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T. Venkatakrishnama Charlu Vs. Karnam Arunachalam Pillay - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in51Ind.Cas.857
AppellantT. Venkatakrishnama Charlu
RespondentKarnam Arunachalam Pillay
Cases ReferredYogambal Boyee Ammani Ammal v. Naina Pillai Markayar
Excerpt:
contract act (ix of 1872), section 70, scope of - 'lawful payment' meaning of--payment made on behalf of another, whether can be recovered. - - but i presume that the legislature intended something when it used the word 'lawful' and that it bad in contemplation cases in which a person held such a relation to another as either directly to create or by implication reasonably to justify an inference that by some act done for another person the party doing the act was entitled to look for compensation for it to the pert on for whom it was done. it is well settled that there is no such obligation in the case of a voluntary payment by a of b's debt. 20 .nor can the case of a be better because be made the payment not ex mero motu, but in the course of a transaction which, in one event, would..........not intend to make the payment gratuitously. under section 70 of the indian contract act, where a person lawfully does anything for another person or delivers anything to him, not intending to do so gratuitously, and such other person enjoys the benefit thereof, the latter is bound to make compensation to the former in respect of, or to restore, the thing so done or delivered.' the wording of the section, as has been observed in a number of cases, is very wide and is wider than the rule of the english common law. but there are cases in which a narrow interpretation has been placed on the word lawfully.' for instance in chedi lal v. bhagwan das (1889) a.w.n. 67 ; 6 ind. dec. 577 it is stated by straight, j., at pages 242 and 243; 'i pointed cut to mr. simeon that if you could read.....
Judgment:

1. It is found by the District Munsiff that the payment of a quit-rent by the plaintiff was made for the benefit of the defendant, who was liable for the quit-rent. At the same time he has found that the payment was not made at the request of the defendant. The Munsif, however, finds upon the facts, and no doubt rightly, that the plaintiff did not intend to make the payment gratuitously. Under Section 70 of the Indian Contract Act, where a person lawfully does anything for another person or delivers anything to him, not intending to do so gratuitously, and such other person enjoys the benefit thereof, the latter is bound to make compensation to the former in respect of, or to restore, the thing so done or delivered.' The wording of the section, as has been observed in a number of cases, is very wide and is wider than the rule of the English Common Law. But there are cases in which a narrow interpretation has been placed on the word lawfully.' For instance in Chedi Lal v. Bhagwan Das (1889) A.W.N. 67 ; 6 Ind. Dec. 577 it is stated by Straight, J., at pages 242 and 243; 'I pointed cut to Mr. Simeon that if you could read Section 70 of the Contract Act without the word 'lawful' in it, I might go to the full length of the contention set up by him. But I presume that the Legislature intended something when it used the word 'lawful' and that it bad in contemplation cases in which a person held such a relation to another as either directly to create or by implication reasonably to justify an inference that by some act done for another person the party doing the act was entitled to look for compensation for it to the pert on for whom it was done.' Reliance is also placed by the learned Vakil for the petitioner on the ruling of the Privy Council in Ram Tuhul Sing v. Biseswar Lall Sahco 3 Suth. P.C.J. 136 where it is stated as a general proposition: It is not in every case in which a man has benefited by the money of another, that an obligation to repay the money arises. The question is not to be determined by race considerations of what may be fair or proper according to the highest, morality To support such a suit there must be an obligation, express or implied, to repay. It is well settled that there is no such obligation in the case of a voluntary payment by A of B's debt. Still less will the action lie when the money has been paid, as here, against the Will of the party for whose use it is supposed to have been paid Stokes v. Lewis (1786) I T.R. 20 . Nor can the case of A be better because be made the payment not ex mero motu, but in the course of a transaction which, in one event, would have turned out highly profitable to himself, and extremely detrimental to the person whose debts the money went to pay.' This is a statement of law which is not based on the words of Section 70 of the Contract Act and if we read this proposition in the light of the facts, I think the case is easily distinguishable from the present case. In the present case there can be no doubt that the payment by the plaintiff was made in good faith; he certainly did not intend the payment to be gratuitous; he expected compensation for it. As has been pointed out by Pollock and Mulla in their commentary on the Contract Act, Section 70 enacts a law wider than the English Common Law on the subject. The preponderance of rulings in this High Court does not support the restricted view which found favour with the Allahabad High Court in Chedi Lal v. Bhagwan Das (1889) A.W.N. 67 ; 6 Ind. Dec. 577 or with the Calcutta High Court in Panchkori Ghosh v. Hari Das Jati 21 C.W.N. 394 ; 25 C.L.J. 325. It was laid down in the latter case that 'to entitle a person to claim the benefit of Section 70 of the Contract Act, the payment must have been lawfully made, that is, by a person having a lawful interest in making it and not some interest from the point of view of the payer.' If by that is meant that there must be some interest like that mentioned in Section 69, I must, with great respect, observe that I find no warrant for any such limitation. On the other hand as far back as Damodara Mudaliar v. Secretary of State for India 4 M.L.J. 205 it was held by this Court: 'Certainly there may be difficulties in applying a rule stated in such wide terms as is that expressed in Section 70. According to the section it is not essential that the act shall have been necessary in the sense that it has been done under circumstances of pressing urgency, or even that it shall have been an act necessary to be done at sometime for the preservation of property. It may, therefore, be extended to cases into which no question of salvage enters, it is not limited to persons standing in particular relations to one another; and, except in the requirement that the act shall be lawful, no condition is prescribed as to the circumstances under which it shall be done.' This view of the law has found acceptance in later rulings of this Court. Yogambal Boyee Ammani Ammal v. Naina Pillai Markayar 3 Ind. Cas. 110 and Sapthaiishi Reddiar v. Secretary of State for India 28 Ind. Cas. 309; (1915) M.W.N. 256. In the last mentioned case it was the view of Ayling, J., that the payment must be held to be lawful within the meaning of the section, if it could be shown to have been made in good faith or that it was not an unlawful payment. It may not be easy to define what are the circumstances in which the payment would not be lawful; the case, for instance, in which a payment is made against the protest of the defendant would, I think, not be covered by Section 70, I think the ruling in Gajapathi Krishna Chandra Deo v. Srinivasa Charlu 20 Ind. Cas. 445 ; (1914) M.W.N. 99 ; 14 M.L.T. 20 also supports the view which I am inclined to take in this care, and I do not think that the decision of the learned Chief Justice and Srinivasa Aiyangar, J, in Jagapatiraju v. Sadrusannamarad 31 Ind. Cas. 255 ; 18 M.L.T. 464 lays down any proposition inconsistent with Yogambal Boyee Ammani Ammal v. Naina Pillai Markayar 31 Ind. Cas. 255 ; 18 M.L.T. 464 and the other rulings to which I have referred. I, therefore, dismiss the petition with costs.


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