MACOONELL C.J.—Ponniah v. Kanugasabai.
1932Present: Macdonell C.J.
PONNIAH v. KANAGASABAI.
99—C. R. Jaffna, 20,637.
Jurisdiction—Action on promissory note—No mention of place of payment—Rule of English Law.
Where a promissory note made by the defendant in favour of theplaintiff was. silent as to the place of payment,—
Held, that an action may be brought on the note in the Court withinwhose jurisdiction the plaintiff resided, as the debtor must seek out thecreditor at his residence or place of business.
^ PPEAL from a judgment of the Commissioner of Kequests, Jaffna.
Nadarajah, for appellant.
Chelvanayagam, for respondent.
December 9, 1932. Macdonell C.J.—
This was an action on a promissory note where the learned Commis-sioner found all the facts in the case in favour of the plaintiff but ruledthat he had no jurisdiction and therefore dismissed the action. The factswere that this was a proimissory note made by the defendant in favour ofthe plaintiff at Hatton and that no place of payment is mentioned on thenote. It is common cause that the defendant resides in Colombo and itis not disputed that the plaintiff gave up his residence in Hatton and nowresides at Jaffna. He brought this action in the Court of Requests ofJaffna and the only question before us is, had the Court of Requests inJaffna jurisdiction to try this action? The point has been raised on thisappeal but it was not raised before that in all questions of Law of Merchantsincluding negotiable instruments the law of England is to apply. Thiswas enacted so long ago as Ordinance No. 7 of 1852, section 2. It is repeatedin the Sale of Goods Ordinance, No. 11 of 1896, section 58, sub-section (2),and, which is more to the point repeated in our Bills of Exchange Ordinance,No. 25 of 1927, section 98 (2). The rule of English law seems to be this;that you must discover the place of payment from the expressed intention ofthe parties. Here there was no expressed intention. The note was silentas to the place of payment and the learned Commissioner was dissatisfiedwith such evidence as was addressed to him on that point. Then in theabsence of anything from which one can fairly deduce what was theintention of the parties as to the place of payment one is thrown back onwhat seems to be the English rule that the debtor must seek out thecreditor at his residence or place of business. This gives a court'juris-diction to entertain a case brought on a promissory note at the place wherethe plaintiff resides. The only difficulty I feel on this point is the casethat has been cited to me in 17 N. L. R., p. 479, which is a two Judgedecision. It is possible that that case can be distinguished on the factsbut in any event it does not seem at any time to have been followed andis in effect dissented from in a decision of another case which too has beendecided by two judges (20 N. L, R., p. 338) * If that is so, then I think
DALTON A.C.J.—Lipton, Ltd. v. Rawther.
I am at liberty to apply what is plainly the rule laid down by Statute,viz., that the debtor must seek out the creditor at his residence or placeof business. From that it follows that a creditor can sue, at the placewhere he resides, on a promissory note. 1 conclude, therefore, that as thecreditor was resident at Jaffna the Court of Bequests of Jaffna hadjurisdiction in this case. If that is so, the appeal must be allowed. Thelearned Commissioner has found on the facts that the defendant does owethe money and therefore I can in setting aside the order that he has madedirect that judgment be entered below for the plaintiff as prayed for.As the attention of the Court of Requests was not directed at all to thispoint, i.e., that in a matter involving the law merchant, English law hasto be applied, I think the best thing would be to make order that eachside should bear its costs in the Court below. The* plaintiff will have thecosts of the appeal.
PONNIAH v. KANAGASABAI