Venkatasubba Rao, J.
1. The suit was filed upon an insufficiently stamped promissory note. The question that was chiefly debated in the lower Courts was, whether or not the plaintiff could fall back upon the original cause of action; but on account of the turn the case has taken, that question becomes immaterial. The learned District Munsif, being of the opinion that in any event the promissory note could be relied on as containing an acknowledgment of liability, allowed the note to be filed in evidence and on the strength of it, passed a decree in favour of the plaintiff. That decree of the District Munsif has been set aside by the lower Appellate Court.
2. Mr. Mtarama Rao, for the plaintiff (appellant) contends that the document having been once admitted in evidence, the original defect no longer operates as a hindrance. Section 36 of the Indian Scamp Act provides:
Where an instrument has been admitted in evidence, such iustrument shall not, except as provided in Section 61, be called in question at any stage of the same suit or proceeding on the ground that the instrument has not been duly stamped
3. There is no force in the respondent's contention that Section 36 does not apply to promissory notes or bills of exchange referred to in proviso (a) to Section 35. The words of Section 36, are perfectly general and are not restricted in their application to such documents only as can be received in evidence on payment of the stamp duty and penalty.
4. It is next contended that the ground on which the District Munsif allowed the document to be filed, being wrong, Section 36 cannot be invoked. This contention is clearly untenable and must be overruled.
5. In numerous cases, Section 36 was applied to instruments which formed the very basis of the claim made: Ramaswami v. Ramaswami 5 M 220 Venkatarama Ayyar v. Chella Pillai 62 Ind. Cas. 607 : 40 MLJ 479 and Pedda Venkata Reddi v. Vitta Hussain Setti : AIR1934Mad883 .
6. Next, the argument that the effect of Section 36 is that a mistake once committed becomes condoned, is besides the point, for it is the duty of the Courts to construe a provision in its plain and natural sense and to give proper effect to it.
7. Lastly, the section, enacting as it does, that the admission of the instrument shall not be called in question thereafter, necessarily implies that it must also be acted upon; to hold differently, would be to nullify the section: Alagappa Chetti v. Narayanan Chettiar : AIR1932Mad765 .
8. In the result, the decree of the District Judge is set aside and that of the District Munsif is restored with costs in this and in the lower Appellate Court.