Decided on December 15,1944

Pethu Reddiar And Ors. Appellant


- (1.) TWO suits were filed in the Subordinate Judge's Court of Trichinopoly by the same plaintiff to have it declared that various alienations effected by her husband, one Somasundara, were invalid for the reasons set out in the plaints. The suits were dismissed by the trial Court but on appeal this Court reversed the decision of the lower Court and granted a decree in both the suits. The petitioners, who were defendants 1, 3 and 6 in the lower Court and respondents 1, 3 and 7 in the appeal, seek to take the matter to His Majesty in Council in appeal. There was only one defendant in the other suit, O.S. No. 27 of 1933 and he also desires to appeal to His Majesty in Council. Taking the first suit which is treated as the main suit (O.S. No. 28 of 1933), three alienations were effected in favour of the petitioners for a stated consideration of Rs. 7,250. It is not disputed by Mr. Srini -vasa Aiyar, the learned advocate for the respondent before us, that the market value of the properties included in the three sales on the date when the High Court delivered its judgment would be more than Rs. 10,000 and having regard to the rise in prices since 1931 we think that this is a very proper concession to make. It is therefore unnecessary to consider whether the value of the mesne profits decreed against these three petitioners should also be included in the valuation for the reason that the mesne profits have not yet been ascertained. If it were necessary, we should be inclined to say that the mere fact that the mesne profits have not yet been ascertained is no ground for not including the value of the mesne profits for the purpose of ascertaining the value of the subject matter of the appeal to His Majesty in Council by the petitioners. But in view of the concession made it is unnecessary to go into this question.
(2.) THE main objection put forward on behalf of the respondent is that the suit against the three petitioners is really made up of three suits allowed to be included in one suit by the practice followed in this and other High Courts and reliance is placed on the decision of this Court in Vaithilinga Mudaliar v. Somasundaram Chettiar, (1918) 36 M.L.J. 119 :, I.L.R. 42 Mad.228 to show that for the purpose of the appeal to His Majesty in Council the suit against the three sets of alienees must be treated as three different suits and that each alienee must show that the value of the properties of which he is in possession is Rs. 10,000 or upwards. In the present case, however, it was alleged in the plaint that Somasundara, the alienor, was of unsound mind and in any event not capable of understanding the contracts which he was entering into and of forming a rational judgment as to their effect upon his interests. The plaint which was started as an application for leave to file a suit in forma pauperis says this in paragraph 15: The respondents are connected together as relatives, friends and members of one faction, bound together by the common purpose of making illegal gain at the expense of the helpless insane petitioner who was entirely in their custody and control. The said transactions are also connected by the same persons being the executees, attestors, writers or identifying witnesses before the Registrars etc. and in paragraph 18: In case the Court holds that the mental condition of the petitioner has not been such as to legally unfit him for effecting the said transactions, it is submitted that the said transactions, disadvantageous to the petitioner as they are, were and could only have been effected and brought about by the exercise of undue influence by the respondents in the case who were in position to dominate the will of the petitioner, helpless, weak and defenceless as he was in his mental infirmities and troubles.
(3.) THIS Court found that the alienations in question were all engineered by the first, sixth and twelfth defendants, very near relations of Somasundara, in conjunction with the other defendants who were their partisans. It was pointed out that it appeared clear that the first defendant brought about all the sale deeds and took the sale in his own favour taking advantage of the youth and helplessness of Somasundara and thus helped himself and his confederates in each getting a slice of Somasundara's properties. The Court then went on to point out: The sixth defendant who is Somasundara's mother's sister's husband and who stood in equal degree of relationship to Somasundara is another unsrcupulous man who took another property for Rs. 4,000. Rajambu's sister's husband, the 12th defendant, is yet another and the other defendants seem to be partisans of the first and second defendants. This is a case where there is a common cause of action against all and we therefore hold that the principle of the decision in Vaithilinga Mudaliar v. Somasundaram Chettiar, (1918) 36 M.L.J. 119 :, I.L.R. 42 Mad.228 and the other decisions which follow it is not applicable to this case. It is not disputed that the valuation of the suit taken as a whole on the date of the plaint was above Rs. 10,000. In the plaint the value is said to be over Rs. 32,000.;

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