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Mohan Lal Bodj Raj Vs. Dwarka Nath Kuldeep Kumar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtJammu and Kashmir High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Second Appeal No. 21 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1985J& K85
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Section 34
AppellantMohan Lal Bodj Raj
RespondentDwarka Nath Kuldeep Kumar
Appellant Advocate J.L. Sehgal, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.N. Gupta, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredGopasunder Sabatho v. Chunilal
Excerpt:
- .....in the opinion of the assam high court there is no daily opening or closing balance in the ledger accounts which is maintained in some other books and ledger can be prepared at any time. therefore, it cannot be regarded as relevant. relying on this authority learned counsel for the appellant submits that in the present case ledger would not fall within the ambit of section 34 of the evidence act, therefore the decree passed by the courts below cannot be sustained. he also relied on hira meher v. birbal prasad agarwal, air 1958 orissa 4, which lays down that if the plaintiff relies on the entries in his credit ledger which he has himself scribed out the plaintiff does not assert that the transaction on credit took place actually the credit register cannot be relied upon because.....
Judgment:

M.L. Bhat, J.

1. In a suit for recovery ofan amount of Rs. 5,000/- The trial Court haspassed a decree for an amount of Rs. 4,700/-in favour of the plaintiff-respondent againstthe defendant-appellant which was affirmedin appeal by District Judge, Jammu for anamount of Rs. 4,600/-.

2. The plaintiff had brought a suit for an amount due from the defendant being price of goods supplied to the defendant It was alleged that the plaintiff has supplied cloth for an amount of Rs. 8,458-84 to the defendant out of which the defendant had paid Rs. 5,200/- only leaving a balance amount of Rs. 3,358.84. On this amount the plaintiff had claimed interest also and eventually the two Courts below on concurrent finding of fact passed the decree as stated above in favour of the plaintiff against the defdt. In this second appeal learned counsel for the appellant has argued that the concurrent finding of fact arrived at by the Courts below is based on inadmissible evidence, therefore it cannot be sustained. The suit of the plaintiff is based on ledger which is an account book maintained by the plaintiff. Learned counsel for the defendant submits that account book in the form of a ledger cannot be brought within the purview of Section 34 of the Evidence Act. Section 34 of the Evidence Act envisages that books of account regularly maintained in the course of business are relevant. He submits that the ledger is not a book of account, therefore, Section 34 of the Evidence Act cannot be invoked in respect of the ledger. In support of his submissions he has relied on many authorities which I will discuss herein below.

3. In Chandi Ram v. Jamind Kanta Deka, AIR 1952 Assam 92 it was held that if a ledger is not supported by any Day-book or Roznamcha, it would not fulfil the requirements of Section 34 of the Evidence Act and cannot be regarded relevant under that section. In the opinion of the Assam High Court there is no daily opening or closing balance in the ledger accounts which is maintained in some other books and ledger can be prepared at any time. Therefore, it cannot be regarded as relevant. Relying on this authority learned counsel for the appellant submits that in the present case ledger would not fall within the ambit of Section 34 of the Evidence Act, therefore the decree passed by the Courts below cannot be sustained. He also relied on Hira Meher v. Birbal Prasad Agarwal, AIR 1958 Orissa 4, which lays down that if the plaintiff relies on the entries in his credit ledger which he has himself scribed out the plaintiff does not assert that the transaction on credit took place actually the credit register cannot be relied upon because there will be no corroboration of the entries made therein. He has also relied on Sohan Lal v. Gulab Chand, AIR 1966 Raj. 229. The proposition laid down in this authority is that Bahi Khata is an account book if maintained in regular course of business and entries therein are not admissible if not supported by corresponding entries on Rokar or Nagal Behi. Another authority relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellant is Zehna Sorabji v. Mirabella Hoter Col. (Pvt.) Ltd., AIR 1981 Bom 446. This authority lays down that a ledger by itself cannot be a book of account of the character contemplated by Section 34 of the Evidence Act unless it is corroborated by the entries in the cash-book. Beni v. Bisan Dayal, AIR 1925 Nag 445 has also been pressed into service. It lays that the entries in the books of account by itself are not sufficient to charge any person with liability unless there is independent evidence of the transaction to which the entries relate.

4. The proposition laid down in these authorities about the admissibility of ledger without the corroborative evidence being led in support of the entries in the ledger cannot be disputed. It is well settled that a ledger, though a account book, has no evidenciary value unless the entries made therein are proved by independent evidence, which in other words would mean that there must be corroboration of entries which corroboration can be supplied by proving the transaction or by proving the entries in daily cash book or Roznamcha. Without corroboration entries in the ledger cannot be brought within the purview of Section 34 of the Evidence Act. In the instant case it is, therefore, to be seen whether apart from the entries in the ledger there was corroborative evidence in support of the entries in the ledger. This matter would largely depend on the facts of each case. In civil secondappeal I am not entitled to appreciate the evidence but for the limited purpose I have scrutinized the evidence to find out as to whether there was corroboration supplied by the plaintiff in support of the entries entered in the book of ledger on which he had placed reliance.

5. The plaintiff has appeared as his own witness and has stated that he has supplied goods to the defendant for an amount mentioned in the plaint out of which part payment was made by the defendant and part payment was due from him on account of supply of those goods. There is no rebuttalled by the defendant with respect to the statement given by the plaintiff. This, in my opinion, would constitute sufficient corroboration within the meaning of law about the entries made in the ledger.

6. Learned counsel for the respondent has drawn my attention to a few authorities which also are required to be considered. He has relied on Balmukand v. Jagan Nath, AIR 1963 Raj 212. In this authority it is laid down that Section 34 of the Evidence Act does not require any particular form of corroborative evidence. Even a witness in support of entries made in the book of account would be sufficient compliance with Section 34 of the Evidence Act. Relying on AIR 1938 AIR 353, the learned Judge of the Rajasthan High Court has held that a single witness can corroborate entries made in the account book. Another authority Gopasunder Sabatho v. Chunilal, AIR 1955 Orissa 6 relied upon by the learned counsel for the respondent lays down that evidence of a party himself was substantial compliance with the provisions of Section 34 of the Evidence Act in so far as corroboration of the entries in the account book were concerned. These authorities do not dispute the proposition of law laid down by the authorities submitted by the learned counsel for the appellant.

7. After scrutinising the law on the point, it is to be held :

i) that ledger by itself may not be proof of transaction and no liability can be fastened on the basis of an entry in the ledger alone unless it is corroborated by some other evidence :

ii) ledger can be taken into consideration and would become relevant u/s 34 of the Evidence Act only when there is corroborativeevidence on record in support of the entries made therein or in support of the transaction between the parties :

iii) That what form of evidence is to be led to corroborate the entries in the ledger would largely depend on the facts of each case. If the entries in the ledger are not denied by the defendant, it may not require any corroboration. Therefore the nature of proof would vary from case to case.

I have gone through the material on record. In the written statement the defendant has simply denied each and every para of the plaint without giving any explanation. He has been keen only to pay the amount in instalments in the event of a decree being passed against him. In his statement when he appeared as his own witness, he has submitted the transaction with the plaintiff and has stated that the plaintiff would supply goods to him and he would pay the cost thereof periodically. The plaintiff has proved the transaction as also the entries and supply of goods to the defendant. In cross-examination the defendant has not been able to impeach the credibility of the plaintiff but the questions suggested by the defendant in the cross-examination to the plaintiff makes it clear that the deft, was not denying the liability towards the pltff.

8. The findings arrived at by the two Courts below do not suffer from any infirmity or illegality. Though the question of admissibility of ledger was not taken up by the defendant in the Courts below but I have deemed it proper to allow the defendant to raise this question of law before me in the second appeal and have examined the case legally as also factually. I cannot, therefore, disturb the findings of fact of the two Courts below. It is binding on this Court Under Section 100 of the Civil P. C. as the Courts below have not committed any perversity in arriving at the conclusion. I see no force in this appeal, which is dismissed hereby, leaving the parties to bear their own costs.


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