INGUVA RAMAKRISHNA RAO Vs. SAMUDRALA VENKATARATNAM
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
INGUVA RAMAKRISHNA RAO
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Chandrasekhara Sastry, J. -
(1.) The plaintiff who is the appellant in this Second Appeal, was a licensed stamp-vendor to sell Court-fee general stamps in the District Munsif's Court, Nuzbid. The defendant was a clerk appointed by him, according to the allegations in the plaint, on a monthly salary of Rs. 25.00for the purpose of depositing money in the Sub-treasury and taking delivery of the indented stamps and selling the stamps at the Court and maintaining a true and proper account of the above transactions. The further allegations in the plaint are as follows: The plaintiff was furnishing the defendant with the necessary funds for the purchase of stamps. The defendant was not paying the plaintiff all the sale proceeds of stamps. So, in April 1955, after the Court was closed for summer vacation, the plaintiff demanded the dfefendant to render a true and proper account of all the transactions and pay to the plaintiff the amount which was lying with the defendant representing the sale proceeds of the stamps and also to deliver the unsold stamps. But the defendant did not do so. But he sent the account books alleged to have been maintained by him to the plaintiff with one K. Venkata Rao examined as P. W. 2 in the case. The defendant did not pay any amount or give the unsold stamps to the plaintiff. From a perusal of the accounts, it is clear that the plaintiff noted some false entries in the accounts. The plaint gives certain instances of false entries. It is also alleged that the defendant is under a duty to maintain and render a true and proper account of all the transactions of stamp-vending. The defendant was employed as a clerk till April, 1955. A decree was prayed for directing the defendant to render a true and proper account of the transactions of stamp vending conducted on behalf of the plaintiff by the defendant during the period of his employment and (or passing of a decree in plaintiff's favour for the amount found due by the defendant.
(2.) The defendant pleaded that he was employed as a clerk on a "monthly salary of Rs. 40.00, but that he had nothing to do with the handling of the money itself. His duty was merely to write the accounts to the dictation of the plaintiff. The plaintiff himself was attending to all the transactions connected with stamp-vending. The plaintiff himself had to pay the defendant towards his salary a sum of Rs. 446.00 for which the defendant would file a separate suit. As the suit claim is based upon an alleged agreement which is void qn account of its illegality and being opposed to law and public policy, the suit is liable to be dismissed. The following material issues were framed by the Trial Court: "(i) Whether the defendant is an employee of the plaintiff as alleged? (ii) Whether the defendant is liable to account for, and if so, to what extent? (iii) Whether the defendant was vending stamps on behalf of the plaintiff? (iv) x x x x (v) Whether the suit is not maintainable in law, as the suit claim is opposed to public policy?" On the 1st issue, the Trial Court found that the defendant was employed as a clerk under the plaintiff to write accounts and to vend stamps and on the 2nd issue, it found that the defendant is liable to account for the plaintiff. On the 3rd issue, it found that the defendant was vending stamps on behalf of the plaintiff. On the 5th issue, it found that the appointment of the defendant by the plaintiff for the purpose of carrying on stamp vending business on behalf of the plaintiff is only collateral to the stamp-vending business of the plaintiff and that, therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to enforce his claim for rendition of account and that the suit is maintainable in law. In the result, a preliminary decree for accounts was passed. Against this judgment and decree of the trial Court, the defendant filed an appeal in the Court of the Additional District Judge, Krishna at Masulipatam. The learned Additional District Judge also found that the plaintiff appointed the defendant as a clerk to sell stamps and maintain a true and proper account of the sales and that the defendant is liable to render to the plaintiff a true and proper account of the transactions. But he held that the suit claim is opposed to law and not enforceable, as, in his view, the appointment of the defendant to attend to the stamp-vending on behalf of the plaintiff, who is the person licensed to vend stamps is prohibited under Section 34 of the Court-fees Act, 1870 and Section 69 of the Indian Stamp Act. In that view, the learned Additional District Judge allowed the appeal and dismissed the plaintiff's suit, and directed the parties to bear their own costs in both the Courts. Hence, the above second appeal is filed by the plaintiff.
(3.) It is argued by Mr. Suryanarayana, the learned Counsel for the appellant that there is nothing either in the Court-fees Act or in the Indian Stamp Act which prohibits the appointment of a clerk by a licensed stamp-vendor to attend to the sale transactions relating to the stamps and that, therefore, the view pf the learned Additional District Judge that the suit claim is opposed to law and not enforceable is erroneous.;
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