PUVVADA VENKATASUBBAYYA Vs. KATARU VENKATASESHAGIRIRAO
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.) The short question for determination in the above Second Appeal is as to whether the applicant under section 19-A of Madras Act IV of 1938 should also prove that he was an agriculturist, as on the date of the filing of the application. Section 19-A(1) runs in the following terms:-
"Where any debt incurred before the 22nd March, 1938, other than a decree debt, is due by any person who claims that he was an agriculturist both on that date and on the 1st October, 1937, the debtor or the creditor may apply to the Court having jurisdiction for a declaration of the amount of the debt due by the debtor on the date of the application:
Provided that no such application shall be presented or be maintainable if a suit for the recovery of the debt is pending."
(2.) The only conditions laid down therein are that the petitioner should prove that he was an agriculturist both on 1st October 1937 and on 22nd March, 1938. Those are the only two relevant dates according to section 19-A(1). On the other hand, section 19(1) relating to the amendment of decrees provides that the petitioner should be an agriculturist as on the date of the application. The words employed in section 19 are "who is an agriculturist". On the other hand, the words in section 19-A(1) are "ho claims that he was an agriculturist both on that date and on the 1st October, 1937." The language employed in section 19-A(1) is in the past tense and I am quite clear that it is not necessary that he should prove that he is an agriculturist as on the date of filing the application under section 19-A(1). The definition of an agriculturist in section 3(ii) is as follows:-
"'agriculturist' means a person who has a saleable interest in any agricultural or horticulural land.............."
(3.) Reading the definition of agriculturist and section 19-A(1), together, what has to be proved is that the person had a saleable interest in agricultural or horticultural land on the two dates specified therein. The language of section 19-A(1) is very clear. No decision bearing on the interpretation of section 19-A(1) has been placed before me. It is unnecessary for me to consider other decisions of the Madras High Court turning upon the interpretation of section 19 or sections 7, 8, 9 and 13 of the Act.;
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