1. As common question of law has arisen in all these civil revision petitions, they have been heard together and this common order is passed.
2. The petitioner Karnataka Electricity Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) filed suits against the respective respondents for arrears of dues due to the Board regarding the consumption of electrical energy, penalty etc. Decrees were passed in favour of the Board. The Board filed respective execution cases under 0.21of the Civil PC. Two contentions were put forth in the execution proceedings. The first contention was that the execution is incompetent and the executing Court has no jurisdiction to deal with the execution in view of the provisions of the Karnataka Public Moneys (Recovery of Dues) Act, 79 of 1976. It may be stated here itself that this contention has been repelled by the executing Court. Sri P. D. Karigouda, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents in C.R.P Nos. 2308 of 1980 and 2315 of 1980, did not, in my opinion, rightly urge this contention in this Court also. The second contention is that in view of the provisions in the Karnataka Electricity Board (Recovery of Dues) Act, 51 of 1976, the execution is incompetent and the Court has no jurisdiction to proceed under 0. 21 of the Civil P.C. This contention has been upheld.
3. It goes without saying that when a decree has been passed by a competent Court, the executing Court has jurisdiction to execute the decree and see that the decree is satisfied. This jurisdiction has to be specifically taken away by a provision in a statute. No such provision has been relied upon in these matters. None of the provisions of the Karnataka Electricity Board (Recovery of Dues) Act, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) lays down such a principle of law.
4. The contention raised on the basis of the provisions of this Act has been upheld by construing the provisions under S. 2(2) and S. 6 of the Act. S. 2(2) of the Act defines 'dues'. Plain reading of this definition has to lead to the conclusion that the amount decreed in a suit for recovery of a sum regarding consumption of electrical energy supplied and assessed, would also amount to dues within this definition. But the question is whether S. 6 of the Act bars the jurisdiction of the executing Court from executing the decree so obtained by the Board.
5. Section 6(l), which is the only provision relevant, reads as follows: -
'Recovery of dues, etc., if not paid.-(1) If the aggregate amount of the various dues, penalty and costs mentioned in the notice of demand served under S. 4 is not deposited with the prescribed authority within three months of the date of such service or such extended period as the prescribed authority may from time to time allow, the debtor shall be deemed to be in default in respect of such amount and the same shall be recoverable as an arrear of land revenue notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or instrument or agreement.'
To understand this provision, one has to look into the object of the Act and the provisions in Ss. 3, 4 and 5 of the Act. The object of the Act is to provide for the expeditious recovery of certain sums due to the Karnataka Electricity Board. S. 3 of the Act provides for issue of bills by the Board making the same payable by the concerned debtor within a particular period. It also provides for the recovery of the dues mentioned in such bills, if not paid by the date fixed, that recovery has to be in accordance with the provisions of Ss. 4 and 6 of the Act. S. 4 provides for issue of notice of demand for dues and penalty not paid. Next section namely S. 5 provides an opportunity to the concerned debtor namely the consumer to challenge the validity of the correctness of the bill by way of suit within six months from the date of service of notice of demand issued under S. 4 of the Act. It is in this context that the ingredients of S. 6 are to be understood. The first part of S. 6 lays down that if the aggregate, amount mentioned in the notice of demand is not deposited with the prescribed authority within three months from the date of such service or such extended period, it shall be deemed that the debtor has been in default of such amount. The next part of S. 6 provides that when it is so deemed that the debtor is in default, the said due is made recoverable as an arrear of land revenue. It is the last two sentences in this Section that have caused the trouble in these cases. The following non obstante clause is applied therein.
'.....notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or instrument or agreement.'
Reading of the section as a whole shows, without any doubt, that this non obstante clause relates to recovery of the dues as arrears of land revenue. That necessarily means - no other understanding of the provision is possible - that in spite of a provision being therein, in any law, instrument or agreement for the recovery of such dues, the said dues shall be recoverable as land revenue.
6. Section 6 of the Act does not at all, as already observed, take away the jurisdiction of the executing Court in executing the decree in accordance with the provisions contained in 0. 21 of the Civil PC. On the other hand, it clearly shows that the provision is applicable to the dues, which have been arrived at after compliance of the provisions in Ss. 3 and 4 of the Act. Therefore, the dues that are made recoverable as arrears of land revenue, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, instrument or agreement, are the dues covered by the provisions of Ss. 3 and 4 of the Act. Such dues can, in law, be varied or wiped out only by the concerned debtor taking recourse to the provisions in S. 5 of the Act.
7. In rather a similar situation, a Division Bench of this Court in Khadi and Village Industries Commission v. N. S. Pai, : AIR1976Kant85 , held that a sum decreed by the Civil Court cannot be recovered as arrears of land revenue and such decree has to be executed like any other decree.
8. One of the relevant provisions considered is S. 25A of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act, 1956 (Act No. 61 of 1956). S. 25A(l) provides for notice of proposal for recovery of dues as arrears of land revenue. Sub-sec. (2) provides for challenging of such liability mentioned in the notice within thirty days of the receipt of the notice. The subsequent provisions relate to recovery of the amount mentioned in the notice as arrears of land revenue.
9. The object behind the aforementioned provisions is nothing different from the object of the Act in question. The power given to the Board to issue bills under S. 3 and notice of demand under S. 4 is almost same as the power given to the Commission in the said decision. Recovery of dues as they are arrears of land revenue is a remedy provided in both the provisions. Therefore, I have no hesitation in holding that the principle laid down in this decision applies to the facts and circumstances available in these civil revision petitions.
10. Hence, I allow the civil revision petitions, set aside the impugned order and direct the executing Court to proceed with the execution of the decrees and dispose of the same in accordance with law. No order as to costs.
11. Petitions allowed.