Decided on March 10,1972



Kondaiah, J. - (1.) The Respondent herein, on 29/07/1958 purchased the properties of M/s Govardhana Gold Fields Co. Ltd., which started gold mining at Narayananagar in Palamaner taluk, Chittoor district, for a sum of Rs. 1,70,000.00. The aforesaid Gold Fields company owned about Rs. 5,59,152.50 p. Towards electric charges as per the statement of Andhra Pradesh Electricity Department, towards the recovery of which the Deputy Tahsildar, Kuppam, by virtue of the powers vested in him under the Revenue Recovery Act, attached movables of the company worth about Rupees 24,000/- on 10/12/1958. The claim petition of the respondent on the basis of its purchase from Govardhana Gold fields to the District Collector was dismissed on 13/12/1958. The District Collector affirmed the attachment in the same order. Thereupon , O.S.24/59 on the file of the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Chittoor for declaration of the claimants right to and possession of the properties purchases by it from Govardhana Gold fields on 29.7.1958 was filed against the State. Pending the suit, the plaintiff prayed in I.A. 152/59 for possession of the attached moveables on the ground that they were perishable. The court raised the attachment on condition that the plaintiff should deposit Rs. 24,000.00 for which amount the moveables were attached. Pursuant to the conditionals order made by the court, a cheque for a sum of Rs. 24,000.00 drawn in favour of the State was handed over to the Govt. Pleader in the lower court on 25.4.1959. The suit was ultimately decreed as prayed for on 13.3.1961. The appeal A.S. 28/62 preferred by the State to this court was dismissed. E.P. 97/68 under Section 144 of the code of Civil Procedure for restitution of the amount paid to the Government with interest at 6% per annum and execution costs was filed by the respondent decree-holder on August 19, 1968. The E.P. was resisted by State contending inter alia that the restitution is not permissible and in any event, the decree holder is not entitled to the payment of interest and the costs. However, it may be stated that the state had deposited Rupees 24,000/- in to the lower court on 9/01/1970 and the same was paid to the respondent decree-holder and satisfaction to that effect was recorded. The lower court allowed the E. P. Hence this appeal.
(2.) The contention of the appellant is that the application for restitution under Section 144, C.P.C. is not maintainable on the ground that there is no variation or reversal of the order of any civil court in an appeal and that, in any event, the decree-holder is not entitled to payment of interest. The respondents counsel contended contra. The two questions that arise for determination in this appeal are: (1) Whether the application for restitution of the amount of Rs. 24,000.00 paid by the respondent on 25.4.1959 is or is not maintainable? (2) whether, on the fact and the circumstances, the respondent decree holder is entitled to interest from 25.4.1959 till 9.1.1979 on the amount of Rs. 24,000.00.
(3.) In order to appreciate the respective contentions of the parties, it is necessary to advert the concept and content of restitution. The earliest case where the doctrine of restitution was stated in Shame Pershad v. Huro Pershad (1863-66) 10 Moo Ind App 203 (PC), wherein the juridical committee observed: "If it ( the original decree or judgment) has been so reversed or suspended the money recovered under it ought certainly to be refunded.";

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