1. This is an appeal by the plaintiff against a decree allowing his claim to the extent of Rs. 103 in a suit filed by him to recover Rs. 523 on three promissory notes. The promissory notes were passed in the plaintiff's favour by the defendant, who is an agriculturist, on April 15, 1930, March 7, 1931, and March 4, 1933. The suit was filed on February 27, 1939. The ordinary period of limitation applicable to the promissory notes is three years, but Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act provides a period of six years for a suit of the description mentioned in Section 3, Clause (w), of that Act. A suit on a promissory note is included in that clause. So that the period of limitation in the present case would not be three but six years. Even so, the suit would be time-barred with respect to the first two notes which were passed more than six years before the date of the suit. The plaintiff, however, relied on certain endorsements about payment of interest on the two promissory notes, and those endorsements having been made on March 1, 1933, he sought to bring the suit within limitation with regard to those promissory notes under Section 20 of the Indian Limitation Act.
2. Both the lower Courts have held that Section 20 does not apply to the present case, where limitation is governed by the special provisions of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, on account of the provisions of Section 29, Sub-section (2), Clause (b), of the Indian Limitation Act. These provisions are-
(2) Where any special or local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or application a period of limitation different from the period prescribed there for by the first schedule, the provisions of section 3 shall apply, as if such period were prescribed there for in that schedule, and for the, purpose of determining any period of limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application by any special or local law-
(a) the provisions contained in Section 4, Sections 9 to 18 and Section 22 shall apply only in so far as, and to the extent to which, they are not expressly excluded' by such special or local law; and
(b) the remaining provisions of this Act shall not apply.
3. The effect of this section is that in the case of a suit falling within a special or local law which prescribes a different period of limitation from that in the Indian Limitation Act, the plaintiff will not be entitled to the benefit of Section 20. That is the plain meaning of this section, and it is not contended that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act is not a special or local law.
4. It is, however, contended by Mr. Coyajee on behalf of the appellant that the legislature could not have intended to deprive the plaintiff of the benefit of this section as well as Section 19 relating to acknowledgment, and much more, of the benefit of Sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Indian Limitation Act under which a period of disability, such as minority or insanity, is specially provided for. It is true that on the section as it stands, the plaintiff in such a case would not be entitled to the benefit of those sections, and the absence of the applicability of Sections 6, 7 and 8 is no doubt a great hardship on plaintiffs. But the section has got to be construed as it is, and it is clear to my mind that the legislature did not intend to confer the benefit of Section 20 in any case on a plaintiff who brings a suit under the special period of limitation provided for under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. Section 29 has been amended in the present form for the first time in 1922, and since then there have been two cases under that section: Syed Hasan Imam v. Brahmdeo Singh (1930) I.L.R. 9 Pat. 747 and Moulvi Wazed Ali Khan Panee v. Brojendra Kumar Bandopadhaya (1932) 36 C.W.N. 833. In the first of these cases it is held that Sections 19 and 20 would not have applied to the suit brought under the Bengal Tenancy Act but for the special provision in that Act to the effect that the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act shall apply to all suits, appeals and applications mentioned in the previous section. In other words, the decision is that in absence of that special provision in the Bengal Tenancy Act the plaintiff would not have been entitled to the benefit of Sections 19 and 20. To the same effect is the decision in the second case.
5. If, therefore, it had been provided for in the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act that the provisions of Section 19 and 20 or any other sections would apply to all suits filed under that Act, the applicability of those sections would not have been taken away under Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act. But in absence of such provision in the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, it must be held on the plain wording of Section 29 that the benefit of Section 20 cannot be availed of by a plaintiff in a suit falling under Section 3(w) of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. At first sight it would appear to be a great hardship to the persons filing suits under the special Acts that they should not have the benefit of Sections 6 to 8 as well as Sections 19 to 21 of the Indian Limitation Act. It appears, however, that the intention of the legislature was that if these latter sections are to be made available to plaintiffs in such suits, the proper procedure is to amend the special or local laws in such a manner as to expressly make applicable the sections which have been excluded under Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act. No such change has been made in the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. It is for the Legislature to consider the advisability of making those sections applicable to suits falling under Section 72. But according to the law as it stands at present, Section 20 cannot apply to them.
6. The decision of the lower appellate Court is, therefore, confirmed and the appeal is dismissed with costs.