SIDDAREDDIGARI CHANGAL REDDI AND ORS. Vs. MOHAMMAL CHORDIA AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Siddareddigari Changal Reddi And Ors.
Mohammal Chordia And Anr.
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Kuppuswami Ayyar, J. -
(1.) THE appellants were the legal representatives of the fourth defendant in O.S. No. 1 of 1927 on the file of the Subordinate Judge's Court of Chittoor and the appeal arises out of proceedings by way of restitution consequent on the modification of the decree passed in O.S. No. 1 of 1927 under the orders of the appellate Court. The suit was for the recovery of the additional amount paid by the plaintiff over and above what he was bound to pay in respect of the property. He claimed in respect of the amount sought to be recovered a charge on several villages comprised in the Karvetnagar Zamindari. The decree passed on 30th March, 1929, by the Subordinate Judge's Court was for Rs. 73,000 and odd. Guntapalli was one of the 13 villages comprised in Schedule B of the plaint over which a charge was claimed and under the decree the charge was given over that village and a few others to the extent of three -tenths only of the decree amount. After the decree was passed the village of Guntapalli in which the appellants claim an interest was brought to sale and sold for Rs. 900 on 12th July ,1933. Subsequently on appeal the amount decreed was reduced to Rs. 2,780 odd and even that liability was directed by the appellate Court to be apportioned by the lower Court as between the several villages as per Section 45 of the Madras Revenue Recovery Act in so far as B schedule properties of which Guntapalli was one was concerned. This appellate decree was passed long subsequent to the sale of that village. The decree -holder was the purchaser and he Sold the village to the second respondent on 29th November, 1934, prior to the passing of the appellate decree.
(2.) AFTER the appellate decree was passed a petition was filed in the Subordinate Judge's Court for apportioning the liability as between the several villages over which there was the charge. That petition, E.P. No. 26 of 1937, was filed on 26th October, 1936. The fourth defendant whose legal representatives the present appellants are, filed a counter to that petition on 14th December, 1937, in which he contended that the sale in respect of this village must be deemed to have been cancelled by reason of the variation of the decree and that the village will have to be re -delivered to the judgment -debtors and that it was only after that was done that the apportionment should be made. During the pendency of that petition this petition out of which the present appeal arises, namely, E.P. No. 35 of 1941 was filed praying for the re -delivery of the properties by reason of the fact that the petitioners are entitled to get the village by way of restitution as the sale must be deemed to have been set aside by the variation in the decree in execution of which the village was brought to sale. Various pleas were raised. One of them was that the petition was barred by limitation as it was filed more than three years after the date of the appellate decree modifying the original decree. Another contention was that the sale cannot be said to have been set aside by reason of the modification of the decree as the second respondent claimed to be a bona fide purchaser for value whose rights could not be affected by the variation of the decree. The learned Subordinate Judge held that the petition was barred by limitation and that the petitioners were not entitled to treat the sale as having been set aside. He also made the observation that the second respondent was a bona fide purchaser for value. But as he found that the petition was barred by limitation he dismissed the same. Hence this appeal. The points that arise for consideration are (1) whether the petition was barred by limitation, (2) whether in the circumstances of the case the sale must be considered to have been set aside by reason of the variation in the decree, and (3) whether the second respondent was a bona fide purchaser who would not be affected by the variation of the decree in appeal.
(3.) IT is not disputed that the petition is governed by Article 182 of the Limitation Act. Then the next point for consideration is which is the decree which would give the petitioners the right to claim restitution. The learned Subordinate Judge has proceeded on the basis that the decree of the appellate Court varying the decree but directing an apportionment to be made of the amount mentioned in the decree of the appellate Court as between the various villages over which a charge was claimed was the starting point of limitation. It would be so if that decree had been complete. That decree did not fix what amount was payable in respect of the various villages over which the charge was claimed. The charge was not given for the entire amount over all the villages. Each village was liable only to a portion of the amount and that had not been determined. In Sundararama Reddi v. Raghava Reddi, (1921) 42 M.L.J. 315, there is the following observation:
It was argued that any reduction in the amount of a decree affects the position of the judgment -debtor inasmuch as it renders it easier for him to satisfy the decree and prevent the sale of his property in execution. No doubt where the reduction is large this may be so; and whether it is so or not, must be a question of fact. But in the present case the reduction is so slight that it cannot be seriously contended that respondents could have satisfied a decree for Rs. 7,4.95 but could not raise the extra Rs. 200 and no such allegation has ever been made.
This observation seems to indicate that it is not every variation of a decree by an appellate Court that would entitle a judgment debtor whose property has been sold in execution of the original decree to put forth a claim for restitution on the basis that the sale is invalid and that the extent of variation will be one of the circumstances that will have to be taken into consideration in considering how the restitution should be made. In this case the charge was for different amounts over the several villages; as the appellate decree did not fix the liability in respect of each village it cannot be said that there are enough circumstances from which the Court could predicate whether there was justification for ordering restitution by setting aside the sale of one of those villages or not. So I think in the particular circumstances of the case the starting point for limitation will be the date on which the liability in respect of that particular village was fixed and that was fixed only in 1942. I therefore find that that petition was not barred by limitation.;
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