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Kishorelal Stores Vs. Jagannath Bayaji Patil - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Application No. 507 of 1942
Judge
Reported inAIR1944Bom89; (1943)45BOMLR1064
AppellantKishorelal Stores
RespondentJagannath Bayaji Patil
Excerpt:
.....relief act (xvii of 1879), sections 72, 3(w)-suits under section 3(w)-special period of limitation-indian limitation act (ix of 1908), sections 20, 29-whether provisions of section 20 apply to such suits.;section 72 of the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act, 1879, which merely substitutes in the schedule to the indian limitation act, 1908, a special period of limitation as regards suits falling under its section 3(w), does not lay down an independent and self-contained provision as regards limitation applicable to such suits, and does not therefore prevent the application of the provisions of section 20 of the indian limitation act to such suits.;keshav krishna v. bhagwan sambhu (1941) 44 bom. l.r. 138, not followed.;srinivasa ayyangar v. secretary of state (1912) i.l.r. 38 mad. 92,..........by the debtor on july 29, 1935, and june 2, 1936, could save limitation under section 20 of the indian limitation act. these payments were made within six years from the date of the last entry in the khata and the suit was filed within six years from the last of these payments. the learned trial judge, however, took the view that these payments could not help the plaintiff to bring his suit within limitation because of the provisions of section 29 of the indian limitation act.5. the view taken by both the courts below is that the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act is a special or local law within the meaning of section 29 of the indian limitation act and that therefore the suit must be governed by the provisions of section 72 of the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act alone, and the.....
Judgment:

N.J. Wadia, J.

1. This is an application in revision arising out of a suit filed by the applicant against the defendant. The suit was dismissed by the Second Class Subordinate Judge of Karad on the ground that it was barred by limitation and the decree was confirmed in appeal by the District Judge of Satara.

2. The applicant filed the suit to recover a sum of Rs. 148-6-3 for principal and interest due on a khata in the name of one Bayaji Savalaram, the deceased father of the opponent.

3. The trial Judge held that the suit khata had been proved, but that the claim was not in time. The suit was under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. The accounts relied on by the plaintiff showed that the last entry was dated November 9, 1931. The suit was filed on February 29, 1940. The plaintiff's clerk stated in his evidence that the deceased had made certain payments towards the khata on July 29, 1935, and June 2, 1936.

4. The suit is one falling under Section 3, Clause (w), of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. Section 72 of that Act provides that the period of limitation in the case of such suits is six years. The last entry in the khata is dated November 9, 1931, and the suit having been filed on February 29, 1940, would be time-barred unless the subsequent payments by the debtor on July 29, 1935, and June 2, 1936, could save limitation under Section 20 of the Indian Limitation Act. These payments were made within six years from the date of the last entry in the khata and the suit was filed within six years from the last of these payments. The learned trial Judge, however, took the view that these payments could not help the plaintiff to bring his suit within limitation because of the provisions of Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act.

5. The view taken by both the Courts below is that the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act is a special or local law within the meaning of Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act and that therefore the suit must be governed by the provisions of Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act alone, and the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act would have no application. Section 29, Sub-clause (2), provides that :

Where any special or local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or application a period of limitation different from the period prescribed therefor by the first schedule, the provisions of Section 3 shall apply, as if such period were prescribed therefor in that schedule, and for the purposes 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.

6. In Keshav Krishna v. Bhagwan Sambhu (1941) 44 Bom. L.R. 138 Mr. Justice Divatia sitting singly held that under Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, the benefit of Section 20 of the Act cannot be availed of by a plaintiff in a suit falling under Section 3, Clause (w), of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act.

7. The Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act is no doubt a special or local law. The question, however, is whether it is a special or local law which prescribes a period of limitation different from the period prescribed by the first schedule of the Indian Limitation Act. The language of Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act is peculiar. The section does not say that the period of limitation for the suits referred to in the section shall be six years or twelve years as the case may be, but it provides that for the suits mentioned in the section certain periods of limitation shall be deemed to be substituted in the schedule annexed to the Indian Limitation Act for the periods prescribed in that schedule. The Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act therefore does not provide a separate and self-contained body of provisions with regard to the limitation of suits coming under that Act. Section 72 itself expressly makes a reference to the Indian Limitation Act, and by providing that with regard to suits falling under Section 3, Clause (w), of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, certain periods of limitation shall be substituted in the schedule of the Indian Limitation Act for those already provided by that schedule, it clearly indicates that, subject to this one modification, the Indian Limitation Act as a whole shall apply to such suits. If that had not been the intention of the Legislature, there was no reason for making any reference to the Indian Limitation Act at all. The section could easily have provided that for suits falling under Section 3. Clause (w), of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, the period of limitation should be twelve years when the suit is founded on a written instrument registered and six years in any other case. The Legislature has deliberately not adopted that method, and the only explanation seems to be that it was the intention of the Legislature that suits under Section 3, Clause (w), of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, should be governed by the Indian Limitation Act subject to the modification mentioned in the section. In Srinivasa Ayyangar v. Secretary of State I.L.R. (1912) Mad. 92, a question arose whether Section 15, Clause (2), of the Indian Limitation Act, IX of 1908, which excludes from the computation of the period of limitation, the time occupied by the notice legally necessary to be issued before instituting certain actions, is applicable to suits brought under Section 59 of the Madras Revenue Recovery Act, II of 1864. In holding that it was applicable, the learned Judges observed that the question whether the general provisions of the Indian Limitation Act should be applied to cases where a special period of limitation is prescribed by a special or local Act depends on whether the provisions of such Act can be regarded as enacting a complete body of provisions with regard to limitations of suits coming within the purview of the Act; that the question is whether the special or local Act can be construed as excluding the applicability of the general provisions of the Indian Limitation Act; and that each case would have to be decided on the construction of the particular statute' which provides a special period of limitation. In taking this view they referred to an earlier full bench decision of the Madras High Court in Veeramma v. Abbiah I.L.R. (1894) Mad. 99.

8. The Courts below have relied on the decision in Keshav Krishna v. Bhagwan Sambhu. Mr. Justice Divatia in his judgment in that case does not refer to the peculiar wording of Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act which merely substitutes in the schedule to the Indian Limitation Act a special period of limitation as regards suits falling under Section 3(w) of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act and does not lay down an independent and self-contained provision as regards the limitation applicable to such suits. This peculiar phraseology of Section 72 distinguishes it from the provisions in some other special Acts, for instance the Indian Registration Act, with regard to which it has been held that the general provisions of the Indian Limitation Act are not applicable because of Section 29 of that Act.

9. Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act was enacted for the benefit of agriculturists and was intended to mitigate the hardship caused to agriculturists because of the shorter period provided by the ordinary law of limitation, which compels the money-lender to sue his debtor at very short intervals or to take a fresh bond from him. If it were held that by reason of the provisions of Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act an agriculturist debtor is deprived of the benefit of the general provisions of the Indian Limitation Act, such as Sections 19 and 20, the result would be that the creditor would feel compelled to sue before the expiry of six years for the whole amount due, and the debtor would be deprived of the advantage, which the ordinary law of limitation gives him, of making part payment and obtaining an extension of time as regards the rest of the debt. If the provisions of Section 72 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act were such as to indicate clearly that this was the intention of the Legislature, the Courts would of course be bound to give effect to it. But before we put such a construction on the language of the section, we must be satisfied that the section is capable of no other interpretation. In our opinion the language of the section is capable of an interpretation which is more consistent with the general purpose of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, namely to benefit agriculturists and give them greater facilities as regards payment of debts. The language of Section 72 seems to indicate that it was not intended to deprive agriculturists of the benefits of the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act, and it was with this object that instead of making a separate and self-contained provision with regard to the limitation governing such suits the alteration as regards limitation was made by the substitution in the Indian Limitation Act itself of a new period of limitation, with the result that in all other matters the Indian Limitation Act as it stands would continue to apply. This conclusion derives support from the fact that in suits under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act falling under the clauses of Section 3 other than Clause (w), the ordinary law of limitation as laid down in the Indian Limitation Act admittedly applies, There is no particular reason why the Legislature should have desired to deprive only those agriculturists whose cases might fall under Section 3, Clause (w), of the benefits of the Indian Limitation, Act.

10. In our opinion therefore the plaintiff was entitled to the benefit of Section 20 of the Indian Limitation Act and to reckon limitation from June 2, 1936, on which date a certain payment towards the khata balance was made. If the limitation is reckoned from that date, the suit is clearly in time.

11. The application is, therefore, allowed with costs, the decree made by the lower appellate Court set aside and the plaintiff's suit remanded to the trial Court for decision according to law. Costs in the lower Courts will be costs in the cause.


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