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Narayanasami Aiyar Vs. Janaki Ammal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in17Ind.Cas.261
AppellantNarayanasami Aiyar;janaki Ammal
RespondentJanaki Ammal and anr.;narayanasami Aiyar and anr.
Excerpt:
estate, manager of - late production of accounts by--whether evidence of dishonesty--receiver. - .....defendant's brother-in-law who was managing her affairs did not produce, till a late stage of the suit, the documents and accounts which would show the extent of outstanding debts due to the estate. this, he urged, showed that the estate is not being honestly managed and he pointed to the difference between the estimate of outstandings given in the written statement (rs. 45,000) and that given by the witnesses at different times; he also drew our attention to a list made by himself from the accounts and documents in the suit which showed that the amount should be about rs. 37,000 and claimed that these discrepancies are indications of dishonesty on the part of the 1st defendant's agent. this part of the case, so far as it rests on the alleged understatement of assets in the written.....
Judgment:

1. The principal ground on which the appellant asks us to appoint a Receiver in this case is the gift of Rs. 10,000 by the 1st defendant, the widow in possession, to the 2nd defendant, her mother-in-law. We are, however, of opinion that, in the circumstances in which that gift was made, we ought not to consider it a ground for depriving the first defendant of the control of the securities and investment which she inherited from her husband. We agree with the Subordinate Judge that she made the gift under pressure as the then best apparent way of securing possession of the documents, many of them unregistered, which formed a considerable part of the estate. These documents were, it is clear, in the possession of the 2nd defendant and her son-in-law v. Ramaswami Iyer with or without the knowledge of the 1st defendant's relations. Exhibit M indicates that on the 11th of August, the 1st defendant knew that the 2nd defendant or Ramaswami Iyer or both were attempting to collect outstandings and shortly afterwards, on 17th August, the complaint of theft of documents was' prepared. Whether that complaint was borne out or false, that is to say, whether or not Ramaswami Iyer or 2nd defendant had taken possession of the documents with the knowledge of the first defendant and her father, or, as the 1st defendant alleges, without their knowledge, its principal aim and object was the recovery of the documents which the 2nd defendant and her son-in-law were holding, apparently, in the hope of securing a satisfactory provision for the 2nd defendant and effecting the adoption by the 1st defendant of the plaintiff's son, an adoption on which the evidence indicates the 2nd defendant had set her heart. It is necessary to examine the evidence of the negotiations which followed immediately on the threat of criminal proceedings. The 2nd defendant's son-in-law in the end agreed to restore the documents, if some land and Rs. 10,000 were provided for the 2nd defendant and the idea of the adoption appears to have been dropped at any rate for the time. The Subordinate Judge was justified on this evidence in coming to the conclusion that the payment of Rs. 10,000 or the agreement to pay it--for the 1st defendant afterwards tried to stop payment (Exhibit D) but failed--was not an act involving a disqualification for the management of the estate. The 1st defendant was at the time 19 years of age and her father and brother-in-law made an arrangement which at the time, no doubt, seemed forced upon them and possibly was better than leaving the documents in the hands of the 2nd defendant and her son-in-law. Of the other grounds dealt with by the Subordinate Judge, only one, the sale of paddy, was touched on in the argument, and we are not satisfied that the sales of paddy have not been properly accounted for. Mr. Ramachandra Iyer strongly urged on us that a Receiver ought to be appointed because the first defendant's brother-in-law who was managing her affairs did not produce, till a late stage of the suit, the documents and accounts which would show the extent of outstanding debts due to the estate. This, he urged, showed that the estate is not being honestly managed and he pointed to the difference between the estimate of outstandings given in the written statement (Rs. 45,000) and that given by the witnesses at different times; he also drew our attention to a list made by himself from the accounts and documents in the suit which showed that the amount should be about Rs. 37,000 and claimed that these discrepancies are indications of dishonesty on the part of the 1st defendant's agent. This part of the case, so far as it rests on the alleged understatement of assets in the written statement and oral evidence, does not appear to have been pressed upon the Subordinate Judge, as it has now been put before us, and we do not think we can satisfactorily deal with it. On the evidence before the Subordinate Judge of facts as they stood at the date of the plaint, we should not be disposed to hold that any case for a Receiver has been made out, or that the amount of outstandings was deliberately suppressed or understated; and, so far as the case is based on allegations of misconduct, evidenced by acts during the pendency of the suit and subsequent to its disposal during the pendency of the appeal, we do not think it desirable now to deal with any material which was not before the Subordinate Judge; and we do not take any evidence of such acts into consideration in disposing of the appeal or express opinion as to their effect.

2. The evidence contains in different places various different estimates by different people: it is not said that any documents have been suppressed or that the list made out now by Mr. Ramachandra Iyer is not exhaustive. In these circumstances, we do not think the late production of the accounts and documents affords sufficient evidence of dishonest dealing with the estate to warrant our taking the management out of the hands of the widow.

3. There is not sufficient ground for appointing Receiver and we dismiss the appeal and the petition.

4. There will be no order as to costs.

5. Appeal No. 22 OF 1908.--The appeal attacks two declarations made in the decree of the Subordinate Judge: (1) a declaration that 'the plaintiff is the next reversionary heir of the deceased Ramayyer' and (2) a declaration that the arrangement to pay Rs. 10,000 to the 2nd defendant by the 1st defendant is not binding on the plaintiff. As to the first, we think it may remain in the decree. The question whether the plaintiff was entitled to sue as next reversionary heir of Ramayyar was fought out in the suit and much evidence taken: the Subordinate Judge decided it on the evidence and though the declaration asked for in the plaint was not essential and he might have dismissed the suit, yet the peculiar circumstances of this class of suits seem to make it not undesirable that it should remain to prevent further litigation on the question between the plaintiff and the 1st defendant, should the former find it necessary to attack again the latter's management of the estate. The 2nd declaration was not asked for and appears to be of no practical value; it may be struck out.

6. The decree of the Subordinate Judge will be modified.

7. There will be no order as to costs.


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