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Hasansaheb Nabisaheb Vs. Virupaxappa Mahantappa and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln. No. 1445 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Bom196; (1953)55BOMLR70; ILR1953Bom603
ActsDebt Law; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947 - Sections 4, 4(3), 5(1), 17 and 17(1)
AppellantHasansaheb Nabisaheb
RespondentVirupaxappa Mahantappa and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.G. Datar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG.R. Madbhavi, V.V. Albal and ;G.N. Vaidya, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....the phrase 'a debt due' means that a particular liability is in existence. the word 'due' does not emphasise the moment of time when that liability is to be discharged. 'debt due' is not the same as 'debt recoverable' or 'debt payable.' a debt may be due and yet the time when it has got to be paid or when the creditor can recover it may be postponed to a future date. - .....the time when that debt is to be discharged. 'debt due' is not the same as 'debt recoverable' or 'debt payable.' a debt may be due and yet the time when it has got to be paid or when the creditor can recover it may be postponed to a future data. mr. datar has drawn my attention to sections 4 (a) and 5 (1) (b). section 4 (3) provides that when an application by a debtor is made, it shall contain the amounts and particulars of all debts specified in that section due by the debtor. according to mr. datar, although under this sub-section the debtor has got to show all his debts, when you come to section 17 for the purpose of the preliminary issue what the court has got to ascertain is the debts actually payable or recover-able at the date when the application was made. i am not prepared to.....
Judgment:
ORDER

[1] The question that arises in this revision application is as to the proper interpretation to be put upon the expression used in Section 17, Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, viz., 'total amount of debts due from the parson making an application under Section 4.' Mr. Datar's contention is that what has got to be taken into consideration is the amount of debts which are payable or recoverable on the date when the application is made. In this particular case, it is not disputed that the petitioner's debts were more than Rs. 15,000, there were decrees passed against him, the aggregate amount of which exceeded Rs. 15,000, but some of the decrees were payable by instalments, and if the teat wore to be applied as to what amount under these decrees was payable by the petitioner on the date of the application, when the amount would have been less than Rs. 15,000. Both the Courts below have held that the petitioner does not satisfy the test laid down in Section 17, viz., that his total amount of debts does not exceed Rs. 15,000.

[2] Now, a debt is a liability and a liability may have to be discharged in the present or in future, and 'a debt due' means that a particular liability is in existence. 'Due' does not emphasise the moment of time when that liability is to be discharged. It emphasises the existence of the debt and not the time when that debt is to be discharged. 'Debt due' is not the same as 'debt recoverable' or 'debt payable.' A debt may be due and yet the time when it has got to be paid or when the creditor can recover it may be postponed to a future data. Mr. Datar has drawn my attention to Sections 4 (a) and 5 (1) (b). Section 4 (3) provides that when an application by a debtor is made, it shall contain the amounts and particulars of all debts specified in that section due by the debtor. According to Mr. Datar, although under this sub-section the debtor has got to show all his debts, when you come to Section 17 for the purpose of the preliminary issue what the Court has got to ascertain is the debts actually payable or recover-able at the date when the application was made. I am not prepared to accept that contention. The scheme of the Act is that all debts which were in existence at the date when the application was made by the debtor should be adjusted under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Belief Act. But the Legislature laid down a limit as to the extent of the debts. If a man had debts exceeding Rs. 15,000, then he could not avail himself of the benefit of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, and therefore the adjustment of the debts and the trial of the preliminary issue are based upon the same consideration.

According to Mr. Datar, although a man's debts may be more than Rs. 15,000 and they might all be adjusted under the Act, still for the purposes of the preliminary issue he may come within the purview of the Act if he can show that on the date when ho made the application his liability to pay the debts did not exceed Rs. 15,000. In my opinion that contention is contrary both to the scheme of the Act and to the plain meaning of the English expression 'debts due.' The same is the position with regard to Section 5 (1) (b). There also a debtor is called upon to make a true and correct statement of all the debts owed by him when a notice is served upon him under that section. I do not understand why the meaning of the words 'debts owed' used in Section 5 (1) (b) and the meaning of the words 'debts owed' in Section 4 (3) should be different to the moaning of the same words used in Section 17 (b). Mr. Datar concedes that as far as Section 4 (3) is concerned and Section 5 (1) (b) is concerned, 'debts due' there mean not debts payable oc recoverable, but debts in existence. If that be so, I see no reason whatsoever, why the meaning of that expression should be changed when we come to Section 17 (b). The only answer that Mr. Datar can give is that as Section 17 (b) speaks of 'debts duo on the date of the application,' we must construe that expression to mean 'debts payable and recoverable on the date of the application.' But I do not see why the qualifying phrase 'on the date of the application' should necessarily change the meaning of the words 'debts due.' All that the Legislature intended by using the expression 'on the date of the application' is that you must not consider the amount of the debts after the date of the application or prior to the date of the application, but take the date of the application as the relevant point of time and on that date determine what are the debts in existence due by the debtor. If those debts are less than RS. 15,000, he is a debtor within the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act. If they are not, then he is not entitled to the protection of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act. In my opinion, therefore, the learned Judge below was right in the view that he took.

[3] Application fails, Rule discharged with costs.

[4] Rule discharged.


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