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P. Subbiah Mooppanar Vs. S.S. Venkatarama Ayyangar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 1243 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1955Mad265; (1954)IIMLJ599
ActsContract Act, 1872 - Sections 69
AppellantP. Subbiah Mooppanar
RespondentS.S. Venkatarama Ayyangar and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP.N. Appuswami, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.S. Venkatarama Iyer, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredSubramania Iyer v. Vengappa Reddi
Excerpt:
- - a is bound to make good to b the amount so paid......but it is pointed out by the learned counsel for the respondents that the plaintiff is not a person interested in the payment of the money. the~-short question, therefore, is what is the connotation of the word 'interested' in section 69 of the act. the cases cited at the bar are not directly in point. but they may be referred to appreciate the contention raised. 3. bose j., defined the word in - 'banwarllalv. rajkishore guru', air 1946 nag 21 (a), asfollows: 'it is necessary that a person must be interest-ed in the payment of money and this interest,as the privy council case indicates arid as hasbeen held in - 'mojiram v. sagarmal', air1920 nag 119 (b) and - 'balwantrao v. tulsapandharihath', (c), must bein order to avert some loss or to protect someinterest which would otherwise.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Subba Rao, J.

1. The material facts in this revision petition are not in dispute. Defendants 1 to 3 are usufructuary mortgagees of the plaint-schedule, property. The fourth defendant is the-mort-gagor. The fourth defendant sold the same to the plaintiff for a sum of Rs. 18000 under a registered sale deed dated 10-2-1947. Under the sale deed, a sum of Rs. 3500 was reserved with the plaintiff to be paid to the mortgagees. Accordingly he paid the amount to the mortgagees on 10-4-1947. The mortgagees though they were in pos-session during faslls 1355 and 1356 did not pay to the zamindar the cist for 1355 and 1356. After the plaintiff took possession of the properties he paid on 4-9-1949 a sum of Rs. '165-15-9 to the zamindar being, the arrears of cist due In respect of the othi for faslis 1355 and 1356. After paying the amount to the Zamindar, he filed S. C. 8. No. 789 of. 1951 on the file of the court of the District Mutislf; Ambasamudram, for the recovery of the said amount from defendants 1 to 3. The learned District Munsif dismissed the suit, on the ground that the plaintiff paid the cist voluntarily' and therefore, he would not be entitled to re-cover the same. The plaintiff has filed the above revision.

2. The learned counsel for the petitioner, contends that Section 69, Contract Act directly applies to the facts of this case. Section 69 reads :

'A person who is interested in the payment, ofmoney which another Is bound by law to payand who therefore pays it is entitled to be re-imbursed by the other.'

It is conceded that defendants 1 to 3 were bound by law to pay the cist to the zamindar. But It is pointed out by the learned counsel for the respondents that the plaintiff is not a person interested in the payment of the money. The~-short question, therefore, is what is the connotation of the word 'interested' in Section 69 of the Act. The cases cited at the Bar are not directly in point. But they may be referred to appreciate the contention raised.

3. Bose J., defined the word in - 'Banwarllalv. Rajkishore Guru', AIR 1946 Nag 21 (A), asfollows:

'It is necessary that a person must be interest-ed in the payment of money and this interest,as the Privy Council case indicates arid as hasbeen held in - 'Mojiram v. Sagarmal', AIR1920 Nag 119 (B) and - 'Balwantrao v. TulsaPandharihath', (C), must bein order to avert some loss or to protect someinterest which would otherwise be lost to the plaintiffs.'

The illustration to Section 69, Contract Act may alsousefully be extracted :

'B holds land in Bengal, on a lease grantedby A the eamlndar. The revenue payable byA to the Government being in arrear, his landis advertised for sale by the Government. Underthe Revenue law, the consequence of such salewill be the annulment of B's lease. B to prevent the sale and the consequent annulment ofhis own lease, pays to the Government the sumdue from A. A is bound to make good to B the amount so paid.'

Relying upon the observations of Bose J. and on the aforesaid illustration the learned counsel for the respondents argues that unless there is-some threat of the non-payment of the amount-leads to some tangible loss to the person, any payment made by him under any other clrcum stance is a voluntary payment and therefore, he is not a person interested, in the payment. I am, afraid I cannot give such a narrow construction to the word 'interested' in Section 69 of the Act. It is true that when a person pays an amount which another is bound by law to pay to avert some loss or to protect some interest which would otherwise be lost to him or to avert a 'sate about to take place, it is a clear case, of the said person Having an interest In the payment of the money. But the said circumstances are not exhaustive Curgenven J. in - 'Krishnan Namboodripad v. Ambu Kurup', AIR 1927 Mad 69 (D), in circumstances, similar to those present in the instant case applied the provisions of Section 69 of the Act. There as here, the mortgagor paid the land revenue in respect, of the mortgaged properties which the mortgagee was bound by law to pay and in such a case the learned Judge held that S. 69, Contract Act would apply.

4. In - 'Subramania Iyer v. Vengappa Reddi,' 19 Mad L. J. 750 (E), a Division Bench of this court consisting of Benson and Krishnaswami Aiyar JJ. held that the word 'interested' was wide enough to include, the apprehension of any kind of loss or inconvenience or at any rate, of any detriment capable of being assessed in money.

5. In the present case, the mortgagee did not pay the tax due for, faslis 1355 and 1356. The plaintiff purchased the property in .1947 and took possession of the same. Taxes were not paid by the mortgagee even thereafter, that is, they were. in arrears for a period of three years. In those circumstances, when a owner pays the arrears of taxes remaining unpaid, for a period of three years, it cannot.be said that he has no apprehension that if the arrears were not paid coercive steps might be taken against him and the property. The learned counsel for the respondents says that in view of the Tenants Protection Act, the lands could not be sold till the statutory notice was given and as no statutory notice was given in this case, there could be no apprehension in the mind of the plaintiff. Apart from the fact that this point has not been raised in the court below, I cannot hold that the. fact that statutory notice should be given as a condition precedent for the sale of the property is a ground for holding that a owner would have no apprehension that steps would be taken against him even though admittedly arrears were not paid for three years.

6. Further in this case, the plaintiff as P. W.1 stated that zamin authorities told him thatthey were going to take steps against him forrealising the arrears of rent due. The learnedJudge disbelieved the evidence on the ground thathe was an interested witness. In my view, thereIs no ground to reject the statement for it wasnatural and reasonable to expect the zamindarto threaten to take proceedings when arrearsdue to him were not paid for three years. Forall the aforesaid reasons I hold that when thepetitioner paid the arrears of tax due, he wasinterested to pay that amount within the meaning of Section 69, Contract Act which the defendantswere bound by law to pay. If so, it follows thatthe order of the lower court is wrong and is liableto be set aside. Accordingly the order of thelower court is set aside. The plaintiff will havea decree as prayed for and he will have his costshere and in the court below.


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