PREM NATH Vs. KAUDOOMAL RIKHIRAM
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
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(1.) THE appellant Shri Prem Nath sole proprietor of firm Prem Nath Pran Nath submitted a claim under Section 13 of the Displaced Persons (Debts Adjustment)Act, 1951, for the recovery of Rs. 43,891/2/9 principal and interest. The petitioner was doing business at Lahore and on the partition of the country came to India. It is not denied that he is a displaced person under the Displaced Persons (Debts adjustment) Act LXX of 1951. The respondents, who had their Head Office in Lahore and a Branch Office at gurdaspur, were acting as commission agents for the petitioner for the purchase of grains like wheat and paddy etc. , which used to be despatched to different places under the petitioner's instructions. The practice which prevailed, was that the petitioner used to advance sums of money to the respondents, and hundis used to be drawn by the respondents on account of the price of the grains. The petitioner has stated that a sum of Rs. 29,215/2/9 remained in deposit with the respondents as sale proceeds of rice and paddy on the petitioner's account. This money lay in trust with the respondents for the petitioner. The petitioner also claims, besides the above sum, Rs. 14,676/- as interest at 6 per cent. , per annum.
(2.) THE respondents stated, that all the sale proceeds were remitted to the petitioner, either by bank draft, or otherwise, in accordance with his directions. Nothing was due from the respondents to the petitioner. The liability to pay any interest was also denied. It was also contended by the respondents that the petitioner had no locus standi to sue alone as he was not the sole proprietor. It was also pleaded, that the application did not lie under Act LXX of 1951 and it was time barred. The following issues were framed in this case: 1. Is Prem Nath the sole proprietor of firm Prem Nath Pran Nath? 2. If issue No. 1 is not proved what is its effect? 3. Is the amount in dispute a "debt" as defined in Act No. 70 of 1951? 4. Does not this application lie against both the respondents? 5. Is the sum of Rs. 29,215/2/9 due to the applicant from the respondents? 6. Is the application time barred? 7. Is the applicant entitled to interest? If so, at what rate? 8. Relief and against whom? the first two issues were decided in favour of the petitioner, and it was held, that prem Nath was the sole proprietor of the firm Prem Nath Pran Nath and he could sue alone. On issue No. 3 it was held that the amount in dispute was a 'debt' as defined in the Act. Issue No. 4 was also decided in favour of the petitioner, and it was held, that the application was competent. Issue No. 5 was held not to have been proved and therefore it was decided against the petitioner. Under issue No. 6 the application was held to be time barred. On issue No. 7, it was held, that if Issue No. 5 had been found in favour of the petitioner then he would have been entitled to interest at the rate of six per cent. , per annum. In view of the decision on issues Nos. 5 and 6 the application was dismissed, but the parties were left to bear their own costs.
(3.) AGAINST the above order. Pran Nath has filed an appeal to this Court. The issue as to limitation may be disposed of first. There are three provisions of the displaced Persons (Debts Adjustment) Act, LXX of 1951, which have a bearing. Under Section 53 every application made under the Act is deemed to be a suit for the purpose of the Indian Limitation Act. Section 13 provides a limitation of one year after the date of the enforcement of the Act within which a displaced creditor may make an application, claiming a debt from any other person who is not a displaced person. The Act came into force on 10-12-1951, and therefore application under Section 13 claiming a debt could be filed by 9-12-1952, to the Tribunal which was done in this case.;
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