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Parthasarathi Rao Vs. Turlapati Subba Rao and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1924Mad840
AppellantParthasarathi Rao
RespondentTurlapati Subba Rao and ors.
Cases ReferredArunachalam Chetty v. Raman Chetty
Excerpt:
- .....representatives of a deceased agent, but it was held that article 115 applied because 'after the agent's death the law presumes that there is always an implied contract by which the heirs of the deceased agent are bound to give an account of whatever they may have received from the agent at the time of his death.' it was held therefore that defendants committed a breach of this contract by not rendering accounts. but if an implied contract is the basis of the cause of action, with all respect it would appear to be the contract referred to in article 89, i.e., that of an agent to render account. article 89 would then be applicable. in kumeda chara bala v. ashutash chattopadhiya 17 c.w.n. 5 it was held that a similar suit was really one to recover money misappropriated by the deceased.....
Judgment:

Phillips, J.

1. The plaintiff in this case employed one Sobhanadri, father of the defendants, as his vakil in revenue suits, and he has now brought the present suit after Sobhanadri's death against defendants as legal representatives for an account of their father's agency. The learned Subordinate Judge has found that Sobhanadri acted as plaintiff's agent in each of the suits in which he appeared as vakil and has held that the plaintiff's claim is barred except in respect of suit the proceedings in which terminated less than three years before the suit.

2. The first point taken in appeal is that the Subordinate Judge is wrong in treating Sabhanadri's agency as being an agency in respect of each of the suits, and it is argued that he was a general agent for the plaintiff in respect of all revenue litigation. The order appointing him is Exhibit B (2) under which he was appointed by the plaintiff to conduct revenue suits in the District Munsif's Courts and before Revenue officers, but this document does not in itself constitute Sobhanadri as agent, for Sobhanadri could not appear as such agent without a vakalat in each suit. It was an appointment as standing vakil, and until a vakalat wa3 given to the vakil there was no agency distinctly constinuted. There was no contract which bound him to appear in each and every suit, nor was there any contract binding the plaintiff to appoint him in every suit, and it is in evidence that the plaintiff employed several other vakils for similar litigation. There can, therefore, be no question of general agency, but the agency was merely in respect of each individual suit. In this conduction I may refer to Saffron Waldon Second Benefit Building Society v. Raynir (1880) 14 Ch. D. 406, where it was sought to treat a solicitor who was appointed for trustees as agent of the trustees in receiving a notice and I would quote a passage at page 415.

As Lord Justice James said, there is no such thing as a standing relation of a solicitor to a man. A. solicitor does not stand in a permanent relation to his client as a chaplain does to a nobleman or body having a chaplain. A man is a solicitor for another only when that other has occasion to employ him as such. That employment may be either to conduct a suit or to advise him about some matter in which legal advice is required; but there is no such general relationship as that of solicitor and client of a standing and permanent character upon all occasions and for all purposes3. These remarks are in my opinion strictly applicable to the present case if we merely substitute the word 'pleader' for 'solicitor'. The Subordinate Judge was therefore right in rejecting the plea that the agency was one and indivisible.

4. The next question relates to the period of limitation and it is argued that the plaintiff having come into Court within three years of the death of defendants' father his suit is within time as regards all the agencies. Reliance is placed on several cases in the Allahabad and Calcutta Courts Kalee Kishen Pal v. Jagathera (1869) 2 B.L.R. 139 Bindraban Behari v. Jamuna Kunwar (1903) 25 All. 55 and Girraj Singh v. Raghubeir Kunwar (1909) 31 All. 429. In the first of these eases the agent died before his agency terminated and it was held that as against his legal representatives the article of limitation applicable was 120, but the question is not discussed in any detail. In 25 All. 55 the plaintiff sued to recover a definite sum of money which was in his agent's hands and which he said passed to his legal representatives the defendants in the suit. Here also it was held that Article 120 was applicable. A similar case is the one reported in Gurudas Payne v. Ram Narain Sahu (1886) 10 Cal. 860 and these two oases were followed in 31 All. 429. It will be seen that in none of these cases was there really a suit for an account, but they were suits to recover certain monies in the agents' hands for which that agent was liable to account. It is true that the Courts seem to hold that the cause of action against the agent is a distinct cause of action from that against his legal representatives. This may possibly be based on the idea that the sons under Hindu Law are only liable, for their father's debts after the father's death, but it is now well-settled law that a son's liability to pay his father's debts arises even before the death of the father and consequently their estate would be liable equally with their father's estate.

5. In Shapajhannissa Ribi v. Bama Sundari Choudhurani 16 C.W.N. 1042 it was held that a suit for an account lies against the legal representatives of a deceased agent, but it was held that Article 115 applied because 'after the agent's death the law presumes that there is always an implied contract by which the heirs of the deceased agent are bound to give an account of whatever they may have received from the agent at the time of his death.' It was held therefore that defendants committed a breach of this contract by not rendering accounts. But if an implied contract is the basis of the cause of action, with all respect it would appear to be the contract referred to in Article 89, i.e., that of an agent to render account. Article 89 would then be applicable. In Kumeda Chara Bala v. Ashutash Chattopadhiya 17 C.W.N. 5 it was held that a similar suit was really one to recover money misappropriated by the deceased agent, but the Article of limitation applicable was not definitely decided. It is rather difficult to understand how the cause of action against the legal representatives is a different one to that against the agent and it, appears to me that at any rate in cases where the cause of action had accrued before the agent's death the mere fact of his death would not give a fresh starting point of limitation against the son and in this view I am supported by the decision of this Court in Arunachalam Chetty v. Raman Chetty (1914) 16 M.L.T. 614.There Sankaran Nair, J., remark-ed as follows 'it is then argued that though the claim against the father may be barred, it is not barred against the sons. This argument proceeds on the basis that the cause of action against the sons is different. The decisions are against the appellant. The defendants are sued as the representatives of their deceased father and as the suit would be barred against him if he had lived, it is also barred against the defendants.' Spencer, J. also remarked. 'There is no reason why Article 120 of the Limitation Act should be applied to a suit brought against the representative of a deceased agent when the Article applicable to a suit against the agent for acts committed during the continuance of his agency would be Article 89 and limitation would run from the termination of his agency; and the Article applicable in respect of money payable by him after the termination of his agency would be Article 62.'

6. This decision is binding on me and with all respect I agree with the views therein expressed, for I do not see how the mere facts that the father has died and that his assets have legally passed to his representatives can give the plaintiff any new cause of action against the defendants, unless it is alleged that defendant wilfully misappropriated a definite sum of money left by their father to be given to plaintiff. This being so, the cause of action accrued before the father died and consequently time having begun to run would expire at the same time whether the father had died or not. In this view, the lower Court's decision is correct and this second appeal must be dismissed with costs.


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