1. This is a defendant's appeal from the judgment and decree passed by the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Yeotnial.
2. The appellant is asked to pay the dues under the promissory note executed by him in favour of the respondent, amounting to a sum of Rs. 16,305 plus costs as well as future interest on a sum of Rs. 9,825 at 3 per cent, per annum from the date of suit till realisation. The respondent appears to be a moneylender advancing money to his debtors. The appellant is one such debtor. The respondent advanced to the appellant five loans on different occasions. The first was an advance of a sum of Rs. 4,000 on June 11, 1954, the second was of a sum of Rs. 2,000 on August 19, 1954, the third was of a sum of Rs. 1,000 on October 5, 1955, the fourth was of a sum of Rs. 2,500 on August 7, 1955 and the fifth was of a sum of Rs. 500 on October 5, 1955. These were all advanced under different promissory notes executed by the appellant. It appears that the appellant paid vassals on some occasions, but, ultimately, refused to pay his dues. Therefore, the respondent had to file this suit to recover from the appellant a sum of Rs. 16,305 plus interest.
3. The appellant had contested the claim, of the respondent, but admitted having executed the five promissory notes. It was, however, his contention that the respondent took promissory notes for sawai amount. His further contention was that the respondent was not submitting to him annual statements of accounts from time to time and that he was also not maintaining' account-books as per the provisions of the Moneylenders Act.
4. The learned Civil Judge, therefore, on the pleadings of the parties, framed several issues and came to the conclusion that the consideration of each of the promissory note was as mentioned in the promissory note. He has further found that the respondent had complied with the necessary provisions of the C.P. & Berar Moneylenders Act and, therefore, he is also entitled to charge interest as agreed to between the parties. Accordingly, therefore, he decreed the respondent's claim, having given him the principal amount as well as interest on a sum of Rs. 6,305. The appellant here is only challenging the decree in so far as it grants interest to the respondent on the ground that 'the respondent has not complied with Section 3 of that Act.
5. The only question, therefore, that arises here for our determination is to see whether the respondent was rightly held entitled to interest as decreed.
6. The ground taken by the learned Counsel for the appellant is that the respondent has not maintained accounts and his account-books as per Section 34 of the Indian Evidence Act. He wants the moneylender to not only maintain accounts for each debtor separately, but also wants him to maintain such account in a larger account book which deals with all the debtors to whom he advances money. The learned Counsel says that because the moneylender has not kept account-books dealing with all the debtors regularly, he has not complied with the provisions of the C.P. & Berar Moneylenders Act. Let us, therefore, examine whether this contention of the learned Counsel for the appellant -is correct.
7. Section 3 of the C.P. & Berar Moneylenders Act is as follows:
3. (1) Every moneylender shall
(a) regularly maintain an account for each debtor separately of all transactions in respect of any loan advanced to that debtor;-
(b) furnish such debtor every year with a legible statement of accounts signed by the moneylender or his agent of any balance or amount that may be outstanding against such debtor on such dates and in such areas as may be prescribed. Such statement of accounts shall include all transactions in respect of the loan entered into during the year to which the statement relates and shall be furnished, in the court language of the district in which the debtor resides, and in such manner, in such form, containing such details and on such date as may be prescribed,
(2) The account required under Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) shall be so maintained that items due by way of interest shall be shown as separate and distinct from the principal sum and separate totals of principal and interest shall be shown. The moneylenders shall not, in the absence of agreement, include the interest or any portion of it in the principal sum, and the principal and interest shall be separately shown in the opening balance of each new annual account:
8. It is, therefore, clear from Section 3 that the moneylender has to regularly maintain not an account of all the debtors in one consolidated account-book, but has to maintain an account for each debtor separately of all the transactions in respect of any loan advanced to that debtor. The intention evidently appears to be to enable the debtor to know every year at a glance the amount due by him- separately as interest as well as .the principal. Unless, therefore, an account of the loan is made separately for each debtor, the debtor will not be able to understand what he owes to his creditor. In order that no prejudice should be caused to the debtor, this Section 3 appears to have been included in the Act. Therefore, this provision directing that an account be made annually and separately for each debtor is meant to protect the interest of the debtor. Moreover, the construction of the plain and unambiguous expressions used in the section also does not show that it is necessary for the moneylender to maintain a single account-book dealing- with all debtors and their transactions in respect of the loan. The words cannot also be construed impliedly to mean that the moneylender has to maintain a single account-book for all debtors with regard to all his transactions. The language therefore admits of one meaning. It is, therefore, enough if the moneylender maintains an account of each debtor in respect of the loan advanced by him. In this view of the matter, therefore, the contention raised by the learned Counsel for the appellant is without substance.
9. There is enough and satisfactory evidence to show that the respondent has complied with the provisions of Section 3 of the Moneylenders Act. He has produced an account-book which is at exh. P-20. This account-book shows the account of the appellant for, the years 1954-55, 55-56, 56-57, 57-58, 58-59 and 59-60. All the vassals that were paid by the appellant on different occasions are entered in this account. The principal as well as the interest is: also shown separately in every year's account. There appears to be a small mistake in this account for the year 1956-57, but that is merely a clerical mistake. The principal is shown to be Rs. 10,000 at the end of the year, though it is carried as Rs. 9,900 at the beginning of the next year. 'We do not think that this mistake could be a subject matter of any penalty on the moneylender. Moreover, the respondent has, under the provisions of the Moneylenders Act, been furnishing copies of the annual statements of account to the appellant. The promissory notes executed by the appellant are, as we have seen, of the year 1954-55. We have on record at exh. P-4 the copy of the annual statements which the respondent supplied to the appellant for the year 1954-55. We have also other copies of the annual statements of account of the years 1955, 56, 57, 58 and 59. They are at exhs. 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18. The appellant also admits having- received these annual statements every year at the Diwali time. Separate accounts of principal as well as interest are shown in these statements. We have, therefore, no doubt, that the respondent has complied with the provisions of Section 3(7)(b) also.
10. The respondent has also his moneylending licence for the year 1953-54. This is also according to the provisions of the Moneylenders Act.
11. We have, therefore, no doubt that the respondent has complied with all the necessary provisions of the C.P. & Berar Moneylenders Act. Accordingly, therefore, he is entitled to charge interest and,, in our view, the trial Court has rightly and properly granted interest to the respondent. In the above view of the matter, therefore, this appeal should fail. We dismiss the appeal with costs.