The Supreme Court reiterated in Doddanarayana Reddy (died) represented by Lrs. Vs. Jayaramareddy (died) represented by Lrs. that the second appellate court cannot interfere in the findings of the fact by the first appellate court especially when it is not based on any misreading of materials on record.
The present case is a suit for partition wherein the plaintiff contends that he initially belonged to a joint family and during his minority his brothers obtained his signatures in some papers. The plaintiff contended that neither did he intend to execute any deed nor did he know the contents of the papers in which his signatures were obtained. In support of his claim of minority he had filed a school leaving certificate that was signed by his father. However the defendants contended that when the plaintiff executed the release deed in favour of the brothers for a consideration of Rs. 5000/- and left the home after which he got married to One Mamjamma in Kempapura village where he lived thereafter. The defendants further contended that the plaintiff was not a minor at that point of time.
During the recording of evidence, the plaintiff accepted the fact that he left the village due to a dispute aroused between him and the brothers and thereafter got married in the year 1964. To support his claim of minority he did not produce any other evidence other than the school leaving certificate that was signed by his father. No school officials or the headmaster who issued the school leaving certificate was examined to prove the signature of his father or the contents of the school leaving certificate. On the other hand, the defendants proved the release deed executed by the plaintiffs. Both the release deed and the marriage deed indicated the age of the plaintiff as 24 years.
On examining the materials on record the trial court held that the plaintiff was not a minor at the time of executing the release deed and hence held the transfer as valid. Aggrieved by the said order plaintiff preferred an appeal before the High Court of Karnataka which also upheld the judgment passed by the trial court. The plaintiff preferred second appeal against the order passed by the first appellate court.
The substantial question before the second appellate court was whether the judgment passed by the first appellate court is liable to be set aside due to improper consideration of the school leaving certificate. The second appellate court reversed the findings of both the first appellate court and the trial court holding that the school leaving certificate as valid piece of evidence under section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act. Since the said school leaving certificate shows that the plaintiff was minor at the time of executing the release deed, the impugned deed is null and void. Hence, the present appeal is being filed.
The counsel for the respondent/ plaintiff argued that the school leaving certificate falls within the purview of public document which was prepared on the basis of the statement of plaintiff’s father who had also signed the same. He further contended that the school leaving certificate was prepared during the official duty of the staff of government school and hence there is a presumption of correctness as per the section 35 of the Indian evidence act.
1. The court after examining the materials on record and the depositions of the witness, the court observed that the school leaving certificate is not as per the provisions of section 76 of Indian evidence act which provides for obtaining certified copies of the public document on payment of prescribed fees.
2. The court observed that the school leaving certificate was not proved by the plaintiff in accordance with law and at required standards of proof.
3. The court remarked that the burden of proof was on the plaintiff to prove that he was a minor at the time of execution of the release deed.
4. The court further observed that there was no substantial question of law aroused before the second appellate court.
The Supreme Court while holding that the High Court erred in interfering with the concurrent findings of the court and ruled that the second appellate court cannot interfere with the findings of the fact by the lower courts unless it is perverse. As a result the Supreme Court allowed the appeal thereby affirming the decision of the trial court and the first appellate court.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje