Decided on March 15,1955

Valluri Suryanarayana Murty Appellant
Goli Veerraju And Others Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



UMAMAHESWARAM,J. - (1.)The 1st defendant is the appellant. The question arising for consideration in the Second Appeal is rather a simple one. The leasehold interest in respect of Ac. 35-00 of land for 1946-47 was auctioned by the commissioner appointed by the court in a partition suit on 16-6-1946. The 1st respondent herein was the highest bidder for Rs. 575/-. He paid the amount to the commissioner who delivered possession of the properties and passed a receipt in his favour marked as Ex. A-3. As the cultivation season had commenced, he proceeded with the agricultural operations. At the instance of the appellant herein, the auction by the commissioner was set aside by the court on 14-9-1946. The court once again auctioned the leasehold interest in September 1946 and the lease amount of Rs. 3800/-was deposited into court. The simple question for decision is, whether the plaintiff is not entitled to recover the amount spent by him for the agricultural operations till the sale was set aside. While the trial court dismissed the suit, the appellate court decreed the claim as against defendants 1, 2 and 6 to 12. The 1st defendant alone has preferred the Second Appeal.
(2.)Though the learned advocate for the appellant addressed elaborate arguments and cited a large number of authorities, I am clearly of opinion that there is no substance in the appeal. The 1st respondent who was the highest bidder at the auction and who was put in possession of the properties was a bonafide purchaser of the lease hold interest. There is no reliable evidence that he colluded with the parties to the partition suit or the commissioner. It is no doubt true that the court did not confirm the sale of the leasehold interest in his favour but that does not make his possession unlawful or his position that of a trespasser. Having been the highest bidder, he bonafide carried on agricultural operations and raised crops. The benefit of his labour and the crops raised by him passed to the purchaser of the leasehold interest in the auction held by the court in September 1946. So the sum of Rs. 3800/- deposited by the purchaser represents partly the amount due to the 1st respondent for the agricultural operations carried on by him. The subordinate Judge rightly held that the provisions of Section 70 of the Indian Contract Act were complied with. The 1st respondent as aforesaid was put in possession of the lands and he carried on the agricultural operations as it was the cultivation season and his action cannot be treated as unlawful. When he raised the crop, he did not intend to do so gratuitously to the owners of the land. The parties to the partition suit who were the owners of the land have enjoyed the benefit of his labour. The amount that was deposited in court partly represents the amount due to him for having made the land fit for cultivation and for raising the crops. So, all the three requisites laid down in section 70 of the Contract Act, namely (1) that the thing must be done lawfully (2) that it must be done by a person not intending to do gratuitously and (3) the person for whom the act is done must enjoy the benefit of it are satisfied.
(3.)The learned Advocate for the appellant relied on a passage in Ram Tuhul Singh v. Biseswar Lall Sahoo, 2 I.A. at page 143 which runs as follows:-
"But even if this were true, it is in every case in which a man has benefited by the money of another, that an obligation to repay that money arises. The question is to be determined by nice considerations of what may be fair or proper according to the highest morality. To support such a suit there must be an obligation, express or implied, to repay. It is well settled that there is no such obligation in the case of a voluntary payment by A of B's debt. Still less will the action lie when the money has been paid, as here, against the will of the party for whose use it is supposed to have been paid, Stocks v. Lewis, 1. T.R. 20 . Nor can the case of A be better because he made the payment ex mero motu, but in the course of a transaction which in one event would have turned out highly profitable to himself, and extremely detrimental to the person whose debts the money went to pay."


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