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Challa Appayya and anr. Vs. Desetti Chandra Ayya and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtChennai
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 420 of 1948
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad817
ActsContract Act, 1872 - Sections 69 and 70; Madras Estates Land Act, 1908 - Sections 145; Tenancy Law
AppellantChalla Appayya and anr.
RespondentDesetti Chandra Ayya and ors.
Appellant AdvocateC.V. Dhikshitulu, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.V. Ramanarasu, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredLtd. v. Municipal Council
Excerpt:
.....rejecting such benefits. in the first place, the plaintiffs' action in having paid the cist to the rajah of bobbili cannot be considered to be 'lawful'.it has been held by this court in more than one decision that the word 'lawfully' occurring in section 70 of the act, must mean 'bona fide'.the action of the plaintiffs in not having contested the suit brought against them by the rajah of bobbili while good and valid defences were actually, available to them and also in their having paid the decree amount early nine years after the decree was obtained, does not disclose any bona fides on the part, of the plaintiffs. d series, issued by the estate of the rajah of bobbili to the defendants for payment of cist for different faslis would clearly indicate that the rajah of bobbili had..........they had paid the rent for the previous faslis and also for the subsequent faslis. thereupon the rajah of bobbili filed a suit and obtained a decree for arrears of cist in s. s. no. 75 of 1936 against the plaintiffs as being the pattadars. the plaintiffs did not contest the suit and in execration of the decree obtained against the plaintiffs a sum of rs. 110-5-6 was recovered from the plaintiffs by attachment of the movable assets of the plaintiffs in or about 14th february 1946.2. the plaintiffs' contention is that the defendants who were the owners of the lands had to pay the said arrears of rent but since the bobbili estate had recovered the said arrears of rent from the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs were entitled to claim reimbursement and the defendants were bound to make good the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, J.

1. Upon the facts set out in para. 6 of the learned District Munsiff's judgment, I think the conclusion that the learned District Munsif has come to is right and his decision will have to be upheld. The plaintiffs in this case filed a suit to recover a sum of Rs. 110-5-6 which sum had been recovered from the plaintiffs by the Bobbili estate as and towards arrears of rent due in respect of lands for which the plaintiffs' maternal grandfather was pattadar. The plaintiffs are the heirs of their maternal grandfather who held lands under Bobbili estate in patta No. 44. That maternal grandfather of the plaintiffs had sold away the lands in the zamindary about 20 years ago to the defendants by Exs. D-1 and D-2 in the present suit out of which the petition has arisen. Ever since the said gale the defendants had been in enjoyment of the lands and the plaintiffs have had nothing to do with the same. The defendants did not pay rent for Faslis 1342, 1343, 1344 and 1345 in respect of lands purchased by them though they had paid the rent for the previous faslis and also for the subsequent faslis. Thereupon the Rajah of Bobbili filed a suit and obtained a decree for arrears of cist in S. S. No. 75 of 1936 against the plaintiffs as being the pattadars. The plaintiffs did not contest the suit and in execration of the decree obtained against the plaintiffs a sum of Rs. 110-5-6 was recovered from the plaintiffs by attachment of the movable assets of the plaintiffs in or about 14th February 1946.

2. The plaintiffs' contention is that the defendants who were the owners of the lands had to pay the said arrears of rent but since the Bobbili estate had recovered the said arrears of rent from the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs were entitled to claim reimbursement and the defendants were bound to make good the amount as they had enjoyed the benefit of the same. The plaintiffs urged that either under Section 69 or Section 70, Contract Act, their claim against the defendants for the amount recovered from them by the Bobbili estate was tenable and the plaintiffs had a right to be reimbursed by the defendants.

3. The defendants denied that the amount in question was due by them to the Rajah of Bobbili and contended that the plaintiffs were not entitled to claim any reimbursement. Their further argument was that neither Section 69 nor Section 70, Contract Act, would apply to the case. As regards the contention of the defendants that they have not committed any default in the payment of rent to the Rajah of Bobbili for the faslis in question, the learned District Munsif held that the defendants had not paid the cist for the said period to the Bobbili estate and the receipts, viz., Ex. D-8, filed by the defendants did not cover the faslis mentioned in Ex. P-2 and gave a finding accordingly.

4. As regards the question as to whether the plaintiffs were entitled to claim reimbursement from the defendants either under Section 69 or Section 70, Contract Act, the learned District Munsif held that neither of the sections would apply to the case and dismissed the suit on that ground. The petitioner has therefore preferred this petition against the said decision of the learned District Munsif. The District Munsif has relied upon the decision in Yogambal Boyee Ammani Ammal v. Naina Pillai 33 Mad. 15 : 3 I. C. 110 for holding that under Section 70, Contract Act, the party sought to be made liable must not only have benefited by the payment but also must have had the opportunity of accepting or rejecting such benefit and that where no such option was left to the defendants as in the present case, it could not be said that the defendants have enjoyed such benefit within the meaning of Section 70. As against this decision, the learned counsel for the petitioner has invited my attention to Krishna. Chandradeo v. Srinivasacharlu, 38 Mad. 235: A. I. R. 1915 Mad. 95 where it has been held that Section 70, Contract Act should be applied in all cases where the requirements of the section are fulfilled whatever might be the English law on the subject, that a person must be said to have enjoyed the benefit of an act within the meaning of Section 70, Contract Act, when he in fact enjoyed the benefit by accepting or adopting it, without objecting to it, and, that Section 70 does not require that the defendant must have an option of declining the benefit, if that means that before the benefit is conferred he must be given the choice of accepting or declining it. This decision of the Bench consisting of Miller and Sadasiva Ayyar JJ no doubt differs from the view held in Yogambal Boyee Ammaniammal v. Naina Pillai, 38 Mad. 15: 3 I. C. 110. But in a later decision, viz., Narama Pat v. Appu, 28 I. C. 456: A. I. R. 1916 Mad. 668 to which also Sadasiva Aiyar J. was a party he hag acknowledged that the trend of the decisions was against the view expressed by him in Krishana Chandra Deo v. Srinivasacharlu, 38 Mad. 235; A.I.R. 1915 Mad. 95. Even so in Sampath v. Rajah of Venkatagtri : AIR1931Mad51 , Madhavan Nair J. reviewing all the previous decisions on the scope of Section 70, Contract Act, has held that under Section 70 it must be shown that the person benefited has had the opportunity of accepting or rejecting the benefit. To a similar effect is the decision in Lakshmanan Chetti v. Arunachalam Chettiar : AIR1932Mad151 , wherein Curgenven J. has held that the very wide language of Section 70 Contract Act, must be read with, two qualifications, viz., (1) that it is not enough that the work resulted in benefit to the defendant but it must be shown that it was done in part at least for his benefit and (2) that the defendant must have been in a position, after the execution of the work, to exercise the option whether or not to avail himself of the benefit. Even in this decision all the previous rulings of this Court have been reviewed. It is therefore clear that in order to claim the benefit of Section 70 it must be shown that the defendants not merely enjoyed the benefit of the payment made by the plaintiffs but it must also be shown that the defendants have had the opportunity of accepting or rejecting such benefits. Though the section does not in terms specify that such an opportunity shall be afforded to the person against whom the claim is made, nevertheless in the interests of justice it seems to be a sound principle that such person should be given the option to accept or refuse the benefit. Otherwise, the possibility is that a benefit would be thrust upon a person without his being a willing party to the same and a claim laid against him for reimbursement. The words in the section 'he enjoys such benefit' must be taken to mean that he does it as a result of his volition.

5. In the present case, the plaintiffs have not succeeded is showing to any extent that the defendants have had any opportunity either to accept or reject the benefit said to have been conferred upon them by reason of the payment of cist made by the plaintiffs. The learned counsel for the plaintiffs has, however, invited my attention to a further decision in Bhagirathibai v. Digambar Ambadas, A.I.R. 1945 Nag 179 : I. L. R. (1945) Nag. 247, wherein it has been held that where a person had an interest in the property and paid hoping to get a reimbursement from the defendant the case would fall not merely under Section 69 bus also under Section 70 as that person was entitled to recover she amount paid by him from the defendant. I am afraid the facts of the case referred to above are quite different from the facts of the present case and the decision in Bhagirathibai v. Digambar Ambadas, A. I. R. 1945 Nag. 179 : I. L. R. (1915) Nag. 247 cannot apply. Besides, the Nagpur decision is that of a single Judge and in the face of the uniform trend of decisions in this Court, I do not think I can follow the decision of a single Judge of the Nagpur High Court. Even otherwise, the admitted facts in the case before mo do not warrant the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the requirements of Section 70 have been fulfilled. In the first place, the plaintiffs' action in having paid the cist to the Rajah of Bobbili cannot be considered to be 'lawful'. It has been held by this Court in more than one decision that the word 'lawfully' occurring in Section 70 of the Act, must mean 'bona fide'. The action of the plaintiffs in not having contested the suit brought against them by the Rajah of Bobbili while good and valid defences were actually, available to them and also in their having paid the decree amount early nine years after the decree was obtained, does not disclose any bona fides on the part, of the plaintiffs. In the next place, it cannot be stated that the payment made by the plaintiffs was for the defendants as it must be the case if the plaintiffs are to get any benefit under Section 70, Contract Act. The decree obtained against the plaintiffs by the Rajah of Bobbili was not one that could have been executed against the defendants. It was a decree against the heirs of the original pattadar. It is in evidence that the defendants had paid rents both prior to the period covered by the decree obtained against the plaintiffs and also for the period subsequent to the decree. As such, the Rajah of Bobbili knew that the defendants had become interested in the property as transferees and that the decree obtained by him against the plaintiffs could not by any means be executed against the defendants. It is also in evidence that though the plaintiffs were the heirs of the original pattadar, still the Rajah of Bobbili had recognised the defendants as the tenants as being in possession and enjoyment of the lands. The receipts EX. D series, issued by the estate of the Rajah of Bobbili to the defendants for payment of cist for different faslis would clearly indicate that the Rajah of Bobbili had recognised the defendants as tenants in occupation and enjoyment of the lands. In at least two of the said receipts, the defendants have been specifically described as the purchasers from the pattadar. Learned counsel for the appellants contends that recognition of tenants by the zamindar under the Estates Land Act could only be in accordance with Section 145, Estates Land Act. But according to the decisions in Munisami v. Narasappa, I. L. R. (1941) Mad. 785: A. I. R. 1941 Mad. 539, Subbarayulu v. Arunachala Nadar, 70 (1936) M. L. J. 576: A I. R. 1936 Mad. 465 and Veeramma v. Ramanna : AIR1946Mad315 , it has been held that tenants of lands in a zamindari estate could be recognised in ways other than the one prescribed under Section 145, Estates Land Act. Such being the case, it cannot be argued that the plaintiffs continued to be interested in the property as pattadars as contended by the learned counsel for the petitioners in the alternative, so as to bring their claims within the scope of Section 69, Contract Act. Further, where a person divests himself from (of?) all his interests in the property and has ceased to have any interest in the same, by reason of a valid transfer, he cannot be said to be within the relationship contemplated either by Section 69 or Section 70 Contract Act. Again, if any person claims to have done anything for the benefit of another person, that benefit should not be an indirect benefit but should be a direct benefit for that other person. It has been so held in S. I. Rly. Co., Ltd. v. Municipal Council, Madura : AIR1945Mad427 . In the present case, it cannot be said that the defendants have had any direct benefit from the action of the plaintiffs in having paid the amount of the decree obtained by the Rajah of Bobbili. As already observed, the plaintiffs having ceased to have any interest in the property, by season of the sale in favour of the defendants, it cannot be claimed that they could be entitled to contribution from the defendants under Section 69 of the Act. The learned District Munsif is therefore right in holding that Section 69, Contract Act, also could not apply to the present case, Apart from this, the suit itself was not framed as to fall within the scope of Section 69, Contract Act. It is filed simply as a suit for reimbursement coming within the scope of Section 70, Contract Act.

6. For the reasons stated above, I do not think the plaintiffs are entitled to any reimbursement from the defendants to the extent of the amount claimed in the suit. I therefore uphold the decision of the learned District Munsif and dismiss this civil revision petition with costs of the contesting respondents.


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