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Bopanna Prakasam Vs. Maganti Nagabhushanam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad938; (1938)2MLJ478
AppellantBopanna Prakasam
RespondentMaganti Nagabhushanam
Cases ReferredSadasivier v. Meenakshi Aiyar
Excerpt:
- - on the back of the document it is endorsed by the district munsiff that the promissory note is insufficiently stamped and it was allowed to go in. what it says is simply it must be admitted in evidence and if it is admitted in evidence as laid down in the rules of the civil procedure code, the plain meaning of the words is satisfied......the lower court held that it was inadmissible and this petition is to revise that order of the learned district munsiff.2. the question arose in the following circumstances. the plaintiff is the petitioner. he instituted a suit on a promissory note for rs. 200. the defendant raised the contention that the suit note was a forgery. he also stated that the promissory note was insufficiently stamped and was therefore inadmissible in evidence under section 35 of the stamp act. when the case came on for hearing the defendant did not appear. he asked for an adjournment which was refused. but he did not withdraw his appearance in the case. the learned district munsiff admitted the promissory note in evidence and decreed the suit. an appeal was preferred against this decision, but the learned.....
Judgment:

Madhavan Nair, J.

1. In this petition I am called upon to decide the question whether the suit promissory note is admissible in evidence. The lower Court held that it was inadmissible and this petition is to revise that order of the learned District Munsiff.

2. The question arose in the following circumstances. The plaintiff is the petitioner. He instituted a suit on a promissory note for Rs. 200. The defendant raised the contention that the suit note was a forgery. He also stated that the promissory note was insufficiently stamped and was therefore inadmissible in evidence under Section 35 of the Stamp Act. When the case came on for hearing the defendant did not appear. He asked for an adjournment which was refused. But he did not withdraw his appearance in the case. The learned District Munsiff admitted the promissory note in evidence and decreed the suit. An appeal was preferred against this decision, but the learned Judge in appeal thought that the case was one which should have been adjourned by the learned Munsif. He therefore remanded the suit to the District Munsif giving time for the defendant to produce his evidence. When the case came before the District Munsif, the defendant pressed his objection that the suit note was inadmissible and he contended that the suit should be dismissed. As stated in the beginning a ruling was given by the lower Court accepting his contention.

3. In this Civil Revision Petition it is argued by the petitioner that once the insufficiently stamped promissory note has been admitted in evidence it is not open to the party concerned to raise the objection at a later stage that it is inadmissible and so the ruling of the lower Court is wrong. Section 36 of the Indian Stamp Act says:

When an instrument has been admitted in evidence, such admission shall not, except as provided in Section 61, be called in question at any stage of the same suit or proceeding on the ground that the instrument has not been duly stamped.

4. The question for decision in the present case therefore is whether the suit promissory note 'has been admitted in evidence.' This question has come before this Court on very many occasions and has been dealt with by various learned Judges. I do not propose to discuss these decisions in detail. In all these cases the principle which the learned Judges applied in deciding the question was whether there was a judicial determination on the question whether the document was admissible in evidence or not. In some cases objection is raised, issue is framed and a decision given. In such cases there can be no doubt that the judicial mind of the Judge has been applied to a consideration of the question. But in very many cases what happens is that no objection is raised, no issue is framed and the document is let in evidence. The difficulty in deciding the question arises in cases of this kind. Even in such cases, the weight of the authority in this Court is in my opinion in favour of the position that if a document is let in, whether after deciding the objection or not, it has been admitted in evidence within the meaning of Section 36 of the Stamp Act and the admissibility of it cannot therefore be called in question. The cases which support this position are Venkateswara v. Ramanatha : AIR1929Mad622 , Satyavati v. Pallaya : AIR1937Mad431 and Abdul Wahab v. Kanaka Anjaneyalu : AIR1935Mad888 . The latter case is a decision of Pandrang Row, J., and it may be distinguishable on the facts, but the principle is stated by the learned Judge as I have stated it above.

5. In the present case what happened was this. On the back of the document it is endorsed by the District Munsiff that the promissory note is insufficiently stamped and it was allowed to go in. It bears a rubber stamp with the initials of the Judge. The learned Counsel for the respondent argues that unless the document has been initialled by the Judge it cannot be said to have been admitted in evidence and in support of that position, my attention has been invited to a decision in Venkanna v. Parasuram Byas : AIR1929Mad522 In that case what happened was this. The District Munsiff on a consideration of the insufficiently stamped document held that it was not duly stamped and therefore inadmissible in evidence and rejected it. Yet the document was admitted. The District Munsiff's initials were affixed to the endorsement of admission by a rubber stamp. It was held by the learned Judges that if the trial Judge did not consider the admissibility of the document proved before him, the mere endorsement thereon under Order 13, Rule 4, Civil Procedure Code, does not preclude him from considering its admissibility at a later stage of the case. It is clear from the facts stated that the document was rejected by the District Munsiff and yet it was allowed to go in. This feature distinguishes this case from the present one. In spite of the fact that the document bears the endorsement that it is insufficiently stamped, the learned District Munsiff in the present case admitted it and I do not think the decision in Venkanna v. Parasuram Byas : AIR1929Mad522 can apply to the present case. That, as already stated, was a case where the document was rejected. In this connection attention may be drawn to the decision in Sugappa v. Govindappa : (1902)12MLJ351 . That was also a case of an insufficiently stamped promissory note. The District Judge rejected the document. Nevertheless it was admitted in evidence. That case strongly supports the contention of the petitioner in the present case. I do not think having regard to what has taken place in the present case, the decision in Venkanna v. Parasuram Byas : AIR1929Mad522 is applicable.

6. To my mind the question for decision is not whether the person who initialled the endorsement is the clerk or the District Munsiff but the question is whether the document has been admitted in evidence. The words of Section 36 are clear. It does not explicitly say that there must be a judicial determination of the question in the sense the expression has been explained in some of the judgments. What it says is simply it must be admitted in evidence and if it is admitted in evidence as laid down in the rules of the Civil Procedure Code, the plain meaning of the words is satisfied. It may be said that such admission would lead to this, that a mere mechanical act of admission would amount to an admission of a document within the meaning of Section 36. I can quite see the force of this argument. But I have no doubt that the legislation when it enacted the law in Section 36 was quite alive to this position and it seems to me that the words ' admitted in evidence ' were deliberately used in order to avoid complicated enquiries regarding the admission and the difficulties necessarily attendant upon such enquiries. One finds in one's experience that questions of this kind are raised in promissory note suits which admittedly should be disposed of as quickly as possible and the policy of law as indicated in the section is to allow admission of documents which have been admitted under the rules of the Civil Procedure Code.

7. Before concluding I might say that the decision in Sadasivier v. Meenakshi Aiyar : AIR1933Mad781 , supports the contention of the respondent. But, as I have said, the long track of decisions of this Court is to the effect that the mere admission of the document as in this case will amount to admission within the meaning of the words in Section 36 of the Stamp Act. I would therefore hold that the ruling of the Court that it was open to the respondent to raise the question as regards the admissibility of the document is wrong and that he should not have been allowed to raise the question. The case will now be disposed of by the lower Court in the light of the above observations. Of course, I do not say anything about the other merits of the case. If the parties have evidence to adduce they will be at liberty to do so. The petitioner is entitled to his costs.


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