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Velappan Pillai Vs. Parappan Panickar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1739 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1969Mad309
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 22, Rule 4, 4(3) and 4(4)
AppellantVelappan Pillai
RespondentParappan Panickar and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP. Ananthakrishna Nair, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Padmanabhan, Adv.
Cases ReferredIn Jag Mohan v. Ramiali
Excerpt:
civil - redemption - order 22 rules 4, 4 (3) and 4 (4) of code of civil procedure, 1908 - second appeal against order dismissing suit for redemption - order 22 rule 4 (4) applicable - respondent have suffered no prejudice by their not being brought on record - no question of abatement - order passed by court below liable to be set aside - appeal allowed. - - the court, whenever it seems fit, may exempt the plaintiff from the necessity to substitute the legal representative of any such defendant who has been declared ex parte or who has failed to file his written statement or who having filed it, has failed to appear and contest at the hearing; but clearly there is a note by this court of the death and that on the memo no legal representative of the second defendant is added. .but.....natesan, j.1. this second appeal by the plaintiff arises out of proceedings for final decree in a suit for redemption. to appreciate the problems raised in the case, it is necessary to set out briefly the history of the proceedings leading to the preliminary decree in the suit.2. the suit property belonged to one vyakulam, the widow of one innasi. shesettled it on the husband of her daughter chandanom, and after legal proceedings against strangers in possession of the property commenced by her husband and continued by her after his death, chandanom acquired title to the property. chandanom had a sister anthonial and two brothers, chinnian and innasi soosah. anthonial was the younger sister. chandanom had no issue. she entered into an agreement with her brothers for them to inherit the.....
Judgment:

Natesan, J.

1. This second appeal by the plaintiff arises out of proceedings for final decree in a suit for redemption. To appreciate the problems raised in the case, it is necessary to set out briefly the history of the proceedings leading to the preliminary decree in the suit.

2. The suit property belonged to one Vyakulam, the widow of one Innasi. Shesettled it on the husband of her daughter Chandanom, and after legal proceedings against strangers in possession of the property commenced by her husband and continued by her after his death, Chandanom acquired title to the property. Chandanom had a sister Anthonial and two brothers, Chinnian and Innasi Soosah. Anthonial was the younger sister. Chandanom had no issue. She entered into an agreement with her brothers for them to inherit the property after her death, providing for her enjoyment of the property during her lifetime. She settled a portion of the property on her sister, Anthonial for her marriage as stridhana and also incurred expenses for the marriage. She had borrowed moneys for the litigation to recover possession of the property, and after the death of her brother Chinnian, leaving his widow and children Chandanom along with her surviving brother, Innasi Soosah, the widow and children of Chinnian and her sister Anthonial, and her husband she executed a usufructuary mortgage in favour of the first defendant in the redemption suit out of which this second appeal arises. That was on 9-4-1944 securing 8405 fanams.

Subsequent to this usufructuary mortgage, Chandanom and two of the sons of Chinnian, along with Anthonial's husband, Anthonial being dead meanwhile, executed a subsequent usufructuary mortgage of the property in favour of the present plaintiff, the consideration being the discharge of the usufructuary mortgage in favour of the first defendant, and a further amount of 2625 fanams. The consideration for discharge of the earlier usufructuary mortgage was reserved with the present plaintiff. In between the dates of the two mortgages a fourth share in the property had been sold in execution of a decree obtained against Innasi Soosah. This suit for redemption has been filed by the subsequent mortgagee seeking to redeem the earlier usufructuary mortgage in favour of the first defendant in the suit. The first mortgage has been exhibited as Ex. B, and the second mortgage (othi and kuzhikanom), under the title acquired by which (sic) to the equity of redemption, the' suit for redemption is instituted, is exhibited as Ex. VIII. Claiming title and interest in the properties under the agreement between Chandanom and her brothers, above referred to, disputes were raised by two of her nephews as to the validity of this second mortgage, Ex. VIII, and also of the court sale above referred to on the decree obtained against Innasi Soosah.

The fourth and the fourteenth defendants in the redemption suit, one of the sons of Chinnian and one of the sons of Anthonial, the son of Chinnian not being party to Ex. VIII and the other being a minor at the lime of the execution of Ex. VIII questioned the court sale above referred to and the validity of the usufructuary mortgage, Ex. VIII by the suit O.S. No. 459 of 1122 M. E. to this suit the plaintiff in the redemption suit was made the first defendant. The first mortgagee was made a party to that suit as the 11th defendant. Innasi Soosah and others of the family were also parties; as also Chandanom. In the suit for redemption the plaintiff the present appellant impleaded as parties, the original mortgagee, the person in possession of the plaint schedule property under the mortgage, Ex. B for 8405 fanams as the first defendant, and Defendants 8 to 13 as persons alleged to be in possession under the first defendant. Defendants 6 and 7 were added as persons whose marriage expenses also had necessitated the borrowing under Ex. VIII.

As stated already the fourth and the fourteenth defendants are the persons who questioned the validity of the second mortgage in O.S. No. 459/1122. The other children of Chinnian and Anthonial were also made parties to the redemption suit. Only Innasi (Soosah) was not made a party. The suit for redemption of the mortgage, and the suit in which the validity of Ex. VIII was challenged, were both tried together and the Principal District Munsif of Kuzhithurai on 27-1-1953 decreed the suit for redemption and dismissed the suit questioning the validity of the mortgage, Ex. VIII. On appeal the suit for redemption was dismissed, as not supported by consideration, and the other suit for declaration was allowed.

3. Appeals in these cases had originally been instituted in the Travancore-Cochin High Court and were subsequently transferred to this Court on the reorganisation of States. The appeal in the suit for redemption came to be numbered as S. A. No. 1189 of 1956 and the number of the other second appeal is S. A. No. 1251 of 1956. This Court on the second appeals held that the restraint on Chandanom's powers of alienation in her agreement with her brothers was void, and that she was free acting for herself to alienate the property. It was found that neither for the purpose of having the debts incurred discharged, nor for the purpose of ensuring their succession to the property after her lifetime could she and her brothers enter into any valid agreement by which she would be prohibited for all time from alienating the property except with their consent. This Court held that on the terms of the agreement which was exhibited as Ex. A, it was not possible to hold that Innasi Soosah, in a decree again whom a portion of the property was sold, had any interest in the property which could be attached and sold in execution of a decree obtained against him. It was found that the purchaser from him in execution of the decree acquired no interest in the property in his favour under the court sale.

This Court held that the plaintiffs in the suit, O.S. No. 459 of 1122 ME wherein the validity of Ex. VIII was challenged had no interest in the property to entitle them to maintain the suit. It was said that neither Anthonial nor Chinnian, the deceased sister and brother of Chandanom, acquired any interest in the property under Ex. A. Finding consideration for the mortgage Ex. VIII, duly established, this Court on the second appeals dismissed the suit, O.S. No. 459 of 1122 ME. and granted a preliminary decree for redemption in S.A. No. 1189 of 1956. The plaintiff was granted three months time for paying the mortgage money. At the hearing, it was represented in the redemption suit that the mortgage money had been deposited in the trial court during the pendency of the suit. Thereupon this Court ordered that if that was so and the money had been withdrawn by the mortgagee or was available for being withdrawn by him, the appellant will be entitled to apply for final decree straightway. It is pursuant to this preliminary decree passed by this Court, an application was made in the trial court for the passing of a final decree. This Court's decree was passed on 17-10-1959 and I.A. No. 1186 of 1961, the application for' the passing of the final decree was filed on 28-10-1961.

4. The real contest in the final decree proceedings arises this way. Pending the second appeal, the second defendant, Chandanom, who was shown as the 5th respondent in S.A. No. 1189 of 1956 died. On her death, as pointed out by the trial court in this matter, a memo was filed in this Court on 9-7-1956 on which it was recorded by this Court on 17-7 1956 that there was none to be impleaded as the legal representative of the deceased fifth respondent, i.e., the second defendant. In the other second appeal. S.A. No. 1251 of 1956 in C.M.P. No. 11132 of .1956 on the death of Innasi Soosah, his heirs were brought on record as legal representatives by order dated 31-3-1959. The final decree application was opposed by defendants 4 and 14, that is the plaintiffs in O.S. No. 459 of 1122, on the basis that the action had abated for the reason that the legal representatives of the second defendant had not been brought on record in time. Thereupon in the final decree application, I.A. No. 1186 of 1961, the plaintiff applied by I.A. No. 1443 of 1961 to add as party-defendants in the suit, the legal representatives of Innasi Soosah who alone of the heirs of the second defendant were not already on record, This was opposed, the main contention being that Chandanom had died pending the second appeal, and neither Innasi Soosah, nor his heirs had been added as her legal representatives in the second appeal.

In the connected matter the legal representatives of Innasi Soosah had been impleaded. Now the plaintiff was seeking to get the heirs of Innasi Soosah as the legal representatives of the deceased second defendant after a number of years after there had been an abatement as against the second defendant. To maintain the application, the excuse put forward was inter alia that in the connected suit, the heirs of Innasi Soosah had been impleaded. This naturally was not accepted. The trial court observed that the plaintiff ought to have impleaded Innasi Soosah as the legal representative of the second defendant when she died and later on his death brought on record his heirs as legal representatives and no diligence had been shown in the matter. An irresponsible charge has been made that his Counsel in this Court had acted against his interest by filing a memo dated 9-7-1956. Quite properly this plea was rejected. The Court then proceeded to hold that in the circumstances there was an abatement of the second appeal, so far as the second defendant was concerned. In this view the final decree for redemption was confined to the other persons on record. The decree specifically provided that the plaintiff could take delivery of possession of the property from the defendants barring the second defendant and her legal representatives.

5. On appeal therefrom before the learned Subordinate Judge, for the plaintiff reliance was placed on Order XXII Rule 4, C.P.C. as it stands in this State, and it was contended that it was not necessary to implead the legal representatives of the deceased second defendant, who had been ex parte. Certain other contentions were also put forward; but they do not merit consideration. The learned Subordinate Judge overruled the case based on Order XXII Rule 4 (4) and took the view that there has been an abatement. He overruled the plea that there could be no abatement in the case. He held that there was no valid decree binding on the second defendant. The plaintiff had claimed mesne profits from the date of deposit. This had not been considered by the trial court and the appellate court allowed this claim of the plaintiff as against the other defendants at a specified rate. It is in these circumstances that the plaintiff has come up to this Court in Second appeal, contending that there could be no question of abatement in respect of the second defendant in the suit. A ground has also been raised that mesne profits should have been award-, ed from the date of deposit of the mortgage money. The principal grievance in the Second appeal, as I see it, is that in the final decree as now provided, it is said that the plaintiff could take delivery of possession of the property from the defendants barring the second defendant and her legal representatives.

6. Learned Counsel for the appellant contends that the record by this Court on the memo dated 17-7-1956 filed by the plaintiff noting that none need be implea-ded as the legal representatives of the second defendant must be deemed to be an order by this Court under Order XXII Rule 4 (4), which runs thus:

'The Court, whenever it seems fit, may exempt the plaintiff from the necessity to substitute the legal representative of any such defendant who has been declared ex parte or who has failed to file his written statement or who having filed it, has failed to appear and contest at the hearing; and the judgment may in such case be pronounced against the said defendant notwithstanding the death of such defendant, and shall have the same force and effect as if it has been pronounced before death took place'.

In the alternative it is submitted that there are already some legal representatives of Chandanom on the record, i.e., the heirs of Anthonial and Chinnian and there being sufficient representation of the estate, there can be no question of abatement. It is submitted that there is substantial representation of the estate of Chandanom as the plaintiff is now seeking to implead only the heirs of the deceased, Innasi Soosah and the second defendant was just a pro forma defendant. It must be said that there is substance in the contentions. The actual memo filed in this Court, on which orders were passed by this Court, is not available. But clearly there is a note by this Court of the death and that on the memo no legal representative of the second defendant is added. It is contended by the learned Counsel for the appellant that if it was a question of any abatement this Court would not have passed the decree in terms it has been made are (sic) not accorded the abatement. Notwithstanding the fact of death having been, brought to the notice of the Court, this Court had not shown that the case has abated as against the second defendant, but has accepted the position that none need be brought on record. The contention has been that she had provided for succession to her by the agreement, which had been put forward by the plaintiffs in O.S. No. 459 of 1122 ME and they were parties to the second appeal. No contention was raised by any of the respondents there on record that there was an abatement.

If Order XXII Rule 4 (4) could be applied in the circumstances it is said one can quite properly presume that the order was one passed under Order XXII Rule 4 (4). It is said that the absence of a formal petition supported by affidavit has not stood in the way of the Court passing orders. True, Courts are not debarred from passing orders in such matters without formal petitions. If Order XXII Rule 4 (4) could be applied to the case it must be taken that the estate of Chandanom is bound by the decree, as if the decree has been passed before the death of Chandanom. Once that view can be taken, when the application for final decree is made all the heirs of Chandanom could be made parties to that application. That would not be a case of bringing on record the legal representatives governed by the rules of limitation applicable to bringing on record legal representatives under Order 22 Rule 4 (1). The Article of Limitation Act applicable in such cases would be Article 181 of the Limitation Act of 1908.

7. But Mr. Padmanabhan, learned Counsel for the contesting respondents, submits that Order XXII Rule 4 (4) cannot apply to this case. It is said that an order under Order XXII Rule 4 (4) must be made before there has been an abatement by death and not after. Learned Counsel submits that under Order XXII Rule 4 (3) abatement takes place if within the time limit no application had been made under Order XXII Rule 4 (1) and after abatement there can be no quest-on of exempting the plaintiff from the necessity of substitution of the legal representatives of the deceased. For this position reliance is placed by learned Counsel on two decisions: Nani Gopal v. Panchanan (59 C.W.N. 304) and Lakshmicharan v. Satyabadi, : AIR1964Ori39 . These decisions no doubt lay the proposition as contended for the respondents. It is held that where no application has been made for substitution under Order XXII Rule 4 (11 C.P.C., and no order for exemption has been made under the provisions of Sub-rule (4) of Rule 4 of the Order the suit shall abate and the court's power to exempt under Order XXII Rule 4(4) can be exercised only before an abatement has taken place and cannot be exercised after abatement has taken place.

8. In 69 Cal W.N. 304 the lower court held that so long as a formal order of abatement had not been passed the Court may grant an exemption. This view was rejected by the High Court as if the suit has abated, the effects of abatement ensue even though the court has no: recorded a formal order that the suit has abated. Having carefully examined the reasoning in the two judgments cited, with respect, I am unable to agree with the view taken therein that the power of exemption under Order XXII rule (4) can be exercised only before the abatement has taken place and not after. In my view the decisions do not give sufficient emphasis to the words 'whenever it sees fit' in Sub-clause (4). In 59 Cal W.N. 304 the learned Judges are of the view that the words 'whenever it sees fit' cannot be interpreted to mean 'at any time before the suit has been disposed of. According to the learned Judges the sequence of events as contemplated in Order XXII Rule 4 leads to the inescapable position that where no application has been made for substitution under Sub-rule (1) and no order for exemption has been made under the provisions of Sub-rule (4) within the time limited the suit shall abate. On such abatement there is nothing before the court so far as the deceased defendant is concerned in which any order whether for exemption under Sub-rule (4) or another order can possibly be passed.

9. In : AIR1964Ori39 , referring to the words 'whenever the court sees fit' it is said that in the context it must mean that when the court sees fit within 90 days from the date of death and before abatement takes place. It is said that within the period of 90 days, two courses are open to the appellants: either to file an application for substitution or to file an application praying for invoking the court's power to exempt them from the necessity of substituting the legal representatives of the deceased. The Orissa High Court follows the judgment of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court in 59 Cal W. N. 304.

10. Now when during the pendency o a suit the defendant dies the first question that falls for consideration is whether the light to be sued against, survives or not. If it does not, there is an end of the suit. If it does, then the suit can be continued; but nothing could be done immediately until the party who could contest is brought on record. On the death of a party an action is in a state of suspense and proceedings will have to be taken under the provisions of Order XXII. Under Order XXII Rule 4 (1) the mere death of a plaintiff or defendant shall not cause the suit to abate if the right to sue survives. The further provisions provide when, notwithstanding the survival of the right to sue, there will be abatement. Order XXII rule 3 (2) provides for the abatement of the suit when no application is made to bring on record the legal representatives of a deceased plaintiff within the time limit. Coming to Order XXII Rule 4 which provides the procedure in the case of death o one of several defendants or of a sole defendant: Sub-clause (1) provides for an application to be made for causing the legal representatives of the deceased defendant to be made a party when one of two or more defendants dies and the right to sue does not survive against the surviving defendant or defendants alone, or a sole defendant or sole surviving defendant dies and the right to sue 'survives.

Sub-clause (3) then comes in and it is provided that where within the time limited by law no application is made under Sub-rule (1) the suit shall abate as against the deceased defendant except as hereinafter provided. The words 'except as hereinafter provided' came in by the Amendment which introduced sub-rule (4) already set out. At the same time Order XLI Rule 14 (1) relating to service of notice of appeal on the respondents was also amended by adding the proviso 'provided that the appellate court may dispense with service of notice on respondents against whom the suit has proceeded ex parte in the court from whose decree the appeal is preferred'. The abatement of a suit as against the deceased defendant is provided for only under Sub-clause (3) if within the time limit an application to bring on record the legal representative has not been made. But an exception is engrafted on this provision by the words 'except as hereinafter provided' and that brings in Sub-clause (4), which enables the court to exempt the plaintiff 'whenever it sees fit' from substituting the legal representatives' of a deceased defendant, who had been declared ex parte. For the respondents, relying on the decisions above cited, it is said that two exceptions are provided for by Sub-rule (3) from an abatement taking place: (i) an application to bring on record legal representatives: (ii) the exemption under Sub-rule (4). If neither of those events had taken place in time it is said that the suit automatically go; abated. In the result, it is contended that if after the expiry of the period the plaintiff wants to proceed further in the matter he must have the abatement set aside and then apply either for bringing on record the legal representatives or for dispensing with substitution.

11. In my view this is to limit the force of the expressions 'except as hereinafter provided' in Sub-rule (3) and the words 'whenever it sees fit' in Sub-rule (4). The expression 'whenever' properly means only 'yet whatever occasion'. But exactly interpreted 'when' refers to a point of time and 'where' to a place or state of things. A reference to any standard grammar of English words or English Dictionary would show, that 'Whenever' is an intensified form of 'when', ordinarily meaning 'no matter when', 'at any time when'. In Stroud's Judicial Dictionary the meaning of the word 'whenever' is brought out thus: '

'Where a clause in a lease provides for Forfeiture, 'if and whenever' rent is in arrear, that means as often as the rent shall remain in arrear, at any moment of time, and the forfeiture is not waived by a distress which does not yield sufficient to satisfy the rent due. . . .'

'But 'whenever it appears' to the county council that a house or room for dancing, music, or such like, 'is so defective in its structure' as to be in danger from fire (S. 11, Metropolic Management Act, 1878-41 and 42 Vict., c. 32) does not mean 'so often as', but means that at 'whatever time it so appears'.'

12. As said in Craies on Statute Law in approaching the question of interpreting words used in statutes it is necessary to keep in mind the presumption that words in a statute are strictly and correctly used. Unless we are compelled by the context we should take it that language used, has been used exactly. It may be said that the existence of a given set of circumstances requiring the exercise of judicial discretion is also is in time. But why limit the scope of the words? If it was not intended to permit exemption at any time, these words 'whenever it sees fit' in Sub-clause (4) could well have been omitted, the discretion being left with the court to exempt the plaintiff with the necessity of substitution according to the circumstances. The words 'may exempt' themselves import the need for exercise of judicial discretion. The amendment of Order XXII by the addition of words to Sub-rule (3) and the insertion of the new Sub-rule (4) was pursuant to the recommendation of the Civil Justices Committee. The Civil Justices Committee had recommended that after the trial had commenced it should be open to the Court to absolve the plaintiff from the necessity to substitute the representative of the defendant who did not in his lifetime file a written statement, or who having done so did not appear to contest at the hearing. It was considered as device to avoid useless substitution of representatives on the death of a party. The Committee had also suggested that on appeal it should be made possible in a proper case to obtain an order dispensing with the need to substitute the heirs of respondents who took no part at the trial, as some of the unnecessary expenses and trouble might more safely be eliminated. These are rules of procedure suggested by experience and expediency and if the interpretation contended for the respondents is accepted the object may not be achieved.

It is suggested for the respondents that if the time limit for an application to bring on record the representatives of an ex parte respondent had expired the appellant, if the circumstances warrant dispensing with service of the innumerable representatives of the deceased, must first have, the abatement of the appeal set aside under Order XXII Rule 9. But to have the abatement set aside notice will have to go to the legal representatives and it is meaningless that after notice had gone to them and they had appeared the appellant should seek exemption from substitution of the legal representatives. The provision is in respect of an ex parte defendant or respondent, who has taken no interest in the litigation and particularly when under the rules, in an appellate court notice even need not be sent to him, his death may not come to the knowledge of the appellant in time. In such cases the sub-rule will be a dead letter if the respondent's contention is accepted.

13. The question so far as our Court is concerned, in my view, must be considered settled by the decision in Lakshmanan Chettiar v. Chidambaram Chettiar, ILR 08 Mad 752 In that case the contention raised before the learned Judges was that Order XXII Rule 4 (4) had no application to appeals, and that the learned Judges who passed an order under that rule had no jurisdiction to exempt the appellant from the necessity of substitution. The validity of the order in that case arose in execution proceedings. The 9th defendant in the suit had contested the suit and the suit was dismissed with costs. There was an appeal to the High Court and in the High Court the 9th defendant was impleaded as the 8th respondent. He did not enter appearance on service of notice. He had died in June 1927 and on his death belatedly petitions were filed (i) to excuse the delay which had occurred; (ii) to set aside the abatement of the appeal and (iii) bring on record the legal representatives of the deceased. This Court dismissed the petitions observing that under Order XXII Rule 4 (4)C.P.C., no legal representatives need be impleaded. The appeal was heard in due course and the suit was decreed, directing the respondent to put the legal representatives of the plaintiff in possession. In the execution proceedings the legal representatives of the 9th defendant who were sought to be impleaded objected and raised various defence, questioning inter alia the validity of the order under Order XXII Rule 4 (4). This Court held that the learned Judges, who passed the order under Order XXII Rule 4(4) had iurisdiction to pass it, and that the appellate decree had the same force and effect as if it had been pronounced before the party in question died. The order of the lower court in that case bringing on record the legal representatives was confirmed. No doubt the contention in the present form was not raised before the court and decided. But clearly this Court upheld an order passed under Order XXII Rule 4 (4) after an abatement had taken place, and the fact of abatement had been brought to the notice of this Court specifically praying even for setting aside the abatement. The petition for setting aside the abatement was dismissed along with the petition to bring on record the legal representatives of the deceased defendant.

Eminent counsel had appeared for the parties in that case and certainly if the defence in the form now submitted before me was available that would have been presented before the Court. The question raised was one of jurisdiction and counsel contented himself with raising the plea that Order XXII Rule 4 (4) was not applicable to appeals. I have discussed the matter apart from the inference I am making by implication from this decision. In my view the provisions of Order XXII Rule 4 (4) could be availed of at any time before judgment.

14. In Jag Mohan v. Ramiali, AIR 1962 Andh 165 though it does not appear whether there was an abatement, the learned Judges observed that the rule comes into operation in cases where the plaintiff learns that death of one of the defendants took place before judgment is delivered and the Court is invited to enter judgment against that defendant also. Rule 4 must be read as a whole, having also in view Rule 4(1). Where abatement takes place under the rules the abatement may be automatic. Abatement on death is specifically provided for under rules Sand 4. Sub-rules (3) and (4) of Rule 4 must be read together. Sub-rule (3) will not operate in cases where an order under Sub-rule (4) is made. Statutorily the automatic operation of Sub-rule (3) is taken away when an exemption is granted under Sub-rule (4). This is because sub-rule (3) itself provides Sub-rule (4) as its exception and full effect has to be given to the exception.

15. It is contended by Mr. S. Padmanabhan, learned counsel for the respondents that in the Travancore Cochin Court wherein the present second appeal was originally pending there is no sub-rule corresponding to Sub-rule (4) of Order XXII Rule 4. It is submitted that abatement having automatically taken place under Order XXII Rule 4 as it stood in that state, there could be no exemption later in this Court. But these are purely procedural rules and actions in this Court are regulated according to the rides governing second appeals in this Court. It is not even a case where an order of abatement has been soecifically passed by the Travancore-Cochin Court. In fact it is not even made out before me, that as against the deceased defendant the appeal had abated even when it was pending in that Court. Whatever that may be, this Court after having been specifically appraised of the death of the second defendant proceeded to record the same and did not regard that there has been an abatement of the appeal in so far as the deceased second defendant is concerned.

16. The appellant seeks to sustain the appeal on the further ground that the second respondent was in fact a pro forma respondent, and there could be no abatement in such a case. The suit was by the puisne mortgagee to redeem the first mortgage and secure possession from the first mortgagee, the plaint proceeded on the basis that the first defendant, that is, the first mortgagee, was in possession of the property and defendants 8 to 13 were persons in possession under the first defendant. The second defendant was impleaded only as the owner of the property, who had executed the mortgages. Certain others who had contested the validity of the second mortgage on the basis of which redemption was sought were also impleaded as party-defendants. The second defendant did not dispute the right of the plaintiff to redeem the first mortgage. He was ex parte and did not even file any written statement. In the circumstances, even if he had not been made a party to the action the plaintiff could have had the relief he wanted in the suit. In the connected suit the validity of the second mortgage had been upheld and it had been held that none other than the second defendant had interest in the suit property.

While broadly stated in a suit by a puisne mortgagee against the prior mortgagee the original mortgagor could be anecessary party and will be at any ratea proper party, there may be caseswhere he may be considered to be awholly pro forma party, having nointerest in the result of the litigation. Ifa person is pro forma respondent, havingno interest in the litigation, the rule providing for abatement cannot apply. Rule 4applies to cases where one of two or morerespondents dies and the right to suedoes not survive against the survivingrespondent or respondents alone or asole respondent or sole surviving respondent dies and the right to sue survives.We do not speak of the existence of aright to sue against or the survival ofthe right when no relief is sought againsta particular respondent. Rule 9 states thaton abatement no fresh suit shall bebrought on the same cause of action.Reading Rule 4 (1) with Rule 9 it is clearthat there is no question of any abatement in the case of a purely pro formarespondent. But it is unnecessary for thepurpose of the present case to considerthis aspect of the matter.

17. Equally another ground for appeal urged does not call for any elaborate consideration. It is submitted by the appellant that there are other heirs of the second defendant already on record and that therefore there has been substantial representation. It is submitted that when already there are legal representatives of the deceased on record there can be no question of abatement. As I am satisfied that this is a case where Order XXII Rule 4 (4) applied and the order made by this Court on 17-7-1957 must be deemed to be one made having regard to that provision, it is unnecessary to examine the tenability of the other arguments submitted for the respondents. The contesting respondents, it may be pointed out, have suffered no prejudice by their not being brought on record earlier. They cannot put forward any case inconsistent with what could have been urged by the second defendant. The other heirs of the second defendant have been there already on record. The only defence that had been put forward to the action was based upon the agreement, Ex. A, and this Court has in the connected appeal negatived the interest of other persons in the mortgaged properties it follows that when this Court passed the preliminary decree it must be deemed to have pronounced the decree in the presence of the second defendant also before his death took place. The application for a final decree, in the circumstances, seeking to have the final decree passed in the presence of not only of those heirs of the second defendant already on record but also others is quite in order having been made within three years of the preliminary decree.

18. In the result the second appeal isallowed. I.A. No, 1443 of 1961 is ordered as prayed for. I. A. No. 673 of 1962(for excusing the delay) in the view Itake of the matter, is superfluous and istherefore dismissed. Consequentially thefinal decree passed by the trial court hasto be modified, deleting from Sub-clause(iii) thereunder the words 'barring thesecond defendant and his legal representatives' and omitting the words 'in allother respects' in Sub-clause (iv). Therelief in respect of mesne profits grantedby the lower appellate court shall stand.In the circumstances of the case the parties will bear their costs in the finaldecree proceedings throughout. No leave.


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