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Ponnuswami Chettiar Vs. P. Vellaimuthu Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 858 of 1955
Judge
Reported inAIR1957Mad355
ActsNegotiable Instruments Act, 1881 - Sections 4
AppellantPonnuswami Chettiar
RespondentP. Vellaimuthu Chettiar
Appellant AdvocateB.V. Viswanatha Iyer and ;T. Thiruvenkatachariar, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateP. Muthukumaraswami Mudaliar and ;P. Venkatachalapathi, Advs.
Disposition Petition dismissed
Cases ReferredAbdul HakimEar Mahomed v. Ebrahim Solaiman Salehjee
Excerpt:
- - 1. this petition raises an interesting question of law not exactly covered by any ruling. 1000, and so the promissory note would fail as the payee was not certain. to say that the name must always be mentioned to make a promissory note valid is, in my opinion, not sustainable in any modern court of justice, equity and good conscience, though such a plea might have been allowed in a court, like the old anglo-saxon courts, deciding on outworn formulae without reference to living facts. many a man is known by his caste or village or official name, or surname, like mudaliar. the description in the promissory note is, no doubt, a little defective because of the failure to mention the rank of the plaintiff among palaniandi's sons like 'first son of palaniandi' etc......note was 'son of palaniandi chettiar' he was certainly that. but there are also three other sons of palaniandi chettiar, according to the plaintiff, though they never lent a pie to the petitioner and had not come into the picture at all. i think the law is not so wooden as to allow this kind of quibbling by a debtor in a desperate attempt somehow to escape his just liability. if really the lender was not known, and if rs. 1000 had been brought by a maid-servant or other servant from the house of palaniandi chettiar and handed over to the petitioner with the statement that a son of palaniandi chettiar had lent him this rs. 1000, and the petitioner had honestly been ignorant as to who the lender was and had executed a promissory note in favour of son of palaniandi, then the case.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This petition raises an interesting question of law not exactly covered by any ruling. It is a petition by one Ponnuswami Chettiar, the defendant in S. C. S. No. 8588 of 1953, on the file of the Court of Small Causes, Madras, for revising and setting aside the judgment and decree in N. T. A. No. 220 of 1954, which was filed against the decree and judgment of the learned Chief Justice in that suit.

The main point of law is whether the absence of the name of the payee in a promissory note will make the note invalid, though the payee was known with certainty even at execution. The facts are briefly these: It was a suit brought against the petitioner by one Vallaimuthu Chettiar for the recovery of Rs. 1177-8-0, the principal and interest due on a promissory note, Ex. P. 1 dated 16-11-1950, for Rs. 1000.

Two defences were raised by the petitioner 1 the lower, courts. One was that the promissory note was not supported by consideration. The lower courts found that the promissory note we fully supported by consideration, and Mr. B. V. Viswanatha Aiyar, learned counsel for the petitioner, was not able to shake that finding which is in my opinion quite correct.

2. The next plea was that the promissor note was not executed in favour of a- known and certain person and, so, would be invalid. Mr. B. V. Viswanatha Aiyar urged vehemently before me that a promissory note in favour of a person without his name being mentioned in it should be held to be totally invalid and inoperative even though full consideration might have pass ed, and the person lending was known with precision even at the time of execution by the per son borrowing, and though the description in the context, could refer only to him.

The description of the payee in the suit promissory note was 'son of Palaniandi Chettiar' He was certainly that. But there are also three other sons of Palaniandi Chettiar, according to the plaintiff, though they never lent a pie to the petitioner and had not come into the picture at all. I think the law is not so wooden as to allow this kind of quibbling by a debtor in a desperate attempt somehow to escape his just liability.

If really the lender was not known, and if Rs. 1000 had been brought by a maid-servant or other servant from the house of Palaniandi Chettiar and handed over to the petitioner with the statement that a son of Palaniandi Chettiar had lent him this Rs. 1000, and the petitioner had honestly been ignorant as to who the lender was and had executed a promissory note in favour of son of Palaniandi, then the case might be at least arguable that Palaniandi had four sons and that the petitioner had executed the suit note without knowing or seeing the particular son who lent him the Rs. 1000, and so the promissory note would fail as the payee was not certain.

But here 'the son of Palaniandi' who lent the money was the plaintiff Vallaimuthu Chettiar, who swore to it, and it was not alleged by the borrower, the defendant, that any of the other three sons of Palaniandi had lent him a pie out of the amount in that promote. The other three sons were far away, and had nothing to do with the petitioner or this promissory note.

Though the name of the plaintiff was not mentioned (perhaps by sheer slip or accident), the lender and borrower knew it, and there was the description. To say that the name must always be mentioned to make a promissory note valid is, in my opinion, not sustainable in any modern court of justice, equity and good conscience, though such a plea might have been allowed in a court, like the old Anglo-saxon Courts, deciding on outworn formulae without reference to living facts.

Many a Hindu woman will not name her husband, but to say from that that she has no. husband will be absurd. Many a man is known by his caste or village or official name, or surname, like Mudaliar. Ayyar or Rao, Ambedkar, Gandhi, Nehru, Kirloskar, Prime Minister, Rajah of Sandur, etc., and not by his personal name.

To say that hundreds of Raos, Mudaliars Ayyars, Gandhis, Nehrus etc., might have been the persons who lent the money, when the particular man who has lent the money is known, even at that time Beyond all doubt, to the lender and the borrower is, in my opinion, disingenuous and meaningless, The Hindu law givers and Mimamsakas have said, 2000 years ago, that 'I' cannotbe made into 'O' or 'O' into 'I', by anyamount of quibbling, and that arguments will notavail to show that there is no gooseberry on thepalm when it is there. . . .,

So too, no amount of quibbling can change the fact that this particular promissory note was executed by the petitioner in favour of the plaintiff, that particular son of Palaniandi. This defence had been raised only because the defence of 'no consideration' collapsed. The plaintiff swore that he was the man who lent, and the defendant would not swear that the plaintiff was not the man who was mentioned in the promissory note as the lender.

The description in the promissory note is, no doubt, a little defective because of the failure to mention the rank of the plaintiff among palaniandi's sons like 'first son of Palaniandi' etc. But the evidence (which can be let in in such cases to clear the prefended, but not real, ambiguity) shows that the parties knew even then with certainty that the lender was the plaintiff, and no other son of Palaniandi.

3. Section 96 of the Indian Evidence Act willapply, as held by the learned Judges at the newtrial and evidence regarding the name could belet in in such cases. The ruling in Abdul HakimEar Mahomed v. Ebrahim Solaiman Salehjee andCo., 33 CLJ 132: AIR 1921 Cal 480 (A), showsthis. In this view, the civil revision petition has nomerits, and is dismissed, but in the circumstances,without costs.


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