1. This is a suit against the Corporation of Calcutta, in which the plaintiff claims as the only son and sole heir of his deceased father to recover from the Corporation of Calcutta the sum of Rs. 1,236-13-7 on account of his father's Provident Fund, unpaid salary and contributions for the purchase of a war bond.
2. The defences put forward on behalf of the Corporation are two. It is first objected that the suit is barred by limitation under Section 538, Calcutta Municipal Act (1923). That is a section which prescribes a period of limitation for suits in respect of any act purporting to be done under the Act or under any rule or by-law made thereunder. The plaintiff does not sue in respect of any act purporting to be done under the Act or any rule made under it, nor has learned Counsel for the Corporation been able to point out to me that the Provident Fund is in any way within the Calcutta Municipal Act. There is no question of anything done under the Calcutta Municipal Act. The claim is a simple money claim and the special period of limitation prescribed cannot apply to the suit.
3. Then a defence is based upon Sections 3 and 5, Provident Fund Act (Act 9 of 1897). It is doubtful whether this is a Government Provident Fund, to which the Act applies, because, as I understand the position, it is a Provident Fund kept for the employees of the Corporation of Calcutta. I doubt whether a Provident Fund constituted by the Corporation of Calcutta is within this Act at all. But the matter has been argued by learned Counsel for the defendant upon that basis, and I will so deal with it, for I have not called upon learned Counsel for the defendant to meet the point. Section 5 says:
No suit or other legal proceedings shall He against any person in respect of anything done or in good faith intended to be done in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.
4. The same answer meets this point, mutatis mutandis as that applicable to the defence under Section 538, Municipal Act.
5. Section 3(1)(a) provide that payment should be made to any person entitled to receive the money according to the rules of the Fund. The rules of the Fund have been placed before me. Rule 19 says:
On the death of any subscriber the Manager shall pay to his representatives, executors or administrators the amount standing to his credit in the account prepared in accordance with the provisions of Rule 14.
6. Section 3(1)(b) provides that in oases not provided for the money may be paid to any person appearing to be entitled to receive it. It has been argued that the word 'representatives' in the rule is synonymous with the words 'any person appearing to him to be entitled to receive it in Section 3(1)(b), Provident Fund Rules. With that I cannot agree. The word 'representatives' in my judgment, is intended to mean though it is not very happily expressed the legal representatives of the deceased.
7. What actually happened in this case was that a person who said he was the uncle of the deceased, and whether he was or was not has not been established and, there is nothing to show to the contrary appeared before the Corporation with some kind of certificate stamped by an Honorary Magistrate of Baraset and professing to bear the seal of the Court of which that individual was an Honorary Magistrate, and with this certificate he succeeded in getting payment of this sum from the Corporation of Calcutta. That he succeeded in duping the Corporation there can be no question, but to what extent the Corporation was an incurious dupe and what enquiries were made there is nothing to show. This has been stated in the written statement and it is not denied. I do not suppose there is any doubt about it, but it is no defence to the suit. The matter is governed by the rules, and the Corporation had no business under the rules to pay anybody other than the representatives, executors or administrators of the deceased. In these circumstances, both the defences must fail.
8. The Corporation say that the deceased took an advance from his Provident Fund during his lifetime, and that the net amount due under all these heads now amounts to Rs. 977-13-4. This on behalf of the plaintiff is very properly not challenged by his counsel, and he is prepared to accept the figures as they appear in the books of the Corporation. There must, therefore, be judgment for Rs. 977-13-4.
9. In the course of this judgment and while I was engaged in delivering it, my attention was drawn by Mr. S.N. Banerji for the defendant Corporation to Section 56, Calcutta Municipal Act, 1923, on which he says the Provident Fund is founded. It has not been possible for me to deal with this section, and no argument has been founded upon this. I leave the matter as I have dealt with it, namely, upon the basis upon which it was argued on behalf of the defendant Corporation.
10. The plaintiff is entitled to costs on scale No. 2.