G. Ramanujam, J. -
(1.) THIS is an appeal against the decision of the learned Subordinate Judge, Chingleput in O.S.No. 118 of 1961 dismissing the suit filed by the plaintiffs -appellants for specific performance of a contract of sale dated 9th October, 1959 for a sum of Rs. 25,300 entered into by the fourth defendant fourth respondent for herself and on behalf of her two minor sons and a daughter, respondents 1 to 3 herein or for recovery of the amounts paid to the fourth defendant and damages.
(2.) THE plaintiff's case was as follows : The fourth defendant, the mother of defendants 1 to 3 for herself and as guardian of her children agreed to sell items 1 to 55 of the suit properties for a consideration of Rs. 25,000 on 9th October, 1959. The terms of that agreement, Exhibit A -1 were that the plaintiffs should discharge the defendants' debts both secured and unsecured, out of the sale consideration that on payment of the balance of the consideration the fourth defendant will execute a sale as agreed, and that the fourth defendant had to obtain the sanction of the District Court for the sale of the suit properties on behalf of her minor children. The fourth defendant applied for sanction to the District Court for the sale of the suit properties under Section 8 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and the District Court, Chingleput, after examining the fourth defendant granted the sanction sought for by its order dated 7th September, 1960 in O.P. No. 20 of 1960. While granting the sanction the Court discussed the evidence of the fourth defendant and held that the alienation sought to be made was beneficial to the minors, as the fourth defendant had to discharge certain antecedent family debts and also others incurred for the maintenance of the minors. The Court, however, imposed a condition that the balance of the consideration after discharging the debts should be, deposited in Court to be drawn out by the fourth defendant for purchasing a house at Madras for the minors, by filing a separate application. In pursuance of the agreement for sale wherein the plaintiffs had been asked to discharge the two secured debts due by the defendants to two creditors, the plaintiff had paid Rs. 9,875 to discharge the total liability by way of secured debts, besides paying a sum of Rs. 3,590 to the fourth defendant on various dates from and out of the sale consideration for the maintenance of the defendants and also for discharging certain sundry debts borrowed by the fourth defendant by way of pledge of jewels etc. Subsequent to the original agreement dated 9th October, 1959, it was found that some of the items were omitted to be included in the agreement of sale as originally agreed, and these items, that is, items 56 to 60 of the plaint schedule were also subsequently included as part of the property to be sold under Exhibit A -1 for a consideration of Rs. 300, making the total consideration as Rs. 25,300. Possession of the suit items was also handed over to the plaintiffs in pursuance of the contract of sale. They expected that the fourth defendant will execute the sale deed after the order of the District Court sanctioning the sale. But the fourth defendant with ulterior motives not only omitted to intimate them the fact of sanction by the District Court but also caused the removal of the casuarina trees stealthily on 7th February, 1960, and 22nd February, 1960 from the suit properties, which trees also formed part of the sale agreement. As soon as the plaintiffs came to know en 22nd February, 1961, about the sanction of the District Court for sale of the suit properties, they called upon the fourth defendant to execute the sale deed as agreed. But she, after evading the issue for some time, ultimately refused to execute the sale -deed. In view of the refusal of the fourth defendant to execute the sale deed and in view of the fact that the plaintiffs had paid large amounts to the defendants and their creditors aggregating to Rs. 13,465 and had spent large amounts for improving the lands and raising casuarina therein, they moved the District Court in I.A. No. 112 of 1961 seeking permission to deposit the balance of the consideration in O.P. No. 20 of 1960, But the District Court, on the objections raised by the fourth defendant, held that the said application was not maintainable and that the remedy of the plaintiffs was only to file a regular suit. The plaintiffs were, therefore, constrained to file the present suit for specific performance of the contract or in the alternative for the recovery of the amount paid to the defendants and their creditors and for damages. The suit was resisted by the defendants 1 to 3 on the ground that the property agreed to be sold were worth not less Rs. 50,000 and that there was no necessity for nor was there any benefit by the proposed alienation, that the two mortgage deeds directed to be discharged were not pressing debts, and that the agreement of sale entered into by the fourth defendant is invalid and not binding on them under the Hindu Law. They also urged that the contract to sell was brought about by false representation and undue influence, that the sanction of the District Court, Chingleput had been obtained by false representations and that in any event the plaintiffs were unable to perform their part of the contract within the time stipulated in the agreement of sale. They also denied that possession of the suit properties was given to the plaintiffs in pursuance of the agreement of sale but stated that the plaintiffs had trespassed into the suit properties after the disputes arose.
(3.) THE defence of the fourth defendant was that there was no pressure for payment the mortgage debts, that there were no sundry debts borrowed by her by the pledge of jewels etc., which had to be discharged, that she received only Rs. 3,165 in small amounts, that the possession of the properties was never delivered to the plaintiffs, that the plaintiffs were not willing to perform their part of the contract, that there has been no valid compliance of the order of the District Court sanctioning the sale and that in any event the plaintiffs were not entitled to the discretionary relief of specific performance.;