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T.N. Chockalingam Chettiar Vs. Chidambaram Pillai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1960)2MLJ327
AppellantT.N. Chockalingam Chettiar
RespondentChidambaram Pillai and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 1. the petitioners in this interlocutory application pleaded that there were other facts which ought to be taken into consideration, and which came to light by enquiry on their part, which would be sufficient to show that this admission was erroneous, though made in good faith, and ought not to have been acted upon......preliminary decree by deleting the clause relating to payment in instalments, and also payment of costs to defendants by the plaintiff. i.a. no. 169 of 1956 was subsequently filed in the lower court for a review of this judgment, on the main ground that the judgment proceeded upon a certain admission or admissions as to matters of fact by the defendants, in the suit, particularly by the third defendant giving evidence as d.w. 1. the petitioners in this interlocutory application pleaded that there were other facts which ought to be taken into consideration, and which came to light by enquiry on their part, which would be sufficient to show that this admission was erroneous, though made in good faith, and ought not to have been acted upon. it is upon this basis, that the review of the.....
Judgment:

1. These are related Civil Miscellaneous Appeals from the revised judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge of Pudukottai in A.S. No. 61 of 1955, and the order in I.A. No. 169 of 1956. In C.M.A. No. 353 of 1957, the appellant is the plaintiff in the Court below, and, broadly stated, the grounds of appeal are identical with those in the related Civil Miscellaneous Appeal. In C.M.A. No. 94 of 1958, the appellant is also the plaintiff. The relevant facts which are necessary for a disposal of the matter now before me, are as follows.

2. A.S. No. 61 of 1955 was an appeal against the judgment of the District Munsif of Pudukottai granting a mortgage decree in favour of the plaintiff; but allowing certain reliefs to the defendants. In that suit, under Madras Act I of 1955, &e; question between the parties was whether the defendants were entitled to the benefits of that Act, and that was also the question which was agitated before the learned Subordinate Judge in appeal. By this judgment, dated 29th February, 1956, the learned Judge originally held that the defendants were paying land revenue exceeding Rs. 150 per annum, and that, therefore, they were disentitled to the benefits of the Act. In consequence, he allowed the appeal with costs, and modified the preliminary decree by deleting the clause relating to payment in instalments, and also payment of costs to defendants by the plaintiff. I.A. No. 169 of 1956 was subsequently filed in the lower Court for a review of this judgment, on the main ground that the judgment proceeded upon a certain admission or admissions as to matters of fact by the defendants, in the suit, particularly by the third defendant giving evidence as D.W. 1. The petitioners in this Interlocutory Application pleaded that there were other facts which ought to be taken into consideration, and which came to light by enquiry on their part, which would be sufficient to show that this admission was erroneous, though made in good faith, and ought not to have been acted upon. It is upon this basis, that the review of the judgment was sought under Sections 114 and 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Order 47, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code.

3. The learned Subordinate Judge went into this matter, and came to the conclusion, with the merits of which I am not now concerned for reasons that I shall presently state, that these admissions were erroneous, and should not have been acted upon. He then properly addressed himself to the question whether he had jurisdiction to review the judgment, within the scope of Order 47, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code, particularly the words, ' for any other sufficient reason ' occurring; in that rule. He referred to authority for the view that these words had to be construed ejusdem generis with the other categories of the rule laying dowr the limits of propriety, with regard to the exercise of the powers of review by a Court. But, even so, he thought that a case had been established for the grant of a review, and in the result, he allowed the application and remanded the suit for fresh hearing according to law. It is this order which is now substantially canvassed in the Civil Miscellaneous Appeals.

4. In view of the subsequent events, the subject-matter of controversy has now become largely academic. It is not in dispute before me that the time for payment of the decretal amount in instalments, which was available to the defendants under the provisions of Madras Act I of 1955 (even assuming that they were entitled to the benefits of this Act), has now expired, so that they are now liable to pay the decretal amount immediately. It is equally not in dispute that a final decree has been made, following the preliminary decree, determining and stating the liability. The only part of the claim which will be affected by the provisions of Madras Act I of I955 wiH be the liability for costs as under that statute it is the plaintiff who is to be held liable for cost, and not the agriculturist-defendant or defendants. I am not fully convinced that this was a case in which the exercise of power of review by the lower Court was justified. It is obvious that, if parties are to be permittted to gather fresh facts and to allege them in order to affect or modify an earlier admission in the record of trial, and to obtain a review upon such basis, this may affect the principle of finality of decision, and also leave the door open for abuses of several kinds. But, on the contrary, it may be that, under the particular circumstances of this case, the learned Judge felt that the interests of justice required interference by way of review, and I agree that too narrow a construction upon the words, ' or for any other sufficient cause' in Order 47, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code, will not be in accord with equitable principles. But, in any event, since the matter has become largely academic owing to the efflux of time and the subsequent events that have transpired, I think that it will now be sufficient to determine the rights of parties as follows.

5. The appeal will be allowed, though I am not committing myself to a finding, that powers of review ought not to be exercised in conceivable circumstances of this character, and the order of remand will be set aside. Further trial of the suit, I may add, has become largely unnecessary because of the final decree since passed; and the efflux of time. The final decree will stand confirmed; but with the modification that as regards costs, which is the only subject-matter in real controversy left at present, the parties will bear their own costs throughout. The defendants will have four months' time from the date of receipt of the records by the Court below, for payment of the balance of the decretal amount. The direction as to costs will govern the Civil Miscellaneous Appeals also.


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