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Venkatramana Aiyar, by Aagent T. Rama Row Vs. N.G. Narasinga Row - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in18Ind.Cas.135
AppellantVenkatramana Aiyar, by Aagent T. Rama Row
RespondentN.G. Narasinga Row
Cases Referred and Brady v. Todd
Excerpt:
civil procedure code (act xiv of 1882), section 37 - general power of attorney--power authorising agent to do all acts relating to execution of decree--execution application by agent--application in accordance with low--limitation--construction of document--stamp. - - the expression 'a single transaction' seems to us to apply either to a single act or to acts so related to each other as to form one judicial transaction, such as all the acts necessary to perfect a mortgage or a sale of a particular property......in accordance with law; and that depends on whether the agent who presented it was one holding a general power-of-attorney and, as such, authorised to sign and present the petition under section 37 of the repealed code of civil procedure or one having only a special power-of-attorney and not qualified to do so.2. the power-of-attorney under which the agent acted authorised him to present applications for execution, to realise the amount due to the decree-holder, to compromise the claim and to do all other acts relating to the execution of the decree. the lower courts have held that the agent had only a special power-of-attorney. in taking this view, they were much influenced by the fact that the power-of-attorney was executed on a stamp paper of the value of one rupee only. it need.....
Judgment:

1. The only question for decision in this second appeal is whether the application for execution is barred by limitation. It was presented within three years of a prior application which was signed and put into Court on behalf of the decree-holder by an agent. The question is whether that application was one presented in accordance with law; and that depends on whether the agent who presented it was one holding a general power-of-attorney and, as such, authorised to sign and present the petition under Section 37 of the repealed Code of Civil Procedure or one having only a special power-of-attorney and not qualified to do so.

2. The power-of-attorney under which the agent acted authorised him to present applications for execution, to realise the amount due to the decree-holder, to compromise the claim and to do all other acts relating to the execution of the decree. The lower Courts have held that the agent had only a special power-of-attorney. In taking this view, they were much influenced by the fact that the power-of-attorney was executed on a stamp paper of the value of one rupee only. It need hardly be stated that the legal nature of a document must be determined by its contents and not by the value of the stamp duty paid for it. If a stamp of the appropriate value was not used for executing a document, that is a matter to be dealt with according to the rules provided for such cases, The expression general power-of-attorney' has not been defined either in the Civil Procedure Code or in any other statute, nor has any case been brought to our notice which could be regarded as giving an authoritative decision on the question. But, according to the view accepted by eminent lawyers, there can be no doubt that the agent in this case had a general power-of-attorney. Story in his Work on Agency, Section 17, says: 'A special agency properly exists, when there is a delegation of authority to do a single act; a general agency properly exists when there is a delegation to do all acts connected with a particular trade, business or employment. Thus, a person who is authorised by his principal to execute a particular deed, or to sign a particular contract or to purchase a particular parcel or merchandise, is a special agent. But a person who is authorised by his principal to execute all deeds, sign all contracts, or to purchase all goods required in a particular trade, business or employment is a general agent in that particular trade, business or employment.' In Parsons on Contracts, Vol. I, page 39, a special agent is defined as one authorised 'to do one or two particular things' and a general agent as one authorised 'to transact all his principal's business or his business of a particular kind.' In Halsbury's Laws of England, Vol. I, page 152, the following explanation is given: 'A special agent is one who has authority to act for some special occasion or purpose which is not within the ordinary course of his business or profession. A general agent is one who has authority, arising out of and in the ordinary course of his business or profession, to do some act or acts on behalf of his principal in relation thereto; or one who is authorised to act on behalf of the principal generally in transactions of a particular kind, or incidental to a particular business.' The statement in the Encyclopedia of Laws of England, 1st Edition, Vol X, page 263 is similar. In Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II, page 714, the statement is 'a general power authorises an agent to act generally in behalf of the principal; a special power is one limited to particular acts.' See also American Cyclopedia of Laws and Procedure, Vol. 31, page 1338, Smith v. McGuire 3 H. & N. 554; 27 L.J. Ex. 465; 6 W.R. 726 and Brady v. Todd 9 C.B. (N.S.) 592; 30 L.J.C.P. 223; 7 Jur. (N.S.) 827; 4 L.T. 212; 9 W.R. 483. The same conception seems to underlie Article 48 of Schedule I to the Indian Stamp Act. Clauses (a), (b) and (c) relate to an authority for procuring the registration of a document or documents or admitting the execution of one or more of such documents for registration for acting in any other manner 'in a single transaction.' Clause (d), which apparently relates to a general power-of-attorney, speaks of authority to not more than five persons 'to act jointly and severally in more than one transaction or generally.' Clause (e) relates to a similar authority to more than five but not more than ten persons. The expression 'a single transaction' seems to us to apply either to a single act or to acts so related to each other as to form one judicial transaction, such as all the acts necessary to perfect a mortgage or a sale of a particular property. This interpretation would be in accordance with the distinction between a special agent and a general agent as set forth in the authorities already referred to.

3. According to this view, when a power-of-attorney authorises a person to do all things and take all steps which may be necessary to complete the execution of a decree, it must, in our opinion, be regarded, as a general power-of-attorney. The acts to be done might be of various and numerous kinds and could not be regarded as constituting one legal transaction. We may observe that the question has become immaterial under the new Code of Civil Procedure. Order III, Rule 2, in describing the kind of agent by whom appearances, applications and acts may be made or done on behalf of a party, uses wider language, viz., 'persons holding powers-of-attorney, authorizing them to make and do such appearances, applications and acts on behalf of such parties....'

4. We hold that the previous application for execution in this case was presented by an agent having a general power-of-attorney and that it was, therefore, one presented in accordance with law. It follows that the present application is not barred by limitation. We reverse the order of the Courts below and remand the application to the Court of first instance to be disposed of afresh according to law. The costs in this and in the lower Appellate Court will abide the result.


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