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Mariappa Vaikaran Vs. K.G. Srinivasa Mudaliar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931Mad789
AppellantMariappa Vaikaran
RespondentK.G. Srinivasa Mudaliar
Cases ReferredKailas Chandra v. Kiranenda Ghosh
Excerpt:
- - it had to be acknowledged, i think in those circumstances, that the suit was not only one for account but was so treated by the small cause court a course which was clearly outside its jurisdiction. i am accordingly unable to agree with the petitioner that the lower court bad no jurisdiction to treat the suit as a small cause case. a but that clearly seems to have been the chief matter in controversy between the parties and when he says that the suit has been based on the settlement of account i do not suppose that he meant more than that that was the substantial question in the issue......unable to agree with the petitioner that the lower court bad no jurisdiction to treat the suit as a small cause case.3. it is then said that the judgment has proceeded entirely upon the settlement of account and has lost sight of the fact that there were subsequent dealings. i do not think that that can be substantiated. in the judgment the contents of the plaint are correctly summarized, mention being first made of the settlement of the account, and then that the defendants cultivated the lands for one year more and lastly that the amount claimed in the plaint is therefore due from them. it is true that the learned subordinate judge has devoted the greater part of his judgment to a discussion of the evidence supporting the settlement, ex. a but that clearly seems to have been.....
Judgment:

Cutrgenven, J.

1. The main contention raised in this revision petition is that the suit was not cognizable by a Small Cause Court, being one for an account as contemplated by Article 31, Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. The plaintiff alleged that there was a settlement between the parties in February 19'24 under which the defendant 1, acknowledged a certain amount due in paddy, cash and hay. Subsequently the dealings continued between the parties and the actual amount claimed in the plaint was something different from that shown in the settlement, the paddy being less and the cash being slightly more. The defendant in his written statement entirely denied the truth of the transactions that he executed any settlement or that any balance whatever was due from him. I think in these circumstances that it cannot be contended that the suit was one for an account. The plaintiff claimed a fixed sum and did not call upon the defendant to render an account, nor did he allege that the defendant from his position was liable to do so. The defendant does not dispute the correctness of the amount claimed, nor any of the items in the account which forms the evidence of what was due, but denies the whole. All that the Court could do accordingly was to pass a decree for the entire sum or to dismiss the suit altogether. I cannot therefore agree that the suit was for an account as contemplated in Article 31 and I think there is sufficient case law originating in this Court to support that view. In Konduru Runga Reddi v. Subbiah Setty [1905] 28 Mad.394 a Bench expressed the view that suit for an account under Article 31 does not mean every case in which accounts have to be looked into to ascertain the amount due to the plaintiff and that a suit for an account is a special form of suit in which a special process is required to take an account.

2. Again in Varadarajulu Chettiar v. Narayanaswami Chetty [1913]20 I.C.518, it was held that the article applied to cases where the relationship of the parties was such that one of them is bound to render accounts to the other, and indeed that seems to be implied by the suit being for an account from the defendant to the plaintiff. It does not of course follow, as that case points out, that, though the plaintiff may have chosen to put a definite money value on his claim the suit may not be for an account. It must however depend upon the relationship between the parties. In Mariappa Nadan v. Arunachalam Chetty [1916] 33 I.C.16. Sadasiva Ayyar, J., agrees with the learned Judges who decided the previous cases that the case law is perhaps not altogether reconcilable, but he adopted certain dicta, one of which related to the relationship between the parties and the other to the necessity to take accounts between them. I am asked to regard Kailas Chandra v. Kiranenda Ghosh [1911]10 I.C.888, as an authority to the contrary effect, but I observe that in the small cause cases which there came up for consideration the trial Judge went so far as actually to treat the suit as one for accounts by making a preliminary decree and appointing a commissioner to adjust the accounts from the books which might be produced by the parties. The commissioner thereupon submitted his report and a 'decree was made in favour of the plaintiff. It had to be acknowledged, I think in those circumstances, that the suit was not only one for account but was so treated by the Small Cause Court a course which was clearly outside its jurisdiction. In the present case, as I have said, the only question before the Court was whether the sum claimed by the plaintiff is due and no process in the nature of taking an account had to be undertaken. I am accordingly unable to agree with the petitioner that the lower Court bad no jurisdiction to treat the suit as a small cause case.

3. It is then said that the judgment has proceeded entirely upon the settlement of account and has lost sight of the fact that there were subsequent dealings. I do not think that that can be substantiated. In the judgment the contents of the plaint are correctly summarized, mention being first made of the settlement of the account, and then that the defendants cultivated the lands for one year more and lastly that the amount claimed in the plaint is therefore due from them. It is true that the learned Subordinate Judge has devoted the greater part of his judgment to a discussion of the evidence supporting the settlement, Ex. A but that clearly seems to have been the chief matter in controversy between the parties and when he says that the suit has been based on the settlement of account I do not suppose that he meant more than that that was the substantial question in the issue. The third point for decision was what amount the plaintiff is entitled to recover and the answer to that in the judgment is that the plaintiff is entitled to the amount sued for. In asmuch as the defendant merely made a denial of liability in respect of the sum I do not think that in the small cause judgment much more fell to be said upon the point. Turning to the evidence I observe that accounts in support of the amount said to be due have been filed and proved by P.W. 1, so that the Court certainly had evidence before it upon which to pronounce its decree.

4. Finally it is urged that the settlement deed, Ex. A, has not been properly proved. Defendant 1 himself admits his signature to it, although he says that he signed nothing more than a blank paper. That admission of course would not be sufficient to relieve the plaintiff of his duty of proving the document. But that he did prove it by evidence which is legally sufficient appears from the statement of his witness and agent, P.W. 1, who deposes that defendant 1 settled the account and signed the settlement. Inasmuch as there was no cross-examination upon that point, I think it is legally sufficient to show that defendant 1 not only signed Ex. A but signed it in token of having accepted liability for the sums shown in it. In these circumstances I cannot find that the trial before the lower Court is vitiated either by lack of jurisdiction to try the case or by any irregularity in the exercise of its jurisdiction in trying it. I accordingly dismiss this petition with costs.


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