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Chandulal Sarupchand Vs. Bhau Buwajirao - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 430 of 1948
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Bom282; (1953)55BOMLR279; ILR1953Bom707
ActsDebt Laws; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1947 - Sections 56 and 56(1); Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief (Amendment) Act, 1948; ;Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, 1879 - Sections 12, 13, 56, 85 and 86; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908; Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act, 1939
AppellantChandulal Sarupchand
RespondentBhau Buwajirao
Appellant AdvocateK.V. Joshi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.B. Rege, Adv.
Excerpt:
bombay agricultural debtors relief act (bom. xxviii of 1947), section 56(1) - bombay agricultural debtors belief act (bom. xxviii of 1939), sections 56, 85, 86--dekkhan agriculturists'1 relief act, (bom. xvii of 1879), sections 12, 13--suit filed before board established under b.a. d.r. act, 1939, previous to date of transaction in suit--suit transferred to. civil court and pending when section 56 ofb.a. d.r. act, 1947, amended by act lxx of 1948--applicability of d.a. r. act.;a board established under the bombay agricultural debtors relief act, 1939, transferred to the civil court on april 9, 1947, a suit filed by the plaintiff, on the ground that the defendant had failed to establish his status. the board was established on april 1, 1942, and the suit was filed on april 18, 1945, in..........suit was based was entered into on 11-5-1942. therefore, it is clear that on the passing of the bombay agricultural debtors relief act of 1939 the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act ceased to hays application and its application was not continued under section 86 as far as the transaction in suit was concerned. if the position rested thus, there would be no difficulty and mr. joshi's contention must prevail. but the legislature amended the bombay agricultural debtors relief act and passed another act being act 28 of 1947. that act provided by section 56 that on the expiry of a period of three years from the date of the coming into operation of this act, the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act 1879 shall cease to have force. there-lore, in effect the act revived the dekkhan.....
Judgment:

Chagla, C.J.

(1) The defendant executed a promissory note on 11-5-1942 for Rs. 4,800 in favour of the plaintiff and the plaintiff filed a suit on 18-4-1945, in the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Thana, for Rs. 5,645 being the principal and interest on that promissory note. On 1-4-1942, a Board was established under the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act (29 of 1939) and the suit was transferred to that Board. On 29-1-1947, the Board held that the defendant had failed to establish his status, whereupon on 9-4-1947, the suit was retransferred to the Civil Court, and on 29-6-1948, the Court passed a decree in favour of the plaintiff. In passing that decree the Court applied to the defendant the Dokkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, took accounts as required by Section 13, and passed a decree for Rs. 3,383-2-6 and not as prayed for by the plaintiff. It is not disputed that the defendant is an agriculturist within the meaning of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. The only question raised by Mr. Joshi before us is that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was not applicable and therefore the Court was in error in applying the provisions of that statute.

(2) Now, when Act 28 of 1939 was passed, the Legislature made a provision with regard to the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act and that provision is to be found in Sections 35 and 86 of the Act. Section 85 provided that on the date on which the Board was established the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act shall cease to have force in such area, and Section 36 continued the operation of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act for a period of three years in respect of transactions entered into before the date on which the Board was established. As pointed out before, the Board in this case was established on 1-4-1942, and the transaction on which the suit was based was entered into on 11-5-1942.

Therefore, it is clear that on the passing of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act of 1939 the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act ceased to hays application and its application was not continued under Section 86 as far as the transaction in suit was concerned. If the position rested thus, there would be no difficulty and Mr. Joshi's contention must prevail. But the Legislature amended the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act and passed another Act being Act 28 of 1947. That Act provided by Section 56 that on the expiry of a period of three years from the date of the coming into operation of this Act, the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act 1879 shall cease to have force. There-lore, in effect the Act revived the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act for a period of three years. This provision was further amended by Act 70 of 1948 and, as amended, Section 56(1) now reads as follows:

'Notwithstanding the repeal of the Dekkhan 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 coining into operation of this Act ..... and shall continue in force for aperiod of three years from the said date.'

(3) Now, the question is whether on a true construction of Section 56 as amended, the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act applies to the present suit. Mr. Joshi is right In his contention that the ordinary principle of law is that parties are governed by the law in force at the date when a suit is instituted and any subsequent; amendment or alteration of the law cannot affect pending proceedings. But this principle must always be read subject to the corollary that a Legislature could always expressly provide that pending proceedings be affected by an amendment of the law. The question is whether the Legislature expressly intended by the amending Act 70 of 1948 to affect pending proceedings. The Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was revived from 27-5-1947, and the Legislature provided that that Act should apply to all transactions which were alive at that date and in respect of which rights could be asserted and also that the Act should apply to all proceedings which were pending at that date to which the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act did not apply.

Obviously, when the Legislature enacted the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act it was under the impression that it was giving the same relief or greater relief to agriculturists than the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act afforded. Then it was discovered that the area covered by the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act was not necessarily the same as the area covered by the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act and the Legislature did not intend to deprive agriculturists of the rights that they had under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. Therefore, Section 56 as amended expressly provided that if a proceeding was pending on 27-5-1947, which could not be transferred to the Debt Adjustment Court but to which the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act would have applied if that Act had been in force such a proceeding should continue to be governed by the provisions of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. But for this provision the result would have been that the agriculturist could neither have gift the benefit of the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act nor the benefit of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. The Legislature was not prepared lo continue this anomalous position and to put the agriculturists in a difficult situation which was never the intention of the Legislature.

Mr. Joshi has relied on the first proviso to this section, but it is difficult to understandwhat the first proviso has to do with the construction of the sub-section itself. All that the proviso lays down is that if proceedings or suits are instituted before the expiry of the three years during which the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was to continue in force, they shall be continued and disposed of as if the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act had continued in force even beyond the period of three years. This proviso was enacted in order to obviate the difficulty which may arise if when the Bombay Agricultural Debtors Relief Act ceased to be in force certain proceedings still remained on the file of the Court which were originally governed by the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, As far as these proceedings were concerned, they were to continue unaffected by the repeal of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act,

(4) Therefore, in our opinion, the matter isgoverned by Section 58, Bombay Agricultural DebtorsRelief Act as amended, and on a proper construction of that section it is clear that thedefendant is entitled to the rights conferredupon him by the Dekkhan Agriculturists' ReliefAct. If that be the true position, then all thatthe Court below has done is to hold an inquiryus required by Section 12, Dekkhan Agriculturists'Relief Act, take accounts as required by Section 13,and on the taking of accounts a sum of Rs.3,883-2-6 only is found due to the plaintiff. Theresult, therefore, is that the appeal fails andmust be dismissed. No order as to costs.

(5) Appeal dismissed.


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