Richard Garth, C.J.
1. The only point that arises in this case is, whether the hundi, which is the subject of the suit, was presented to the drawee within a reasonable time.
2. The facts were these: The hundi was drawn in Calcutta by the defendants upon a firm at Jeypore, in favour of the plaintiffs, for a sum of Rs. 7,500 (the defendants and the plaintiff's both residing at Calcutta).
3. It was drawn and dated on the 31st March 1881, and was made payable 'on arrival at Jeypore.'
4. It was sent at once to Jeypore to the plaintiff's' agent there, and it appears to have reached them on the 5th April; but it was not presented to the drawees until the 29th of that month, and it was returned on the following day, the 30th, dishonoured; a day or two after this the drawees' firm became insolvent.
5. I have already said that the bill upon the face of it was made payable 'on arrival at Jeypore'; and I think that meant not payable on arrival at the place, in the sense of its being delivered to the plaintiffs' agents at Jeypore, but that it was payable on presentment to the drawees at Jeypore.
6. There were two or three questions raised in the Court below, and amongst others, one upon which a great deal of evidence was adduced, namely, as to whether, according to mercantile usage at Jeypore, the hundi was presented in due time, and upon that and the other questions raised the learned Judge found in favour of the plaintiffs.
7. But we think that, apart from any such local usage, as was attempted to be proved, the time (which was in this case 25 days) during which the bill was retained by the plaintiffs' agents at Jeypore, before it was presented to the drawee, was not an unreasonable time for that purpose.
8. We consider (that by the general law there is no specific time within which a hundi payable at sight, or payable as this was, on arrival at a particular place, is to be presented.
9. In the case of Mellish v. Ravdon 9 Bing. 416 which is a leading case upon the subject, and in which the plaintiff had purchased a bill that had been drawn by the defendant on a firm at Rio Janeiro, and made payable after 60 days' sight, the question arose as to whether there was a presentment in due time on the drawee at Rio Janeiro; and Chief Justice Tindal, who tried the case, directed the jury that they were to determine, on the evidence before them, whether there had been an unreasonable delay on the part of the plaintiff, the holder of the bill, in sending it forward for acceptance, or putting it into circulation; and that, in order to arrive at a proper determination of that question, they were to take into consideration the situation and interests, not of the drawee only, or of the holder only, but the situation and interests of both, and to see whether, under all the circumstances, the delay, which in that case amounted to 4 months and 22 days, was unreasonable or not.
10. The jury thereupon found for the plaintiff, and a rule was afterwards obtained upon the ground that the direction of the Chief Justice was incorrect in point of law; but after argument of that rule in the Common Pleas, the Court decided that the direction to the jury was perfectly correct.
11. Chief Justice Tindal pointed out (amongst other things) that the holder of a bill has at all times a direct interest in not keeping a bill out of circulation, for he thereby loses the interest of his money.
12. Now here it was not shown that the plaintiff had any idea that the persons upon whom the hundi was drawn at Jeypore were in an insolvent condition. There was no reason, so far as the drawers were concerned, why the payees should have been specially bound to present the bill earlier than usual; and, on the other hand, the observation of Chief Justice Tindal was undoubtedly applicable here, because the longer the plaintiffs delayed presenting the bill, the longer they were kept out of the interest of their money.
13. The case of Mellish v. Rawdon 9 Bing. 416 to which I have referred, was cited with approval as being a leading case upon the subject by their Lordships of the Privy Council in the case of Ramchurn Mullick v. Lutchmeechund Radakissen 9 Moo. P.C.C. 46.
14. In that case a bill was drawn in Calcutta on the 16th February upon a firm at Hongkong; it was payable sixty days after sight, and drawn in favour of a payee at Calcutta; and it was endorsed to another firm at Calcutta.
15. This bill was kept for upwards of five months before it was negotiated, and it was not presented at Hong-Kong until the following October. There, it was held, undoubtedly, that the time which had elapsed was unreasonable, but Baron Parke, in delivering the judgment of the Privy Council, distinctly approved of the law as laid down by the Court of Common Pleas in Hellish v. Rawdon.
16. That being so, and considering that Jeypore is at a considerable distance from Calcutta, we cannot think that the 25 days which elapsed between the arrival of the bill and its presentment was an unreasonable time.
17. There was undoubtedly some reason given for the delay, namely, that at the beginning of May, there is a new issue of money from the mint at Jeypore, and the new money so issued is supposed to be more valuable than money which has been in circulation for some time.
18. If that fact influenced the plaintiffs, it was one which might fairly have been taken into consideration.
19. They had no reason to suppose that the short delay would be prejudicial to the drawers, and they considered that it would be of service to themselves.
20. We agree, therefore, with the view taken by the Court below upon this point, and we do not think it necessary to determine the other issues in the case.
21. We may add that, having referred to Section 61 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, we find it makes no difference in the law upon this subject. The section says that a bill of exchange payable after sight must, if no time or place is specified therein for presentment, be presented to the drawee thereof for acceptance within a reasonable time after it is drawn. This section, therefore, leaves the law as it was before.
22. The appeal must be dismissed with costs.