RAGHAVA CHARRY Vs. ORIENTAL LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY
ORIENTAL LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY
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(1.) The allegation on behalf of the plaintiff is that he was engaged as agent by the defendant company on the terms of receiving for every policy taken out through his instrumentality 10 per cent. on the first premium paid and 5 per cent on every subsequent premium.
(2.) The plaintiff's case is that the defendant contracted to pay the latter percentage as long as the premiums continued to be paid, irrespective of the continuance between the parties of the relation of employer and agent. Under the alleged contract the plaintiff seeks to recover a small sum, which, as he says, has accrued due to him since the determination of the agency and with regard to the future he prays for a declaration. Assuming that the contract was, as he alleges, I think the plaintiff has altogether mistaken his remedy. If he is entitled to anything it is damages which he ought to claim, ft is not as if he were the assignee of the premiums payable by policy-holders. There is no reason why his claim for remuneration wrongfully withheld should not be adequately compensated in damages.
(3.) But has the plaintiff succeeded in proving the alleged contract? On the defendant's side there is really no evidence as to what were the terms of the contract with the plaintiff. There is a bare letter of engagement written on behalf of the company and no more. No witnesses were called for the defendant and so the plaintiff is left to tell the story uncontradicted by oral evidence and unchecked by documents. Even with these advantages the plaintiff does not prove the case, for he does not definitely say what terms were agreed upon between him and Mr. Hooper. The letter (Exhibit A) is of no importance for it was not a proposal made to the plaintiff and was not referred to either by him or Mr. Hooper at the interview. Nor do the answers to the interrogatories help the plaintiff because they do not relate to the particular agreement made with the plaintiff. Thereremains only the course of business between the parties, and that indicates nothing more than an agreement acted upon as long as the agency lasted to pay the-percentage above mentioned. There is nothing to show that it was agreed to make these payments after the plaintiff ceased to act as agent. On the contrary the reasonabl inference is that the periodical payments of 5 per cent. were intended to secure the continuance of the services of the plaintiff. This being the nature of the contract it may be that there was an implied undertaking by the company to allow the plaintiff to continue his services and thus earn his commission, and therefore the question arises whether the defendant was justified in dismissing the plaintiff. The learned Judge has found that the plaintiff received a bribe for making a favourable report as to the death of Govindappa, and the finding is supported by the evidence. It is said that it was not parf of his duty as agent to make such enquiries as he was directed to make. The evidence as to the circumstancesunder which he went to Chingleput tends however to prove that the prosecution of enquiries was part of the duties undertaken by him as agent. It is not shown that he was paid for this service, and it is not to be supposed that unless he had been a sub-agent he would have been sent.;
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