Skip to content


A. Poongavana Naicker Vs. S. Muthurama Naidu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 1801 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad762; (1952)2MLJ46
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115 - Order 21, Rule 84
AppellantA. Poongavana Naicker
RespondentS. Muthurama Naidu and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP.C. Parthasarathy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK. Bhimasankaram, ;Narayanachari, ;A. Seshachari and ;A. Srinivasan, Advs.
Cases ReferredSurendro Kesub v. Doorgasoondary Dassee
Excerpt:
.....order and directed to accept final conclusion of sale. - - 130 of 1950 was dismissed by the subordinate judge on 6-11-1950. having been aggrieved by this order of the subordinate judge on the ground that the lower court failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it by law, the creditor seeks to revise the order of the lower court. 3 of the conditions of sale states that the highest bidder shall be declared to be the purchaser of any lot, provided always that he is legally qualified to bid and provided that it shall be in the discretion of the court or the officer holding the sale to decline the acceptance of the highest bid when the price offered appears so clearly inadequate as to make it advisable to do so. this condition, which has a force of law, because it is a form in..........that court to set it aside, but it cannot return the amount of the sale proceeds tendered by the sale officer and received by the chief ministerial officer of the court, completely ignoring the sale held by the central nazir on 1-11-1950. these proceedings were administrative in nature and at the time the district judge professed to pass this order neither party nor counsel was present. on 4-11-1950, one of the creditors of the judgment-debtors, whose estate has become vested in the official receiver, applied under section 151, c.p.c., for directions that the central nazir should be ordered not to conclude the sale held on 1-11-1950. the subordinate judge on that application held that the remedy of the aggrieved party was to apply to set aside the sale on the ground of material.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Govinda Menon, J.

1. In execution of a decree in O. S. No. 13 of 1949 on the file of the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Chingleput, certain properties belonging to the judgment debtor, who had become subsequently insolvent were ordered to be sold by a sale warrant of the sub court dated 27-10-1950 and the Central Nazir of the District Court was authorised to conduct the sale on 1-11-1950 by public auction. Accordingly, the Central Nazir put up the properties for auction and there were bids at that auction. The sale went on for some time and the highest bidder was ascertained on 1-11-1950, It so happened that on that day the Subordinate Judge was on casual leave and on the next day on an application made by the Official Receiver, the Subordinate Judge directed that the sale should be continued from day to day till 6-11-1950. On the same evening the Central Nazir took up the matter before the District Judge who, by an administrative order, held that as the sale conducting officer had no notice of any petition either for adjournment of the sale or for any other relief, when he put up the properties for sale on 1-11-1950, the holding of the sale by him was correct and the conclusion of the sale on that day itself by him was correct. The District Judge further expressed an opinion that there is no rule which prohibits the sale conducting officer duly authorised by warrant from conducting and concluding the sale simply on the ground of the presiding officer's absence on casual leave. The Judge further went on to observe that if the Court which directed the holding of the sale by the Central Nazir thought that the sale was irregular, it is for that Court to set it aside, but it cannot return the amount of the sale proceeds tendered by the sale officer and received by the Chief Ministerial officer of the Court, completely ignoring the sale held by the Central Nazir on 1-11-1950. These proceedings were administrative in nature and at the time the District Judge professed to pass this order neither party nor counsel was present. On 4-11-1950, one of the creditors of the judgment-debtors, whose estate has become vested in the Official Receiver, applied under Section 151, C.P.C., for directions that the Central Nazir should be ordered not to conclude the sale held on 1-11-1950. The Subordinate Judge on that application held that the remedy of the aggrieved party was to apply to set aside the sale on the ground of material irregularity and therefore, held that the petition was not maintainable. He also held that the Official Receiver who alone can have any grievance in the matter has not applied for that relief and, therefore, the application by the creditor was not maintainable. On both these grounds I. A. No. 719 of 1950 in E. P. No. 130 of 1950 was dismissed by the Subordinate Judge on 6-11-1950. Having been aggrieved by this order of the Subordinate Judge on the ground that the lower Court failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it by law, the creditor seeks to revise the order of the lower Court.

2. Mr. K. Bhimasankaram appearing for the decreeholder raises a belated preliminary objection that the Order of the Subordinate Judge dated 6-11-1950 being administrative in nature is not a case decided within the meaning of Section 115, C. P. C., and that this Court, in its judicial capacity, has no jurisdiction to interfere. The learned counsel contended that on the analogy of orders passed under Order 21, Rule 66 and the other provisions of the Code regarding settling of the upset prices and various other details prior to the culmination of the sale, having been held as administrative it should be deemed that the present order, whereby the Court, which was approached under Section 151, refused the relief asked for, should also be deemed to be an administrative one. I am unable to agree with this contention. What has happened is that when the Court was asked to give directions to the sale conducting officer not to conclude the sale but to continue it 'de die in diem' from 1-11-1950 and when the matter was argued in open Court in the presence of the parties and the procedure laid down for judicial proceedings was followed, it is difficult to say that the order is in the nature of an administrative one, I am definitely of opinion that the order of the Subordinate Judge, dated 6-11-1950, is a case decided within the meaning of Section 115, C. P. C., and is revisable.

3. The question then arises as to whether the Court below has acted with material irregularity in the exercise of its jurisdiction in holding that the sale has been concluded on 1-11-1950. That the Central Nazir of the District Court is an officer empowered to conduct the sale is clear and evident from Rule 200, Civil Rules of Practice which states that the person appointed to sell the property shall conduct the sale in the manner prescribed by the Code for the sale of attached property etc. According to the structure of the administrative machinery at the head quarters of the District, the Cental Nazir of the District Court is a person who is automatically deemed to be appointed for purposes of conducting court sales under Rule 200. There is no dispute that the Central Nazir in this case was the proper person to conduct the sale. Appendix E Schedule 1, C. P. C., form No. 29 deals with the proclamation of sale and para. 3 of the conditions of sale states that the highest bidder shall be declared to be the purchaser of any lot, provided always that he is legally qualified to bid and provided that it shall be in the discretion of the Court or the officer holding the sale to decline the acceptance of the highest bid when the price offered appears so clearly inadequate as to make it advisable to do so. This condition, which has a force of law, because it is a form in Appendix E to the Civil Procedure Code, lays down clearly that it is within the discrimination of the Court to accept or reject a bid before the sale conducting officer. Mr. Seshachariar, for the purchaser, very strenuously contends that when the property is knocked down for the highest bid, the Court has no further jurisdiction in the matter to say that the sale has not become complete; that is, automatically the Court must accept the highest bid and hold that the person who has knocked it down is the purchaser and thereby the sale is concluded. I am not able to agree with this contention. Form No. 71, Civil Rules of Practice, relates to the report of the Central Nazir or other auctioneer under Rule 200(2) to the Court and there it is laid down as to what the Central Nazir should state to the Court regarding the procedure and the manner in which the sale was conducted. It is not necessary to extract here in detail the various clauses as well as schedules mentioned in that form because para. 3 says that the Central Nazir has to inform the Court that he put up the several lots for sale by auction at so and so and the person who knocked down the several lots. It is then left to the Court to accept the action of the Central Nazir or to reject it. To say that because the sale conducting officer has accepted the highest bid and, therefore, the Court has no further jurisdiction but should, as it were, take upon itself the vicarious duty of confirming the sale, is in my opinion, illogical. It is not as if this decision is bereft of authority. In -- 'Jaibhdar Jha v. Matukdhari Jha', AIR 1923 Pat 525 (A), Das and Macpherson JJ. had considered a matter of similar nature. They held that an execution sale, whether held in the immediate presence of the presiding officer of the Court or not, is not complete until the presiding officer of the Court has accepted the bid and declared the purchaser under Order 21, Rule 84. A mere order to close the bidding does not complete the sale even though the highest bidder is erroneously permitted to make the deposit required by Rule 84. They further held that the formal order declaring who has purchased the property put up for sale should be submitted for signature under Rule 84 expeditiously, before the presiding officer rises for the day. The following observations at page 527 are pertinent.

' ......... In fact, the function of the Nazir or other officer appointed by the Court to conduct the auction is of a ministerial character; if he conducts it in presence of the presiding officer, the latter is still in direct charge of it, forthwith declares under Order 21, Rule 84, who the purchaser is and signs the formal order (as in fact happened on the 16th November in this case), and the sale is not complete until the declaration has been made and the order signed. Equally when the auction is (for reasons of convenience) not held in his presence) the presiding officer is still in charge of it and the officer conducting the sale is in no more responsible position than if he were conducting it in presence of the presiding officer; that the sale may be completed, not only the order of the presiding officer to close the bidding, but also his order under Order 21, Rule 84, formally accepting the bid and declaring the purchaser is required exactly as in the sale proceedings conducted in his presence.'

These observations, as I have already stated, are pertinent to the facts of the case. The Central Nazir being an officer immediately subordinate to the District Judge conducts the sale not in the actual presence of the Subordinate Judge, but in a separate place; and even so when the Central Nazir accepts a final bid, the sale will become complete only when the Court, which has directed the sale accepts the final bid. It is open to the Court in its judicial discretion either to accept it or reject it. I need not say under what conditions a Court will reject it, because conditions might be different in different cases. The case in AIR 1923 Pat 525 (A) came up for consideration in -- 'Surendramohan v. Manmathanath : AIR1931Cal583 before Sahrawardy and Patterson JJ. and the learned Judges dissenting from an earlier judgment of Panton J. of the same Court and following AIR 1923 Pat 525 (A), held that the sale of property in an auction by the order of a Court, although held by an officer of the Court or by any person appointed in this behalf, is nevertheless a sale by the Court itself. It is not completed until the Court formally accepts the bid and declares the purchaser under Order 21, Rule 84, C. P. Code. Prior to such order, the bidder, whose bid was accepted by the officer at the time of the bid, does not acquire any interest in the property and the Court can, for adequate reasons, direct the sale of the property without any notice to the bidder. Since the principles' enunciated in these decisions has my complete approval, it is unnecessary for me to elaborate at any length the facts of the particular cases adverted to by me. In our own Court, though on facts not 'ad idem', there is a decision in -- 'Ratnasami Pillai v. Sabapathi Pillai', : AIR1925Mad318 where Krishnan and Odgers JJ. considered a similar matter and following the decision in -- 'Surendro Kesub v. Doorgasoondary Dassee', 15 Cal 253 (D) the learned Judges held that, no doubt, the ordinary rule regarding a private auction is that where an auction is held without any reservation, there is an implied condition that the highest bid will be accepted, but that rule cannot be said to apply to a sale by a Court officer under the directions of the Court. In court sales, it is the acceptance by the Court that constitutes the contract. These observations make it clear that however much the Central Nazir might have thought that the sale was concluded, it cannot become effective and conclusive unless the Court accepts it.

4. Therefore, the question has to be considered as to what should have been done on the facts of this case. I need hardly advert to the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, especially Order 21, Rules 65, 69 and 84 regarding the procedure to be followed and the final conclusion of the sale in execution of a decree.

5. It is not clear from the decision of the learned Judge as to whether he was aware on 2-11-1950, when he directed that the sale should go on from day to day, that the Central Nazir had completed the bid on 1-11-1950. If the subordinate Judge, after knowing that the Central Nazir had completed the sale, or in other words, the properties were knocked down to the highest bidder, still thought that the sale should be held thereafter from day to day, it is tantamount to holding that the Subordinate Judge did not accept the Central Nazir's conclusion of the sale and, therefore, the sale had not become concluded and the order of the Subordinate Judge refusing to interfere at a later stage is erroneous in the exercise of his jurisdiction. If on the other hand, the Subordinate Judge did not know that the Central Nazir had accepted the highest bid and according to the Central Nazir the sale had become complete, and directed the sale to go on, then it is open to the Subordinate Judge, after knowing the correct stage of fads, either to accept the sale as concluded or not. Since it is difficult to find cut and the parties are not able to clarify the situation as to under what impression the Subordinate Judge made the order dated 2-11-1950, in my opinion, the order of the Subordinate Judge cannot stand. I therefore set aside the order of the Subordinate Judge and direct him either to accept the final conclusion of the sale by the Central Nazir, if he did not know that at the time he passed the order on 2-11-1950 that the Central Nazir had finally concluded the sale. It is open to the Subordinate Judge in the exercise of his judicial jurisdiction to accept the Nazir's final acceptance or reject the same.

6. There will be no order as to costs in this civil revision petition.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //