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P.R.P.L.S. Valliappa Chettiar and anr. Vs. N.S. Maruda Pandian Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1934Mad549; 152Ind.Cas.299
AppellantP.R.P.L.S. Valliappa Chettiar and anr.
RespondentN.S. Maruda Pandian Pillai
Excerpt:
- .....a minor. when these loans were advanced to her, some jewels were also pledged as security for the loans. in evidence of these loans, two documents are alleged to have been obtained from rakkammal in the form of promissory notes which are filed as exs. c and c-1. in order to enforce the liability of the defendant for the plaint mentioned loans, the plaintiffs will have to show, besides proving the truth of these loans, that these amounts were really borrowed for legal and justifiable purposes as would bind the defendant and that the debt has been kept alive at the date of suit by any payments or acknowledgments recognized by law. the defendant has traversed almost all the allegations in the plaint and denies his liability.2. there is no difficulty in finding that the alleged loans are.....
Judgment:

Sundaram Chetty, J.

1. Plaintiffs are the appellants. This appeal arises out of a suit filed by them for the recovery of a certain sum of money alleged to be due on account of two loans of Rs. 3,000 each, taken from the plaintiffs' father on 14th October 1919 and 28th October 1919 by Rakkammal, the adoptive mother of the defendant. The defendant was then a minor. When these loans were advanced to her, some jewels were also pledged as security for the loans. In evidence of these loans, two documents are alleged to have been obtained from Rakkammal in the form of promissory notes which are filed as Exs. C and C-1. In order to enforce the liability of the defendant for the plaint mentioned loans, the plaintiffs will have to show, besides proving the truth of these loans, that these amounts were really borrowed for legal and justifiable purposes as would bind the defendant and that the debt has been kept alive at the date of suit by any payments or acknowledgments recognized by law. The defendant has traversed almost all the allegations in the plaint and denies his liability.

2. There is no difficulty in finding that the alleged loans are true; but the vital question in the case is, whether these loans are enforceable against the defendant. It must be noted that the recital in the promissory notes (Exs. C and C-1) is only to the effect, that the sums were borrowed for the domestic expenses of Rakkammal. She is a markswoman. She goes the length of denying the execution of these promissory notes. However the genuineness of these promissory notes does not seem to us to be a matter for any serious doubt. Ramaswami Pillai (P.W. 4), who is the brother of Rakkammal and is related to the defendant in more ways than one, is an attester of these promissory notes. It is not unlikely that when the loans were given to this lady, the plaintiffs' father took not only some jewels as security for the same, but also obtained these promissory notes. The vague expression 'domestic expenses' does not signify anything material to the case.

3. On the other hand, the evidence of P.W. 4 himself is that, these loans were required in order to discharge some debts. It is clear from his evidence, that the lender made little or no enquiry whatever to satisfy himself as to the necessities for the loans, so that the estate of the minor may be made liable for the realization of the loans. It does not appear that he cared to enquire what those debts were, nor is it alleged that he made any attempt to enquire the creditors themselves. If he did not care to ascertain even the names of the creditors, how would it be possible for him to make that inquiry even? This is certainly not the conduct of a man of ordinary prudence, and there is nothing like a bona fide enquiry at all to entitle the creditor to enforce the loans in question as against the defendant who was then a minor.

4. The fact that the plaintiffs' father took jewels as security for the loans is in consonance with the version of Rakkammal herself, that the plaintiffs' father refused to lend these moneys unless the jewels were pledged to him. If so, it is extremely unlikely that the plaintiffs' father would have oared to make any enquiry about the necessity for these loans.

5. This accounts for the paucity of evidence on the plaintiffs' side as regards the alleged necessities or a bona fide enquiry on the part of the creditor. If the proof adduced on the plaintiffs' side on this vital question is so poor, it is unnecessary for us to consider the evidence of the defendant and of his adoptive mother, in order to see whether they have sufficiently rebutted the evidence adduced by the plaintiffs in proof of their case. It is true that Rakkammal as D.W. 3, says that she spent about Rs. 1,000 for pilgrimage expenses and about, Rs. 2,500 for making jewels to her daughters and paid Rupees 1,000 to one Muthuvairu Pillai, her brother's son as well as her son-in-law. Though a legacy of Rs. 5,000 is bequeathed to him under the will of the defendant's father (Ex. 5), there is nothing to connect this payment of Rs. 1,000 with that legacy. When the case put forward on the plaintiffs' side as regards the purposes of the loans in question has not been made out, the only conclusion to which we can come is that the onus of proof which lies on the plaintiffs remains undischarged. This is enough to disallow the plaintiffs' claim.

6. It is unnecessary to consider whether the plaint mentioned debt is or is not barred by limitation on the date of the suit, and even on this point the plaintiffs have to make out that the sums realized by the sale of some of the pledged jewels were really payments made by the debtor (Rakkammal) to words interest or principal, within the meaning of Section 20, Lim. Act. Those payments must necessarily be made by the debtor or his duly authorized agent. It is difficult to believe P.W. 4 when he says that the plaintiffs' father parted with the possession of the pledged jewels 'by handing them over to Rakkammal, and asking her to sell the same and pay the money. Such a course of conduct is extremely unlikely. The evidence on the defendants' side is, in our opinion, far more probable. Being in possession of these jewels, the plaintiffs' father must have got them sold, and if he appropriated the sums realized towards the suit debt in that manner, we cannot say that they were payments made by the debtor for interest as such or towards : the principal.

7. If the plaint mentioned debt is not binding on the defendant, and consequently one not enforceable against him, there is no question of the applicability of Section 25, Clause 3, Contract Act, in respect of a letter sought to be put in by the plaintiffs and rejected by the lower Court as inadmissible in evidence, as it; amounted to an acknowledgment of liability and is unstamped. Even assuming that it contains a promise to pay either expressly or impliedly, it will be of no avail to the plaintiffs, because the barred debt referred to therein is not one which would be enforceable against the defendant but for the law of limitation. In this view we have not allowed any arguments as to the construction of that letter and as to its admissibility in evidence. In the result, we bold that the decision of the lower Court is correct sand dismiss the appeal with costs.


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