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P. Venkatachelapathy Vs. Sri Rajah Bommavara Satyanarayana Varaprasada Siva Row Naidu Bahadur, Miner Under the Court of Wards and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in25Ind.Cas.890
AppellantP. Venkatachelapathy
RespondentSri Rajah Bommavara Satyanarayana Varaprasada Siva Row Naidu Bahadur, Miner Under the Court of Wards
Cases ReferredStaines v. Staines
Excerpt:
madras court of wards act (i of 1902), section 49 - suit on promissory note--suit relating to property of ward--notice of suit--mere demand, no notice. - .....act i of 1902; and if so, was a valid notice served on him? section 49 is in these terms: 'no suit relating to the person or property of any ward shall be instituted in any civil court until the expiration of two months after notice in writing has been delivered to or left at the office of the district collector specified in the notification under section 19 or the collector appointed under section 46, as the case may be.'2. mr. grovindaraghava ayyar has argued, first, that no notice is necessary; and secondly, if notice was necessary, the notice which the evidence shows was given in this case was 'sufficient. as regards the first point, the question turns on the construction of the words 'no suit relating to the person or property of any ward shall be instituted, etc.,' and the.....
Judgment:

Charles Arnold White, C.J.

1. One of the points first raised in this appeal is not altogether free from difficulty, but as we have made up our minds about it, we do not think anything is to be gained by further consideration. The two points which have been raised by Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar on behalf of the appellant arise under the second issue in the case, viz., whether the second defendant, the Collector, was entitled to notice of suit under Section 49 of Madras Act I of 1902; and if so, was a valid notice served on him? Section 49 is in these terms: 'No suit relating to the person or property of any ward shall be instituted in any Civil Court until the expiration of two months after notice in writing has been delivered to or left at the office of the District Collector specified in the notification under Section 19 or the Collector appointed under Section 46, as the case may be.'

2. Mr. Grovindaraghava Ayyar has argued, first, that no notice is necessary; and secondly, if notice was necessary, the notice which the evidence shows was given in this case was 'sufficient. As regards the first point, the question turns on the construction of the words 'No suit relating to the person or property of any ward shall be instituted, etc.,' and the question we have to consider is what is, the meaning of the words 'relating to the person or property of any ward' for the purpose of the section? Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar has pointed out that the words are 'relating to the person or property' and not 'affecting or which may affect the person or property' of a ward.' The suit before us is a money suit, a claim on a promissory note, in which it was sought to make the ward or the estate of the ward liable. There can be no question that if the plaintiff succeeds in this suit, the estate of the ward will be affected because execution will have to go against the estate.' But the words are not 'affecting,' but 'relating to.' It is quite clear if we adopt Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar's construction, we shall have to exclude from the scope of the section every money suit, because such a suit, according to him, though the result may affect the estate, does not relate to the estate. But a suit for money in which a decree may be realised in execution against the estate of the ward seems as much within 'the mischief of the section as a suit relating to the specific property of any ward, which according to Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar is what the Legislature meant. According to Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar so far as I can see the suits which come within the section, would be limited to mortgage suits and ejectment suits. However that may be, a suit for money would certainly be excluded from the operation of the section. On the other hand, the construction which Dr. Swaminadhan on behalf of the respondent contends is the right construction which no doubt leads to this: It is difficult to think of a suit against a ward which does not relate to the person or property of the ward, and that being so,, his construction to a great extent, if not entirely, renders the words relating to the person or property of any ward' superfluous or meaningless and the section might as well run: 'no suit against a ward' shall be instituted in any Civil Court.' Dr. Swaminadhan suggests, and there is some force in the suggestion, that the words 'relating to the person or property' were adopted as a compendious form of expression having regard to the general scheme and scope of the Court of Wards Act which gives protection to the person and property of the ward. The conclusion I have come to, although the point is not altogether free from doubt, is that the learned Judge is right in the construction which he adopted, that a suit for money is a suit relating to the property of a ward within the meaning of Sub-section (1) of Section 49 of Madras Act I of 1902. Our attention has been called to a few authorities. I do not think that the decision in Sri Venkatachellapathy Subyya Vyavasaya Co. v. Kanakasabapatlii Pillai 5 Ind. Cas. 912 : 33 M.P 494 : 20 M.L.J. 146 : 8 M.L.T. 67 to which Mr. Govindaraghava Ayyar called our attention, helps him much. That was a case in which a question as to the construction of the words relating to trust' within the meaning of Article 18 of the Schedule II to the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act arose, and it was there held that the suit in that case was not a suit relating to a trust. A case which is more in point is an English case--In Re: Staines; Staines v. Staines (1886) 33 Ch. D. 172 : 55 L.J.Ch. 913 : 35 W.R. 75. The question there was with reference to the construction of Order LI, Rule 1, of the English Rules of the Supreme Court. That rule provides that if in any cause or matter relating to any real estate it appears necessary that the real estate should be Sold, the Court or a Judge may order the same to be sold. The question was whether the cause or matter' in question related to real estate. The action was by the next friend of an infant claiming an account of the personal estate and rents and profits of the real estate. North, J., held that that was not a cause or matter relating to real estate. He said it was really an action for the recovery of rents and profits and that the Court had no power to sell an infant's real estate merely because it thought it would be for his benefit that it should be sold. The words of Order LI, Rule 1, are 'relating to real estate.' Here the expression is much wider: 'relating to person or property.' The property may be real or personal. As has been pointed out, the Legislature could not have adopted wider or more comprehensive words than 'relating to' and I am of opinion that the words relating to the person or property' are wide enough to include a case in which a claim for money is made against a ward.

3. The second point I can dispose of very shortly. Here again I think the learned Judge was right. It seems to me that neither Exhibit E read alone nor Exhibit E read by the light of the other documents and the other facts proved or admitted can be said to constitute a notice of suit for the purpose of Section 49 of Madras Act I of 1902, They all come to nothing more than a demand and cannot be said to amount to a notice of suit. That being so, it is really unnecessary to consider whether the notice was bad on the further ground that it was not delivered to or left at' the office of the District Collector, and it is not necessary to consider whether in a case where the evidence shows that notice was given to the manager and brought to the knowledge of the Collector it is enough for the purpose of the section.

4. On both the points 1 think the learned Judge was right and I dismiss the appeal with costs, one set to first respondent, and Rs. 50 to respondents Nos. 3 to 5.

Sankaran Nair, J.

5. I agree.


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