentioned in paragraphs 3 to 7 of the plaint to be true but his case was that his son and not he was in possession of the jewels that his son stole the only jewels which he received from the plaintiff's father for melting them and making new jewels. If these statements were found to be false and if sanction were granted by the lower appellate Court in respect of them, whether made in his deposition or sworn to in the written statement as asked for in the petition, we do not think such a sanction would be open to objection. But as the sanction has been granted with respect to paragraph 6 of the written statement, we think it ought to be set aside. The sanction is set aside accordingly.