Skip to content


Nallaperumal Chetti Vs. Valliyappa Chetti and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Family
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Mad721
AppellantNallaperumal Chetti
RespondentValliyappa Chetti and ors.
Cases Referred and Ram Dass v. Bhagwat Dass
Excerpt:
- - their lordships are not expressing an opinion that in a suit for account it may not appear at the hearing that the issue is so simple and so clearly raised, and met by evidence as to be ready for decision at that time......against defendant 7. this represented moneys belonging to the estate which had been invested. the subordinate judge passed a decree for rs. 40,000 with interest at 6 per cent per annum. in appeal no. 120 of 1925 we held that the amount in deposit with defendant 7 was not rs. 40,000 but rs. 37,100 on the date of the plaint and we modified the decree by allowing rs. 37,100 with interest as stated above. that money has been paid into court and there is no question of any loss to the estate so far as that money is concerned except as regards interest which is the subject matter of appeal no. 257.2. the subordinate judge found that there was one more item for which the defendants were accountable and this was a sum of rs. 3,000 proved to have been collected by defendant 5. he allowed that.....
Judgment:

1. These appeals arise out of a suit filed by the plaintiffs, plaintiff 1 claiming to be the legatee under the Will of his grandfather, for an account of the estate and for possession. He also wanted damages for misfeasance and malfeasance of the executors. The executors are defendants 1 and 5. The lower Court passed a decree in plaintiff's favour. Defendant 1's case was that defendant 5 was managing the estate till his disappearance in 1915 and that his management was merely formal, i.e., he merely signed in the deposit account and the receipts Exs. 4 and 4 (a). Defendant 5 was admittedly not heard of for five or six years before the suit and he is not heard of even now. His son has been impleaded as being a member of the undivided family. Defendant 5 is ex parte. Defendant 6's mother and guardian in her written statement denied that defendant 5 (her husband) ever took part in the management of the estate. Upon this issues were raised and the case went to trial. It was found that defendant 5 did take part in the management of the estate, that he put in moneys and collected moneys and that he also sold an item of property in which the testator had a third share. Out of the moneys which belonged to the estate and which were invested, there was a claim in the plaint for Rs. 40,000 against defendant 7. This represented moneys belonging to the estate which had been invested. The Subordinate Judge passed a decree for Rs. 40,000 with interest at 6 per cent per annum. In Appeal No. 120 of 1925 we held that the amount in deposit with defendant 7 was not Rs. 40,000 but Rs. 37,100 on the date of the plaint and we modified the decree by allowing Rs. 37,100 with interest as stated above. That money has been paid into Court and there is no question of any loss to the estate so far as that money is concerned except as regards interest which is the subject matter of Appeal No. 257.

2. The Subordinate Judge found that there was one more item for which the defendants were accountable and this was a sum of Rs. 3,000 proved to have been collected by defendant 5. He allowed that sum with interest at 9 per cent, per annum. As regards that sum it is not disputed before us that sum was collected by defendant 5 as that is proved beyond all doubt by the account books filed. What is argued is that the Court should not have allowed Rs. 3,000 and interest, but that an account should have been directed to be taken and defendant 5 given an opportunity of proving certain expenses which he had incurred for the estate and which he was entitled to credit for. When the case was closed defendant 6 put in a petition saying that certain accounts which showed dealings by defendant 5 with the estate were found behind some vessels in the house and wanted admission of these books. The Subordinate Judge, in our opinion, rightly rejected the petition. The question raised in Appeal No. 407 by Mr. Padmanabha Ayyangar is that the Judge ought to have passed a preliminary decree and then sent the case for taking accounts, and he refers to the Privy Council decision in Hurronath Roy Bahadoor v. Krishna Coomar Bukshi [1887] 14 Cal. 147, and to Mohesh Chunder Bose v. Radha Kishen Bhattacharjee [1907] 6 C.L.J. 580, Degumber Mozoomdar v. Kali Nath Roy [1881] 7 Cal. 654, Raghunath v. Ganpatji [1905] 27 All. 374, Ayeshabai v. Ebrahim Haji Jacob [1908] 32 Bom. 364, Thirukumaresan Chetti v. Subbaraya Chetti [1897] 20 Mad. 313 and Ram Dass v. Bhagwat Dass [1905] 1 A.L.J. 347 in support of his view. He also refers in this connexion to Order 20, Rule 16, Sch. 1, Civil P.C., and Rules 120 to 136 of the Civil Rules of Practice (Mofussil). There can be little doubt on these authorities that ordinarily in a case for an account, even though the defendant may deny his accountability, the proper course is to pass a preliminary decree and send the case for taking accounts. But we do not think that it follows that in every case irrespective of other considerations, the Court is bound to send the case for taking accounts. Their Lordships of the Privy Council in dealing with this point make a reservation. At p. 133 (of 13 I.A.) they state:

Their Lordships are not expressing an opinion that in a suit for account it may not appear at the hearing that the issue is so simple and so clearly raised, and met by evidence as to be ready for decision at that time. But the general rule is the other way.

3. Order 20, Rule 16, also does not make it imperative to pass a preliminary decree apart from any other consideration. All that Rule 16 says is that a preliminary decree may be passed where it is necessary in order to ascertain the amount of money due to or from any party that an account should be taken. In the present case we have the fact that so far as the liability of the defendants is concerned, it is Rs. 40,000 which was claimed and ultimately decreed, not having been disputed by defendant 7 except as to Rs. 3,000 odd which he says was not deposited. His solvency was not disputed and he has paid the sum due into Court. The only question between the executors and the plaintiff was whether Rs. 3,000 was collected. As regards a sum of about Rs. 780 which was got by the sale of the village, that there was a sale-deed and that the amount was received is not disputed. The plaintiff will be entitled to a half of that amount. As regards the Rs. 3,000, as we have said before, it is proved beyond all doubt that, and it is not denied before us that, that sum was collected by defendant 5. Therefore, when the case came up for disposal, there was the Rs. 3,000 proved to have been collected and no denial in the written statement that the amount was ever collected. No statement was made that any expenses were incurred, nor did defendant 6 ask the Judge at that stage to allow the expenses he had incurred in connexion with that item. The petition to file account-books said to have been discovered behind some brass, vessels was rightly rejected. It, therefore, comes, in our opinion, in the category of cases which the Privy Council describes as cases where the facts are so simple that the taking of accounts will be unnecessarily lengthening the proceedings without any benefit to the parties. It may be more complicated if in Appeal No. 257 the appellants insist on the usual procedure being adopted by reason of other items being charged. But their counsel does not want the case to be sent back for a preliminary decree being passed which will only mean unnecessary lengthening of the proceedings without any material benefit to anybody.

4. Appeal No. 212 is filed by defendant 1. But in view of the fact that the plaintiffs who are appellants in Appeal No. 257 do not object to a decree making defendant 6 liable in the first instance for money collected the further point raised needs no consideration.

5. Then we come to Appeal No. 257 filed by the plaintiffs. Their advocate confines his case to two points: (1) that the Subordinate Judge was wrong in giving interest at 6 per cent on the Rs. 37,000 which was in the firm at the date of the plaint and he must have given 9 per cent; and (2) that in making defendant 6 liable in respect of plaintiff's share of the village sold by defendant 5, Rs. 390 should have been awarded and not Rs. 360, So far as the deposit with defendant 7 is concerned plaintiff 1 repudiated the terms under which it was made, on the ground that the arrangement during his minority does bind him. The arrangement was that the amount should be paid to both defendant 1 and defendant 7 who it was said were acting in plaintiff's behalf at the time of his marriage. The right of plaintiff 1 to recover the sum is now disputed. The question of interest between the date of the plaint and the decree is a matter in the discretion of the Court, and the Subordinate Judge allowed 6 per cent. It is not quite clear that if he had been given the tavanai rate of interest which fluctuates, he would have got very much more than 8 or 8 per cent. Interest has been given at 6 per cent on the principal and interest due at the date of the plaint and a large portion of Rs. 37,000 represents accrued interest. In these circumstances we do not think that there is any ground for interfering with the discretion of the Subordinate Judge who gave 6 per cent on the total of Rs. 37,000.

6. Then as regards the claim for a third share in the sale-proceeds of lands, the amount got by defendant 7 was Rs. 780 and it is admitted by his advocate here that Rs. 390 would be the proper amount and not Rs. 260. The decree will be modified by making defendant 6 pay Rs. 390 instead of Rs. 260. This disposes of all the contentions raised.

7. The result is Appeal No. 407 will be dismissed with costs. As regards Appeal No. 212 the decree will be modified by stating that the amounts of Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 390 with interest would, in the first instance, be recoverable from defendant 6 out of the joint family properties of the said defendant and that the portion not recovered will be made recoverable from defendant 1. Bach party will bear his own costs. Appeal No. 257 is dismissed with cost, one set given to defendants 1, 6 and 7 to be apportioned in proportion to the amounts in respect of which they are interested in the appeal.

8. Plaintiff 1 was the legatee under the Will. Plaintiff 1 was not born then. Plaintiff 1 himself was about four years old at the date of the Will. Plaintiff 2 was added to present any objection as to non-joinder. The decree refers to 'plaintiff' which evidently means plaintiff 1.

9. The decree will therefore specify that the amounts will be payable to plaintiff 1.

10. In the view we have taken in the main judgment no orders are necessary in the Letters Patent Appeal No. 308 of 1926.


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