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Al. Ar. Alagappa Chettiar Vs. Pl. Ct. Palaniappa Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Property
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberAppln. Nos. 179 and 556 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1970Mad269
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 33, Rule 1
AppellantAl. Ar. Alagappa Chettiar
RespondentPl. Ct. Palaniappa Chettiar
Appellant AdvocateN.C. Raghavachari and ;N.S. Varadachalam, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateC.R. Ganesan, Adv.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Cheltammal v. Muthulakshmi
Excerpt:
- - muthulakshmi air1945mad296 it is laid down that it is the bounden duty of the petitioner to file an accurate verified statement of his or her properties and that failure to do so would disentitle the party from suing as pauper. varadappa naidu air1943mad11 where the learned judge has pointed out that, any intentional departure from good faith whatever may be the motive for the suppression must result in the dismissal of the petition......of the defendant that the plaintiff deliberately and fraudulently suppressed his interest in the house property at madurai.2. after the defendant filed his counter statement pointing out that the plaintiff had a share in a house property at madurai, the plaintiff did not seek the leave of the court to file a reply statement controverting that allegation. thesupplemental counter statement was filed on 22-9-1967. the plaintiff sold away his share in the madurai house property on 23-11-1967 in favour of one ramanathan chettiar and others for rs. 9,500. several prevaricating statements were made by the plaintiff in evidence., when his attention was drawn to that sale. at first he denied that he sold any property after the filing of the counter statement. he subsequently said that the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Palaniswamy, J.

1. The point for consideration In this application taken out by the plaintiff under Order 14, Rule 12 of the Original Side Rules is whether he is a pauper within the meaning of Order 33, Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code. The Master, against whose order this application has been filed, held against the plaintiff holding that he had intentionally and fraudulently suppressed his interest in a house property at Madurai and that on account of such suppression the plaintiff is not entitled to sue in forma pauperis though he is not possessed of sufficient means to pay the court-fee. The suit is for declaration of the plaintiff's title to the suit property, The court-fee payable comes to about Es. 40,000 (to be accurate Rs. 39,451-50 P.), The case of the plaintiff is that apart from his interest of 1/8th share in some lands, which share, according to him, is worth only about Rs, 2,000. he has no other property. The defendant alleged In his counter statement that the plaintiff had several properties. He also filed a supplemental counter affidavit stating that the plaintiff had certain shares in a building in Madurai and had deliberately and fraudulently suppressed it in his petition and affidavit. The Master held that the value of the plaintiff's share in the immoveable properties admittedly belonging to the plaintiff was about Rs. 13,000. He did not accept the defendant's contention that the plaintiff had any cash or interest in any compensation amount. But he, however, accepted the case of the defendant that the plaintiff deliberately and fraudulently suppressed his interest in the house property at Madurai.

2. After the defendant filed his counter statement pointing out that the plaintiff had a share in a house property at Madurai, the plaintiff did not seek the leave of the Court to file a reply statement controverting that allegation. Thesupplemental counter statement was filed on 22-9-1967. The plaintiff sold away his share in the Madurai house property on 23-11-1967 in favour of one Ramanathan Chettiar and others for Rs. 9,500. Several prevaricating statements were made by the plaintiff in evidence., when his attention was drawn to that sale. At first he denied that he sold any property after the filing of the counter statement. He subsequently said that the Madurai house property belonged to Ms joint family and his entire share had been attached by some creditors. He further said that about 7 or 8 days before he gave evidence, some of the creditors attached his share in the house property. When he was questioned specifically he had to admit that he sold his share, but he qualified it by saying that he had to sell it at the instance of some creditors. He also said that he did not realise any amount out of the sale and that the creditors had taken away the amount. When his attention was drawn to the recital in the sale deed that he had received the entire consideration of Rupees 9,500 in cash in the presence of the Sub-Registrar, he admitted the receipt of the amount but said that he did not realise a single paisa and stated that the creditors took away the money from him When he was asked why he had not disclosed this either in the petition or in his reply statement and why he did not file a supplemental reply he said that since the property had been attached by the creditors and taken away by them he had not stated that in the petition.

3. To show that the entire consideration of Rs. 9,500 realised by him had been taken by his creditors, the plaintiff examined P. W. 2 a close relation to show that he paid Rs. 5,000 to P. W. 2. That payment is said to have been made in discharge of a promissory note Exhibit B-l which is of the year of 1947 and which is said to have been kept alive by periodical payments. The Master rightly disbelieved this story of payment by the plaintiff to P. W. 2. It is thus clear that the plaintiff deliberately and fraudulently suppressed his interest in the house property not only in the petition but also In his affidavit and also in his reply affidavit The question in these circumstances Is whether this omission disentitles him from suing as a pauper. Mr. Raghavachari, appearing for the plaintiff relied upon the decision in Murugan v. Sivaraman, (1955) 2 M LJ 638. in support of his contention that every suppression of asset cannot be taken to mean that it was deliberate for the purpose of avoiding payment of court-fee and that what the plaintiff realised was only Rs. 9,500 whereas the court-fee payable by him is about Rs. 40.000 and that the amount so realised should therefore, be held to be insignificant. In the case citedabove, the plaintiff was found to have not disclosed the existence of a pair of bulls worth Rs. 120, whereas the court-fee payable by him was Rs. 329-15-0. In that case, it is observed that one test to find out whether the omission is mala fide and deliberate is whether the intention was to conceal the omitted items, because if that were included, the Court would find that the petitioner has means to pay the court-fee, and if the omitted item is insignificant compared with the quantum of court-fee payable, it cannot be said that the omission was deliberate and mala fide. Rajamannar, C.J., who delivered the judgment was not prepared to believe the uncorroborated and doubtful testimony of P. W. 1 as regards the alleged suppression of the existence of a pair of bulls. It is not the principle laid down there that the only test is to find out the value of the omitted item vis-a-vis the court-fee Payable irrespective of all other considerations. In a recent decision of a Bench in O. S. A. No. 26 of 1966 (Mad) following the above Bench decision it was held that the non-disclosure of the possession of some jewels was not mala fide, that the value of the jewels was not substantial and that the suppression was not with a view to escape payment of court-fee. In Ramakrishna Chetti v. Govindammal : AIR1954Mad537 the omission was to disclose the provident fund amount under the bona fide impression that the fund did not belong to the plaintiff. It was held that the non-disclosure did not disentitle him from suing as pauper.

4, In Chellammal v. Muthulakshmi : AIR1945Mad296 it is laid down that it is the bounden duty of the petitioner to file an accurate verified statement of his or her properties and that failure to do so would disentitle the party from suing as pauper. This decision approved the dictum of Chandrasekhara Ayyar, J. in Kuppuswami Naidu v. Varadappa Naidu : AIR1943Mad11 where the learned judge has pointed out that, any intentional departure from good faith whatever may be the motive for the suppression must result in the dismissal of the petition. In the instant case it Is clear beyond doubt that the plaintiff attempted to play fraud on the Court by suppressing his interest in the house property in Madurai and trying to show that he did not realise anything by sale of that property subsequent to the date of the presentation of the petition the plaintiff cannot succeed. It has been pointed out In Cheltammal v. Muthulakshmi : AIR1945Mad296 that if there had been fraud on the Court the question whether the omitted item of property is substantial or is of little value is beside the point Therefore, there is nosubstance in the repeated submission of Mr. Raghavachariar that the amount realised by the plaintiff was only Rs. 9,500 as against the coure-fee of Rs. 39,251-50 payable on the plaint The Master was right in holding that the omission was deliberate and mala fide. The application fails and is dismissed with costs. A month's time given for paying the court-fee.


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