A.T. PONNAPPA CHETTIAR AND ORS. Vs. BODAPPA CHETTIAR AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
A.T. Ponnappa Chettiar And Ors.
Bodappa Chettiar And Ors.
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Bell, J. -
(1.) TE petitioners were defendants 1, 2 and 4 in a suit brought against them and the other members of their family by one Bodappa Chettiar for the price of goods sold and delivered to the defendants by an unregistered firm of which the plaintiff and one Jayarama Chetti were or had been partners. The goods were sold and delivered between 16th September 1939 and 29th April 1943. The defendants appeared and took the objection, among others, that the suit, being one to recover a debt due to the partnership was not maintainable Under Section 69, Partnership Act. Bodappa Chettiar promptly applied to the District Munsif for leave to amend his plaint by stating that the said partnership had in fact been dissolved on 7th July 1941 and that, under the terms of the dissolution he had become entitled to sue for out standings due to the partnership. This amendment was allowed. The objection was again raised at the trial and was overruled by the District Munsif on the ground that as the suit was, in effect, one by a plaintiff who had become entitled under the deed of dissolution to sue, it was not affected by the prohibition of Sub -section (2) of Section 69, Partnership Act.
(2.) THERE is no question that the partnership was never registered. In my opinion, the District Munsif was wrong. The suit as instituted was for the recovery of a debt due to an unregistered partnership and was therefore barred. The section has been strictly interpreted and it was held in Ponnuchami v. Muthusami, A.I.R. 1942 Mad. 252 that the registration of a firm is a condition precedent to the right to institute the suit and that the Court has no jurisdiction to proceed with the trial when the condition precedent has not been fulfilled. In my view, to permit an unregistered partnership to dissolve and one of the former partners to be able to recover debts due to the partnership would be to defeat the object of the section. There would be nothing then to prevent unscrupulous persons from setting up any unregistered partnership and periodically bringing about dissolution in order that moneys which were due to them might be recovered, and then setting up the partnership once more. In my opinion this suit should have been dismissed. This petition is therefore allowed with costs. It is unfortunate that no one appears for the respondents but this point was the principal one set out in the written statement and argued on behalf of the defendants in the lower Court and the petition is therefore allowed with costs here and below.;
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