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Tukaram Savalaram Vs. Narayan Balkrishna - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln No. 3 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1952Bom144; (1952)54BOMLR88; ILR1952Bom565
ActsDebt Law; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947 - Sections 2(5), 4 and 5; Dekkhan Agriculturists Relief Act - Sections 2
AppellantTukaram Savalaram
RespondentNarayan Balkrishna
Appellant AdvocateA.G. Desai and M.G. Chitale, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateM.M. Virkar, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....with our state in 1943 and the bombay agricultural debtor's relief act was made applicable to the bhor state on 30-3-1950. it is, therefore, contended that after the integration of bbor, bhor became a part oithe state of bombay, and if the debtor was cultivating land in bhor, he was cultivating land in a part of the state of bombay, and, therefors, the definition is satisfied. therefore, his application was clearly not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed. i fail to see how the integration of bhor in 1919 and the application of the bombay agricultural debtor's relief act on 30-3 1950, can possibly affect the maintainability of the application under section 4 which has got to be determined at the moment when the application was made and cot in the light of subsequent events. but..........a sale. the learned trial judge held that the appellant was residing not in mahad but in the bhor state and also that he was cultivating lands personally not in mahad but in the bhor state and on that ground he dismissed the application of the debtor holding that he was not a debtor within the meaning of the act. the learned district judge came to a contrary conclusion. he hold that the debtor was an ordinary and permanent resident of mahad. with regard to the second ground the learned judge took the view that it was sufficient for the purposes of the act if the debtor was cultivating land during the material period anywhere.[2] now, when the application was made by the debtor on 17-6-1947, bhor was not a part of the state of bombay, and in order to maintain the application under.....
Judgment:

[1] This is an application in revision against a decision of the District Judge, Kolaba, by which ha held that opponent No. 1 was a debtor and his debts could be adjusted under the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Relief Act. It appears that the debtor made an application under 8. 4 for adjustment of his debts on 17-6-1917, to the Mahad Court and he contended that a certain transaction was a mortgage though ostensibly a sale. The learned trial Judge held that the appellant was residing not in Mahad but in the Bhor State and also that he was cultivating lands personally not in Mahad but in the Bhor State and on that ground he dismissed the application of the debtor holding that he was not a debtor within the meaning of the Act. The learned District Judge came to a contrary conclusion. He hold that the debtor was an ordinary and permanent resident of Mahad. With regard to the second ground the learned Judge took the view that it was sufficient for the purposes of the Act if the debtor was cultivating land during the material period anywhere.

[2] Now, when the application was made by the debtor on 17-6-1947, Bhor was not a part of the State of Bombay, and in order to maintain the application under the Bombay Agricultural Debtor Relief Act the debtor had to be a resident in a local area for which a Board was established and ho had to satisfy the definition of a debtor given under Section 2 (5). For the purposes of this revision application we are concerned with the definition contained in Section 5 (a) (iii) which provides:

'Who has been cultivating land personally for the cultivating sessons in the two years immediately preceding the date of the coming into operation of this Act or of the establishment of the Board concerned under the repealed Act.'

It is not disputed that the debtor was personally cultivating land for the material seasons, but the question that falls for determined on is, what is the land referred to in this sub-clause. Did the Legislature intend that if a debtor cultivated land anywhere in the world during the material period he would satisfy this qualification laid down by the Legislature It is difficult to hold that that was the object of the Legislature, because when we turn to the preamble it is clear that this Act was intended for the relief of agricultural debtors in the Province of Bombay. Therefore, relief was to be given not merely to a debtor in the Province of Bombay, but to an agricultural debtor in the Province of Bombay, and only that debtor would be an agricultural debtor who cultivated land in the Province of Bombay. The legislature was only interested in those people who wore cultivating land within itsterritorial jurisdiction and to whom relief was to be given because they were indebted. It is impossible to believe that the Legislature wanted to give relief to agriculturists from other parts of India merely because they might have become indebted in the Province of Bombay. If the language of a section is clear, it is not permissible to look at the preamble; but when the language is not clear and is ambiguous, it is open to the Court to construe a section in the light of the preamble, because the preamble supplies a clear guide as to what was the object of the Legislature in placing a cartain law on the statute book. Construing this sub section in the light of the preamble, it is clear that the land was cot intended as land anywhere in the world, but it was intended to be land within the Province of Bombay.

[3] Mr. Virkar has tried to controvert this argument by pointing out the definition of an 'agriculturist' is Section 2, Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. There 'agriculturist' was defined as a person who by himself or by his servants or by his tenants earned his livelihood wholly or principally by agriculture carried on within the limits of a district or part of a district to which this Act may for the time being extend, and Mr. Virkar's argument is that when the Legislature wanted to qualify land it did so in clear terms as in this statute. NOW, the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act and the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Relief Act are not in pari materia. The Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was a Central Act which was made applicable to different districts from time to time by relevant notifications. As it was a Central Act the Legislature had to restrict the operation of the Act to the particular area where it was made applicable. If land had not been qualified in Section 2, it might have been argued that a person who cultivated land anywhere in India, whether the Act was made applicable or not, would come within the definition and, therefore, it was necessary to qualify the use of the expression 'land' in that section. But it was not necessary to do so in the Bombay-Agricultural Debtor Relief Act because the Bam-bay Agricultural Debtor's Belief Act is a Provincial Act and its territorial application is confined to the Province of Bombay, and as the intention of the Legislature was that relief should be given to any person cultivating land anywhere In the Province of Bombay, the expression 'land' in Section 5 (a) (iii) was not qualified.

[4] The second contention urged by Mr. Virkar is that the Court should take into consideration the change in law and the change in status brought about by certain events that happened after 17-6-1917. Bhor integrated with our State in 1943 and the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Relief Act was made applicable to the Bhor State on 30-3-1950. It is, therefore, contended that after the integration of Bbor, Bhor became a part oithe State of Bombay, and if the debtor was cultivating land in Bhor, he was cultivating land in a part of the State of Bombay, and, therefors, the definition is satisfied. What I have to consider is whether the application that was made on 17-6 1947, was an application which was maintainable under the provisions of the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Belief Act,

[4a] The last date for making an application. under Section 4 was 7.8.1917, and in order that a proper application should be made it hail to be made by a debtor as defined by the Act. Therefore, when the debtor made the application on IT-6.1947, he was not a debtor, Bhor had not integrated with Bombay, and he was not cultivating land 111 the State of Bombay. Therefore, his application was clearly not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed. I fail to see how the integration of Bhor in 1919 and the application of the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Relief Act on 30-3 1950, can possibly affect the maintainability of the application under Section 4 which has got to be determined at the moment when the application was made and cot in the light of subsequent events. The only effect of applying the Bombay Agricultural Debtor Relief Act to the Bhor State was that agriculturists in Bhor also became entitled to the various reliefs given to agricultural debtors under the Bombay Agricultural Debtor Relief Act. But the application of the Bombay Agricultural Debtor's Relief Act to Bhor State did cot and could not mean that an application which was not maintainable in Ma bad Court became maintainable by reason of the fact that Bhor in 1949 became part of the State of Bombay.

[5] In my opinion, the learned Judge was in error in the conclusion that he came to. The result is that the order made by the learned Judge must be set aside and the order of the trial Court restored. Mr. Desai to have the costs of this Court. No order as to costs of the two lower Courts.

[6] Order set aside.


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