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Gopal Raghunath and ors. Vs. Govind Pandurang - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Appln. No. 548 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Bom198; (1953)55BOMLR74; ILR1953Bom431
ActsDebit Laws; Deccan Agriculturists' Relief Act, 1879 - Sections 1; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief (Amendment) Act, 1948 - Sections 56(1); Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904 - Sections 10 and 10(1); Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1939 - Sections 56, 85 and 86
AppellantGopal Raghunath and ors.
RespondentGovind Pandurang
Appellant AdvocateM.G. Chitale, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.M. Limaye, Adv.
Excerpt:
bombay agricultural debtors relief act (bom. xxviii of 1947), section 56(1) - dekkhan agriculturists' relief act (bom. xvii of 1879)--bombay general clauses act (bom. i of 1904), section 10t--whether d.a. r. act in force on may 27, 1950--construction, of statute--intention of legislature whether to be gathered from background of enactment.;section 56(1) of the bombay agricultural debtors relief act, 1947, retrospectively re-enacted the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act, 1879, for a period of three years from may 27, 1947. in calculating this period, may 27, 1947, should be included and, therefore, the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act must be deemed to have expired on the mid-night of may 26, 1950.;if the language used by the legislature in an enactment is clear, whatever its..........agriculturists' relief act was in force on 27-5-1950, when opponent 1 filed a suit under the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act. [2] now, in order to properly construe section 56 it is necessary to have the background of the previous legislation. under the bombay agricultural debtors relief act, 1939, it was provided by section 85 that the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act should cease to have force in such areas where the board was established on the date when the board was so established, but section 86 of the act kept the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act in force foe special purposes for three years from the date of the establishment of the board. in this particular area with which we are dealing the board was established on 1-5-1945. therefore, under section 85 the dekkhan.....
Judgment:
ORDER

[1] An interesting question arises in this revision application as to whether the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was in force on 27-5-1950, when opponent 1 filed a suit under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act.

[2] Now, in order to properly construe Section 56 it is necessary to have the background of the previous legislation. Under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1939, it was provided by Section 85 that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act should cease to have force in such areas where the Board was established on the date when the Board was so established, but Section 86 of the Act kept the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act in force foe special purposes for three years from the date of the establishment of the Board. In this particular area with which we are dealing the Board was established on 1-5-1945. Therefore, under Section 85 the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act would cease to have force, but by reason of Section 86 it would continue to be in force up to 31.4-1948. Then the old Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act was repealed and the new Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act came into force on 27-5-1947, and the result of the repeal of the old Act was or would have been that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act would no longer have been in force as provided in Section 86 of the old Act. Therefore, in this particular case on 27-5-1947, the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act would not have boon in force for the purpose of Section 86 of the old Act as on that date the new Act came into force. In order to get over that difficulty an amending Act was passed in 1948 which was Act 70 of 1948 and by that amendment Section 56 (1) was made to run as follows :

'Notwithstanding the repeal of the Deccan Agriculturists' Relief Act, 1879, by the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1939, the first mentioned Act shall, in so far as it applies to transactions and proceedings to which this Act does not apply, be deemed to have been re-enacted with effect from the date of the coming into operation of this Act . . . and shall continue in force for a period of three years from the said date.'

Therefore, the Legislature, feeling that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act ceased to he in force after 1947, made good that lacuna in the legislation by the amending Act of 1948 and retrospectively re-enacted the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act from 27-5-1947. In other words, by reason of this amendment there was to be no break whatever in the continuance of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act.

[3] Now lot us see what is the language used by the Legislature and what effect should be given to that language, because if the language is clear, then I agree with Mr. Limaye that whatever the legislative background may be, the intention of the Legislature can only be gathered by the words used. The material words which call for construction at my hands are, 're-enacted with effect from the date of the coming into operation of this Act,' and the contention of Mr. Limaye is that in construing this expression I must exclude 27-5-1947, the date on which the new Act came into force, and calculate the three years from 28. 5.1947, in which case the suit as filed on 27.5.1950, would be in time. On the other hand, Mr. Chitale's contention is that 27-5-1947 should not be excluded in calculating the period of three years, and if 27-5-1947 is included, then the period expired on the midnight of 23.5.1950, and the suit filed is out of time.

[4] Section 10, Bombay General Clauses Act provides that in any Bombay Act made after the commencement of this Act it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of excluding the first in a series of days or any other period of time, to use the word 'from', and for the purpose of including the last in a series of days or any other period of time, to use the word 'to' Mr. Chitale says that this section only applies when the Legislature has used both the expressions 'from' and 'to'. I am not prepared to accept that contention. The two parts of Section 10 (1) are independent and the Legislature has laid down how 'from' is to be interpreted when used in a certain context and how 'to' is to be interpreted when used in a certain context. Therefore, if you have a series of days or a period of time mentioned after the word 'from', the first day has got to be excluded. That is clear from Section 10 (1) and this is what is most strongly relied upon by Mr. Limaye. Mr. Limaye says, hero you have a period of time mentioned, three years, you have the date mentioned, viz., 27-5-1947, and therefore applying Section 10 (1), General Clauses Act, you must exclude 27-5-1947, in which ease the three years commenced from May 23, and not from May 27. It is clear that Section 10 (1) applies when the Legislature intends to exclude the first day from a series of days or the period of time used for a particular purpose. Instead of making it clear in every legislation it is sufficient for the Legislature to use the word 'from'. In my opinion, the Legislature has made it amply clear in Section 56 (1) that it has not used the word 'from' in the sense in which it is indicated in Section 10 (i), General Clauses Act, because the language used is not 'from the date of the coming into operation of the Act' but the language is 'with effect from the date of the coming into operation of the Act.' In my opinion, the expression 'with effect' are the key words to this sub-section and they give a clear indication of the intention of the Legislature. A certain Act is being re-enacted with retrospective effect and the Legislature wants to give validity to that re-enactment, and therefore the Legislature says that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Belief Act will be valid from the date which it itself has mentioned, viz., the date of the coming into operation of the Act, and therefore the Legislature says that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Belief Act is re-enacted with effect from that date. Whatever force Mr. Limaye's contention might have had if the words 'with effect' did not appear in the sub-section, their presence in that sub-section to my mind is conclusive as to the intention of the Legislature, and this interpretation receives further support and further emphasis from the legislative history of this legislation to which I have drawn attention. It is impossible to believe that the Legislature intended that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act should not be in force on one solitary day, viz. 27-5-1947, because till 26-5-1947, it was in force by virtue of the old Act. On 37-8-1947, the old Act was repealed and the new Act came into force. By the amendment, according to Mr. Limaye, the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was re-enacted as from 23-5-1947. The result would be that yon will have one, as it were, dies non on which the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Belief Act would not be in force. I do not think that would be a proper interpretation to put upon this section.

[5] Mr. Limaye says that the Legislature has again used the expression 'from' in the latter part of this sub-section when it says, 'and shall continue in force for a period of three years from the said date.' But I cannot overlook the fact that the expression 'with effect' is used in the earlier part of the sub-section and the meaning to ho given to the expression 'with effect' in the earlier part of the sub-section must be the meaning which must be given to the expression 'from' in the latter part of Section 56 (1). Therefore, in my opinion, the learned Judge was in error in coming to the conclusion that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Belief Act was in force on 27-5-1950. The result is that the right of the plaintiff to maintain a suit under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act no longer existed on 37-5-1950. Therefore, the suit as filed is not maintainable.

[6] Result is that the order of the learned Judge will be set aside and the suit will be dismissed with costs. Rule absolute with costs.

[7] Rule made absolute.


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