Decided on September 15,1960

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


P.N.Mookerjee, J. - (1.) These two references raise and involve the same point or points of law, though, in the relative referring orders, they have been put in different language. The difference, however, is only in form; in substance, the points are the same. The two references have arisen on account of conflict between two Division Bench decisions of this Court, one in the case of Birendra Nath Basak v. Rabindra Nath Mitra, 93 Cal LJ 23 and the other in the latter case of Indra Kumar Kamani v. Sundardas Thackersey and Bros., which was decided without noticing the aforesaid earlier decision. Both the referring orders agree in disagreeing with the above Bench decision in (Supra), but, while the learned referring Judges (Das Gupta and Guha JJ.) in F. B. Ref. No. 1 of 1957, have expressed their tentative disagreement also with the other decision, namely, 93 Cal LJ 23 (supra) in the other referring order, that decision 93 Cal LJ 23 has been accepted as correct and it has only been sought to be explained and elaborated.
(2.) The basic question, which requires to be answered in these two references, relates to the meaning and construction of the two phrases 'has elapsed' and 'elapses' in Schedule A, Paragraphs 2(b) and 3(b), -- or, more precisely, in the latter provision,--of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950. To be more exact and accurate, the question under reference seeks determination of the later or outer terminus of the period of three years, mentioned in the above statutory provisions, and the answer to the instant reference depends primarily upon that determination. About the starting point of the said period of three years, there is no difficulty, as the statute lays it down in clear terms; as to its termination, also, there is, apparently, -- or outwardly, at least, -- no difficulty, as it ends or terminates as soon as the said period of three years, counted from the aforesaid starting point, expires, but the difficulty arises, when this date of expiry falls to be correlated to the Act, that is, to its relevant part, or to the two expressions 'has elapsed' and 'elapses' in Schedule A aforesaid, or, when it falls to be viewed in relation or with reference to the same. On this aspect, there are three different judicial points of view: (a) that it (the aforesaid period of three years) must expire or must have expired before the passing of the aforesaid Act (by the Legislature) or before the same came into force or operation (vide) (supra); (b) that it must expire or must have expired before the coming into force of the said Act or before the making of the particular application for standardisation of rent (vide the referring order in F. B. 1 Ref. No. 1 of 1957); and (c) that it must have expired or must expire before the making of the aforesaid application or the final disposal of the same (vide 93 Cal LJ 23, (supra), and the referring order in F. B. Ref. No. 2 of 1957).
(3.) In each of the above views, there is reference to two points of time, which was necessitated by the two phrases or expressions 'has elapsed' and "elapses" and the two alternatives in each of the said three different views have reference to the said two expressions respectively and, although it is possible to argue, -- and that, indeed, may well be a plausible argument as was pointed out by my Lord (Bachawat, J.) during discussion in Court,--that the aforesaid two expressions or phrases are only two ways of expressing the same thing and that no particular significance should attach and no distinction need be made by reason of the use of the said two phrases or expressions, -- the present perfect and the present tense,--it is, at least, a well-settled rule of construction of statutes that the legislature should not be held to have wasted words or to have been guilty of using redundant or unnecessary expressions. It is, probably, this idea or principle, which underlies the distinction, sought to be maintained between the said two expressions or phrases 'has elapsed' and 'elapses' in the statute under consideration, and the endeavour to give effect to each of them in all the above decisions, and, when I find it possible to maintain and reconcile that distinction with a reasonable view of the said two expressions, I also would answer the point or points before us, keeping alive and recognising the said distinction.;

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