1. This application has been filed by the original plaintiff against an order of the Civil Judge, Junior Division, at Murbad, in the Thana District, declining to transfer the suit to the Court under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947. The facts are that in 1945 the plaintiff filed suit No. 28 of 1945 in the Court of the Civil Judge, Junior Division, at Murbad, for a declaration that the transaction of August 28, 1915, purporting to be a sale, was in fact a mortgage and for accounts. At the time when he filed this suit, a Debt Adjustment Board had been established for that taluka as far back as 1942. But by virtue of Section 45 of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act of 1939, he could not have made an application to the Debt Adjustment Board at that time as the transaction was of the year 1915. On May 27, 1947, the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act of 1947 came into force. Thereupon, on June 13, 1947, the plaintiff prayed that the suit might be transferred to the Court established under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act. The trial Court held that the suit could not be transferred. As against this order the plaintiff has come in revision.
2. In support of his application Mr. Gupte, the learned advocate for the plaintiff-applicant, contends that Section 19(1) of the Act of 1947 confers wider powers on the Court than the corresponding Section 37(1) of the repealed Act. Section 37 of the old Act was subject to Section 45 of the same Act, which provided that nothing in that section shall apply to any transactions entered into before January 1, 1927. In the new Act there is no provision corresponding to Section 45(2) of the old Act. The learned Judge, however, did not accept this contention. According to him, the suits or proceedings to be transferred under Sub-section (1) of Section 19 must satisfy the requirements of Section 4. I am afraid the learned Judge has entirely misread the two sections.
3. Section 4 deals with the applications that can be directly made to the Court. Its scope is very limited. It applies to debtors and creditors living in an area where the Board was established after February 1, 1947. The scope of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947, is not confined to disposals of applications directly made under Section 4. The proviso to Section 56(2) states that all proceedings pending before the Boards established under Section 4 of the repealed Act shall be continued 'before the Court as if an application under Section 4 of the new Act has been made to the Court. Similarly, Section 19(1) further widens the scope of the proceedings under Section 4. It provides that all suits, appeals, applications for execution, etc. pending in any civil or revenue Court shall, if they involve the questions whether the person, from whom such debt is due, is a debtor, and whether the total amount of debts due from him on the date of the application exceeds Rs. 15,000, be transferred to the Court. Section 19(3) further provides that when any such suit, appeal, application or proceedings is transferred to the Court under Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2), the Court shall proceed as if an application under Section 4 had been made to it. The suits, appeals, etc. referred to in Sub-section (1) must necessarily be with regard to transactions about which no application could have been made under Section 4 of the repealed Act. Under the old Act, no applications could be made with regard to transactions before January 1, 1927. The suits had, therefore, to be filed in the ordinary civil Courts under the Dekkhan Agriculturists Relief Act. Section 19(1) is enacted for the purpose of conferring the benefit of the provisions of the Act on the debtors even with regard to this class of suits.
4. This view derives some support from the definition of 'debtor' that is to be found in Section 2(5) of the new Act. According to this definition 'an individual who held a land at any time not more than 30 years before January 30, 1940, would be a debtor provided the other conditions mentioned therein are satisfied.' This itself shows that a person, who has apparently sold his agricultural land after January 30, 1910, can take the benefit of the provisions of this Act, and in view of this definition of a debtor, I think that no provision corresponding to Section 45 has been enacted in the new Act. As the transaction in dispute is of 1915, the debtor, provided he satisfies the other conditions, is entitled to the privileges conferred upon him under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act.
5. I therefore hold that the trial Court was wrong in holding that Section 19 was controlled by Section 4, and consequently in refusing to transfer the suit to the Court under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act.
6. I therefore allow the application, make the rule absolute and direct that the suit be transferred to the Court under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act.
7. The opponents should pay the costs of the applicant.