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Present: Ennis and de Sampayo JJ.ANA FERNANDO v. JOKINS.
472—D. C. Chilaw, 5,470.
Breach of promise—Signing of a betrothal register—Valid promise tomarry.
The signing of a betrothal register before a parish priest consti-tutes a valid promise to marry, for breach of which damages may berecovered.
ppeal from the
following judgment of the District Judge of-
This is an action for breach of promise of marriage. It is an unusualcase owing to the age of parties, the plaintiff being a woman of 40 orover, and the defendant an already twice married patriarch of 70 j theyare both ordinary unsophisticated villagers, neither of them possessedof much of this world’s wealth.
That there was a written promise to marry, sufficient to bind thedefendant, there can be no doubt whatever. He admits the promisehimself; he also admits having signed the betrothal register, alongwith the plaintiff, before the parish priest at Katuneriya ; that consti-tutes, in my opinion, a written promise in law to marry, sufficient tojustify the plaintiff suing him for damages for breach of the said promise.
The defendant claims justification in not marrying the plaintiff, onthe ground that plaintiff, after February, 1915, the date of their betrothalwas' leading an immoral life with a man called Paulu Janze of Katu-neriya. If this allegation is proved, the defendant. was undoubtedlyjustified. That the plaintiff was not a woman of good moral character'before the defendant promised to marry her is not relevant to this caseexcept so far as it may be proved that she continued in her immoral life
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after the defendant’s promise to many. Defendant’s story is thatthe proposal of marriage came from plaintiff and not from him, and heis supported in this by the witness Peters Annawi; but I prefer tobelieve the plaintiff’s version, that the proposal came from the defendantwho kept harassing the plaintiff by visiting her against hex' wish, andcausing a scandal, so much so that the then parish priest, the Rev. FatherBoulic, had to take notice of it. The evidence of the witness PhilipPeters and that of Juan Janze does not strike me as being truthfulevidence. I am not inclined to believe it. And even if it were true, itdoes not prove immorality on the part of the plaintiff. Father Boulicsays he never heard plaintiff’s name coupled, in an immoral way, withPaulu Janze’s name, nor were any such complaints made to him ; theynaturally would have been had the allegations been true. On theother hand, Father Boulic knew all about the defendant’s frequent visitsto the plaintiff in his endeavour to get her to marry him.
The plaintiff is entitled to damages, she claims Bs. 1,000; in myopinion this claim is exorbitant.
I give her Rs. 250 damages with costs in that class.
Wadsworth, for defendant, appellant.
Balasingham (with Rasaratnam), for plaintiff, respondent.
February 2, 1917. Ennis J.—
I see no reason to interfere, with the finding of fact. As to thewritten promise, the word “ betrothal ” itself implies the Promise andthe signing of the betrothal register reduces that promise to writing.
I would dismiss the appeal with costs.
De Sajhpayo J.—I agree.
ANA FERNANDO v. JOKINS