1. This is a defendant's application in revision under Section 25, Small Cause Courts Act. The opposite party, Lala Har Sarup, brought a suit against the defendant-applicant on the basis of a pronote for Rs. 500. The pronote was executed in June 1995, that is, after the coming into force of the Agriculturists' Relief Act. The suit was instituted in September 1941. It was alleged in the plaint that the plaintiff had received several payments on account of interest amounting to Rs. 360 from the defendant-applicant and on that basis it was claimed that the amount due under the pronote was Rs. 500 as principal money and Rs. 113 by way of interest. The defendant-applicant resisted the suit on the ground that the plaintiff had not given him a copy of the pronote as required by Section 39, Sub-section (1), Agriculturists' Relief Act, and hence no interest accrued on the debt. He further pleaded that the plaintiff had failed to comply with the imperative provisions of Section 32, Agriculturists' Relief Act, inasmuch as he had not maintained an account of the loan and had not supplied the defendant applicant with a correct statement of the account. On these grounds also it was contended that the plaintiff was not entitled to any interest or costs. The learned Small Cause Court Judge has allowed the plea under Section 39 to prevail and has on that basis not allowed any interest to the plaintiff. He has, however, repelled the other plea raised by the defendant-applicant under Section 32, Agriculturists' Relief Act, holding that the defendant-applicant was not entitled to claim any refund of any amount which he had admittedly paid as interest to the plaintiff. Taking this view, the learned Small Cause Court Judge has decreed the suit for Rs. 500 with proportionate costs; hence this application in revision. The argument on behalf of the applicant is that as no interest accrued on the loan at all under Section 39, Sub-section (3), Agriculturists' Relief Act, the payments by the defendant-applicant must be deemed to have been payments towards the principal and the whole amount paid by him should be deducted from the principal money due under the pronote. Now, Section 39, Sub-section (1) provides that every loan given after the date on which this Act comes into force shall be evidenced by a written document, of which a copy shall be given to the debtor.
2. It is evident that the provision is imperative and the creditor is bound to give a copy of the document evidencing the loan to the debtor. The penalty for infringing this imperative provision is laid down in Section 39, Sub-section (3) which runs as follows:
No interest shall accrue on any loan until a copy of the written document prepared according to the provisions of Sub-sections (1) and (2) has been supplied to the debtor as required by Sub-section (1).
3. From this it is clear that in the present case no interest accrued on the loan because admittedly the plaintiff never gave any copy of the pronote to the defendant-applicant. It necessarily follows that the payments made by the defendant-applicant which amounted in all to Rs. 360 must under the law be deemed to be payments towards principal because no interest ever accrued on the loan. It is true that the defendant-applicant made those payments towards interest but as no interest ever accrued, he is entitled to plead that the payment made by him should be credited towards the principal. The learned Small Cause Court Judge seems to be of the opinion that the plea raised by the defendant amounted to a claim for refund of interest. In my judgment this is a misconception of the plea. It is not a question of refund at all but only one of adjustment. I do not think that the fact that the defendant-applicant, made the payments towards interest can estop him now from raising the plea that he is entitled to claim in view of Section 39, Sub-section (3), Agriculturists' Relief Act, that the payments made by him should be credited towards the principal. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff-respondent argued that there was no specific provision in Section 39 for any payments made by the debtor towards interest being credited towards the principal. I do not think that any specific provision of that character was necessary in Section 39, Agriculturists' Relief Act, once it had been provided by Sub-section (3) of that section that no interest shall accrue on the loan at all until a copy of the written document evidencing the loan is prepared and supplied to the debtor. When no interest accrues at all, it is evident that any payment made by the debtor must be deemed to be a payment towards the principal. It is also clear that the learned Small Cause Court Judge appears to have ignored the pleas raised by the defendant-applicant on the basis of Section 32, Sub-clauses (a) and (b), Agriculturists' Relief Act. It is specifically provided by these clauses that a creditor shall regularly record and maintain a correct account of every loan advanced to an agriculturist debtor and shall supply the debtor with a full and correct statement of account. The penalty for disobeying these mandatory provisions is to be found in Section 34, Clauses (b) and (c) of the Act. The penalty is that the Court can deprive the plaintiff of his interest and is bound to disallow him his costs.
4. The result therefore is that I allow this application and modify the decree passed by the learned Small Cause Court Judge by decreeing the plaintiff's claim only for a sum of Rs. 140 without any costs. The applicant shall get his costs throughout.