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Present : Wood .Renton C.J. and Da Sampayo J.
WIJESIRIWARDENE v. GUNASEKERA et al.
333—D. C. Galle, 14,442.
Enormis laesio—Lease—Loss of profit due to war.
The principle of enormis Icesio is applicable to a lease as muchas to a sale, but for this purpose the difference in value shouldexist at the time of. the lease or sale, and not thereafter. Apartfrom enormis Icesio, a lessee may claim relief on the ground . thaton account of such a cause as war he has not had beneficial enjoy-ment of the property, but that must be due to some direct militaryoperation or military orders.
rpHE facts appear from the judgment.
J. S. Jaycwardcnc, for plaintiff, appellant.—The judgment of
the learned District Judge cannot be supported on legal grounds.
The doctrine of enormia Ite-aio is inapplicable to the case. The-
1 (-1914) 18 N. L. R. 57.
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difference in value is not shown to have existed at the date of thelease. A drop in price does not entitle one to claim the benefit ofthe principle of enormia leesio. A lessee is entitled to relief onlywhen he has not had the enjoyment of the leased premises at all.
Counsel cited Walter Pereira's Laws of Ceylon 657; Qrotiua'Introduction St 52, 2; Morice* s English and Roman-Dutch Law91, 162.
Cur. adv. vult.
August 6, 1917. De Sampayo J.—
The defence in this case is somewhat extraordinary. The plaintiff,by deed of lease dated September 28, 1918, leased to the defendanta certain cinnamon plantation for a term of four years, commencingfrom August 23, 1913, for Rs. 800 as rent, of which Rs. 200 waspaid at the execution of the lease, and the balance was agreed tobe paid in instalments of Rs. 100 before the expiration of everysix months. This action was brought on August 1, 1916, for .therecovery of Rs. 500 as arrears of rent, and for cancellation of thelease in pursuance of the conditions of the lease. The defendantspleaded payment of the instalments of rent up to July 23, 1916,and further stated that at the time of the execution of the leasethe price of cinnamon was 56 to 70 cents a pound, and that on accountof and since the present war the ruling price of cinnamon had gonedown to 25 to 30 cents a pound, and ask for relief on the ground ofenormi8 leesio. The principle of enormia leesio is certainly applicableto a lease as much as a sale, but for this purpose the difference invalue should exist at the time of the lease or sale and not there-after. (Orotius' Introduction 3, 52, 2; Walter Pereira's Laws ofCeylon 657.) For this reason Morice on English and Roman-Dutch Law (2nd ed.), p. 91, says that enormis leesio would notapply to shares in mining companies which have exhibited a dropafter the purchase. Apart from enormis leesio, a lessee may, ofcourse, claim relief on the ground that on account of such a causeas war he has not had beneficial enjoyment of the property, butthat must be due to some direct military operation or militaryorders. See Morice 162, where such cases are distinguished froma case of loss of profit in a business owing to the war. In myopinion the defendant is not entitled to any relief on the state offacts pleaded by him.
The District Judge found against the defendant on the issue ofpayment, but on the ground of enormis leesio and by,way of reliefto the defendant he gave judgment for the plaintiff for Rs. 250 only,instead of Rs. 500, in respect of the instalments. I think the plaintiffis entitled to judgment as prayed, and would reverse the decreeappealed from and enter judgment for the plaintiff accordingly,with costs of appeal.
Wood Renton C.J.—I agree.
WIJESIRIWARDENE v. GUNASEKERA et al