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Perumal Goundan and ors. Vs. the Jananukoola Dana Sekhara Sankanidhi (Limited) Through A. Venkatasami Naidu, the Official Liquidator - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in58Ind.Cas.446
AppellantPerumal Goundan and ors.
RespondentThe Jananukoola Dana Sekhara Sankanidhi (Limited) Through A. Venkatasami Naidu, the Official Liquida
Cases ReferredNarayanan Chetty v. Chidambaram Chetty
Excerpt:
.....this exhibit e, it clearly means this: 'if you send me the particulars of your account, i shall have it examined and cheque sent to you for the amount due, but you must be under some great mistake in supposing that the amount due to you is anything like the sum you now..........passed in the meeting held on the 17th march 1907 and signed by the father of the appellants, the cash-keeper whose liability is questioned in this suit. it says: 'the money payable to the members of the executive committee and the amount belonging to the reserve fund are lying with the cash keeper without interest.... therefore, it was resolved that the rs. 2,500 (rupees two thousand five hundred) from the reserve fund and rs. 2,000 (rupees two thousand) from the amount belonging to the members of the executive committee shall be lent at an interest of rs. c-12-0 percent, per mensem and that from the amount obtained therefrom the establishment charges must be met.' then on the 23rd august 1908 the following resolution was passed: ''the cash. keeper shall keep ready on the said date the.....
Judgment:

1. In this case we have to deal only with the question whether certain statements in writing made by the defendant amounted to an acknowledgment of liability within the meaning of Section 19 of the Limitation Act. The other question raised by Mr. K.V. Krishnaswami Ayyar, the learned Vakil for the appellant, viz., that a sanction should have been obtained by the Official Liquidator in respect of the institution of this suit was very fairly not pressed by him, when it was pointed out that there was a general authority given to the liquidator to take the necessary action in order to realise the outstanding in the order of the appointment itself.

2. The first acknowledgment, Exhibit C, is contained in a resolution passed in the meeting held on the 17th March 1907 and signed by the father of the appellants, the cash-keeper whose liability is questioned in this suit. It says: 'The money payable to the members of the Executive Committee and the amount belonging to the Reserve Fund are lying with the cash keeper without interest.... Therefore, it was resolved that the Rs. 2,500 (rupees two thousand five hundred) from the Reserve Fund and Rs. 2,000 (Rupees two thousand) from the amount belonging to the members of the Executive Committee shall be lent at an interest of Rs. C-12-0 percent, per mensem and that from the amount obtained therefrom the establishment charges must be met.' Then on the 23rd August 1908 the following resolution was passed: ''The cash. keeper shall keep ready on the said date the amount accruing due under promissory-note and Chitta.' This is signed by the cash-keeper among other persons. That seems to us to be clearly an acknowledgment of the liability of the cash-keeper on the promissory note and Chitta account. Similarly there can be very little doubt as to the effect of Exhibit F, the third and last acknowledgment. It says: 'About four years ago, 1 was the cashier of the Jananukoola Dhanasekhara Nidhi Limited Company. Subsequently I resigned the said post. While I was the cashier, the money of the aforesaid company was collected and has been given to me alone.... I am ready to deposit the amount if it is stated on a reference to the account.... I can know only by a reference to the account, whether the statement made by him therein that Rs. 4,600 was on a promissory note and Rs. 231-1-5 was on a Chitta, making up thus a total of Rs. 4,731 1-5, is correct or not.' As stated by him in his deposition, I consent to a meeting being held in Dindigul camp on 6th August 1913 and to a settlement of my accounts therein. I am also willing to pay the balance falling due on getting receipt from the President, etc., in respect of the same. In case they do not consent to so receive the money, I am willing to deposit it in your office.' This is also a clear acknowledgment of the liability on the part of the cash-keeper, and the statement that the exact extent of his liability is to be determined by a settlement of the account can make no difference in this respect. Mr. Krishnaswami Ayyar, however laid much stress in his arguments on Exhibit E. That is a letter addressed by the cash-keeper Subbayya Goundan to he Manager of this Nidhi. He says: 'if you write to me in detail as to how much is Payable by me to the said Nidhi obtaining the orders of the higher authorities and communicate to me a copy of the order together with the aforesaid account, I am ready to act accordingly.' He contends that this a conditional acknowledgment and that is fulfilled that the acknowledgement operators, English and Indian, in support of this connection. We do not think that we can read the statement herein the way he want us to read; nor do we think there is anything in the decisions to which we have been referred which would constrain us to hold that the statement such as this is not an that unconditional acknowledgment of liability. As to what does or does not amount to an acknowledgment of liability, the law here may be taken to stand on the same footing as the law in England. But as has been pointed out by their Lordships of the Privy 'The Indian Limitation Act. Section 19, says nothing about a promise to pay and requires only a define admission liability as to which there can be no reason for departing from the English principal that an unqualified admission and an admission qualified by a condition which is fulfilled stand upon precisely the same footing.' As pointed out the Indian Statute does not require a promise to pay but if there is sufficient acknowledgment within the meaning of the law, that from the date of acknowledgement. See Shaik Meera Sahib & Co. v. Shaik Nainar Lubbay 21 Ind. Cas. 30 : 25 M.L.J. 259 : (1913) M.W.N. 682 and by the Bombay High Court in Shrigopal Chiranjilal v. Dhanalal Ghasiram 9 Ind. Cas. 944 : 35 B.P 383 at p. 385 : 13 Bom. L.R. 123. The Act itself is quite clear it nowhere speaks of any promise to pay, but only speaks of the acknowledgment of liability and the Explanation says that 'for the purposes of this section an acknowledgment may be sufficient though it omits to specify the exact nature of the property or right, or is accompanied by a refusal to pay, or is addressed to a person other than the person entitled to the property or tight.' As we read this Exhibit E, it clearly means this: ' I admit my liability to the Nidhi and I am ready to pay the amount that is due from me as soon as I know from yon or the higher authorities.' That, does not mere, reading the letter in its natural sense, that the acknowledgment was conditional upon receiving further communication from the addressee or from the higher authorities. There is one English decision to which our attention has been drawn which comes very near the facts of this case, that is Sheet v. Lindsay (1877) 2 Ex. D. 314 : 46 L.J. Ex. 249 : 36 L.T. 28 : 25 W.R. 322. There the debtor says to this effect: 'If you send me the particulars of your account, I shall have it examined and cheque sent to you for the amount due, but you must be under some great mistake in supposing that the amount due to you is anything like the sum you now claim.' It was held that this was a clear and absolute acknowledgment of the balance due sufficient to take the case out of the Statute of limitation. There is also a ruling of this Court to which one of us was a party reported in Narayanan Chetty v. Chidambaram Chetty 12 Ind. Cas. 410. There the letter written by the debtor expressing his willingness to pay whatever might be found due on a settlement of account was held to be a sufficient acknowledgment within the meaning of Section 19 of the Limitation Act.

3. The result is that the appeal is dismissed with costs.


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