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Seth Tulsidoss Lalchand Vs. G. Rajagopal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectBanking
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1967)2MLJ66
AppellantSeth Tulsidoss Lalchand
RespondentG. Rajagopal and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Warrington v. Early
Excerpt:
- - before him, as well as before me, the argument has been addressed on behalf of the plaintiff that under section 20 of the negotiable instruments act, the promisee is entitled to fill up the promissory note as regard the rate of interest because, but for that, the document would be an incomplete instrument......dismissed and whose appeal thereon was also dismissed. the suit was on the basis of a promissory note. the promissory note was on a printed form. the defendants' contention in the suit was a plea of discharge, which was found against by the trial court but both the appellant and the trial court accepted the contention put forward on behalf of the defendants that the plaintiff had filled up the blank in the promissory note with regard to the interest showing that it was one per cent. per month. they, therefore, held that this amounted to a material alteration and dismissed the plaintiff's suit.2. the question therefore before this court is of a very limited scope, and that is whether the fact that the promisee had filled up the blank with regard to the rate of interest makes the.....
Judgment:

A. Alagiriswami, J.

1. This is a petition to revise the judgment and decree of the learned District Judge, Tiruchirapalli, in A.S. No. 577 of 1963 by a plaintiff whose suit was dismissed and whose appeal thereon was also dismissed. The suit was on the basis of a promissory note. The promissory note was on a printed form. The defendants' contention in the suit was a plea of discharge, which was found against by the trial Court but both the appellant and the trial Court accepted the contention put forward on behalf of the defendants that the plaintiff had filled up the blank in the promissory note with regard to the interest showing that it was one per cent. per month. They, therefore, held that this amounted to a material alteration and dismissed the plaintiff's suit.

2. The question therefore before this Court is of a very limited scope, and that is whether the fact that the promisee had filled up the blank with regard to the rate of interest makes the document one which has been materially altered. There is a decision by Srinivasan, J., in C.R.P. No. 1544 of 1957, wherein he has held that an alteration of the present kind would be a material alteration disabling the plaintiff from suing on the instrument so altered. Before him, as well as before me, the argument has been addressed on behalf of the plaintiff that under Section 20 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the promisee is entitled to fill up the promissory note as regard the rate of interest because, but for that, the document would be an incomplete instrument. Such an argument was repelled by Srinivasan, J., on the ground that Section 80 of the Negotiable Instruments Act provides that where there is no rate of interest mentioned in a promissory note six per cent. would be deemed to be the rate of interest payable, and therefore, a promissory note which does not mention the rate of interest payable thereon cannot be said to be an incomplete instrument and consequently a promisee has no authority to fill up the promissory note with regard to the rate of interest, and if he does so, it would amount to a material alteration. On behalf of the petitioner the decision in Raghunath Prasad v. Mangilal is relied on. That case was decided under the Stamp Act. In that case the promisor promised to repay a certain sum with interest, the rate of interest itself not being specified. The Court held that, as the definition of a promissory note, as defined by the Negotiable Instruments Act, and as a promissory note should be one under which a certain sum should be payable, and as the rate of interest was not specified, the sum payable was not certain. The Court observed that Section 80 of the Negotiable Instruments Act cannot be brought into the picture in order to hold that in that instrument the amount payable in a certain sum because the rate of interest would be fixed by Section 80. In other words, the conclusion was that the provisions contained in the Negotiable Instruments Act are not relevant for the purpose of deciding a question that arises under the Stamp Act except in so far as the definition of a promissory note in the Negotiable Instruments Act is incorporated in the Stamp Act as no other provision of the Negotiable Instruments Act is so incorporated. In Warrington v. Early (1853) 118 E.R. 953, a promissory note was made payable six months after date with lawful interest. After it had been signed, without the assent of the maker, but with the assent of the holder, there was added in the corner of the note 'interest at six per cent. per annum '. It was held that this addition materially altered the contract and that the holder could not recover on the note against the maker. This was in spite of the fact that in England where a bill or note is expressed to be with interest but no rate is prescribed, it will be presumed to be at five per cent, and an instrument payable with lawful interest is thus not invalid for uncertainty. Therefore, it would appear that even though the law provides that where a promissory note does not express the rate of interest payable thereon, six per cent. interest shall be payable under Section 80 of Negotiable Instruments Act any alteration of the instrument by the promisee inserting rate of interest would amount to a material alteration. On the whole, I am disposed to agree with Srinivasan, J., and that conclusion is strengthened by the decision above referred to. In the result, the Civil Revision Petition is dismissed. But there will be no order as to costs.


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