Article 69 is the continuation of Article 68. Article 68 applies to suits for recovery of specific movable property which has been lost, or acquired by theft, dishonest misappropriation or conversion, while Article 69 applies to suits of other specific movable property. The word ‘other’ in Article 69 means specific movable property in general as distinguished from the described in Art. 68.
Art. 69 applies to suits for recovery of movable property of any other character than that specified in Article 68. Specific movable property in Art, 69 must be the property which is not lost to the owner as a result of theft, or dishonest misappropriation or conversion. Art. 69 applies to a case where the plaintiff has no right to immediate possession at the time when the cause of action pleaded by him arose and on which he succeeds. Art.
69 applies only in respect of movable property which is in possession of some third party. In Venkunaidu v. Appanna, (AIR 1951 Mad. 704), it has been held that a suit by father-in-law against his daughter-in-law to recover certain jewels presented to her on marriage with his son and retained by her after her remarriage attracts Art. 69.
According to the third column of Art. 69 limitation runs from the time the property is wrongfully taken. The word ‘wrongfully’ is synonymous with ‘not rightful’. The element of dishonest misappropriation or conversion need not exist.
Art. 69 applies where the original possession of the defendant is lawful, but it becomes unlawful by reason of certain facts. In Aiyappa Reddi v.
Kuppuswami, (28 Mad. 208), it has been held that where trees are wrongfully cut down and subsequently the wood so lying on the ground is wrongfully taken, the suit for compensation will be in time under the Art. 69 if brought within three years of the wrongful taking. The limitation for filing the suit for return of movable property deposited with the defendant by its owner starts from the date of refusal of the defendant to return it. In Soni Bai v.
State, (ILR (1966) 16 Raj. 654), it has been held that when ornaments are entrusted to the Treasury Officer for safe custody a suit to recover them on the failure of the Officer to return them on demand is governed by Art. 69. The possession does not become unlawful or wrongful until it is demanded by the plaintiff and refused by the defendant.
But there must be express refusal by the defendant. In Antiariz Zilla Parishad v. Amichand, (1967 All. LJ 934), it has been held that where the movables were entrusted with the defendant for a certain period the fact that on the expiry of the period he did not return the movables does not constitute the wrongful taking of movable and it is only when the defendant refuses to return the goods on being asked by the plaintiff to do so the taking of the movable would be wrongful. The words ‘wrongfully taken’ indicate the ex decto character of the act. When the property is requisitioned by the Government it is not a case where the movable property is wrongfully taken. In Gopalasastry v. Vijayawada Engineering Metal Co.
Ltd., (AIR 1968 AP 41), it has been held that mere silence on the part of the defendant on demand of the movable property being made does not constitute refusal to deliver up the property and time runs when there is a definite refusal to do so. The Art. 69 is inapplicable where the plaintiff has not, strictly speaking, a person claim to the property, as for instance, where he claims it in a representative capacity as the shebait of a temple.
In Chaturgun v. Shahzady (AIR 1930 Oudh. 395), it has been held that when ornaments handed over to the defendant for use in a religious procession are stolen from his custody, a suit to recover them is governed by Art. 55 and not by this Art. (i.e. Art.