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Muthiah Chetti and Three ors. Vs. Suppan Servai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Limitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1915)ILR38Mad291
AppellantMuthiah Chetti and Three ors.
RespondentSuppan Servai
Cases ReferredAbdul Ali v. Mirga Khan I.L.R.
Excerpt:
limitation - registration act (xvi of 1908), section 77--thirty days after passing of decree, under--computation of, for the purpose of that section--civil procedure code (act v of 1908), order 20, rule 7. - - however that be, we are not prepared to hold that the inconvenience or difficulty arising from the necessity for the registrar to be satisfied as to the date when the judge signs the decree is greater than the anomaly that would follow, if parties were required to present the document for registration without having any means of satisfying the registrar that the decree had been passed directing its registration......is also invalid and of no effect. but the lower courts hold that in this connection the words 'passing a decree' must be taken to mean something different from pronouncing judgment. the learned district munsif refers in his judgment to the civil procedure code, order xx, rule 7, which provides that the decree shall bear the data on which the judgment is pronounced, but on a consideration of section 33 of the code together with the fact that the decree could be prepared only after the time fixed by the rules of practice for filing the memorandum of costs has expired, and with the fact that section 77 of the registration act refers to the passing of the decree and not to the date that the decree bears nor to the date when the judgment is pronounced, ha came to the conclusion that.....
Judgment:

Tyabji, J.

1. The only question that has been argued before us in this appeal is whether the registration of the document referred to in the plaint is invalid, because of its not having been duly presented for registration 'within thirty days after the passing' of such a decree as is mentioned in Section 77 of the Registration Act. If that provision means that the document must be presented within thirty days of the judgment being pronounced, then the presentation of the document is invalid and, on the authority of Raya Raghoba Kamat v. Annapurana Bai (1873) 10 B.H.C.R., 98, the alleged registration is also invalid and of no effect. But the lower courts hold that in this connection the words 'passing a decree' must be taken to mean something different from pronouncing judgment. The learned District Munsif refers in his judgment to the Civil Procedure Code, order XX, Rule 7, which provides that the decree shall bear the data on which the judgment is pronounced, but on a consideration of Section 33 of the Code together with the fact that the decree could be prepared only after the time fixed by the Rules of Practice for filing the memorandum of costs has expired, and with the fact that Section 77 of the Registration Act refers to the passing of the decree and not to the date that the decree bears nor to the date when the judgment is pronounced, ha came to the conclusion that passing the decree is something different from pronouncing judgment and something that must of necessity follow the judgment in point of time. He also referred to the Limitation Act, Article 182, under which time runs from the date of the decree, and not from the passing of the decree. He therefore held that the registration was valid, and dismissed the plaintiff's suit, which was for a declaration that the registration was invalid, for setting aside the sale-deed and for possession of the lands referred to in the plaint.

2. The learned District Judge was of the same opinion, and added as a further reason that 'until the decree has taken form so as to be capable of communication to the official of the Registration Department who is to give effect to it, time could not be held to run against the decree-holder, provided he himself has not been guilty of want of diligence.' In connection with this argument we were referred to Abdul Ali v. Mirga Khan I.L.R., (1904) Bom., 8, where it is stated that an order does not become an order unless and until steps are taken by the officer passing it to bring it to the consciousness and knowledge of the party against whom it is passed. Without implying that the ruling in that case governs the facts now before us, it may be said that in circumstances such as those with which we are dealing, in one sense the party against whom the order is passed, is the Registrar.

3. As against the train of reasoning above referred to, it was argued before us that the decree bears its date under order XX, Rule 7, and it being a matter of record, it is not permissible to the Court to disregard the terms of the decree, and to say that it was passed on some date other than that which it bears.

4. We are of opinion that there is much force in the answer to this argument that the Legislature could not be assumed to have intended that the decree should be conclusive as to the fact being different from what it actually is; for the section and the rule, to which reference has been made above, show that the decree must, as a matter of necessity, come into being at a time subsequent to the pronouncement of the judgment; and it seems difficult to assume that the intention of the Legislature is that the decree should be understood to have been drawn up at the very moment when the judgment was pronounced. The decree is made to bear the date of the judgment primarily in order to show that its effect dates back to the time when the judgment is pronounced. Hence if for any purpose, it becomes necessary to determine the date, not on which the judgment was pronounced, but on which its effect was expressed in formal terms, for that purpose, it seems to us permissible to look for its date beyond the terms of the decree: and we cannot say that the District Judge was wrong in his view that for the purposes of Section 77 of the Registration Act the period of thirty days has to he reckoned not from the time when the judgment is pronounced but from the time when the pronouncement so made is expressed in a form which can be brought to the cognizance of the Registrar; and that consequently the decree must for the purposes of Section 77 be taken to be passed at the time when it has been actually drawn up and signed by the Judge.

5. It was further argued on behalf of the appellants that, unless the decision of the Lower Courts are reversed, we should be throwing upon the Registrar the burden of deciding when a particular decree has been drawn up and signed by the Judge in order that he may be able to determine whether the document directed by such decree to be presented within thirty days, after the decree has been passed, is presented for registration within time; and that we ought not to throw any such burden on the Registrar: but that we should proceed on the basis that the Legislature must have intended that the Registrar should merely follow the date which the decree bears. We do not accede to this argument, as we do not think that there would be any difficulty in the way of the Judge putting after his signature the date when he signs the decree under order XX, Rule 7, It is desirable that in decrees of this nature he should so put the date on which his signature is made. However that be, we are not prepared to hold that the inconvenience or difficulty arising from the necessity for the Registrar to be satisfied as to the date when the Judge signs the decree is greater than the anomaly that would follow, if parties were required to present the document for registration without having any means of satisfying the Registrar that the decree had been passed directing its registration.

6. We are therefore of opinion that no grounds have been shown to us for disturbing the decisions at which both the Lower Courts arrived in their carefully considered judgments. We are not unaffected by the nature of the claim set up by the plaintiffs, by the fact that the interests of no innocent third party are involved; and by the fact that we think it is possible that in future such a practice may be observed in similar cases as to preclude the difficulty with which we are now dealing from arising. As there has been a certain amount of doubt on the question, we think that this matter might be provided for by the rules of the Court.

7. With reference to the costs, we note that the judgment ordering registration of the document was pronounced on the 3rd of February 1910. No copy was applied for till the 8th. The decree was prepared and signed on the 17th of March 1910 (for some reason the respondent does not seem to have obtained a copy of it till the 23rd March), and yet he did not present it for registration till the 15th of April, i.e., not until after the lapse of 29 days after a copy of the decree had been prepared for him. We think that this is a circumstance which we should bear in mind in making our order as to costs, and though we do not disturb the orders as to costs made by the Lower Courts, we think that the present appeal should be dismissed without costs,

Sankaran Nair, J.

8. I agree


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