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G. Veerabahu Pattar Vs. P. Eswara Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Limitation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1975)1MLJ31
AppellantG. Veerabahu Pattar
RespondentP. Eswara Pillai
Cases ReferredTilak Ram v. Nathu
Excerpt:
- - therefore the said person shall enjoy the property from this date as a sale of othi right. these statements were clearly made for the purpose of describing his own rights which he was selling under this deed. the decision of the supreme court is clearly against this proposition of the learned......a.i.r. 1953 t.c. 244, which also considered the deed of assignment by a mortgagee of existing mortgage rights and held that such a deed of assignment would constitute a valid acknowledgment and save the suit from the bar of limitation.6. it is not necessary to refer in particular to the facts in nilamma pillai v. raman pillai (1932) 22 t.l.j. 1095 and padmanabhan v. krishna pillai (1937) 27 t.l.j. 961. suffice it to say that these two decisions also dealt with the assignment of the mortgagee's rights and those assignments were considered to be acknowledgments of the mortgage and the liability to be redeemed.7. the scope of section 19 of the limitation act, 1908, itself was considered by the supreme court in s.f. mazda v. durga prosad : [1962]1scr140 and l. c. mills v. aluminium.....
Judgment:

V. Ramaswami, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant. The suit was filed for redemption of a mortgage, dated 12-3-1079 M. E. executed by one Subramania Nambiar, son of Pichan Nambiar, in favour of one Velayudham Pillai, for a sum of 5,000 Fs. The plaintiff claims to' be a successor-in-interest of the equity of redemption. In execution of a decree against the mortgagee Velayudham Pillai, his rights as a mortgagee in the suit property were brought to sale and purchased by the decree-holder in 1926 in Court-auction. The decree-holder-auction-purchaser sold his rights under Exhibit A-1, dated 8-2-M.E. in favour of one Sakkiamma Pillai, maternal grand-mother of the defendant.

2. The only point which survives for consideration in this second appeal is one of limitation. The defendant contended that the mortgage executed on 12-3-1079 M.E. (year 1903) is barred by limitation. The plaintiff contended that Exhibit A-1, dated 8-2-1102 M.E. executed by the Court-auction-purchaser in favour of Sakiamma Pillai amounts to an acknowledgment and, therefore, the suit is in time. There is no dispute that if Exhibit A-1 amounts to an acknowledgment, the suit would be in time. But the question for consideration is whether Exhibit A-1 amounts to an acknowledgment of liability to be redeemed. The deed is styled as a deed of sale of othi rights executed by the Court auction-purchaser in favour of Sakiamma Pillai, to whom the defendant claims to be the legal heir. The document is in Malayalam, and a translation of the same reads as follows:

The patta for the schedule property is in the name of Pichan Subramanian Nambiyar. The pattadar's family has got Karanmai rights over the schedule property. The property including the melwaram right of 5/8 kottas 6 nazhis of paddy was othied to Velayudhan Pillai, son of Sivasankara Pillai by Subramanian Nambiyar under document No. 512 of the Nagercoil Registrar's office and dated 10th Aipasi, 1079. The right as per the said othi document has devolved on me, who is the plaintiff in O.S. No. 155 of 1913 as per Court sale on O.S. No. 155 of 1913 on the file of the Principal District Munsif's Court, Nagercoil. The sale was made absolute on 14th Kanni, 1094. I got the sale certificate and I obtained delivery on 21st Thulam, 1094 and accordingly I am in enjoyment and I am paying tax. As such I assign by way of sale, of my othi right of 5000 fs. which I have over this property as described above, without recourse for a sum of 5000 fs. received as under:

1. 1283/4 fs. reserved to be paid to Subramonia Pillai to whom I have given the property on lease.

4. 487 1/4 fs. received as ready cash. Therefore the said person shall enjoy the property from this date as a sale of othi right. She shall directly receive the pattom from Subramonia Pillai. She shall pay the arrears of tax from 1102. The othi deed in respect of this property, the sale certificate and the delivery list are handed over. Five sheets of certified copy of execution proceedings in O.S. No. 155 of 191s, 3 sheets of the said othi document No. 512 of 1079, 3 receipts for the tax paid by me for the period of 1094 to 1101 tax receipt book I are handed over.

I have not created any encumbrance over the said othi right.

Section 18 of the Limitation Act is to the effect.(1) Where, before the expiration of the prescribed period for a suit or application in respect of any property or right, an acknowledgment of liability in respect of such property or right has been made in writing signed by the party against whom such property or right is claimed, or by any person through whom he derives his title or liability, a fresh period of limitation shall be computed from the time when the acknowledgment was so signed.

3. It is not in dispute in this case that Exhibit A-1 was executed within the period prescribed in the suit for redemption. It is also not in dispute that if that document amounted to an acknowledgment of liability, the acknowledgment was by a person competent to make that acknowledgment. The only dispute between the parties was whether it amounted to an acknowledgment of a subsisting mortgage with a liability to redeem. The lower appellate Court held, differing from the trial Court, that the reference to the original mortgage and the purchase of the mortgagee's right in Court auction and the transfer of the mortgagee's rights under the document are only descriptive of the right conveyed, and did not amount to an acknowledgment of the liability. The learned Counsel for the respondent in this case supported this view of the lower appellate Court. But the learned Counsel for the appellant contended that on the date of sale, the vendor had only a othi right and that she conveyed only that right under that document, and that, therefore, the document amounted to an acknowledgment of liability. Before dealing with the specific recitals in this document itself, it would be useful to refer to the decisions cited at the Bar, which considered the effect of similar documents.

4. In Sidhari Ram v. Gargi Din A.I.R. 1924 All. 458, also the question for consideration was whether the assignment of the mortgagee's rights amounts to an acknowledgment of the liability of the original mortgage. In that case, under a document, the mortgagee purported to sell his rights as mortgagee to the defendants in that suit and that sale deed was relied on as an acknowledgment in the suit filed for redemption. A division Bench of the Allahabad High Court held that very fact of the mortgagee's selling his mortgagee rights was an express acknowledgment of the existence of a subsisting mortgage and of subsisting rights which he was competent to sell, and the fact that the purchaser also purchased only that mortgagee's right was an acceptance on his behalf of an existing mortgage, and it would amount to an acknowledgment, which would save the suit from the bar of limitation.

5. This decision was followed in Padmanabha v. Lakshmi A.I.R. 1953 T.C. 244, which also considered the deed of assignment by a mortgagee of existing mortgage rights and held that such a deed of assignment would constitute a valid acknowledgment and save the suit from the bar of limitation.

6. It is not necessary to refer in particular to the facts in Nilamma Pillai v. Raman Pillai (1932) 22 T.L.J. 1095 and Padmanabhan v. Krishna Pillai (1937) 27 T.L.J. 961. Suffice it to say that these two decisions also dealt with the assignment of the mortgagee's rights and those assignments were considered to be acknowledgments of the mortgage and the liability to be redeemed.

7. The scope of Section 19 of the Limitation Act, 1908, itself was considered by the Supreme Court in S.F. Mazda v. Durga Prosad : [1962]1SCR140 and L. C. Mills v. Aluminium Corporation of India 1482 : [1971]2SCR623 . It was held in these cases that the statement on which a plea of acknowledgment is based must relate to a present subsisting liability though the exact nature of or the specific character of the said liability may not be indicated in words, and words used in the acknowledgment must, however, indicate the existence of jural relationship between the parties such as that of debtor and creditor, and it must appear that the statement is made with the intention to. admit such jural relationship. They also added that such intention can be inferred by implication from the nature of the admission, and need not be expressed in words, and if the statement is fairly clear, ' then the intention to admit jural relationship may be implied from it.

8. In Tilak Ram v. Nathu : AIR1967SC935 the Supreme Court considered all the earlier decisions with reference to the assignment of the mortgages. Shortly stated, with reference to the assignment of the mortgagee's rights (which was considered in that judgment), the facts were these : One Taja Hazari mortgaged certain properties in favour of one Dharmadas to secure the repayment of an aggregate sum of Rs. 1,290. The mortgagee died, leaving him surviving his son Parameshwardas, who sold under a document, dated 16th August, 1902 in favour of one Hira Singh and others his mortgage rights. The deed recited the mortgages executed by the said Taja Hazari in favour of Dharmadas, the fact of Parmeshwardas being in possession as the successor-in-title of Dharmadas, the sub-mortgage executed by Parameshwardas on 8th April, 1902 and the fact that by the said deed, dated 16th August, 1902, he was selling his mortgage rights for Rs. 1,200. Considering the question as to whether these statements in the document amounted to an acknowledgment of subsisting mortgages executed by Teja Hazari, the Supreme Court observed:

These statements were clearly made for the purpose of describing his own rights which he was selling under this deed. But there is nothing in this document to show that he referred to the said mortgages with the intention of admitting his jural relationship with his mortgagors, and, therefore, of his subsisting liability as the mortgagee thereunder of being redeemed.

This decision is strongly relied on by the the learned Counsel for the respondent. It appears to me that this decision is on all fours to the facts of the present case. Though the document now under consideration specifically referred to the original mortgage executed by Subramonia, Nambiar, the recitals about the fact of purchase of the mortgagee's rights in Court-auction by the vendor under that document and the reference to the assignment by way of sale of the vendor's othi right of 5,000 fs. would only be descriptive of the interest assigned and would not amount to an acknowledgment of the liability of the subsisting mortgage to be redeemed. More transfer of the right in the mortgage is not enough to conclude that it would amount to an acknowledgment of liability. The learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that the legal consequence of the statement of the vendor that she has got only an othi right will be that she has the right to redeem, and this legal consequence need not be stated in express words in the document itself. But the learned Counsel was unable to show as to how the document would have recited if the parties deliberately did not want to make it an acknowledgment of liability, but wanted to convey only that much of a right which the vendor had. In all assignments of mortgages, the mortgagee could only convey the right, title and interest which he had. If the argument of the learned Counsel is to be accepted, all cases of assignment of mortgages, if they had been made before the expiry of the period of limitation, would amount to an acknowledgment of the liability, though there was no intention on the part of the parties to admit the jural relationship in that regard. The decision of the Supreme Court is clearly against this proposition of the learned. Counsel.

9. The only other distinction which the learned Counsel could point out from the decision of the Supreme Court is that at the end of the document, we find a recital to the effect that the vendor had not created any encumbrance over the said othi rights. I do not consider that this will in any way distinguish the case from, the one decided by the Supreme Court in Tilak Ram v. Nathu : AIR1967SC935 . In fact, even in that case, there was a sub-mortgage executed by the original mortgagee, which was referred to in that document in order to show that the transferor had created an encumbrance over the same. In this case, the transferor states that she had not encumbered the othi rights. It follows, therefore, that the sale deed Exhibit A-1 does not amount to an acknowledgment of liability.

10. In the result, the judgment and decree of the lower appellate Court are confirmed, and the second appeal is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. No leave.


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