1. In this darkhast the defendant pleaded that he was entitled to the status of an agriculturist. The Subordinate Judge said : 'The contention comes too late and it cannot be recognized in execution now.' It has been held by this Court in Rudrappa v. Chanbasappa A.I.R. 1924 Bom. 305 that where a decree is passed ex parte, the defendant can, in execution proceedings, show that he was an agriculturist at the date of the decree and claim instalments under Section 15-B of the Dekkhan Agriculturists Relief Act. The defendant is therefore, entitled to prove that he was an agriculturist at the date of the decree. Seeing that he is able to rely on that authority the only question we have to decide at present is whether the defendant should be allowed to prove that he was an agriculturist at the date of the decree. It is argued that there is a bar to his doing' that owing to the fact that there were previous darkhasts in which the defendant had not claimed that he was an agriculturist. But as far as we know there is no rule of limitation which prevents an agriculturist from claiming to be allowed to prove his status at any stage of the proceedings, so that if successful he may ask the Court to apply the provisions of the Act in his favour.
2. The appeal, therefore, must be allowed and the case must go back to the executing Court to decide whether the defendant was an agriculturist at the date of the decree.
3. The defendant is entitled to his costs.