1. The petitioner's suit on a promissory note dated 26th June 1940 was dismissed because the document was not properly stamped. The promissory note was stamped with two one anna stamps, which would be correct if the promissory note were one payable on demand. The relevant clause of the document runs thus, 'I shall pay to you or to your order within two years the said sum. ' This must mean that the promisor is allowed two years within which to pay the money and within which the promisee cannot enforce the debt. Mr. Ramanatha Aiyer argues that as the wording is 'within two years' and not 'after two years,' it must mean that the plaintiff is entitled to demand the money at any time within two years and that the document is therefore really a promissory note payable on demand. If the debt could be demanded at any time within two years, then the words 'within two years' would have no meaning at all. It seems clear to me that these words were introduced to give the debtor time within which to pay the debt and that within that time the promisee could not enforce the debt. It follows that the promissory note is not one payable on demand.
2. The definition of promissory note in the Stamp Act is much wider than in the Negotiable Instruments Act. According to Article 49, Stamp Act, which deals with the duty payable on promissory notes, a sum of one anna, two annas, or four annas, should be affixed to a promissory note payable on demand. The second part of that article refers to all other promissory notes and therefore includes not only those instruments which are promissory notes only under the Stamp Act but also those documents which are promissory notes under the Negotiable Instruments Act but which are not payable on demand. A promissory note like the suit promissory note, which is payable after two years, would therefore come within the scope of Article 49 (b); and the duty payable on such an instrument would be the same as on a bond, because it is payable more than one year after the execution of the note.
3. Mr. Ramanatha Ayyar's third and last argument is that since the debt payable is that on a bond the note must be treated as a bond and that it would not therefore be hit by the proviso (a) to Section 35, Stamp Act. That section in general permits documents that are not properly stamped being admitted in evidence provided the penalty is paid, with the exceptions of promissory notes and some other documents. This argument cannot be accepted; for although the duty payable on the suit note is the same as that on a bond, the document is in fact a promissory note. The petition is dismissed with costs.