1. This is In action for specific performance of an agreement to sell the divided portion of premises Nos. 1 and 2, Gopal Chandra's Lane, in the town of Calcutta for a sum of Rs. 45,000.
2. The facts, shortly, are as follows : On the 20th January 1920, the defendant banded to two brokers, Bhupendra Kumar Datt and Ghosto Behari Das a letter in these terms:
I authorise yon to procure a buyer of my divided portion of the above premises' (meaning promises 1 and 2, Gopal Chandra's Lane) 'for Rs. 45,000 and on your sending same I shall pay you as remuneration at 1 per cent, on the purchase money. The same will be paid at the registration of the conveyance, otherwise not. This letter will remain in force for a week.On the 27th January 1920, the offer contained in the said letter was accepted by the plaintiff and thereupon the fact of such acceptance was communicated to the defendant through the said brokers and also by a letter written by the plaintiff's Attorney, Mr. B. P. Chunder, which ran in these terms:
Calcutta, 27th January 1920.Dear Sirs,
Re 1 and 2, Gopal Chander's Lane.My client, Babu Purna Chandra Dutt of 7-2-1, Joynarain Chunder's Lane, hereby accepts the offer made by you to brokers, Babus Bhupendra Kumar Dutt and Ghosto Behari Das, for the sale of your divided portion of the above premises for Rs. 45,000. Please send me the documents of title for investigation. If you so desire, my client is willing to enter into a formal agreement for sale and purchase.
3. The plaintiff alleges that, in the circumstances, there was a valid agreement between, him and the defendant for the sale of the defendant's divided portion of the house and premises 1 and 2, Gopal Chandra's Lane and that, although he has repeatedly called upon the defendant to perform his part of the contract and to send the documents of title for examination by the plaintiffs Attorney, the defendant has failed and neglected to comply with the plaintiff's demands. The defendant in hiss written statement) stated that the offer contained in the letter did not amount to an offer to sell the divided portion of the premises in question; it only amounted to an offer to be put into touch with intending buyers of the premises in question and that it was in nonsense an authority to the broken to sell the plaintiff's property. He further raises the question that the acceptance of the offer by the plaintiff, even if it be assumed that it was communicated to him on the 27th January 1920 and not on the 28th January 1920, (as the defendant alleges), was out of time, because time ran from the 20th January 1920 to the 26th January 1920, both days inclusive.
4. At the hearing Mr. Chuckerbutty, who appeared for the defendant, did not press the last contention and he agreed that I should treat the acceptance as having been communicated to the defendant on the 27th January 1920 and that it was in time. He, however, argued, on the construction of the letter of authority to the brokers, that the same did not amount to an authority to sell, and that, therefore, the plaintiff, by accepting the offer contained in the letter in question, could not in law urge that there was a valid agreement between him and the defendant for sale and purchase of the premises in question.
5. The matter seems to be concluded by authority. It is settled law that if an owner of land instructs a broker or an estate agent to plane it on hie books and to find a purchaser for him, that does not authorise the agent to enter into an open contract for sale of the land or, indeed, to make any firm contract for sale binding the principal See Banter v. Sharp (1875) 19 Eq. 108 : 44 L.J. Ch. 53 : 31 L.T. 643 : 23 W.R. 158.; Sannders v. Deuce (1885) 52 L.T. 644 at p. 646; Chadburn v. Moore (1892) 61 L.J. Ch. 674 : 67 L.T. 257 : 41 W.R. 39 and Thuman v. Best (1907) W.N. 170 : 97 L.T. 239 : (See also Fry on Specific Performance, 6th Edition, page -254.) 1 think, on a fair construction of the letter of authority in this suit, giving to the words thereof their i natural and literal meaning, it is impossible to read the letter as an authority to sell the property. The language is 'I authorise you to procure a buyer of, etc.' These words mean, in my opinion, that offers for the purchase of the property in question should be placed before the vendor for his consideration. They do not amount to an offer on the part of the vendor to sell the premises in question to whoever may be brought into touch with the vendor by the broker. That being so, I am of opinion that there was no valid agreement for the sale and purchase of the property in question between the plaintiff and the defendant and that the plaintiff's suit cannot succeed.
6. On these short ground, I am of opinion that the plaintiff's suit fails and must be dismissed with costs on scale No. 2.