(1) whether the inference of similarities of the signatures of DW.1 on Ex.A.1, A.4 admitted by him and that of Ex.A.6 disputed by him with naked eye can be substituted to the substantial evidence on record ?, and, (2) whether the inference of reasoning on the clear alteration appearing on Ex.A.6, the revival letter, both in figure of date ‘11’ to ‘30’ and the amounts from Rs.5,218/- to Rs.6,078/- can be substituted as the evidence of proof against DW.1 for bringing the limitation ? It is to be seen that though the appellant denied the execution of the A.6 revival letter, both the Courts below concurrently held that on comparison of the admitted signatures of the appellant on Exs.A.1 and A.4 with that of the disputed signatures on Ex.A.6 as well asVakalat, no dissimilarities were found in between them to the eagle eye. This action of the trial Court in comparing the disputed signatures of the appellant with that of his admitted signatures cannot be said to be illegal or irregular. On the other hand, the course adopted in this regard by the trial Court is well within the settled principles of law governing the point. Therefore this action of the trial Court does not at all fall within the scope of the substantial question of law. The first appellate Court also considered this aspect in the proper perspective and upheld the course adopted by the trial Court, which according to me, perfectly does not warrant interference by this Court.Though some corrections took place in altering the numerical figures, i.e. altering the date to ‘30’ and the instalment to ‘Rs.5218/-‘, the material suggestions relating to the said alterations were unequivocally denied by P.W.1-Deputy Manager of the respondent-bank. On the other hand, the appellant failed to adduce any evidence in this regard.


HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA

SECOND APPEAL No. 352 OF 2013.

DATED 18TH APRIL, 2013.


BETWEEN

Lokam Lokanadham

                                                ….Appellant

And

State Bank of India,
Represented by its Chief Manager & Principal Officer,
Guntur

                                                ….Respondent.

HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA

SECOND APPEAL No. 352 OF 2013.


JUDGMENT:

          The respondent herein, a nationalized bank, is the plaintiff. It instituted the suit in O.S.No. 478 of 2010 on the file of the learned I Additional Senior Civil Judge, Guntur, for recovery of a sum of Rs.2,56,180/- being the balance of principal amount and interest due on the loan amount of Rs.2,00,000/- @ 11.5% per annum  from the  appellant herein.

          The facts of the case of the respondent-Bank before the Court below, which are not disputed by the appellant, are that on 20.11.2006 while the appellant was working as a live stock Assistant in Veterinary Dispensary, Pedakakani, was sanctioned a loan of Rs.2,00,000/- to meet his domestic needs and executed a personal loan agreement and other necessary documents in regard thereto while agreeing to repay the same with interest at 11.5% P.A. in monthly rests commencing from December, 2006. To the said loan transaction, the appellant represented that his gross salary was Rs.13,598/-per month and his employer agreed to deduct the monthly instalments from his salary and credit the same to the respondent-bank.

          It was the further case of the respondent-bank that the appellant paid only a sum of Rs.20,736/- in two instalments and  failed to repay the balance amount thereafter.  The respondent-bank issued a registered legal notice on 11.11.2009 demanding the appellant to repay the outstanding loan amount with interest, to which, the appellant failed to respond. Hence, the suit for recovery of the due loan amount from the appellant.

          The appellant filed his written statement, admitting sanction of loan, but denied that he acknowledged the debt on 25.9.2009 and received any registered notice from the respondent-bank. He further averred that there were material irregularities in the documents filed by the respondent-bank, which were, in fact, obtained with signature prior to 2006, and that the same were not executed by him on 20.11.2006 when he was sanctioned the loan.             

Before the trial Court, the appellant examined himself as D.W.1, but no documentary evidence was adduced on his behalf. On behalf of the respondent-Bank, its Deputy Manager was examined as P.W.1 and Exs.A.1 to A.8 were got marked.

Based on the pleadings, the Trial Court framed the following issues for settlement:
(1)                            Whether the suit documents are true, valid and duly executed by the defendant?

(2)                            Whether the suit documents are materially altered?

(3)                            Whether the suit is barred by limitation ?

(4)                            Whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover the suit claim?



The Trial Court, on a meticulous consideration of the evidence brought on record, held on issue Nos. 1 and 2 that the documents filed by the respondent-bank were very much executed by the appellant and that the same were binding on him; On issue No.3 it was held that inasmuch as the appellant executed revival letter on 25.9.2009, the suit was well within the time. Ultimately, the Trial Court  while assessing Issue No.4 decreed the suit against the appellant for a sum of Rs.2,56,180/- with costs and with future interest @ 12% P.A. from the date of the suit till the date of decree and subsequent interest at 6% per annum from the date of the decree till the date of realization.

Being aggrieved by the judgment and decree of the trial Court, the appellant carried the matter in appeal, being AS.No205 of 2011, to the Court of the II Additional District Judge, Guntur.

The lower appellate Court on a consideration of the entire material on record, while conquering with the findings of the trial Court, dismissed the appeal, inter alia holding that the documents marked by the respondent-Bank vide Exs. A.1 to 8 were proved and established, that the appellant availed the loan from the respondent-bank and later he failed to discharge the debt amount.  Even with regard to the contentions of the appellant that he has not acknowledged the debt by executing the revival letter under Ex.A.6 dated 25.9.2009, that the suit debt was barred by limitation, that the signature on Ex.A.6 was forged and all the documents filed by the respondent-bank contain material irregularities etc.,, the lower appellate Court held that all these contentions merits no consideration inasmuch as signatures on Exs.A.1 and A.4 were admitted by the appellant and when these signatures were compared  with the signature contained in Vakalat and Ex.A.6, revival letter dated 25.9.2009 which was said to have been executed by the appellant in favour of the respondent-bank, they were exactly similar in all respects to the eagle eye.  Ultimately, the lower appellate Court affirmed the judgment and decree of the  trial Court.

Being not satisfied with the same, the appellant/defendant approached this Court by way of the present Second Appeal.

The learned Counsel for the appellant sought to raise the following substantial questions of law  that 
(1) whether the inference of similarities of the signatures of DW.1 on Ex.A.1, A.4 admitted by him and that of Ex.A.6 disputed by him with naked eye can be substituted to the substantial evidence on record ?
and, 
(2) whether the inference of reasoning on the clear alteration appearing on Ex.A.6, the revival letter,  both in figure of date ‘11’ to ‘30’ and the amounts from Rs.5,218/- to Rs.6,078/- can be substituted  as the evidence of proof against DW.1 for bringing the limitation ?  
Apart from the above, the learned Counsel for the appellant/defendant while reiterating the grounds raised before the Courts below submitted that the Courts below failed to consider the material and evidence brought on record in the proper perspective and therefore this appeal is liable to be allowed while setting aside the judgments and decrees of the Courts below.

Before adverting to the contentions of the learned Counsel, be it noted that the scope of this Court under Sec. 100 C.P.C. is quite narrow. Therefore, within the ambit of the appellate jurisdiction of this court under Sec. 100 CPC, it is to be seen that as to whether any substantial questions of law raised by the learned Counsel for the appellant in the Memorandum of Grounds need consideration and warrant any interference by this Court in this second appeal. Time and again, the Supreme Court held that this Court is entitled to exercise its power under Section 100 CPC only when a substantial question of law arises in a second appeal for adjudication but not otherwise

Keeping in mind the law laid down by the Supreme Court Panchugopal Barua v. Umesh Chandra Goswami (1997) 4 SCC713  and Vijay Kumar Talwar Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi, (2011) 1 SCC 673, I shall now proceed to examine the pleadings and evidence adduced by both the parties as well as the Judgments and Decrees of the Courts below so as to see whether the findings recorded by them are justified in law and on facts.

It is admitted that the respondent-bank sanctioned the loan of Rs.2,00,000/- on 30.11.2006 to the appellant and the appellant executed a personal loan agreement and other necessary documents while agreeing to repay the said amount with interest at 11.5% per annum in 48 equal monthly instalments, to which, the employer of the appellant also agreed to deduct the monthly instalments from his (appellant) salary.  It is also not in dispute that the appellant paid only a sum of Rs.20,736/- in two instalments and failed to repay the loan amount thereafter. 
In those circumstances, the respondent-bank levied interest to the tune of Rs.1,458.81 Ps and thereafter issued registered legal notice demanding to repay the amount. 
Even after the receipt of the said notice, the appellant failed to respond. It was clear from the record that as on the date of retirement of the appellant, the loan amount was due and subsisting. 
It has come in the evidence that though the loan amount was to be settled by 2008 inasmuch as the appellant was due for retirement as on 31.07.2008, surprisingly, he did not continue to repay the EMIs to the respondent-bank just few months before his retirement and thereafter received the retirement benefits from the Indian Bank. 
Pertinent to state, no cogent and convincing explanation was forthcoming from the appellant as to what necessitated him to stop repaying EMIs to the respondent-Bank without any prior intimation to it and withdraw the retirement benefits from the Indian Bank.

It was contended that the appellant repaid the entire loan amount while he was in service, but he utterly failed to establish the same by producing no-due certificate from the respondent-bank. Thus, it was established that the loan amount was in due to the respondent-bank by the appellant.

It is to be seen that though the appellant denied the execution of the A.6 revival letter, both the Courts below concurrently held that on comparison of the admitted signatures of the appellant on Exs.A.1 and A.4 with that of the disputed signatures on Ex.A.6 as well asVakalat, no dissimilarities were found  in between them to the eagle eye. 
Further no cogent and convincing evidence was brought on record to deny the execution of the said documents.
 Inasmuch as the said document was unequivocally proved to have been executed by the appellant himself, both the Courts below concurrently held that the debt is very much within the law of limitation and is not barred by limitation.  
This action of the trial Court in comparing the disputed signatures of the appellant with that of  his admitted signatures cannot be said to be illegal or irregular. On the other hand, the course adopted in this regard by the trial Court is well within the settled principles of law governing the point. Therefore this action of the trial Court does not at all fall within the scope of the substantial question of law. The first appellate Court also considered this aspect in the proper perspective and upheld the course adopted by the trial Court, which according to me, perfectly does not warrant interference by this Court.

Further it is to be seen that when the appellant failed to repay the loan amount by the 2008, 
the respondent-bank revived the interest and, thereafter the appellant executed the revival letter dated 25.9.2009. 
Though the appellant denied the execution of the said document, but he failed to substantiate his plea. 
Though some corrections took place in altering the numerical figures, i.e. altering the date to ‘30’ and the instalment to ‘Rs.5218/-‘, 
the material suggestions relating to the said alterations were unequivocally denied by P.W.1-Deputy Manager of the respondent-bank. 
On the other hand, the appellant failed to adduce any evidence in this regard.

In the light of the evidence on record, both the Courts below concurrently  held that the appellant failed to discharge the loan amount and that the documents produced by the respondent-bank were, in fact, executed by the appellant in order to obtain the subject loan. I do not find any reason to interfere with the said concurrent findings.

          For the foregoing discussion, I do not see any question of law much, less a substantial question of law involved in the Second Appeal warranting interference with the judgments and decrees of the CourtS below.

In the result, the Second Appeal is therefore liable to be dismissed and accordingly dismissed. In consequence, the miscellaneous petitions pending consideration if any shall stand closed. There shall be no order as to costs.

JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
DATED 18TH APRIL, 2014.
Msnro

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