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The Government, North-Western ... vs Shugan Chand

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|26 August, 1875


1. It appears to us that the pleas taken in appeal fail. The money was paid under a mistake, and, therefore, the provisions of the 72nd section apply. The Treasury Officer would certainly not have paid the money unless he had believed the requisition was duly signed and countersigned, and the signatures which he believed to be genuine are admitted to he false. He, therefore, paid the money under a mistake of fact. It is immaterial whether he believed the bearer of the requisition to he the messenger sent by Mr. Johnson or by the appellant; and, indeed, the circumstance that the messenger was the servant of a respectable native banker would have been calculated to disarm rather than excite suspicion. Looking to the course of business, we cannot find any ground for the contention that the Treasury Officer neglected any precaution he could reasonably have been expected to take, nor that he was in any way guilty of carelessness. The Officer was imposed on by a gross fraud, and paid the money to the appellant, who was the innocent agent of the person who contrived the fraud. The appellant is, under the circumstances, bound to repay the moneys received by him, and he cannot defend himself by the plea that he has paid the money to his principal.--Tugnam v. Hopkins 4 M. & G. 389 : 5 Scott, N.R. 464; nor can we allow that the circumstance that the principal was himself a servant of the respondent, and in the course of his employment obtained facilities for committing the fraud, relieves the appellant from his liability. If the form of the requisition was purloined it was taken without the consent of the respondent, and it is not shown that the officers of the department in any way facilitated the theft by the omission of any reasonable precautions. The appeal fails, and is dismissed with costs.
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The Government, North-Western ... vs Shugan Chand


High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

26 August, 1875
  • Turner
  • Oldfield