DWARIKA NATH Vs. SHAM LAL GILLA
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
SHAM LAL GILLA
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(1.) ORDER :- The plaintiff-petitioners filed a suit for the recovery of an amount of Rs. 432/- in the Court of learned Judge, Small Causes Court The amount was claimed as arrears of rent due to the plaintiff-petitioners in respect of the property which they claim to have inherited from Kanshi Nath Chowdhry. The suit was resisted. The learned Judge Small Causes Court, Srinagar, found that the case of the petitioners was covered by S.4 of the Succession Certificate Act. 1977 Bikrimi, and since the Succession Certificate had not been produced by the petitioner plaintiffs, the suit was not maintainable. He accordingly dismissed the suit without going into the merits of the case. This revision petition is directed against the judgement and decree of the learned Judge, Small Causes Court, Srinagar, dismissing the suit filed by the plaintiff petitioners.
(2.) Mr. Chowdhry, learned counsel for the petitioners, submits that in the first place no succession certificate, as envisaged by the Succession Certificate Act, 1977, was required to be produced by the petitioners-plaintiffs on the ground that the rent in general is excluded from the expression "debt" as defined in Sub-Sec. (2) of S.4 of the Succession Certificate Act, 1977. Bikrimi, and in the alternative, argued the learned counsel that it was not open to learned Judge, Small Causes Court, to dismiss the suit for non-production of the Succession Certificate and an opportunity should have been granted to the plaintiffs to produce the certificate and the suit should have been kept pending till production of the said certificate.
(3.) Section 4 of the Succession Certificate Act, 1977, reads as under :-
"4.(1) No court shall - (a) pass a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming on succession to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person or to any part thereof or (b) proceed upon an application of a person claiming to be so entitled, to execute against such a debtor a decree or order for the payment of his debt, except on the production, by the person so claiming, of - (i) a probate or letters of administration evidencing the grant to him of administration to the estate of the deceased, or (ii) a certificate granted under this Act or the Succession Certificate Regulation of 1896 and having the debt specified therein. (2) The word "debt" in Sub-Sec. (1) includes any debt except, rent, revenue or profits payable in respect of land used for agricultural purposes." Sub-Section (2) of S.4 of the Succession Certificate Act (supra) gives an inclusive definition of the expression "debt". I cannot persuade myself to agree with Mr. Chowdhary that the "debt" in Sub-Sec. (2) of S.4 excludes rent in general Rent that is excluded by Sub-Sec. (2) of S.4 (supra) is the rent in respect of the land used for agricultural purposes. The use of "(coma) after the word "rent" in Sub-Sec. (2), (supra) is only meant to elucidate that "rent, revenue or profits" payable in respect of land used for agricultural purposes are excluded. To hold that the expression "rent" in the said Sub-Section has relation to "general rent" as urged by Mr. Chowdhary would be doing violence to the plain language, of the provisions, because the expression "rent, revenue or profits" has reference to "land used for agricultural purposes" and to, nothing else. I, therefore, hold that "rent" in Sub-Sec. (2) has reference to land used for agricultural purposes and not to general rent as suggested by Mr. Chowdhary. This exclusion does not apply to land other than one used for agricultural purposes and would not, therefore, apply, to a house or a shop. Thus, it is apparent that production of a succession certificate is necessary for the recovery of arrears of rent in respect of land, other than agricultural land, in a suit filed by the heirs of legal representatives, claiming the accrued arrears of rent. In the instant case, admittedly, the property was not land used for "agricultural purposes" and therefore it was necessary for the plaintiff-petitioners to produce the Succession Certificate along with the suit.;
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