Mansimran Kaur

Chennai, June 8, 2022: While referring to Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act which specifies one of the methods of proving a document, the Madras High Court has opined that in order to invoke Section 73, admitted signatures of the person concerned should be available.

A Single Bench of Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy decreed the present suit in favour of the plaintiff whereby the plaintiff was seeking to recover a sum of Rs 1,71,20,256  along with interest at the rate of 24% per annum from the date of filing of the suit until realization thereof.

Factual background of the case was such that the defendant was a tenant of the plaintiff’s father and  ran a school. In order to make improvements to the school, the Defendant borrowed money from the Plaintiff’s father from time to time. According to the plaintiff, the defendant borrowed money from her father on eleven different dates. While borrowing a sum of Rs.50,000, the defendant executed a registered mortgage in respect of a property situated at Lakshmipuram. 

The plaintiff further stated  that the defendant acknowledged the loan availed of by him in multiple tranches by executing a document ,Subsequently, the defendant also executed a sale agreement in respect of the mortgaged property and borrowed a further sum of Rs.3, 85,000. In the aggregate, it was stated that a total sum of Rs.29, 62,000 was borrowed by him.  In pursuance of the same, the plaintiff stated that a promissory note was executed by the defendant wherein of a sum of Rs.1, 45, 12,735 was acknowledged. Based on the said promissory note, the present suit was instituted wherein the interest amount was limited to 6% per annum. Thus, the plaintiff was seeking a decree for a sum of Rs 1, 71, 20,256. In view of the same, the defendant filed an application to reject the plaint. However, the said application was rejected. 

After hearing the submissions of the parties, the Court noted that the promissory note in question qualified as a negotiable instrument in terms of the NI Act. The Court further noted that as contended by the plaintiff, if execution was proved, the plaintiff was entitled to the presumption under Section 118 of the NI Act.

It was opined by the Court that the plaintiff submitted several admitted signatures of the plaintiff and the defendant on record and that Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act, may be applied for purposes of comparison. In relation to the same, the Court took into consideration Section 73 of the said  Act, and in pursuance of the same it was observed that in order to invoke Section 73, admitted signatures of the person concerned should be available. In this case, the defendant admitted the signatures.

On account of the availability of documents bearing the admitted signature of the Defendant, it is possible to compare such admitted signatures with the disputed signature, the Court remarked. The Bench also said, “…merely because the name of the executant has not been written beneath the signature, the genuineness of the signature cannot be questioned.” In any event, the law and the remaining evidence should be considered before drawing a definitive conclusion. Further the Court took into consideration Section 118 of the NI Act.  

On perusal of the same, the Court opined that it requires certain presumptions to be drawn by the Court.  These presumptions are  that the negotiable instrument was drawn for consideration and that it was drawn on the date that the negotiable instrument bears. However, simultaneously the Court noted that the presumptions can be rebutted. In furtherance of the same, the Court submitted that in order to rebut the presumptions it was necessary that the evidence on record should lead to the definite inference that the existence of the consideration was so improbable that a prudent man would not draw the conclusion that the negotiable instrument was supported by consideration.  

Thus, after pursuing all the relevant material on record, the Court observed that it cannot be concluded that the existence of consideration for the Suit Promissory Note was improbable. In effect, the defendant failed to disprove the existence of consideration in the manner required by reading Section 3 of the Evidence Act and Section 118 of the NI Act. Accordingly, the suit was decreed. 

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