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Ramjatan Pandey Vs. Someshwari Prasad Dube and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1941All68
AppellantRamjatan Pandey
RespondentSomeshwari Prasad Dube and ors.
Excerpt:
.....13 is couched in general terms, and, if literally interpreted, uncontrolled by the provisions contained in the other sections of the act, would seem to provide that all claims against the landlord-debtor, including claims with respect to debts advanced after the date of the application under section 4, would be deemed to be discharged, if the creditor failed to file his claim in accordance with section 9 of the act......show that it contemplates only such creditors who have claims against the landlord with respect to debts advanced be, fore the date of the application under section 4. but, having regard to the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 14, such a limitation must be read into section 9 with a view to harmonise the various provisions in the act.4. similarly section 13 is couched in general terms, and, if literally interpreted, uncontrolled by the provisions contained in the other sections of the act, would seem to provide that all claims against the landlord-debtor, including claims with respect to debts advanced after the date of the application under section 4, would be deemed to be discharged, if the creditor failed to file his claim in accordance with section 9 of the act. here, again,.....
Judgment:

Iqbal Ahmad, J.

1. This is an appeal by a creditor against an order of special Judge, first grade, exercising jurisdiction under the Encumbered Estates Act (25 of 1934), dismissing the claim preferred by the appellant. The case furnishes a remarkable instance of the anomalies which arise by a literal interpretation of the various provisions contained in the Act and points to the desirability of the Legislature stepping in and making suitable amendments in the Act.

2. The question that arises for decision is whether claims preferred by creditors who advanced debts to landlord-applicants after the passing of the order under Section 6 of the Act, can or cannot be adjudicated upon by a special Judge in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Act. The question arises under the following circumstances : The landlord-applicants, who are the respondents in the present appeal, filed an application before the Collector under Section 4 of the Act on 15th April 1936. The Collector, on 4th May 1936, passed an order under Section 6 of the Act forwarding the application to the special Judge. Thereafter on 24th May, 1936, Ramjatan Pandey, the appellant in the present appeal, is alleged to have advanced to the respondents a sum of Rs. 1600 on the basis of a promissory note. The landlord-applicants filed a written statement in accordance with Section 8 of the Act and there after the notices prescribed by Section 9 were' published and issued. Ramjatan Pandey then filed a written statement claiming the amount due to him on the basis of the promissory note. The special Judge 'dismissed' the claim holding that, as the debt claimed by the appellant was advanced after the application under Section 4, he had no jurisdiction to examine the claim of the appellant or to pass a decree in his favour. This decision of the special Judge is unassailable in view of the clear wording of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 which enacts as follows:

The Special Judge shall examine each claim...and...shall determine the amount, if any, due from the landlord to the claimant on the date of the application under Section 4.

3. It is clear from this provision that the scope of an enquiry under Section 14 is restricted, and the jurisdiction of the special Judge is confined to an examination of the claims with respect to debts due from the landlord 'on the date of the application under Section 4.' It follows that creditors, who advanced debts to landlords after the data of the application under Section 4, cannot have their claims, with respect to such debts, investigated and adjudicated upon by a special Judge exercising jurisdiction under the Act. It is true that there are no words of limitation in Section 9, and according to that section all persons having claims in respect of private debts against the landlord have to submit a written statement of their claims within the period prescribed by Sub-section (3) of that section. There is nothing in that section to show that it contemplates only such creditors who have claims against the landlord with respect to debts advanced be, fore the date of the application under Section 4. But, having regard to the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 14, such a limitation must be read into Section 9 with a view to harmonise the various provisions in the Act.

4. Similarly Section 13 is couched in general terms, and, if literally interpreted, uncontrolled by the provisions contained in the other sections of the Act, would seem to provide that all claims against the landlord-debtor, including claims with respect to debts advanced after the date of the application under Section 4, would be deemed to be discharged, if the creditor failed to file his claim in accordance with Section 9 of the Act. Here, again, such a wide interpretation of Section 13 is not permissible in view of Sub-section (2) of Section 14. Section 13 must, therefore, be held to be confined in its operation only to claims with respect to private debts incurred by the landlord before the date of the application under Section 4.

5. One is, however, up against a glaring anomaly when one proceeds to consider the provisions of Section 7 o the Act. By Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of that section all proceedings pending at the date of 'the order under Section 6' in any civil or revenue Court in respect of private debts to which the landlord may be subject are to be stayed and all attachments and other execution processes are to become null and void and no fresh process in execution is to issue except as provided by the Act further, by Clause (b) of the said sub-section, fresh suits with respect to debts incurred 'before the passing of' the order under Section 6 are barred. It would thus appear that Sub-section (1) embraces not only debts incurred by the landlord before the date of the application under Section 4 but also debts taken by the landlord in between the dates of the application under Section 4 and the passing of the order under Section 6. With respect to debt incurred between the periods last mentioned the creditor is deprived of all remedy by resort to the ordinary Courts of law. One should have, therefore, thought that, while barring such remedies, the Legislature would have enabled such a creditor to have his claim with respect to such debts determined by the Special Judge.

6. This, however, as already pointed out, is not so. The result is that a creditor who, in ignorance of the presentation of an application under Section 4, advances a loan to a landlord before the passing of the order under Section 6 is without remedy. He cannot institute a suit in the civil Court for the recovery of the debt advanced by him. He cannot prefer a claim with respect to that debt before the Special Judge. This is highly anomalous. But the anomaly becomes more pronounced when one takes into consideration the fact that creditors who advanced debts to landlords after the date of the order under Section 6 are under no such disability. Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 7 does not apply to such debts and a suit for the recovery of such debts can be filed. Further, execution of decrees obtained with respect to such debts can be had in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (2) and (3) of Section 7.

7. It is, however, not within the province of Courts of law to depart from the natural and ordinary meaning of the words used when those words are capable of one and only one interpretation. The words in Sub-section (2) of Section 14 are of unambiguous import and a Court of law has no option but to give effect to them. As in the present case the learned Judge had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the claim of the present appellant, he should not have 'dismissed' his claim. He should, on the other hand, have said that he could not make any determination in respect of the appellant's claim. Any remedy that the appellant may have with respect to the debt alleged to have been advanced by him will obviously not be barred by reason of the language used by the Special Judge. For the reasons given above we dismiss this appeal. But, as none appears for the respondents we make no order as to the costs of this appeal.


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