HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
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Sarjoo Prosad, C. J. -
(1.)RANAWAT, J. has made the above reference to this Bench for decision of the point: - "whether sec. 15 of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Ait extinguishes such debts as came into existence after the coming into force of the Act and during the period prescribed under sec. 4 for making application for the adjustment of debts. "
(2.)THE relevant facts are that the plaintiff-petitioner filed a suit against Mangilal and Santokdas defendants-opposite party to the application on the basis of a Khata dated the 21st of June, 1956. THE trial court dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to make an application under sec. 4 of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act (No. 28 of 1947) which was applied to Ajmer with adaptations by Notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated the 5th of July, 1949 and that as a result of the failure on the part of the plaintiff to apply under that section the debt became extinguished within the provisions of sec. 15 of the Act.
The learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the court below acted illegally and with material irregularity in assuming that the provisions of sec. 4 of the Act applied even to cases of debts that came into existence after the Act had come into force. This proposition was contested by the learned counsel for the defendants-opposite party who appeared before the learned Single Judge; but unfortunately before us the opposite party is not represented.
To appreciate the argument one has to examine the language of the relevant provisions of the Act. Sec. 4 of the parent Act which is the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act enjoined upon the creditor to make an application before the 1st of August, 1947 to the court for adjustment of his debts, proved under sec. 11 of the Act the total amount of debts due from him on the date of the application was not more than Rs. 15,000/ -. If such an application was not made within the time specified in sec. 4, then the penal provision of sec. 15 came into play and the debt became extinguished. There can be no doubt on the language of sec. 4 as it stood in the parent Act that an application at the instance of a creditor whose debt came into existence after the 1st of August, 1947, could not have been contemplated. It was impossible for any such creditor to present an application under sec. 4 on the very terms of that section. That basic consideration is very important in interpreting the language of the Notification which extended the legislation to Ajmer and also adapted its relevant provisions to that area. Under that Notification sec. 4 was amended and as a result of the amendment any debtor or his creditor was enabled within six months of the coming into force of the Act in Ajmer-Merwara to apply for adjustment of his debts to the court exercising jurisdiction within the meaning of sec. 4. The Act was applied to Ajmer-Merwara on the 15th of March, 1950. Therefore on the provisions of the amended section as it applied to the area, a creditor could apply for adjustment under sec. 4 within six months of the date of the operation or the Act. All that happened by this amendment was that the period within which the application for settlement of debt had to be made by the creditor was altered from the 1st of August, 1947 to six months of the coming into force of the Act in the territory of Ajmer-Merwara. Evidently an application under sec. 4 could not be made before the coming into force of the enactment in that territory and time had to be allowed to debtors or creditors to make the requisite application within a certain period as provided by the amendment. This however, did not alter the position that sec. 4 of the Act could not possibly apply to debts incurred after the coming into force of the above legislation. We have seen that the section as it stood under the parent Act could not apply to debts which were incurred after the 1st of August, 1947 or for the matter of that after the application of the Act to the territory of Bombay. It is difficult to accept the position that sec. 4 would apply to any debts incurred between the introduction of the Act and the period mentioned therein for making application on the 1st of August, 1947, because in that case the legislature would be discriminating between various creditors as to the relevant period available to them. For instance, the persons in whose favour the debt was created say a few days earlier than the 1st of August, 1947 could have almost no time to make the application. It must be therefore held that sec. 4 did not apply to debts incurred after the operation of the Act. The same principles in our opinion should apply to the interpretation of the amended sec. 4 which was extended to Ajmer-Merwara. We think that the legislature contemplated that sec. 4 should not apply to cases of debts which were incurred after the introduction of the Act in that territory. It is true that by subsequent alterations in the law the period mentioned in sec. 4 for making application was eventually extended to the 15th of January, 1952; but that was only for the purpose of presenting applications under sec. 4 either by the debtor or by the creditor; it did not affect the creditor whose debts were created after the operation of the Act. For these reasons we think that sec. 4 of the Act has no application to such debts and therefore, the mischievous consequences of sec. 15 of the Act in purporting to extinguish such debt were not attracted. The court below in our opinion, was in error and acted illegally and with material irregularity in the exercise of its jurisdiction in dismissing the suit on an erroneous interpretation of law. The point under reference must therefore be answered in the negative.
We find that the whole case has not been referred to us; but only the reference has been made on the particular point. We are however of opinion that the point alone disposes of the application and nothing further has to be done. We accordingly, consider it unnecessary that the matter should go back to Ranawat J. merely for passing a formal order. The learned counsel for the petitioner has no objection to the procedure.
We accordingly direct that the application should be allowed the order of the learned Small Cause Court Judge, Ajmer should be set aside and the suit decreed with costs. .
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