1. These appeals relate to the sale of about 11 acres of wet land in the Godavari District by one Damisetti Satiraju for himself and his undivided son also called Damisetti Satiraju to one Satheyya a, minor represented in this transaction by his father. The sale was in December, 1920, under Ex. D for Rs. 10,000. In O.S. No. 35 of 1921 on the Subordinate Judge's file the miner Satiraju has sued for partition and incidentally has alleged that this sale is not binding on him because it was not supported by consideration and was for a price considerably below the value of the land. In O.S. No. 35 of 1921 on the Subordinate Judge's file the purchaser, Satheyya, has sued for possession of the land and mesne profits. The Subordinate Judge heard the two suits together. The land sold consists of two adjoining Survey Nos. 454/1, 5 acres and 48 cents in extent and 454/2, 5 acres and 45 cents in extent. It is not disputed that out of the Rs. 10,000 the purchaser, Satheyya, retained under the sale-deed and still retains Rs. 2,460 which he was to keep with, him until the father Satiraju was ready to buy some other land with it. Of the remainder of Rs. 10,000 the Subordinate Judge has found that Rs. 7,300 represents a genuine transaction binding on the minor Satiraju. He has also found that the price of Rs. 10,000 was distinctly inadequate, the proper price according to him being about Rs. 14,500. He has disposed of the matter, so far as the minor Satiraju is concerned in this way. In his opinion the purchaser has only paid only about half the proper value of the two plots which are of nearly equal extent. The Subordinate Judge has, therefore, found the sale binding on the minor so far as one of the plots is concerned, that is half of the property sold, and with regard to the other plot he has found that it is binding on the father of Satiraju and not on the son; and, therefore, in making his preliminary decree for partition he has allowed the minor Satiraju half of one of the plots, that is Survey Nos. 454/2, but has excluded the other plot Survey NOS. 454/1 from the partition altogether as belonging to the purchaser Satheyya.
2. In Appeal No. 308 of 1923 the purchaser Satheyya claims that he is entitled to the whole of the two plots, and it is urged that he has paid a proper price for them. It will be convenient first to consider the question of price. I understand the suggestion for the minor Satiraju to be that his father, sold these lands nominally for Rs. 10,000, but really received some larger amount which he put into his own pocket or spent for his own purposes. That is really implied, in the allegation that the sale for Rs. 10,000 instead of being for an appropriate price was fraudulent and collusive. [A] It appears to me that, when we are examining the sale of a large piece of land for a very considerable sum of money such as Rs. 10,000 made several years ago, we require very clear evidence to show that the sale was not for a proper price, especially if there is no evidence that the purchaser had any particular motive for entering into a fraudulent transaction with the seller. [A] In this case nothing appears in the evidence to show that Satheyya's father who carried through the purchase for his minor son was likely to have been ready to assist the father Satiraju in swindling his son Satiraju. There is a certain amount of oral evidence on both sides in regard to the estimates of the value of the lands sold. But mere oral expression of opinion in such cases does not appear to me to be of much value. The Subordinate Judge has arrived at his estimate of Rs. 14,000 by capitalising the annual yield of the land. It appears that these lands for some reason or other were out of the possession of the father Satiraju and in the possession of his wife, with whom he had quarrelled; the father Satiraju sent a notice Ex BB, to his wife's father demanding Rs. 880 as the profits of the land for a year. The Subordinate Judge thinks that the income may be capitalised at 20 years' purchase which, if Rs. 880 was accepted at the annual income, would come to Rs. 17,600; but, as a matter of fact, the Subordinate Judge has adopted Rs. 720 as the income because he takes that to be admitted in the plaint, and the purchaser agrees that 100 bags of paddy is the produce for a year. [B] Capitalising the value of paddy land by taking the price of paddy at any particular date does not appear to be a safe way, of arriving at the capital, value of the land because every one knows that the price of paddy is subject to frequent fluctuations, going up and down within, a fairly wide margin. The safest way to value such land appears to me to find out if possible for what price adjoining land or neighbouring land of the same quality and value has been sold about the time of, the purchase in question. [B] In this case we have five sale-deeds and relating to the sale of a land near the land in question. Exhibit S shows that in 1919, 2 acres and 45 cents of jirayati land near the plaint land were sold for Rs. 1,600. Exhibit A shows that in 1921 an acre of jirayati land near the land with which we are concerned was sold for Rs. 800. Exhibit E shows that in 1921, 1 acre and 12 cents of inam land near the land with which we are concerned were sold for Rs. 1,000. It is not disputed that the lands covered by each of these sale deeds is of a similar quality and value to the land now in question. The land in question, as I have said, was sold for Rs. 10,000. It was 11 acres in extent; but we have to take into consideration the fact that, though it was sold and the money largely paid by the purchaser in December, 1920, it was part of the contract that the land should remain in the possession of the seller until the following June the seller taking the crops, so that the actual price would come to about Rs. 1,000 an acre. This land is inam land, on which a quit rent of one rupee an acre is paid. The lands covered by Exs. S and A are jirayati lands on which Rs. 9 or Rs. 10 an acre has to be paid as Government assessment. The land covered by Ex. A is inam land. Now even if we take into consideration the Government assessment on the lands covered by Exs. S and E we find that those pieces of land were sold at prices lower than the price paid by the purchaser in this case. On the other hand, there are two other sale deeds.. Exs. I and II. Exhibit I shows that in 1921, 4 acres and 39 cents of wet land on the other side of the village were sold for Rs. 9,000 and Ex. II shows that in the same year 4 acres and 73 cents were sold for Rs. 10,000. In regard to Ex. I, D.W. No. 7, the writer, admits that the produce is about double the produce of the land with which we are concerned, as estimated by witnesses on both sides, and also that the land covered by Ex.I is fit for sugarcane cultivation for which it is not suggested the land with which we are concerned is fit. Therefore Ex.I is not of much use to us. In regard to Ex.II, D.W. No. 8 states that its produce is 10 bags of paddy an acre like the land now in question; but he does not really appear to know much about the land. Unfortunately we have not got evidence to explain why such a large price was paid for the land covered by Ex. II. I do not think it would be safe without further explanation to infer from this one document alone that the proper market-price of land in the neighbourhood of similar quality to the land now in question was as high as Rs. 2,000 an acre in the face of the other documents Exs. A, E and S which show that the market-price was less than Rs. 1,000 an acre. I may add that the minor Satiraju's maternal grandfather, Lachanna, who gives evidence for him as D.W. No. 9 says that three months before his examination he bought 6 acres of inam and jirayati land apparently similar to that in question for Rs. 6,000 and that 4 years earlier he bought some similar land at Rs. 710 an acre. Taking all the evidence available together it does not appear to me that it is shown clearly that the father Satiraju when he sold the lands now in question for about Rs. 1,000 an acre, was selling below the market price; still less does it appear that these lands were sold fraudulently. In this connection one other point has to be remembered. It appears that the father Satiraju owned a considerable sum of money to the Vijayarangam estate and that he had been informed that, if he paid the amount at once Rs. 1,400 would be remitted and as a fact that amount was remitted. That was a very good reason for selling this property rather urgently, may not be able to get quite as much as they would if they could afford to wait for a favourable opportunity. I am unable, therefore, to agree with the Subordinate Judge that these lands were sold by the father Satiraju for less than the proper price.
3. Now in regard to the consideration, a large amount was admitted before the Subordinate Judge and he found that the consideration was binding on the minor Satiraju to the extent of Rs. 7,300 but he refused to believe in the debts represented by Exs. K (I) and L (1); which the purchaser was to pay off. However, it is not seriously contended now for the minor Satiraju that the Subordinate Judge's finding can be supported on that point.
4. There still remains in the hands of the purchaser from the date of Ex. D a sum of Rs. 2,460 and that amount the purchaser has undoubtedly to pay. The most proper course in the circumstances appears to be to order him to pay that amount into the Subordinate Judge's Court, to be dealt with in the partition suit, with interest at 12 per cent, per annum from the date on which he got possession of the land sold. In my opinion that should be provided for in the decree of the Subordinate Judge in the partition suit, which should also be varied by excluding from the property to be divided both the two plots 454/L and 454/2.
5. It appears that since O.S. No. 36 of 1921 to which A.S. No. 383 of 1923 relates was instituted the purchaser has obtained possession of the property, so that what he should now get in that suit is merely a declaration that he is entitled to both the plots as purchaser. The purchaser Satheyya should, I think, get his costs from the respondents in A.S. No. 308 of 1923 and also his costs in O.S. No. 36 of 1921 in the Subordinate Judge's Court. In A.S. No. 383 of 1923 each party should bear his own costs.
Kumaraswami Sastri, J.
6. I agree.