1. This civil miscellaneous appeal by the judgment-debtor gives rise to a short question of law relating to the scope and interpretation of the term 'salary' used in Clauses (I) and (i-a) of the proviso to sub-section (I) of Section 60 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
2. The material facts which lie in a short compass may be stated: The respondent-wife, who obtained a decree for a sum of Rs. 9,918-65 ps. Rs. 5,500/- towards her maintenance and the balance towards the value of her jewellery and costs, sought for attachment of the salary of her husband, the appellant herein, who is working as an Upper Division Clerk in the Office of the Income-tax Officer at the Vijayawada. He is drawing a basic salary of Rs. 192/- per mensem. In addition, he is getting Rs. 122/-, Rs. 25/- and Rs. 21.75 towards dearness allowance, interim relief and house rent allowance respectively. The total emoluments would come to Rs. 360-75 ps. The application of the appellant under Section 47 and 151, C. P. C. to direct the respondent-decree-holder to furnish security before withdrawing the amount deposited by him into the lower Court, was dismissed on the ground that she is entitled to attach two-thirds of his basic salary. Hence this appeal.
3. The contention of Sri Mallikarjuna Rao, the learned counsel for the appellant, is that the Court below should have deducted the one-third of the total emoluments received by his client, under clause (i-a) of the proviso to Section 60(1) C.P.C. and thereafter exempted the other allowances under clause (1) of the same sub-section and hence, what the Court below has done is illegal and unjust. This claim of the appellant is resisted by Mr. Y. G. Krishnamurty, the learned counsel for the decree-holder contending inter alia that there is no merit in this appeal.
4. In order to appreciate the respective contentions of the parties, it is necessary to read clauses (h), (I) and (i-a) and Explanation No. 2 of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 60 of the Code of Civil Procedure:
'Provided that the following particulars shall not be liable to such attachment or sale, namely:----
(h) the wages of labourers and domestic servants whether payable in money or kind:
(i) salary to the extent of the first two hundred rupees and one-half of the remainder in execution of any decree other than a decree for maintenance;
Explanation No. 2: In clauses (h) and (I_, 'salary' means the total monthly emoluments, excluding any allowance declared exempt from attachment under the provisions of clause (1), derived by a person from his employment whether on duty or on leave.'
5. Section 60(1) makes all sale-able property, either moveable or immovable, belonging to the judgment-debtor, or over which, or the profits of which, he has a disposing power, liable to be proceeded against in execution of a decree obtained against him. The items of properties specified in clauses (a) to (p) appended to the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 60 are exempt from attachment or sale in execution of any decree. Under clause (I), the first two hundred rupees of salary is exempt and one-half of the remainder is liable to the attached in execution of any decree other than a decree for maintenance. It has no application to the case of a maintenance decree. A maintenance decree-holder is entitled to attach two-thirds of the salary in execution of his or her decree as indicated in clause (i-a). The general exemption of the first two hundred rupees of salary provided for under clause (I) is not applicable to the case of attachment in execution of a maintenance decree. The difference in this regard between a maintenance decree and any other decree is understandable. The intendment and purpose of the exemption granted to an employee under clause (I) is to enable him to maintain himself and members of his family and facilitate the proper discharge of his duties as an employee irrespective of the debts incurred by him or decree obtained against him. If the general exemption of the first Rs. 200/- of salary as provided under clause (I) is applied to the case of maintenance decree, it would cause much hardship to the maintenance decree-holders in cases where the salary of the judgment-debtor itself is Rs. 200/- or less. In such cases, the maintenance decree-holders will not be able to get anything from the employees-judgment-debtors by executing the decrees. Hence, the need for providing clause (i-a) has been felt. Under clause (i-a), a maintenance decree-holder is entitled to proceed against two-thirds of the salary of the judgment-debtor.
6. As the decree-holder in the present case is a maintenance decree-holder, the provisions of clause (I) are not attracted. It is clause (i-a) that is applicable in the present case. Under clause (i-a), the decree-holder is certainly entitled to attach two-thirds of the salary of the judgment-debtor in execution of her decree for maintenance.
7. It next falls for consideration as to what is the meaning of the term 'salary' used in clause (i-a) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 60 of the Code. The expression 'salary' has been defined under Explanation 2 as 'the total monthly emoluments, excluding any allowance declared exempt from attachment under the provisions of clause (1)'. Under clause (1), any allowance declared exempt from attachment by a notification in the official Gazette by the appropriate Government and any subsistence grant or allowance made to a Government servant while under suspension are exempt from attachment. The allowance permissible under clause (1) have to be first deducted from the total emoluments received by an employees to arrive at his salary. The total monthly emoluments so left after deducting the allowances permissible under clause (1) are termed to be 'salary' within the meaning of Explanation 2. In the executing of a maintenance decree, two-thirds of such salary of the judgment-debtor can be attached. If the submission of the appellant that one-third of the total emoluments of the Government servant should be deducted first under clause (i-a) and then from the balance of two-thirds, the allowances permissible under clause (I) should be deducted in order to arrive at the attachable salary is acceded to, it will result in in-justice apart from leading to anomalies. In that premise, one-third of the allowances permissible under clause (1) are first deducted and again they are sought to be deducted for the second time. No allowance can be permitted to be deducted more than once. When clause (1) permits the exemption of the entire emoluments specified therein in full, they have to be first deducted and thereafter the salary of which one-third is only exempt has to be taken into account. The intendment of the makers of the Code would not have been in any other way. The words 'the following particulars shall not be liable to such attachment or sale' occurring in the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 60 must be construed in a reasonable, fair and proper manner. They cannot be interpreted so as to make any item exempt more than once.
8. The learned counsel for the appellant pressed upon me that the meaning of the term 'salary' given in Explanation 2 cannot be applied in construing the provisions of clause (i-a) as that clause is not specifically mentioned therein. True, as urged on behalf of the appellant, clause (i-a) is not specifically mentioned in Explanation 2 which specifies only clauses (h) and (I). Clause (I) mentioned in Explanation 2 would, in my considered opinion, take in both clause (I) and clause (i-a) as both of them pertain to salary. The only difference between the two clauses is that clause (i-a) applies to the execution of maintenance decree whereas clause (I) is attracted in the case of execution of all decrees other than a decree for maintenance. I am therefore, of the firm view that the definition of 'salary' given in explanation 2 would apply to the expression 'salary' used in clause (I) as well as clause (i-a). It is pertinent to notice that the word 'salary' is not used in clause (h). However, the framers of the Code specified clause (h) also in Explanation 2 which defines 'salary'. Simply because the expression used in clause (h) is only 'wages' and the word 'salary' is not mentioned therein, it cannot be said that any salary found to have been paid to any labourer or domestic servant apart from wages is not attachable. The salary of an employee, irrespective of the nomenclature, is exempt only to the extent indicated in clauses (j) and (i-a).
9. In the light of the foregoing discussion, I shall consider the facts of the present case. The judgment-debtor, being an employee in the office of the Income-tax Officer, Vijayawada, is a Central Government servant. The dearness allowances, house rent allowance and interim relief have been declared by the Central Government to be exempt from attachment under clause (I) of Section 60 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Hence, the only amount that remains for consideration is Rs. 192/- which is the basic salary of the judgment-debtor. Two-thirds of this basic salary, i.e., Rs. 128/- is liable to be attached as the exemption permissible under clause (i-a) is only in respect of one-third of the salary. The amount of Rs. 120/- now attached by the Court below is less than the two-thirds of the salary liable to be attached. Hence, there is n violation of the provisions of clause (i-a) of the proviso of Section 60 (1), C. P. C. in the case on hand.
10. For all the reasons stated, I am satisfied that no illegality has been committed by the lower Court and the order of the Court below is valid and perfectly justified. This appeal, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.
11. Appeal dismissed.