Manjit Kaur Monica v Standard Chartered Bank

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeWoo Bih Li JC
Judgment Date06 October 2000
Neutral Citation[2000] SGHC 205
Published date13 March 2013
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselAlagappan Arunsalam (A Alagappan & Co)
Defendant CounselMeat Kaur (William Lai & Alan Wong)

JUDGMENT:

Grounds of Decision

1. This is an application filed on 2 June 2000 by Manjit Kaur Monica (‘the Applicant’) seeking to set aside a Statutory Demand dated 17 February 2000 issued by the solicitors of the Respondents Standard Chartered Bank (‘the Bank’) and to dismiss the Bank’s Creditor’s Petition No 1020/2000 dated 19 April 2000 filed against her.

2. On 19 June 2000, an Assistant Registrar ordered that the Statutory Demand be set aside with costs against the Bank.

3. The Bank appealed against that decision. On 18 August 2000, I allowed the appeal with costs (on an indemnity basis). The Applicant is appealing against my decision.

Background

4. In 1994, the Applicant and her husband bought a property known as No 197 Yio Chu Kang Road, Singapore 545644 (‘the Property’) for $1,080,000. They took a loan of $875,000 from the Bank which was secured by a mortgage on the Property.

5. The Applicant refers to her occupation as that of an estate agent. She said that during the recent recession her sales nosedived and she and her husband were not able to continue servicing the loan.

6. The Bank exercised its rights as mortgagee and commenced an action in Originating Summons No 18 of 1998 against the Applicant. On 27 April 1998, the Bank obtained an order for possession. A Writ of Possession was executed on the Property on 31 July 1998.

7. At that time, the front and rear walls of the terrace house on the Property had been torn down and there were abandoned articles dumped on the Property.

8. The Applicant requested until October 1998 to renovate the premises and find a buyer.

9. On 30 September 1998, a nuisance order was apparently issued against the Property.

10. On 29 October 1998, Knight Frank valued the fair market value of the Property at $450,000 to $480,000, after an inspection of the Property.

11. Apparently the Applicant and her husband did not give up possession by end October 1998 as the Sheriff of the Supreme Court had to issue a notice dated 8 December 1998 threatening eviction.

12. In any event, the Bank managed to put up the Property for auction on 16 December 1998. The auction was handled by Jones Lang Wootton (i.e. instead of Knight Frank). The opening price sought was $700,000 but no bids were received.

13. Between 27 December 1998 and 20 January 1999 offers from $585,000 to $610,000 were received through an estate agent Gates P. Properties and through Jones Lang Wootton.

14. Significantly, the Applicant herself had written to the Bank by a letter dated 5 January 1999 informing the Bank that she had a buyer for the Property at $550,000. The letter states:

RE: Buyer for No. 197, Yio Chu Kang Road

Dear Sir/Madam,

This is to (sic) request that we have a buyer for the above property at $550,000. For the short fall of approximately $427,000 we are willing to sign a term loan of 10 years. We are able to afford the instalments of $5000 per month.

I can pay $5000 on the 28th January 99. I will also be able to get one or two (sic) guarantor to support the loan.

Looking forward to an early reply via fax No. 2241814.’

15. On 3 February 1999, one Noorimah Bte Mohd Akber from the Bank contacted the Applicant to inform her that the Bank had sold the Property for $650,000.

16. With this sale, a shortfall resulted. After the sale was completed, the balance due to the Bank as at 5 May 1999 was $343,970.64 (‘the Shortfall’).

17. The Bank’s solicitors sent a letter of demand dated 14 May 1999 to the Applicant and her husband for this sum. Neither the Applicant nor her husband queried the Shortfall.

18. On the contrary, the Applicant was negotiating with the Bank to pay the Shortfall and did this on a number of occasions i.e. on 26 July 1999 (when she attended at the Bank’s office), on 27 August 1999, on 24 September 1999 and on 30 September 1999.

19. This was followed by a letter dated 26 October 1999 from the Bank’s solicitors to the Applicant and her husband stating that the Bank was prepared to allow them to pay the Shortfall (on which interest would be running) in instalments.

20. It is not clear from the affidavits whether there was a written response to this letter from the Applicant and her husband.

21. In any event, the Bank apparently followed up by sending a letter to the Applicant and her husband dated 13 November 1999.

22. To this the Applicant replied on 24 November 1999 stating that her husband was requesting a grace period of fourteen days to respond. Her letter states:

CLAIM BY STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

Housing Loan No. 00382833 Current No. 02-028-65738

We (sic) receive your letter on the 13th November 1999.

My husband Jeswindar Singh is requesting a grace period of 14 days (sic) in respond to your letter of 10th November 1999.

Sorry for any (sic) inconveniences caused.

Sg. Manjit Kaur

P/S Please forward all correspondence to our office address as above.
Thank You.’

23. Apparently, sometime before 8 February 2000, the Bank’s solicitors wrote to the Applicant and her husband about their collecting Statutory Demands issued or to be issued against each of them.

24. On 8 February 2000, the Applicant replied to the Bank’s solicitors to make an appointment to collect the Statutory Demands but sought to fix the appointment about one month later i.e. for 6 March 2000. Her letter states:

‘Dear Cheryl Lee,

RE: Your Ref: WL/SCBG/045/06/97 (CH/SS)

I (sic) have rung your office last week, and they say you were on leave. However this is to request if I and my husband Jeswindar Singh could come and see you personally to receive the Statutory Demand. (sic) As my Bankruptcy Proceedings will be withdrawn in about 2 to 3 weeks and I am waiting for the Court Order. So could I come and see you together with my husband after it is withdrawn. It would be easier if you could serve it on us together as it is the same case. Please let me know if this is alright. You could reply this letter to fax number 2950049. I could fix an appointment with you for 6th March 2000 at 2 p.m. as by then the Bankruptcy Proceedings will be withdrawn by then.

Thank you for your co-operation. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.’

The bankruptcy proceedings referred to in the letter were probably proceedings by another creditor.

25. Subsequently the Bank’s solicitors issued a Statutory Demand dated 17 February 2000 against the Applicant (presumably another Statutory Demand was issued against her husband at around the same time).

26. The solicitors then wrote on 18 February 2000 to the Applicant and her husband to reject their request to collect the Statutory Demands on 6 March 2000 in view of earlier unfulfilled promises and threatened to advertise the same if they were not collected within three days.

27. Eventually the Applicant (and presumably her husband too) collected the Statutory Demand(s). The date of collection was not specified in the affidavits before me but it must have been sometime between 18 February 2000 and the end of March 2000 as the Creditor’s Petition against the Applicant is dated 19 April 2000.

28. The Creditor’s Petition was served by substituted service by way of posting on the door of the Applicant’s last known place of residence at Block 5 Normanton Park #03-107 Singapore 119002 on 25 May 2000.

29. On 30 May 2000, the Bank’s solicitors sent a cover letter and a copy of the Creditor’s Petition to the Applicant at Blk 39 Upper Boon Keng Road #15-2408, Singapore 380039. The cover letter informed her that the hearing of the petition was on 2 June 2000.

30. On 31 May 2000, M/s A. Alagappan & Co, acting for the Applicant, wrote to the Bank’s solicitors to say that the petition had not been served on the Applicant and sought information about the exact address and date when the petition was served.

31. This was followed by another fax/letter also dated 31 May 2000 from them stating that the Applicant’s current address was the address at Upper Boon Keng Road and not the address at Normanton Park. In this fax/letter they raised the point that the Bank had sold the Property at ‘well below the Open Market Price’.

32. On 2 June 2000, this Originating Summons was filed.

33. As a number of affidavits have been filed, I will first summarise the main contentions of the parties.

Applicant’s main contentions

34. Although the Applicant had raised an issue about invalid service of the petition in her affidavits, her Counsel confirmed that this was not an issue before me.

35. According to the Applicant and to one Koh Puay Boon, who had executed two affidavits for the Applicant, Koh had tried to market the Property in 1998. It was alleged that there was a purchaser who was prepared to offer $1.2 million through Koh but the Applicant and her husband were willing to sell for only $1.25 million. That deal fell through.

36. Then, in January 1999, another agent, one Ms Jazz Ti Ai Lian contacted Koh. After Ms Jazz’s purchasers, Ms Jazz and Koh had viewed the property, the purchaser allegedly offered $800,000 but the Applicant and her husband were then asking for at least $880,000. Ms Jazz allegedly said that her purchaser was still interested but nothing else appears to have developed.

37. According to the Applicant and Koh, Koh was then, in January or February 1999, negotiating with one David Chan who was prepared to buy the Property at $900,000. However the Applicant wanted $950,000 although she was prepared to accept $920,000.

38. The Applicant said that in February 1999, Noorimah from the Bank had called her to inform her that the Bank was going to sell the Property for $650,000. The Applicant alleged that she told Noorimah that she had a purchaser (David Chan) who was willing to pay $900,000 and she was trying to get $920,000. The Applicant also alleged that Noorimah had said she would wait one week for her to finalise the sale whereupon the Applicant immediately contacted Koh and asked him to expedite the deal with David Chan. However two days later, Noorimah contacted her and informed...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 cases
  • Tan Eng Joo v United Overseas Bank Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 February 2010
    ...thus a triable issue, upon which further evidence or arguments [are] required.” In Manjit Kaur Monica v Standard Chartered Bank [2000] SGHC 205, Woo Bih Li JC (as he then was) adopted the formulation in Eyota Pty Ltd v Hanave Pty Ltd (1994) 12 ACSR 785 at 787-788 by McLelland CJ in the foll......
  • Tan Kheng Chong v United Overseas Bank Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 February 2010
    ...thus a triable issue, upon which further evidence or arguments [are] required.” In Manjit Kaur Monica v Standard Chartered Bank [2000] SGHC 205, Woo Bih Li JC (as he then was) adopted the formulation in Eyota Pty Ltd v Hanave Pty Ltd (1994) 12 ACSR 785 at 787-788 by McLelland CJ in the foll......
  • Tan Siew Ling v United Overseas Bank Ltd
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 February 2010
    ...thus a triable issue, upon which further evidence or arguments [are] required.” In Manjit Kaur Monica v Standard Chartered Bank [2000] SGHC 205, Woo Bih Li JC (as he then was) adopted the formulation in Eyota Pty Ltd v Hanave Pty Ltd (1994) 12 ACSR 785 at 787-788 by McLelland CJ in the foll......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT