1. The question in this second appeal is whether the promissory note Ex. A, dated 12th June, 1930, executed by one of the trustees of the Sri Anantha Padhmanabha Devaru Temple of Perdur, is binding on the temple itself. The suit out of which this appeal arises was brought in the Court of the District Munsif of Udipi by an assignee of the promissory note, and the suit was defended by the other trustees of the temple who contended that the money borrowed under the promissory note had not been borrowed for the necessary purposes of the temple and that the executant of it had not pledged the credit of the temple but only his own credit. The learned District Munsif gave a decree against the first defendant, the executant of the promissory note, alone on the grounds that there was no necessity for the temple to borrow, that the executant was not competent to bind the temple without the authority of the other trustees and also on the ground that on the face of it the promissory note did not create any liability as against the temple funds. On appeal, however, the learned Subordinate Judge of South Kanara amended the decree of the lower Court so as to entitle the plaintiff-assignee to recover the amount decreed from the temple funds in the hands of the present appellants-trustees. The learned Subordinate Judge seems to have treated the suit rather as if it was a suit on the debt than a suit on the promissory note, and he did not seriously consider the question whether on the face of it the promissory note Ex. A, bound the funds of the temple. He found that the promissory note had been executed by the first defendant, Venkappa Hegde, with the implied authority of the other trustees. who were aware of the transactions and accepted them on behalf of the temple. He also held, on the authority of Venkatabalagurumurthi Chetttiar v. Balakrishna Odayar (1930) 60 M.L.J. 19 tat en though at the time of the borrowing the temple had some cash in hand, the value of the goods supplied to the temple, provided they were appropriated for the purposes of the temple, could be recovered.
2. Some argument was advanced on behalf of the appellants to the effect that as an assignee of the promissory note the respondent-plaintiff was not entitled to go behind it and rely on the debt. It is not necessary, in my opinion, to, consider this question since it is plain from the issues framed and the judgment of the trial Court that the suit was on the promissory note and not on the debt. It has also been urged that the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge that the other trustees were aware of the transactions and accepted them was not warranted by the facts. This, however, in my opinion, is a finding of fact on the part of the learned Subordinate Judge and cannot now be canvassed.
3. Essentially the question is whether on the face of the document, Ex. A, the funds of the temple are liable in respect of the sum borrowed. Ex. A, runs as follows:
Pronote executed on. the 12th day of June, 1930, in favour of Vittal Malya, residing at Perduru Magne, Kaska Petai, Udipi. taluk, by Venkappa. Hegde, Adalthedar, of Perduru, Sri Anantha Padmanabha Devara Bhandara, nephew of Alangaru Dummanna Hegde, and residing at Majkuru Perduru village, in the (aforesaid) taluk.
The amount of principal and interest due to you until now under the pronote previously executed by me in your favour on the 13th day of June, 1927 is Rs. 736-2-6.' Hence I shall, hereby, on demand, promise to pay either to you or to the person who produces this pronote with your order 'thereon, the said amount together with interest thereon at Rs. 12-8-0, per cent per annum. The consideration hereof has been completely received in, the aforesaid manner To this effect is this pronote executed affixing two one anna stamps.
12th June, 1930.
(Signed on two one anna stamps) Venkappa Hegde, Adalthedax,' P. Alangaru.
The body of the document quite clearly binds the executant and not the temple. It is, however, argued for the appellants that on a reasonable construction of the document, the description of the promisor at the beginning of the note and the description of him after his signature as 'adalthedar' can leave no room for doubt that he was signing on behalf of the temple. There can be no. question that authority is against this contention. Vide Swaminatha Aiyar v. Srinivasa Aiyar (1916) 5 L.W. 323 and Krishnaswami Naidu v. Yarnikalingam Pillai (1925) 97 I.C. 433 It is, however, argued by the learned Counsel for the appellants that the earlier decisions are no longer good law in view of the decision of the Full Bench of this Court reported in Sivagurunatha v. Padmavathi : AIR1941Mad417 In my opinion the present case is not covered by that decision. In the Full Bench ease, it was manifest that a man would not describe himself as agent and power-of-attorney holder for his wife unless he was purporting to act for her, and there were other indications, if the document was read as a whole, on the face of the document that the promisor was acting on behalf of his wife and was not pledging his own credit. It cannot be said in the case of the promissory note (Ex. A), now in question that the preamble and the word adalthedar are manifestly not mere, words of description. No doubt if it was permissible to go outside the note, it would be found that the reference to the 'pronote previously executed by me on the 13th day of June, 1927', was to a promissory note under which money had been borrowed for the temple. It also would be found that: at any rate some of the money borrowed had been utilized for the purposes of the temple. It is, however, clearly not permissible to go outside the note. A holder in due course cannot be expected to make enquiries concerning the previous promissory note referred to in the body of the document, and the document itself would merely inform him that the promissory note Ex A, had been executed in respect of the amount of principal and interest due on a promissory note previously executed by the promisor in favour of the promisee. Apart from the eases cited already, two cases recently decided by King, J., seem to me in point--Ekambara, etc. Temples v. Veerappa Gounder : (1941)2MLJ568 Ekambara, etc. Temples v. Aruinachala Gounder ( : (1941)2MLJ587 . In the first ease the promissory note executed by the trustee contained the recital that repayment was to be made 'from out of the properties of the said temple', and as there was no question of the necessity for the loan, it was only argued that the temple was not liable because the other trustees had not joined in executing the note and that the sanction of the temple committee had not been obtained. King, J., rejected these two contentions put forward and held that the temple properties were liable. In the second case, although the money is stated in the note to have been borrowed '' for the preliminary expenses of the Panguni Uthram festival in the said temple', because there was a formal covenant to repay without any reference to the temple funds, it was held that the temple properties were not liable. The second case, in my opinion, as the purpose of the borrowing was stated, is a stronger case as against the temple than the present. Nonetheless the decision was in favour of the temple, and, with respect, I agree with the decision.
4. The decree of the District Munsif's Court will, therefore, be restored, and the appeal is allowed with costs, here and below.
5. Leave to appeal is refused.