1. The defendant in the suit O.S. No. 167 of 1958, on the file of the District Munsif's Court, Cuddalore, is the appellant in this second appeal.
2. On 22-12-1955 two brothers Koothan and Palani conveyed the suit properties to the defendant for a sum of Rs. 200 and on the same day as part and parcel of the sale transaction the defendant executed a registered agreement of reconveyance in favour of one of the brothers, Palani, agreeing to reconvey the properties as and when the latter paid the sum of Rs. 200 during Chitrai Kalavathi of any year when there were no crops on the land. Palani executed a sale deed of the suit properties in favour of the plaintiff under Ex. A-3, dated 14-5-1957, and the latter tendered the sum of Rs. 200 to the defendant and asked for a reconveyance of the property but the defendant declined to do so. The plaintiff filed the suit for specific performance.
3. The defendant contended that the right of Palani to obtain the reconveyance from the defendant is purely personal to Palani and cannot be assigned to the plaintiff, and that in any event the sale deed by Palani in favour of the plaintiff was simply a sale of the property and therefore would not convey the right to obtain a reconveyance, from the defendant. The learned District Munsif accepted these contentions and dismissed the suit. But on appeal the learned District Judge held against the defendant on both the points and decreed the suit for specific performance and directed reconveyance of the property.
4. In the second appeal by the defendant, his learned counsel raised two points. The sale deed, Ex. A-3, executed by Palani in favour of the plaintiff would not give him the right to obtain reconveyance, as there is no time limit fixed under Ex. A-2, for Palani to demand a reconveyance from the defendant, and that the whole thing was left to the unilateral choice and option of Palani, that the agreement for reconveyance lacked mutually and therefore not enforceable. There is no substance in the first point. Ex. A-3 sets out the entire facts in the matter making special reference to the sale in favour of the defendant and the registered agreement for reconveyance of even late. The recitals in Ex. A-3 clearly show without any doubt whatsoever that under Ex. A-3 the light of reconveyance also was assigned by Paiani to the plamtili.
5. There is equally no substance in the second point, it is true that no time limit is fixed and it is open to Paiani or his successors in interest at his or their option to demand a reconveyance alter the Chitrai Kalavathi in any year, when there is no crop, but that does not matter. This aspect of the matter is cohered by several decisions i 01 this Court in which the view has been consistently taken that even though there is no time limit the understanding between the parties is that the reconveyance should be within, a reasonable time.
6. Reference may be made to the judgment o of this Court in Rajammal v. Gopalaswami : AIR1951Mad767 . In that case the purchaser who purchased the property agreed that in case the vendor should make a request to the vendee that the property sold should be sold back to the vendor at any time whatever, the vendee was bound, to convey the property without raising any objection. The learned judge held that there was no vagueness about the time for reconveyance and it must be held that the parties naturally must have contemplated that reconveyance should be within a reasonable time, and that this is really implied where no time is fixed under a contract. Dealing with the argument about vagueness of time the learned Judge observed as follows:
'Nor is there any vagueness about the time. The parties naturally must have contemplated that the performance should be within reasonable time and this the law implied where no time is fixed under a contract. In my judgment, the view taken by the Courts below that the parties contemplated the performance of the contract within a reasonable time from the date thereof is a conclusion which was warranted by the law.'
7. In Arjuna Mudaliar v. Lakshmiammal, AIR 1949 Mad 265, a Bench decreed specific performance of an agreement of reconveyance on the same terms as in the instant case.
8. In cases of what may be described as 'option contracts' in which one party binds himself to convey certain property for a certain price at any time at the option of. the other party, the absence of fixing any time limit becomes relevant only when the party bound to convey has committed breach and sells away the property to a third party, or is dead before the other party exercises his option. In such case the original sale constitutes a consideration for the agreement to reconvey. Because no time limit is fixed it is in the stage of a standing offer and it becomes an enforceable concluded contract the moment the option is exercised by the other side. But the option .may lapse on account of the death or by reason of the breach committed by the other side by selling the property to the third party in derogation of the agreement to reconvey. But before any such event happens if the party entitled to reconveyance exercises the option the option becomes a binding enforceable agreement to sell. Vide Chinna Munusami Naidu v. Sagalaguna Naidu, ILR 49 Mad 387 : AIR 1926 Mad 699, affirmed by the Privy Council in Sakalagupa Naidu v. Chinna Munisami Nayakar, ILR 51 Mad 533 : AIR 1928 PC 174. In this case the defendant still continues to be the owner and the right to reconvey has been claimed within quite a reasonable time. The plaintiff's suit for reconveyance has been rightly decreed.
9. The second appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. No leave.