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Present: Lascelles CJ. and Middleton J.KITNEN KANGANY v. YOUNG.May IS, 1$U
211—D. C. Kandy, 18,580.Custom—Head kangany quitting estate is not entitled to receive from estatethe debts owing to him from sub-kanganies remaining behind on theestate.
When a head kangany quits an estate leaving his sub-kanganiesbehind, the head kangany is not entitled in law to receive from theestate the debts due to him from the sub-kanganies after deductinghis debt to the estate.
Lascelles C.J.—I would add that the alleged custom ismanifestly unreasonable. The proprietor has no control overthe advances made by the head kangany to the sub-kanganies,and he could not equitably be held responsible when the amountof these advances exceeds the head kangany’s debt to himself.
fJlHE facts appear from the judgments.
Van Langenberg, for the appellant.Seneviratne, for the respondent.Cur, adv, vult.
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May IS, Iff 11
Kiln anKangany v.
May 18,1911. Lascelles C.J.—
The plaintiff in this case averred that he was appointed headkangany of WoOdthorpe estate in succession to one Peria Renga-samy, and that when he took his discharge from the estate, leavingthe sub-kanganies behind him, his debt to the estate amounted toRs. 900, whilst the debts of the sub-kanganies to himself amountedto Rs. 1,475. On these averments the plaintiff, for a first causeof action, claims from the proprietor of the estate the differencebetween these two sums, namely, Rs. 575, and the District Judge,has allowed the claim.
The appellant contends that the facts averred in the plaint giverise to no cause of action, and that the judgment is bad in law.
It is impossible to gather from the plaint the legal ground onwhich this claim is based, but it appears that the judgment proceededon the ground of custom and usage. “ It is customary,” thelearned District Judge states, “ when a head kangany quits anestate, leaving his sub-kanganies behind, for accounts to be lookedinto, and if the debts due by the kanganies are in excess of the debtdue by the head kangany to the estate, the outgoing head kanganyis entitled to receive the excess from the estate.”
Now, it may well be that, as a matter of convenience, the courseindicated by the learned District Judge is frequently taken, but thequestion is whether there is a custom having the force of law whichgives the head kangany a cause of action against the estate.
Counsel for the respondent was unable to point to any decisionin the long series of cases relating to planting matters in whichjudicial notice had been taken of the alleged custom, and in . therecord there is absolutely no evidence of the existence of any suchcustom having the force of law.
I would add that the alleged custom is manifestly unreasonable.The proprietor has no control over the advances made by the headkangany to the sub-kanganies, and he could not equitably be heldresponsible when the amount of these advances exceeds the headkangany’s debt to himself.
The first claim is thus bad in law and fails. As the second claimdepends upon the first claim, and the third has been abandoned,this decision disposes of the appeal
I would allow the appeal, and dismiss the action with costs hereand in the Court below.
The question raised in this appeal is whether the plaint on thefirst claim discloses any cause of action. The first claim rests on asupposed custom having the force of law, that when a head kanganyquits an estate, leaving his sub-kanganies behind, his accounts arelooked into, and if the debts due by the sub-kanganies are in excess
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of the debt due by the head kangany to the estate, the outgoinghead kangany is entitled to recover the excess from the estate.
There would no doubt be occasions when the estate would bewilling to do as the learned Judge supposes it is customary to do ;but this, I take it, would only be the case of estate advances, andwhere there might be some immediate prospect of recovering fromthe sub-kanganies the amounts of their debts. Assuming that thehead kangany had made heavy advances independently of the estateto his sub-kanganies, the estate would be under no obligation to pay,nor would it be likely to pay, to the bead kanganies the debts duefrom their debtors, with so slight a prospect of reimbursementThe mistake the learned District Judge seems to have made is inusing the words “ entitled to receive.” No such custom having theforce of law was proved, and no such custom would be likely toexist
Again, on the second cause of action the plaintiff would only beentitled to succeed if he proved that the money was not due by himwhen he paid it, if he paid under compulsion. It clearly was due byhim in respect to his own coolies, but he says he paid it underprotest, because he claimed that the estate owed him a larger sum,on the basis that he was its head kangany. If the first claim fails,
the second must, I think, go with it
The appeal, in my opinion, should be allowed, and the actiondismissed with costs in both Courts.
KITNEN KANGANY v. YOUNG