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Muthu Sastrigal Vs. Visvanatha Pandhara Sannadhi, Adhina Kartha of Sri Vedaneswara Swami Koil - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1914Mad657(2); (1914)26MLJ19
AppellantMuthu Sastrigal
RespondentVisvanatha Pandhara Sannadhi, Adhina Kartha of Sri Vedaneswara Swami Koil
Cases Referred and Mallayya v. Bamayya
Excerpt:
- - per month get back this letter'.it is clearly an unconditional undertaking, on the face of this document to repay borrowed money, and it is therefore a promissory note and not merely an offer to borrow or an acknowledgment of indebtedness. 94 is not good law, as the learned judges misunderstood an observation of garth c. i am not satisfied that the learned judges did so misunderstand sheik akbar v......undertaking, on the face of this document to repay borrowed money, and it is therefore a promissory note and not merely an offer to borrow or an acknowledgment of indebtedness.2. as regards the case, in tirupati goundan v. rama beddi i.l.r. (1897) m. 49 the language of the document in question in that case was quite different and very vague. even so, i wish (with the greatest respect to the judges who decided it) to be permitted to reverse my opinion if a document similarly worded happens to come before me for interpretation.3. i therefore agree with the lower courts, that the varthamanam sued on is a promissory note and is inadmissible in evidence as not duly stamped.4. as regards the contentions that, apart from the promissory note there was an independent obligation implied.....
Judgment:

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant in this Letters Patent Appeal. He sued on the strength of a letter which has been held to be inadmissible in evidence and his suit has been dismissed by all the Courts. I shall now briefly refer to the arguments advanced by his learned vakil and to some of the cases quoted during those arguments. In the cases in the foot note to Queen Empress v. Somasundara Chetti I.L.R. (1899) M. 155 and 157 and in Bharata Pisherodi v. Vasudevan Ndmbudri I.L.R. (1903) M. 1 relied on by him the documents themselves showed that they were not to be treated as vouchers or securities unless the persons to whom the letters were, sent gave loans as requested in the letters. As said in Bharata Pisherodi v. Vasudevan Nambudri I.L.R. (1903) M. 1 'There is no unconditional undertaking on the face of the document to pay the money'. In the present case the so called Varthamanam or letter says, 'Amount of cash borrowed of you by me is Rs. 350. I shall in two week's time returning this sum of rupee three hundred and fifty with interest thereon at the rate of one rupee per cent. per month get back this letter'. It is clearly an unconditional undertaking, on the face of this document to repay borrowed money, and it is therefore a promissory note and not merely an offer to borrow or an acknowledgment of indebtedness.

2. As regards the case, in Tirupati Goundan v. Rama Beddi I.L.R. (1897) M. 49 the language of the document in question in that case Was quite different and very vague. Even so, I wish (with the greatest respect to the Judges who decided it) to be permitted to reverse my opinion if a document similarly worded happens to come before me for interpretation.

3. I therefore agree with the lower Courts, that the Varthamanam sued on is a promissory note and is inadmissible in evidence as not duly stamped.

4. As regards the contentions that, apart from the promissory note there was an independent obligation implied from the receipt of the plaintiff's money by the defendant and that that obligation could be established by proof of that fact, I think we are bound by the decisions in Pothi Beddi v. Velayuda Sivan I.L.R. (1886) M. 94 and Somasundaram v. Krishnamurthi (1906) 17 M.L.J. 126. It is contended, that Pothi Reddi v. Velayuda Sivan I.L.R. (1886) M. 94 is not good law, as the learned Judges misunderstood an observation of Garth C.J. in the case of Sheik Akbar v. Sheik Khan I.L.R. (1881) . C. 256 on which they relied in support of their position. I am not satisfied that the learned Judges did so misunderstand Sheik Akbar v. Sheik Khan I.L.R. (1881) . C. 256 Even if they misunderstood Sheik Akbar v. Sheik Khan I.L.R. (1881) . C.256 they give independent reasons as follows: 'It is a necessary condition of every written contract that the terms should be orally settled before they are reduced to writing and to hold,' when such a contract has been reduced to writing, that a plaintiff can take advantage of the absence of a stamp in the promissory note to sue at once for the return of money which he may have contracted to lend for a fixed period, would entirely defeat the provisions of Section 91 of the Evidence Act'.

5. Whatever may be the views of English Courts or even of the other High Courts See the cases collected in Baijnath v. Saligram (1912) 16 I.C. 33 I feel bound by Pothi Reddi v. Vdayuda Sivan I.L.R. (1886) M. 94 not only because it has never been dissented from, but because the reasons above given appeal to my mind (if I may say so with respect) as very cogent. The contract in the case of a loan and a simultaneous promissory note has been reduced to writing in the form of the note which contains definite terms of the contract and we cannot in my opinion, resort to inconsistent or consistent implied contracts in such cases simply because the contract as entered in the promissory note, cannot be admitted in evidence. Not only has Pothi Reddi v. Velayuda Sivan I.L.R. (1886) M. 94 not been dissented from, but it has, without disapproval, only been distinguished in Ramachendra Row v. Venkatramana Aiyar I.L.R. (1899) M. 527 and Yarlagadla Raghavayya v. Gorantla Batnayya I.L.R. (1905) M. 111 while it has been expressly followed in Chinnappa Pittai v. Muthu Baman Chettiar (1911) 9 M.L.T. 281 and Mallayya v. Ratnayya : (1911)21MLJ462 .

6. To import the doctrines laid down in English cases about vague obligations to repay arising out of equity and not out of contract, or about obligations which can be enforced if the plaintiff skilfully draws up his plaint as one on account for money had and received concealing the real contract of loan which had been reduced to the form of a document, is it seems to me, merely trying to nullify Section 91 of the Indian Evidence Act.

7. I do not intend to say that, if there is a contractual or other definite completed obligation capable of proof prior in date to the invalid promissory note, the plaintiff cannot sue on that prior independent obligation. But to treat the money paid at the very time of the execution of the promissory note inadmissible in evidence as giving rise to an independent contractual or other obligation seems to me to be inadmissible.

8. I would therefore dismiss the appeal with costs.

Spencer, J.

9. I read the plaintiff's unfiled Exhibit as containing a promise to pay. This promise, though not a promise to pay to demand or to order, is an unconditional promise. There are nothing natures of attesting witnesses so as to convert the document into a bond.

10. The mere use of the word ' Varthamanam ' instead of promissory note will not deprive the document of its character of promissory note, if its terms shew that it is such.

11. The execution of the document and the payment of the money may be treated as practically simultaneous, as the document was not made over to the plaintiff until it was ascertained that he was prepared to make the advance. It is all part of the same transaction. It is argued that the Plaintiff may have a separate cause of action to fall back on the original-liability, of the debtor and to sue the defendant for money had and received.

12. This is the view taken in Krishnaji v. Rajammed I.L.R. (1899) B. 360 and more recently in Baijnath v. Saligram (1912) 16 I.C. 33 where the matter received full discussion.

13. The trend of Madras decisions is however different. See Pothi Reddi v. Velayuda Sivar I.L.R. (1886) M. 94 the same principle having been followed in Chinnappa Pillai v. Muthu Baman Chettiar (1911) 9 M.L.T. 281 and Mallayya v. Bamayya : (1911)21MLJ462 .

14. I am not prepared to dissent from the view taken repeatedly by this High Court by various learned judges. I therefore concur in dismissing the Letters Patent Appeal with costs.


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