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P. Sundarammal Vs. Arunachala Mudali and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in100Ind.Cas.665
AppellantP. Sundarammal
RespondentArunachala Mudali and ors.
Cases Referred and Ballu Mal v. Ram Kishun
Excerpt:
transfer of property act (iv of 1882), section 41 - 'reasonable care'--omission to scrutinise title--deeds, effect of. - .....they exercised reasonable care. admittedly, whatever else they did, they failed to scrutinize the title-deeds. it is argued on behalf of the appellant that this is conclusive evidence that they failed to exercise reasonable care. i do not think that in this country the argument in this unqualified form can be accepted. it is true that in certain calcutta cases, ram charan das v. joy ram majhi 16 ind. cas. 825 : 16 cri.l.j. 185 : 17 c.w.n. 100 and radha madhab paikara v. kalpataru roy 16 ind. cas. 811 : 17 cri.l.j. 209, the english rule has been quoted that an omission to call for title-deeds constitutes constructive notice. but it is obvious that a criterion which would be reasonable in england cannot always be applied to the circumstances in which sales take place in this country. if,.....
Judgment:

Curgenven, J.

1. The respondent in this case purchased certain property from the husband and son of one Nagammal, who is the appellant's (plaintiff's) mother. The property really belonged not to the vendors but to Nagammal, and the question is whether the purchasers are entitled to the benefit of the provisions of Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act. It is not disputed that they bought in good faith, and the only point for consideration is whether in so doing they exercised reasonable care. Admittedly, whatever else they did, they failed to scrutinize the title-deeds. It is argued on behalf of the appellant that this is conclusive evidence that they failed to exercise reasonable care. I do not think that in this country the argument in this unqualified form can be accepted. It is true that in certain Calcutta cases, Ram Charan Das v. Joy Ram Majhi 16 Ind. Cas. 825 : 16 Cri.L.J. 185 : 17 C.W.N. 100 and Radha Madhab Paikara v. Kalpataru Roy 16 Ind. Cas. 811 : 17 Cri.L.J. 209, the English rule has been quoted that an omission to call for title-deeds constitutes constructive notice. But it is obvious that a criterion which would be reasonable in England cannot always be applied to the circumstances in which sales take place in this country. If, for instance, a Solicitor accepts responsibility for securing proof of clear title, his omission to call for and examine the title-deeds would necessarily involve him in a charge of negligence. Another case of the Calcutta High Court Niras Purbe v. Tetri Pasin 32 Ind. Cas. 82 : 20 C.W.N. 103 has been referred to and in that case the Court accepted certain considerations as going to show that due care had been exercised not withstanding the failure of the purchaser to require production of the deeds. The only principle, I think, that can be derived from the case-law is the general one that each case must be decided upon its own particular circumstances. It may be, as was held in Partab Chand v. Saijida Bibi 23 A. 442 : A.W.N. (1901) 137 and Ballu Mal v. Ram Kishun 64 Ind. Cas. 14 : 48 A. 263 : 19 A.L.J. 11, that mere verification that the property was registered either in the revenue accounts or in the Municipal registers in the name of the ostensible owner would not be sufficient, especially where, as was found in those cases, suspicious circumstances existed which would have put the purchaser upon further enquiry. In the present case both Courts have concurred in finding that there were a number of circumstances which justified the purchasers in coming to the conclusion that the property belonged to the vendors. There was in the first place the fact that the patta for about 20 years had been registered in the father's name and that he had apparently been in possession of it, as was shown by the kist receipts among other things. Further, in respect of the property covered by all the sales except one, there had been prior mortgages by the father and the son to certain banks. The sales were effected in the presence of Village Munsif and the karnam and it was to be supposed that those officers must have known to whom the property belonged, so that the purchasers were entitled to rely on their presence and their failure to interpose any objection as some proof of its ownership by the vendors. The vendors themselves were persons of some status. Lastly, the wife, who apparently could have been the only alternative owner and who must have known that the sales were taking place was present at the sales and made no objection. These points have all been considered by the lower Courts and the conclusion which they have come to that reasonable care was shown by the purchasers appears to me to be a fair inference from the facts and certainly one which I am not prepared to interfere with in second appeal. The second appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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