Decided on December 16,1957



- (1.) IN suit No. 50 of 1950, the Senior Sub-Judge Amritsar passed a decree in favour of Messrs. Tirath Ram Lal Chand plaintiffs for a sum of Rs. 35,478/5/6 and costs against a firm Mehar Chand Jagan Nath. Application for execution of this decree was made in the Court of Shri Jag Mohan Tandon, Sub Judge Ist Class, delhi, and the decree-holder sought to attach the amount of compensation which may be payable to Jagan Nath partner of the judgment-debtor firm under the provisions of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954. On that a notice was issued to the Union of India through Mr. Bishamber Dayal, standing counsel to the Government. It appears that the standing counsel sent the notice to the Settlement Commissioner who wrote a letter to the Court on 7-111955, reading as under: "with reference to the notice dated 26-8-55 addressed to Union of India through Shri Bishamber Dayal, Government Advocate, Delhi, issued from your court in the above noted Civil Suit, I am to state that compensation money payable to displaced persons is not a debt within the meaning of order 21 Rules 46 and 52 of the Civil Procedure Code and is not attachable. It is an ex-gratia Rehabilitation grant. The amount is exempt from attachment under Section 15 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954". Under the amendment made by the Punjab High Court in Section 60 by adding clause (6) to Sub-section 2 of Section 60, Civil Procedure Code, "no order for attachment shall be made unless the Court is satisfied that the property sought to be attached is not exempt from attachment or sale". The executing Court agreeing with the contentions raised by the Settlement Commissioner, came to the conclusion that the compensation amount was not liable to be attached and therefore passed an order on 21-1-1956, refusing to attach the said amount. The decree-holder feeling aggrieved against the said order has come up in first appeal to this Court.
(2.) MR. D. R. Manchanda, learned counsel for the decree-holder, contends that the order passed by the executing Court is contrary to law. He has drawn my attention to the provisions of Sections 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 15 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act, 1954 and has contended that Section 15 exempts from attachment only the property which forms part of the compensation pool. Under Section 14 (a) all evacuee property acquired under Section 12, including the sale proceeds of any such property and all profits and income accruing from such property, do form part of compensation pool, but Mr. Manchanda contends that his clients are not attaching any part of the compensation pool and all that the decree-holders wish to attach is the money which will be ultimately payable to Jagan Nath judgment-debtor if and when the government decide to pay any money in cash. Sub-section (1) of Section 8 of the aforesaid Act lays down: "8. (1) A displaced person shall be paid out of the compensation pool the amount of net compensation determined under Sub-section (3) of section 7 as being payable to him, and subject to any rules that may be made under this Act, the Settlement Commissioner or any other officer or authority authorised by the Chief Settlement Commissioner in this behalf may make such payment in any one of the following forms or partly in one and partly in any other form, namely : (a) in cash; (b) in Government bonds; (c) by sale to displaced person of any property from the compensation pool and setting off the purchase money against the compensation payable to him; (d) by any other mode of transfer to the displaced person of any property from the compensation pool and setting off the valuation of the property against the compensation payable to him; (e) by transfer of shares or debentures in any company or corporation; (f) in such other form as may be prescribed". It cannot, therefore, he said at this stage whether the Government will pay any amount at all in cash nor can it be said as to what form the compensation will ultimately take. At the moment, therefore, the Government cannot be deemed to have become the debtor qua any particular sum payable by it nor can the claimants be deemed to be creditors qua the said amount. Till the Government make a tender of any cash amount the money lying in the compensation pool remains part of that pool and is in my opinion exempt from attachment under the provisions of section 15 of the aforesaid Act. I am supported in this view by the observations made in a Division Bench judgment of the lahore High Court reported as Sunder Das v. Secretary of state AIR 1938 Lah 533 (A), in which it was held that the compensation money awarded under the Land Acquisition Act was not liable to attachment at the instance of the creditors of the persons whose lands had been acquired until the money was actually tendered as till that stage the money in the hand of the Collector must be taken to be belonging to the government. In Spence v. Colernan. (1901) 2 KB 199 (B) a somewhat similar point was decided by the Court of Appeal. In that case the proportion of the surplus assets of a company in liquidation belonging to a share-holder who could not be found and which was in compliance with Sub-section (3) of Section 15 of the Companies (Winding-up) Act, 1890, paid by the liquidator to the "companies Liquidation Account" with the bank of England was sought to be attached in a decree against the share-holder and it was held that the said sum was not a "debt" due to the share-holder, and that it could not be attached by his judgment-creditor by means of a garnishee order. I am, therefore, definitely of the opinion that there is no tirath Ram Lal Chand vs. Mehar Chand Jagan Nath (16. 12. 1957 -PHHC) Page 4 of 4 gan Nath (16. 12. 1957 -PHHC) Page 4 of 4 debt as yet in existence which is liable to be attached. If and when the Government ultimately decide to pay the compensation in any particular form, the decree-holders may take such steps as they may then be advised. The present prayer for attachment seems to be wholly misconceived find agreeing with the view taken by the executing Court I dismiss this appeal with costs.;

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.