LEKSHMI STARCH FACTORY LTD Vs. MUHAMMED ISMAIL
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
LEKSHMI STARCH FACTORY LTD.
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(1.) The plaintiff revision petitioner claims to be aggrieved by the decree of the lower court on one point although on the other point he has won. The suit was for recovery of Rs. 100/- advanced by the plaintiff to the defendant as per an agreement, Ext. P1. The plaintiff, a Starch Factory, regularly advances manure to ryots in the locality, among whom the 1st defendant is one, and this manure is to be used for raising tapioca crop on their lands. At the end of the cultivation season, tapioca grown on the land is to be supplied to the plaintiff for his Starch Factory. Interest at 6 per cent on Rs. 100/- which is the value of the manure supplied, is also to be paid. There is a further provision and this has led to the controversy in the revision petition that in the event of the ryot (in this case, the 1st defendant) failing to supply tapioca at the agreed price of Rs. 60/- per ton damages must be paid to the plaintiff on the basis of 3 tons of tapioca per acre at Rs. 30/- per ton. The defendant in this case committed a breach of his obligation to supply tapioca and so the plaintiff came with the suit for recovery of Rs. 100/- advanced by him together with interest and Rs. 90/- which is the value of 3 tons of tapioca at Rs. 30/- per ton stipulated in the agreement.
(2.) The 1st defendant urged that the crop had utterly failed and so he should be relieved of his obligations under the contract on the basis of vismajor. He further urged that the clause in the contract for payment of Rs. 90/-, the price of 3 tons of tapioca at Rs. 30/- per ton, was unconscionable and unenforceable.
(3.) Both the points were considered by the Trial Court. On the first, as to whether there had been failure of crops and that consequently the defendant had been absolved from the contract, the Court held against the defendant. On the second, as to whether the plaintiff was entitled to claim Rs. 90/- as provided in the contract the learned Munsiff observed:
"It is no doubt true that as per Clause.9 of Ext. P1 defendant had agreed to pay compensation at Rs. 90/- per acre irrespective of the loss sustained by the plaintiff on account of the breach of contract but such unconscionable clauses in an agreement will not normally be
allowed to be enforced by a Court of law. In the absence of any evidence about the loss sustained by the plaintiff I consider that all that would be required and necessary is for the Court to grant interest at 6 percent on the amount advanced by the plaintiff.';
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