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Palaniappa Chettiar Vs. Rasu Naidu and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1958)1MLJ93
AppellantPalaniappa Chettiar
RespondentRasu Naidu and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 250 in cash but also filed the promissory notes in question and his day-book and ledger which clearly showed that the rs. the learned district munsif took the extraordinary view that the account-books of money-lenders must be presumed to be faked from the beginning to end and so such account-books should be disregarded summarily and the oral evidence of an interested party like the first defendant preferred to the entries in these account-books, the recitals in the promissory notes and the oral evidence of the moneylender himself. are as astonishing as they are bad law......these promissory notes. there was no evidence regarding this extraordinary contention except the oral evidence of the first defendant, as d.w. 1, whereas the plaintiff not only examined himself as p.w. 1 to prove the payment of rs. 250 in cash but also filed the promissory notes in question and his day-book and ledger which clearly showed that the rs. 250 were advanced in cash towards the promissory notes and did not represent bogus amounts or would have been amounts of expected lost interest as urged by the defendants. the learned district munsif took the extraordinary view that the account-books of money-lenders must be presumed to be faked from the beginning to end and so such account-books should be disregarded summarily and the oral evidence of an interested party like the first.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is a petition filed by one Palaniappa Chettiar, the plaintiff in S.C.S. No. 162 of 1954 on the file of the District Munsif of Pudukottai, for revising and setting aside the judgment and decree of the learned District Munsif dismissing the suit with costs. The facts are briefly these.

2. The suit was filed by the petitioner, a Nattukottai Chettiar, for recovering Rs. 274-8 from the respondents being the amount due on two promissory notes executed in his favour by the first and second respondents. The respondents contended that they really were not given the Rs. 250, the principal, under the two promissory notes, as pretended by the plaintiff and that this sum represented excess interest (over the 12 per cent per annum mentioned) not claimable under the present Acts giving relief regarding interest but collected by the Nattukottai Chettiar, the plaintiff, and ingeniously incorporated as two amounts lent under these promissory notes. There was no evidence regarding this extraordinary contention except the oral evidence of the first defendant, as D.W. 1, whereas the plaintiff not only examined himself as P.W. 1 to prove the payment of Rs. 250 in cash but also filed the promissory notes in question and his day-book and ledger which clearly showed that the Rs. 250 were advanced in cash towards the promissory notes and did not represent bogus amounts or would have been amounts of expected lost interest as urged by the defendants. The learned District Munsif took the extraordinary view that the account-books of money-lenders must be presumed to be faked from the beginning to end and so such account-books should be disregarded summarily and the oral evidence of an interested party like the first defendant preferred to the entries in these account-books, the recitals in the promissory notes and the oral evidence of the moneylender himself. He held further that in such cases he had an absolute discretion to believe the oral evidence of an interested defendant and disregard the oral and documentary evidence furnished by the plaintiff, his account-books and the promissory notes. So he dismissed the suit with costs.

3. I have perused the entire records and heard learned Counsel on both sides. The learned Counsel for the petitioner urged that the view taken by the trial Judge regarding money-lenders and their account-books and the recitals in promissory notes taken by them was utterly perverse and indefensible under our law. I entirely agree. The fact that we are living in a Republic and are working towards a socialistic pattern of society does not mean that every man of status should be presumed to be a perjurer, and every money-lender to be a forger and fabricator of accounts. That will be an anti-social view and not a socialistic view. The remarks of the learned District Munsif in paragraph 8 of his judgment:

The accounts books of a money-lender are naturally cooked up even from the beginning to suit the allegations made by him, so that the fact of Exhibits A-4 and A-5 mentioning the payment of consideration even for Exhibits A-2 and A-3 cannot be taken as furthering the case of affording proof of the plaintiff's case. The circumstances and probabilities are to be taken as safer guides in finding out the truth.

are as astonishing as they are bad law.

4. Mr. K.S. Desikan, learned Counsel for the respondents, could not support the above views as either correct or judicious. Times were when the Nattukottai Chettiars' accounts were taken to be accurate and were never even questioned. Perhaps those times have passed. But the times when money-lenders' accounts, including Nattukottai Chettiars' accounts, are to be presumed to be forgeries are yet to come ; and I do hope will never come. The oral and documentary evidence in favour of the plaintiff's case was overwhelming. The only evidence contra was the interested, absurd and incredible evidence of D.W. 1.

5. In the result, I set aside the judgment and decree of the lower Court and decree the suit with the costs in the lower Court, as prayed for. But I direct all the parties to bear their own costs in this C.R.P. as the respondents can in no way be held responsible for the extraordinary views of the learned District Munsif regarding money-lenders' accounts and the alleged conclusive presumption regarding their being always forged.


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