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Subbaroya Reddiar Vs. Rajagopala Reddiar and Two ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1915)ILR38Mad887
AppellantSubbaroya Reddiar
RespondentRajagopala Reddiar and Two ors.
Cases Referred and Venhatanarasimhulu v. Peramma I.L.
Excerpt:
.....the cause of action can arise only when it is found that there is no good title. no question of concurrence of third parties either to avoid or perfect the title arises in this case. 187 all relate to cases where no possession passed to the vendee and consequently the consideration failed at the date of the sale......the conveyance was prima facie unimpeachable, and i do not think the construction to which the release of gnanammal lent itself in the eye of law, can be said to amount to a knowledge of the defect of title. on the second question as to when the cause of action for damages arose, a very large number of cases were quoted before me. these cases can roughly speaking be classified under three heads: (a) where from the inception the vendor had no title to convey and the vendee has not been put in possession of the property; (b) where the sale is only voidable on the objection of third parties and possession is taken under the voidable sale; and (c) where though the title is known to be imperfect, the contract is in part carried out by giving possession of the properties. in the first.....
Judgment:

Seshagiri Ayyar, J.

1. The facts of this case are not in dispute. One Subbaroya Reddiar was the original owner of the properties conveyed to the plaintiff. At Subbaroya's death, his widow Kanthammal took possession of the properties of her husband; Gnanammal, the mother of Subbaroya Reddiar, executed in 1892 a deed of release of her claims in favour of Kanthammal. On the 23rd August 1900 Kanthammal executed a release of her rights in favour of the father of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and the third defendant: they are said to be the reversioners to the estate of Subbaroya Reddiar. In this release deed executed by Kanthammal reference is made to the release obtained by her from her mother-in-law. The father of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and the third defendant by his guardian executed on the same day a sale deed to the plaintiff. Plaintiff was put in possession. Kanthammal died in 1904. In 1910 Gnanammal brought a suit to recover possession of the properties from the plaintiff on the ground that her release of 1892 only related to her right to maintenance and that her right to succeed to her son's estate which accrued to her after the death of Kanthammal was not affected by the release. To that suit the plaintiff and defendants were all parties. Gnanammal succeeded in her suit and she obtained possession of the property from the plaintiff in 1911. The said suit was brought within a year of the dispossession. The plaintiff's present suit is to recover the amount paid by him to the father of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and the mother of the third defendant on the ground that the consideration for the sale failed when Gnanammal deprived the plaintiff of possession of the properties. If Article 62 or 97 of the Limitation Act applied, the suit would be in time. Mr. Srinivasagopalachariyar contended that no such suit would he and if the suit were entertainable, the cause of action having arisen on the date of the sale, viz., the 23rd August 1900, the suit was barred by limitation. Upon the first question as to whether a suit lies I have come to the conclusion that it does. The contention for the counter-petitioner is that as there is no express covenant for title and as the plaintiff took with full knowledge of the infirmities of title, the principle of caveat emptor applies and there is no cause of action. In India, there is a statutory guarantee for good title unless the same is excluded by the contract of parties [vide Section 55, Clause (2) of the Transfer of Property Act, The question of the knowledge of the purchaser does not affect the right to be indemnified under the Indian Statute Law. Even in England, if on the face of the conveyance a prima facie title is secured, knowledge of facts which may lead to the discovery of flaws will not affect the claim to compensation. See Page v. Midland Railway Company (1894) 1 Ch. 11. In the present case, the conveyance was prima facie unimpeachable, and I do not think the construction to which the release of Gnanammal lent itself in the eye of law, can be said to amount to a knowledge of the defect of title. On the second question as to when the cause of action for damages arose, a very large number of cases were quoted before me. These cases can roughly speaking be classified under three heads: (a) where from the inception the vendor had no title to convey and the vendee has not been put in possession of the property; (b) where the sale is only voidable on the objection of third parties and possession is taken under the voidable sale; and (c) where though the title is known to be imperfect, the contract is in part carried out by giving possession of the properties. In the first class of cases, the starting point of limitation will be the date of the sale. That is Mr. Justice Bakewell's view in Ramanatha Iyer v. Ozhapoor Pathiriseri Raman Nambudripad (l913) 14 M.L.T. 524; and I do not think Mr. Justice Miller Dissents from it. However, the present case is quite different. In the second class of cases the cause of action can arise only when it is found that there is no good title. The party is in possession and that is what at the outset under a contract of sale a purchaser is entitled to, and so long as his possession is not disturbed, he is not damnified. The cause of action will therefore arise when his right to continue in possession is disturbed. The decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Hanuman Kamat v. Hanuman Mandur (1892) I.L.R. 19 Cal. 123 (P.C.) and in Bassu Kuar v. Dhum Singh (1889) I.L.R. 11 All. 47 (P.C.) are authorities for this position. In the third class of cases also it is said that the cause of action will arise only on the disturbance of possession. No question of concurrence of third parties either to avoid or perfect the title arises in this case. The most recent authority for this proposition is Narsing Shivbakas V. Pachu Rambakas I.L.R (1913) Bom. 538. Mr. Justice Miller in Ramanatha Iyer v. Ozhapoor Pathiriseri Raman Nambudripad (1913) 14 M.L.T. 524 gives a qualified assent to the proposition laid down in that case, I do not find Mr. Justice Bakewell expressing his dissent from the view taken in it. I agree with the view taken by Mr. Justice Miller that it is impossible to see 'how the sale can be said to have been without consideration and consequently void ab initio where possession has been given under the contract of sale.' The case before me, properly speaking, comes under the second class. If the widow Guanammal did not recover possession, the plaintiff would never have been disturbed. The sale was not void ab initio. It was only voidable if Gnanammal chose to avoid it. Even if this view is not correct, I am prepared to hold that this case comes under the third class of cases where under an invalid contract possession had been given; until that possession is interfered with, the purchaser is not bound to ask for the return of his purchase money on the possible ground that at some future time his sale may be impeached. I therefore hold that the cause of action for this suit arose when under the decree obtained by Gnanammal, the possession of the plaintiff was disturbed. The decisions in Ardesir v. Vajesing I.L.R (1901) Bom. 593, in Shiwam v. Bal I.L.R (1902) Bom. 519 and Amrita Lal Bagchi v. Jogendra Lal Chowdhury I.L.R (1913) Cal.187 all relate to cases where no possession passed to the vendee and consequently the consideration failed at the date of the sale. They have no bearing on the present ease. On the other hand the judgments in Rajagopalan v. Tirupananthal Thambiran (1907) 17 M.L.J.149, Sriramulu v. Chinna Venkatasami I.L.R (1902) Mad. 396 and Venhatanarasimhulu v. Peramma I.L.R (1896) Mad. 173 are cases where possession passed to the vendee and there was subsequent deprivation of possession. The Subordinate Judge is therefore wrong in holding that the plaintiff was not entitled to bring the suit to recover the purchase money, that the cause of action arose on the data of the sale and that the suit was barred by limitation. 1 reverse the decree of the Subordinate Judge and direct him to restore the case to his tile and dispose of it according to law. Coats to abide the result.

2. The above judgment was confirmed on appeal in Letters Patent Appeal No. 226 of 1914 on 12th July 1915 by Oldfield and Sadasiva Ayyar, JJ., who delivered the following


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