The Madras High Court has held that if a claim is found entirely on torts, the suit would abate and survive only if the claim is based entirely on contract.

A Single Bench of Justice V. Bhavani Subbaroyan asserted, “… in any action for damages if the claim is found entirely on torts, the suit would abate and it would survive only if the claim is based entirely on contract.”

The Bench relied upon the case of M.Veerappa v. Evelyn Sequeira & Ors. [AIR 1988 SC 506].

Advocates C.P. Sivamohan and P.A. Saigovindaraja appeared for the petitioners while Government Advocate C. Jayaprakash appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a Civil Revision Petition was filed under Article 227 of the Constitution to set aside the fair and decretal order on the file of the Subordinate Court. The petitioner and her husband (deceased) had filed a suit against the respondents for direction to the respondents to pay a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- as damages to the petitioners and to reconstruct the wrongful demolition of the building structure inside the suit properties.

The suit was also for restraining respondents from releasing the retirement monitory benefits worth about Rs.1,50,000/- till the disposal of the suit. The Sub Judge passed an order rejecting the plea of furnishing legal heir particulars. Challenging the order of rejection, the petitioners filed a plea and the same got dismissed by the Sub Judge.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court observed, “… respondents are government officials and they have done their official duty only, as revenue authorities and there is no malafide action on the part of them, as stated by the petitioners.”

The Court noted that the suit was already abated against the Tahsildar and that since the act of the respondents was done in the official capacity, the petitioners cannot be permitted to sue against the legal heirs.

“… this Court is of the view that the order of the Learned Sub Judge in I.A.No.4 of 2020 in O.S.No.55 of 2018 cannot be set aside”, said the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the civil revision petition.

Cause Title- R. Badrammal & Ors. v. R. Krishnaswamy & Ors.

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