1. The question that falls to be considered by this Full Bench is a very short one and refers to the construction of Section 13(3) of the Central Provinces and Berar Relief of Indebtedness Act (24 of 1939). Under Section 13 (1) of that Act, if an instalment which has been fixed by the Debt Relief Court is not paid on the duo date, the creditor is given the power to apply within eighteen months from the date of the default to the Deputy Commissioner or such other officer as may be appointed in that behalf by the Provincial Government for the recovery of that instalment as an anear of land revenue, and the Deputy Commissioner or such other revenue officer has been given the power to recover such instalment as an arrear of land revenue. Under Sub-section (2), if the instalment or part thereof is irrecoverable, the Deputy Commissioner or other revenue officer has to certify the irrecoverability, and under Sub-section (3) if an instalment or part thereof is certified as irrecoverable under Sub-section (2) or if two consecutive instalments remain in arrears, the Deputy Commissioner, on the application of the creditor, shall pass an order that the order of the Debt Relief Court fixing the instalments shall case to have effect, and the balance remaining clue shall be recoverable as if a decree has been passed by a Court of Civil jurisdiction.
2. Now, in the case before us, the respondents, who arc the creditors, applied to the Deputy Commissioner under Section 13 (3) alleging that the appellant, the debtor, had failed to pay two consecutive instalments on their respective due dates, and the Deputy Commissioner being satisfied that two consecutive instalments had remained, in arrears passed an order contemplated by Section 13 (3). Thereupon the creditors went to the Civil Court for execution of that order as a decree, and the Civil Court having ordered execution, the appellant came in appeal to this Court, and the appellant's contention was that the order passed under Section 13(3) was not by the Deputy Commissioner but by the Additional Deputy Commissioner and therefore the order was without jurisdiction and could not be executed by the Civil Court.
3. Now, the very short answer to the debtor's contention is the amendment effected in the Central Provinces Land Revenue Act, 1917, by Act VIII of 1945. Chapter II of this Act deals with revenue officers, their class, and powers, and before the amendment Section 9 dealt with a Deputy Commissioner and it provided that the State Government shall appoint in each district a Deputy Commissioner who shall exercise therein the powers and discharge the duties conferred and imposed on a Deputy Commissioner or Collector by this Act or by any enactment for the time being in force. Then by this Amending Act VIII of 1945 Section 9-A was incorporated and it gave the State Government the power to appoint an Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Sub-section (3) of this section provided that an Additional Deputy Commissioner shall exercise such powers and discharge such duties conferred and imposed on a Deputy Commissioner or a Collector by this Act or by any enactment for the time being in force, or by any rule made under this Act or any such other enactment in such cases or class of eases as the Deputy Commissioner of the district may direct and Sub-section '(4) provides:
'This Act and every other enactment for the time being in force and any rule made under this Act or any such enactment shall apply to the Additional Deputy Commissioner when exercising any powers or discharging any duties under Sub-section (3), as if he were the Deputy Commissioner of the district or the Collector.'
The short and simple answer, given by the respondents to the appellant's contention is that prior to this Amending Act the authority to pass the order under Section 13 (3) was vested solely in the Deputy Commissioner, but on Act VIII of 1945 being passed and Section 9-A having been enacted, and an Additional Deputy Commissioner having been appointed by the State Government and jurisdiction having been conferred upon the Additional Deputy Commissioner which was concurrent to the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner, the power exercisable by the Deputy Commissioner also became exercisable by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, and the Additional Deputy Commissioner having passed this order he passed it with, the same jurisdiction which the Deputy Commissioner had to pass that order. This position is controverted by Mr. Mangalmurti who submits that when the Legislature passed Section 13 (3) its intention was that the power to make the order contemplated by that sub-section should only be exercised by the Deputy Commissioner, and he draws attention to the difference in language in Section 13 (1), (2) and (3) and he says that whereas not only the Deputy Commissioner but any other revenue officer was empowered to recover an instalment which was in arrears, or to certify that the instalment had become irrecoverable, when it came to Sub-section (3) the Legislature advisedly limited the power to be exercisable under that sub-section only to a Deputy Commissioner and not to any other revenue officer.
4. It is further pointed out by Mr. Mangalmurti that it is a well established canon of construction that when a law is passed dealing with a particular matter and a subsequent law is passed dealing with general matters, the subsequent law should not be construed to repeal or abrogate the particular law unless the Legislature expressly so enacts in the subsequent law, and pursuant to this canon of construction what is argued by Mr. Mangahnurti is that Act XXIV of 1939 was a particular law dealing with the relief of agricultural debtors and in that law the Legislature had clearly expressed its intention that certain matters should be dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner and no other revenue officer, and when the Amending Act VIII of 1945 was passed it dealt generally with the questions of land revenue and with officers appointed for the purpose of collection of land revenue and matters pertaining thereto, and when we find a- provision in that law giving to the Additional Deputy Commissioner the same power as the Deputy Commissioner this provision should not be read into Act XXIV of 1939. What is urged by Mr. Mangalmurti is that if the Legislature wanted to change the provision contained in Section 13 (3) it should have passed a special law amending Act XXIV of 1939 and not amend that Act by a side wind as it were, by amending the Central Provinces Land Revenue Act 1917. Now, there is a clear fallacy underlying this contention. In the first place, it is erroneous to suggest that Section 9-A in any way repeals or abrogates the provision of Section 13 (3). By reason of Section 9-A the power which was vested in the Deputy Commissioner has also now been vested in the Additional Deputy Commissioner who is to be appointed for the purpose of exercising concurrent jurisdiction with the Deputy Commissioner. Further, Section 9-A(3) in terms provides that the powers conferred upon the Deputy Commissioner not only under the Central Provinces Land Revenue Act but under any enactment for the time being in force shall be exercised by the Additional Deputy Commissioner. Therefore, when the Legislature passed Act VIII of 1945 we must attribute to it the knowledge that there were on statute book various enactments under which power was conferred upon the Deputy Commissioner, and what the Legislature intended to do and what in fact it has done is to give to the Additional Deputy Commissioner the same power that the Deputy Commissioner exercised under the various enactments on the statute book. It is said by Mr. Mangalmurti that 'any enactment for the time being in force' must refer to an enactment dealing with land revenue. In our opinion, there is no justification or warrant for limiting tile language used by the Legislature and placing a limitation upon the expression 'any enactment for the time being in force'. The only important Act as far as we are aware which deals strictly with land revenue and its collection, and various matters connected with it is the Central Provinces Land Revenue Act, 1917, which is in itself a self-contained Code dealing with land revenue. 'Therefore, obviously, when the Legislature in Section 9-A (3) talked of 'any enactment for the time being in force', it could not have meant only enactments dealing with land revenue.
5. It is finally argued by Mr. Mangalmurti that in giving this interpretation we are defeating the object of the Legislature and we should not put an interpretation upon Section 9-A (3) which will lead to our corning to a conclusion contrary to the object which the Legislature had in mind. Now, the object of Act XXIV of 1939 was to relieve the indebtedness of agriculturists. Section 13 is purely a machinery section and it is rather far-fetched to suggest that if concurrent powers are conferred upon the Additional Deputy Commissioner along with the Deputy Commissioner, the object of the legislation would be defeated. If the object of the legislation was to relieve agriculturists of their indebtedness, that object can he satisfied whether the machinery is worked by the Deputy Commissioner or the Additional Deputy Commissioner. In the view that we take it is unnecessary to consider whether the Deputy Commissioner or the Additional Deputy Commissioner is acting as a revenue officer or as a persona 'designata, because even if the Deputy Commissioner is acting as a persona designata, by reason of Section 9-A (3) the Additional Deputy Commissioner was put in the same position as the Deputy Commissioner. Therefore, the question of considering those authorities of this Court which has looked upon the Deputy Commissioner as a persona designata does not really arise, and therefore we will dispose of this Full Bench on the short point that under Section 9-A (3) of the Central Provinces Land Revenue Act, 1917, the powers exercisable by the Deputy Commissioner under Section 13 (3) are also exercisable by the Additional Deputy Commissioner.
6. We therefore answer question (a) as indicated in the judgment. We do not decide questions (1) and (3) as they are unnecessary.
7. Answer accordingly.