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Prasada Rao (Deceased) and anr. Vs. Kadiyala Venkataratnam (Deceased) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1938)1MLJ526
AppellantPrasada Rao (Deceased) and anr.
RespondentKadiyala Venkataratnam (Deceased) and ors.
Cases ReferredKishan Prasad v. Har Narain Singh
Excerpt:
- - is there any principle of law, or any custom applicable to a case like this, according to which the managing members of a hindu joint family entrusted with the management of a business must be held incompetent to enforce at law the ordinary business contracts they are entitled to make or discharge in their own names? ). in the present case the evidence shows that the transaction was entered into by the plaintiff and it also discloses that he was the manager of the family money-lending business as well as the manager of the family. he got his money, however, and the fact that he had been paid by the plaintiff was endorsed on the promissory note......taken after the examination of the plaintiff, which disclosed that the money advanced was joint family money. the question was dealt with by the learned trial judge and decided against the appellant.2. the question of the right of a manager of a joint hindu family to sue in his own name in respect of a contract entered into by him in his own name was considered by the judicial committee in kishan prasad v. har narain singh (1910) 21 m.l.j. 378 : l.r. 38 indap 45 : 1910 33 all. 272 (p.c.). in that case, the plaintiffs had sued as the managers of a business, belonging to their joint family. the allahabad high court held that the suit as framed did not lie. shamrathi singh v. kishan prasad i.l.r.(1907) 29 all. 311. the court considered that the plaintiffs ought to have added as parties.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. The plaintiff in the suit out of which this appeal arises was one Kadiala Venkataratnam, who is now dead and is represented by his widow, the second respondent, and his younger brother, the third respondent. The suit was instituted in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Bezwada to recover from the appellant and his father a sum of Rs. 7,529-9-0 representing moneys which the plaintiff said he had paid to the creditors of the appellant's father. The suit was decreed. The plaintiff's case was that the appellant's father was indebted to two Marwaris, one of the name of Chunnilal Venichand to whom he owed Rs. 2,500 and the other of the name of Sankarlal Rupchand to whom he owed Rs. 2,000. These loans had been advanced on promissory notes, Exs. A and C. The interest due brought the total figure to Rs. 7,529-9-0. It was at the request of the appellant's father that he paid off the Marwaris, and having discharged the debts payment was acknowledged by endorsements on the instruments. The money which the plaintiff had advanced was money belonging to the joint family composed of himself and the third respondent. The plaintiff did not sue as the manager of the family but brought the suit in his own name. The first point which has been taken in appeal is that inasmuch as he did not sue as the manager of the family the action cannot be maintained. This objection was not taken in the written statement, but was taken after the examination of the plaintiff, which disclosed that the money advanced was joint family money. The question was dealt with by the learned trial judge and decided against the appellant.

2. The question of the right of a manager of a joint Hindu family to sue in his own name in respect of a contract entered into by him in his own name was considered by the Judicial Committee in Kishan Prasad v. Har Narain Singh (1910) 21 M.L.J. 378 : L.R. 38 IndAp 45 : 1910 33 All. 272 (P.C.). In that case, the plaintiffs had sued as the managers of a business, belonging to their joint family. The Allahabad High Court held that the suit as framed did not lie. Shamrathi Singh v. Kishan Prasad I.L.R.(1907) 29 All. 311. The Court considered that the plaintiffs ought to have added as parties all the other members of the joint family. This decision was reversed by the Privy Council. In the judgment which was delivered by Lord Robson appears this passage:

Is there any principle of law, or any custom applicable to a case like this, according to which the managing members of a Hindu joint family entrusted with the management of a business must be held incompetent to enforce at law the ordinary business contracts they are entitled to make or discharge in their own names? The defendant is, of course, entitled to insist on all the persons with whom he expressly contracted being made parties to the suit, and that was done in the action as originally framed in this case.

3. In Alagappa Chetti v. Vellian Chetti : (1894)4MLJ283 , this Court had expressed the view that a manager could not sue without joining all those interested with him, and the Judicial Committee referred to this decision in the course of their judgment in Kishan Prasad v. Har Narain Singh (1910) 21 M.L.J. 378 : L.R. 38 IndAp 45 : I.L.R. 1910 33 All. 272 (P.C.). While pointing out that the case of Alagappa Chetti v. Vellian Chetti (1881) I.L.R. 7 Cal. 739, might be supported on the ground that the single plaintiff in that case was not shown to be the managing member of the family or to be the only partner of the business with which the litigation was concerned, their Lordships observed that the proposition that the manager could not sue without joining all those interested with him was going too far. Their Lordships then went on to hold that the original plaintiffs in the case before them were entitled, as the sole managers of the family business, to make in their own names, the contracts which gave rise to the claim, and that they properly sued on such contracts without joining the other members of the family.

4. Section 230 of the Indian Contract Act allows an agent who does not disclose the name of his principal to maintain a suit on a contract entered into by him on behalf of the principal, and that managers of Hindu families come within this section was expressly recognised in Bungsee Singh v. Soodist Lall I.L.R.(1881) 7 Cal. 739 and Gopal Das v. Badri Nath I.L.R. 27 All. 361.

5. The learned advocate for the appellant has relied on two decisions of this Court. The first is the case of Arunachala Pillai v. Vythialinga Mudaliar I.L.R.(1882) 6 Mad. 27 but it is clear that this decision has no application here. It was a suit by a junior member of a joint family to establish water-rights claimed on behalf of the family and he neglected to make the other members of the family parties. It was held that the suit as framed would not lie, and obviously it would not. The second case to which the learned advocate for the appellant has drawn our attention is that of Seshan Pattar v. Veera Raghava Pattar (1909) 19 M.L.J. 372 : I.L.R. 32 Mad. 284 and this decision does lend support for the argument advanced by him. But there no attention was paid to the provisions of Section 230 of the Indian Contract Act, and must be deemed to be overruled by the decision of the Judicial Committee in Kishan Prasad v. Har Narain Singh (1910) 21 M.L.J. 378 : L.R. 38 IndAp 45 : I.L.R. 33 All. 272 (P.C.). Moreover this decision was founded on the decision in Shamrathi Singh v. Kishan Prasad I.L.R.(1907) 29 All. 311 which was overruled by the Privy Council in Kishan Prasad v. Har Narain Singh (1910) 21 M.L.J. 378 : L.R. 38 IndAp 45 : I.L.R. 33 All. 272 (P.C.). In the present case the evidence shows that the transaction was entered into by the plaintiff and it also discloses that he was the manager of the family money-lending business as well as the manager of the family. Therefore, he was entitled to sue in his own name without stating in his plaint that he was suing to recover on behalf of the family.

6. The only other point taken by the learned advocate for the appellant is that the trial Court was wrong in holding that the money had been advanced by the plaintiff. The appellant's case is that the Marwaris had been paid off by his father through one Sarma who has not been called as a witness. It is common ground that on the 3rd March, 1929, Chunnilal Venichand was paid Rs. 2,500 due to him and that Sankarlal Rupchand was paid the Rs. 2,000 which was due to him. It has been proved that the plaintiff raised on that date from Sankarlal Rupchand Rs. 3,000 under Ex. D, and a sum of Rs. 2,000 from another Marwari named Heerachand. It was with these loans that he paid off the debts due to Chunnilal Venichand and Sankarlal Rupchand by the appellant's father. The trial Court also accepted the evidence of the plaintiff that the money for the discharge of the debts to the two Marwaris was provided in this way and rejected the defence evidence that the appellant's father raised the money and handed it over to Sarma to pay. The learned advocate for the appellant has been unable to suggest any reason why the plaintiff should bring a false suit and has been driven to the suggestion that the plaintiff and the Marwaris entered into a conspiracy to defeat the appellant's father. Why the Marwaris should conspire with the plaintiff is not disclosed. While it is true that Sankarlal Rupchand did get a promissory note from the plaintiff, Chunnilal Venichand did not. He got his money, however, and the fact that he had been paid by the plaintiff was endorsed on the promissory note. This was also done on the promissory note in favour of Sankarlal Rupchand. No reason has been advanced why we should refuse to concur in the findings of the learned trial Judge which is based on the positive evidence of the Marwaris and other witnesses who were present at the time. The learned trial Judge has carefully considered the evidence, and we think that he was fully justified in coming to the conclusion which he did. In fact we regard the defence story as being a fantastic one.

7. The appeal, therefore, fails and must be dismissed with costs.


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