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Mohd. Azmat Azim Khan Vs. Raja Shatrunjai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 157 of 1958 with (C.M. An. No. 215 (M) of 1962)
Judge
Reported inAIR1963All230
ActsDebt Law; Uttar Pradesh Encumbered Estates Act, 1934 - Sections 14, 18 and 19A; Uttar Pradesh Encumbered Estates (Amendment) Act, 1954; Uttar Pradesh Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act, 1952 - Sections 4, 4(1), 4(2), 4(3), 5 and 6; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) - Order 34
AppellantMohd. Azmat Azim Khan
RespondentRaja Shatrunjai and ors.
Appellant AdvocateNaziruddin Mohd. Ayub and ;Shafiqur Rahman, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateHyder Hussain and ;M.M. Lal, Advs., for Opposite Party I, ;Ali Hasan, for Opposite Party 1, 2, 3 and 5, ;G.T. Wadhwani, Adv. for Opposite Party No. 7
DispositionRevision dismissed
Excerpt:
civil - debt laws - sections 14 and 18 of u.p. encumbered estates act, 1934 (as amended in 1954) and section 4 of u.p. zamindars' debt reduction act, 1959 - whether amendment of money decree under section 14 can be amended under section 4 of zamindars' debt reduction act - held, cannot be amended. - - ' clearly the second part of the provision cannot apply unless an amount is due to the mortgagee, and i would read this provision as if it meant this......be could succeed only if his case was covered by the provision of section 4 (2) of the zamindars' debt reduction act. section 14 of the en-cumbered estates act requires a special judge to examine every claim and to determine the amount due, if any, from the mortgagor to the claimant and to pass a simple money decree having regard also to the provisions of section 3 of the u. p. zamindars' debt reduction act for the amount found due to the mortgagee or a decree for costs in fevour of the mortgagor in case no amount is found due and to certify the amount, if any, of the former decree not legally recoverable otherwise than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to him. the effect of such a decree passed by a special judge is, as provided in section 18,'to extinguish the.....
Judgment:

Desai, C.J.

1. I concur in the order proposed by my brother Ramabhadran. It was conceded by the applicant's counsel that be could succeed only if his case was covered by the provision of Section 4 (2) of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act. Section 14 of the En-cumbered Estates Act requires a Special Judge to examine every claim and to determine the amount due, if any, from the mortgagor to the claimant and to pass a simple money decree having regard also to the provisions of Section 3 of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act for the amount found due to the mortgagee or a decree for costs in fevour of the mortgagor in case no amount is found due and to certify the amount, if any, of the former decree not legally recoverable otherwise than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to him. The effect of such a decree passed by a Special Judge is, as provided in Section 18,

'to extinguish the previously existing rights, i f any, of the claimant, together with all rights, if any, of mortgage or lien by which the same are secured and, where any decree is given by the Special Judge to substitute for those rights a right to recover the amount of the decree in the manner and to the extent hereinafter prescribed'.

In 1954 the Encumbered Estates Act was amended and a proviso was added to Section 18 to the effect that a seemed debt, which in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act is not legally recoverable otherwise than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to the mortgagor, shall be recoverable from the grant as though the security had not been extinguished.' Section 4 (i) of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act requires a Court which passed a decree to which that Act applies relating to a secured debt on an application by either of the parties to 'proceed as hereinafter stated.' Sub-sections (2) and (3) and Ss. 5 and 6 lay down the method of proceeding on such an application. We are not concerned with Section 5 or with Section 6 which requires the Court to pass a decree for the reduced amount.

Now Sub-section (2) of Section 4 applies

'Where the mortgaged property charged under the decree consists exclusively of estate'

and Sub-section (3) applies

'Where the mortgaged property charged under the decree consists partly of estate and partly of property other than estate.'

Thus these two sub-sections deal exhaustively with a case in which the mortgaged property was charged under the decree. Sub-section (i) deals with every decree relating to a secured debt, and this includes not only a mortgage decree passed under Order. XXXIV, but also a decree passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act. The latter decree being a decree relating to a debt is a decree to which the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act applies and, since it is a decree relating to a secured debt, Section 4 (i) applies to it. Thus though Sub-section (i) requires that every decree, whether passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act or under Order XXXIV, C. P. C., should be dealt with in accordance with the provisions contained in Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 4 and Sections 5 and 6 etc. none of these provisions contains any rule laying down how the Court has to deal with a simple money decree passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act. Sub-sections (2) and (3) apply where the decree creates a charge of the mortgaged property, but there is no provision dealing with a case in which the mortgaged property is charged but not under the decree, or the decree does not create any charge at all as in the present case. It seems that the draftsman when drafting Section 4 completely lost sight of the fact that a decree, though covered by Sub-section (i), may not create any charge on a mortgage property. It is unsatisfactory that in case after case this Court comes across defective legislation, e.g. legislation containing lacunae or ambiguous or vague provisions or irreconcilable provisions. Such defective legislation not only deprives the law of one of its requisites, e.g., a certainty, but also causes loss to the public and is a factor substantially contributing to the increase in the work of this Court.

2. The language of Section 18, Encumbered Estates Act, is not intelligible unless one adds some words to it. It deals with the effect of a decree passed by a Special Judge under Section 14; this decree is either for an amount due to the mortgagee or for costs awarded against the mortgagor. The effect of this decree is to extinguish the previously existing rights of the mortgagee to the money and also his rights of mortgage or lien by which the money is secured. Thus his rights to the money and to the security are both extinguished when a decree for money is passed in his favour or a decree for costs is passed against him. The further provision in the section that 'where any decree is given by the Special Judge' a right to recover the amount of the decree in a certain manner is substituted for the rights to extinguish, makes no sense unless it is read as referring to only that decree which is for money due to the mortgagee. Evidently the draftsman carelessly omitted some such words 'for an amount due to the claimant' after the words 'where any decree.' Clearly the second part of the provision cannot apply unless an amount is due to the mortgagee, and I would read this provision as if it meant this. The effect of the decree passed in the instant case by the Special Judge was to extinguish all the rights of the opposite-parties-mortgagees and their rights to the mortgaged security and to substitute in place of both the rights the right to recover the amount, for which the decree was passed, in the manner prescribed in the Encumbered Estates Act. It was, therefore, a simple money decree passed in their favour. Far from its creating a charge by its own force, it extinguished the charge created by the mortgage deed.

3. The proviso to Section 18 does not indicate that any charge is created under a decree passed by a Special Judge even in the case of a secured debt. The proviso was necessitated by the provisions of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act and cannot be read so as to affect its provisions or alter its language. Section 4 (2) cannot be interpreted in the light of it; whatever meaning it had at the time of its enactment cannot be altered by the proviso added subsequently to Section 18 of the Encumbered Estates Act. The proviso deals with the stage of recovery after a decree has been passed under Section 6 of the Zamindars' debt Reduction Act, and, therefore, comes into consideration for the first time after a decree has been passed. Since it does not come into the picture at all before a decree is passed, it stands to reason that it is not to be considered when deciding what kind of a decree should be passed under Section 6, that is, in interpreting the words of Section 4 (2). The proviso is to the provision contained in Section 18 that in lieu of the extinguished rights a right to recover the amount of the decree in a certain manner is substituted. Whatever might have been the manner prescribed in the Encumbered Estates Act for recovering the amount of the decree, the proviso lays down that it cannot be recovered except from the grant.

Much emphasis was laid down upon the words 'as though the security had not been extinguished' of the proviso, but I cannot accept the contention that they mean that the security had not been extinguished. Such an interpretation would be wholly against the main provision of Section 18 expressly extinguishing the rights to the security. What the words mean is that though the security has been extinguished, the amount will be recovered from the compensation and rehabilitation grant awarded to the mortgagor in lieu of the proprietary rights in the mortgaged property. If the proprietary rights of the mortgagor in the mortgaged property are abolished, the mortgagee would have no claim, not only against it but also, perhaps, against the compensation and rehabilitation grant awarded in lieu of the rights and the proviso, presumably, was intended to make it clear that he will have the light to recover the decreed amount from the grant. The words relied upon do not carry a meaning other than what would have been carried by the words 'even though the security had been extinguished'. It seems to me that these are certainly not words having an operative import; their sole function is to remove a possible objection, and that too against recovery in a certain thana. They seem to have been added in the proviso only by way of abundant caution, because there is really no inconsistency-between the main provision of Section 18 and recovery of the decreed amount from the grant.

4. The argument that because Sub-section (i) of Section 4 applies in the present case we must interpret Sub-section (2) (or Sub-section (3) ) in such a, way as to give effect to the provision of Sub section (i), does not appeal to me. It is not the function of a Court to twist the language wed by the legislature or to distort its meaning in order to make it reconcilable with another provision. It is also possible to contend that what is implied by Sub-section (i) is that the Court should proceed as laid down in Sub-section (2) or (3), so far as it is applicable to the case. Sub-section (i) does not require the Court to grant a relief in every application; it only requires it to grant such relief as is provided in the following sub-sections. If no relief provided in the sub-sections can be granted in a particular case, the applicant will not get any relief, notwithstanding the apparently mandatory provision of Sub-section (i). The mandate issued by it is only to proceed as provided in the other two sub-sections; it is not to bring every case by hook or crook within the language of one of them. The law does not expect the impossible to be done and a mandate to do the impossible is not required to be obeyed.

If the result of the interpretation that we take is that no decree passed by a Special Judge under Section 14 (7) in respect of a mortgage debt will be amended under the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act and its benefit will not be available to mortgagors who had applied under Section 4 of the Encumbered Estates Act, (sic) the fault is with the legislature. The legislature has nowhere in the Act expressed its intention, even indirectly, that it has intended to make the benefit of the Act available to them. Consequently the interpretation that we give does not run counter to any intention of the legislature. Section 19-A, added in the Encumbered Estates Act after the enactment of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act undoubtedly implies that a decree passed by a Special Judge is capable of being amended even though it is always a simple money decree creating no charge by its own force. But this is the intention subsequently expressed in a statute other than the one under interpretation. The legislature might have interpreted the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act to mean that such a decree is open to modification by the Special Judge, but that interpretation does not bind the Courts. What binds a Court is the interpretation expressed in words in the Act under interpretation. Reference to Section 14 (7) (i) of the Encumbered Estates Act is irrelevant because it deals with a case pending before a Special Judge when the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act comes into force. The fact that the benefit of the Zamindars' Debt Redaction Act is available when a case is pending before that Special Judge does not necessarily lead to to inference that it is available also after he has passed a simple money decree.

5. I agree that Vishwa Nath Rai v. Sarbdeo Rai, 1959 All LJ 211 does not lay down the correct law. The question in Firm Nand Ram Chbotey Lal v. Kishori Ram Singh, 1956 All LJ 704, to which one of us was a party, was simply whether an appeal lies or a revision from an order passed under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act amending a decree passed by a Special Judge under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act, and it was answered in the negative. The question whether a decree passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act can be amended under the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act was not directly before the Learned Judges and, therefore, the observation made by Bhargava J, that a decree passed by a Special Judge can be amended under the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act was an obiter dictum. No contention was advanced before the learned Judges that such a decree is not capable of amendment under the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act.

6. I agree that the revision petition should be dismissed without any order as to costs.

Ramabhadran, J.

7. The question, that arises for decision in this revision is whether a simple money decree, passed under Section 14 of the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act of 1934, can be amended under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act 1952 (U. P. Act No. 15 of 1953).

8. The revision arises out of an order passed by the Civil Judge Kheri on 18-2-57 rejecting an application, made under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act, by Mohammad Azmat Azim Khan, son of the late Sardar Mujibur-Rehman Khan, who had started proceedings under the Encumbered Estates Act for the liquidation of his debts, resulting in simple money decrees being passed by the Special Judge, Kheri under Section 14 of the said Act. Against the order passed by the Civil Judge on 18-2-57, an appeal, purporting to be under Section 45, of the Encumbered Estates Act, was instituted in this Court which was, however treated as a revision petition by Mr. Justice V. D. Bhargava, who referred it to a larger Bench in view of two conflicting decisions of this Court. The Division Bench, before whom the revision came up, have in their turn, referred the case to a Full Bench.

9. The arguments of learned counsel for the parties were heard on the 24th ultimo. For reasons to be stated shortly, I have come to the conclusion that the question referred to in para 1 of this judgment (Para 7 in this report--Ed.) should be answered in the negative, i.e., that simple money decrees, passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act cannot be amended under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act.

10. Learned Counsel for the applicant urged vehemently that the object of passing the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act was to provide for scaling down of the debts of zamindars, whose estates had been acquired under the provision of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951. He contended that the Preamble of the Act and the intention of the Legislature should not be lost sight of in deciding the question. He submitted, accordingly that the provision of Section 4 of the Debt Reduction Act should be construed liberally and not in a narrow spirit. He invited the attention of the Court to the provisions of Section 8 (2) of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act and the Proviso to Section 18 of the Encumbered Estates Act. Under the former section :

'Notwithstanding anything in any law, the reduced amount found in the case of a mortgagor or judgment-debtor as the case may be, under Section 3 or 4, as respects mortgaged estates, shall not be legally recoverable otherwise than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to such mortgagor or judgment-debtor in respect of such estates.'

Similarly, under the Proviso to the latter section

'Secured debts which, in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt. Reduction Act, 1952, are not legally recoverable, otherwise than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to the landlord, shall be-recoverable from the compensation and rehabilitation grant aforesaid, as though the security had not been extinguished.

It was, accordingly contended that since the security would be deemed not to have been extinguished, the debt would be a secured one, within the meaning of Section 4 (i) of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act and, accordingly, reduction should be made, as directed in Sub-section (2) thereof. Great reliance was placed by learned counsel for the applicant on 1959 All LJ 211 wherein a Division Bench consisting of Mootham, C. J. and Rule Dayal, J., upheld this contention in the following terms :

'Section 18 of the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act is :

'Effect of finding of Special Judge : Subject to the right of appeal or revision conferred in Chapter VI, the effect of a decree of the Special Judge under Sub-section (7) of Section 14 shall be to extinguish the previously existing rights, if any of the claimant, together with all rights, if any of mortgage or lien by which the same are secured, and, where any decree is given by the Special Judge to substitute for those rights a right to recover the amount of the decree in the manner and to the extent hereinafter prescribed.' 'Provided that secured debts, which in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act, 1952, are not legally recoverable otherwise, than out of the compensation and rehabilitation grant payable to the landlord, shall be recoverable from the compensation and rehabilitation grant aforesaid as though the security had not been extinguished.

'In view of this proviso, the security given for the secured debt is not extinguished. In other words, the property mortgaged as security for the debt continues to remain mortgaged for that debt, in spite-of the fact that the decree when passed was a simple money decree. The result, therefore is that the mortgaged property continues to remain security for the payment of the decree, in respect of the secured debt and can be deemed to be charged under the decree and that consequently, the amount of debt is to be reduced in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the Zamindars Debt Reduction Act.'

(II) With greatest respect to the learned Judges, who decided the case of Vishva Nath Rai, 1959 All LJ 211 (supra), it seems to me that the mere fact, that under the Proviso to Section 18 of the Encumbered Estates Act, secured debts would be recoverable from the compensation and rehabilitation grant as though the security had not been extinguished, would not alter the nature of the decrees which would remain a simple money decree. It may be, as was urged by learned counsel for the applicant, that the Legislature, in enacting the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act of 1952 contemplated that decrees already passed under Section 14 of the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act should further be reduced, but unfortunately Section 4 of the above Act, as it stands, does not bring out the above intention of the Legislature and leaves a lacuna.

The correct position in my opinion has been stated in Banu Mal v. Bashir Ahmad Khan, 1962 All LJ 88 wherein a Division Bench consisting of A. P. Srivastava and B. Dayal, JJ. observed :

'We are, therefore, referred back to the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act and if Section 4 of that Act does not apply, there is no other provision of that Act under which the amounts of the decrees can be reduced. It thus becomes clear that the Special Judge has no power to reduce the amounts of the decrees.'

'The circumstances disclose a lacuna which can be remedied only by the legislature. The intention, obviously was to permit reduction of the amounts of those decrees also, which had been passed by Special Judges in respect of secured debts under the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act. It was, however, overlooked that such decrees were simple money decrees, even though the debts, in respect of which they were passed were originally secured ones. It was also forgotten that Section 4 of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act which was the only pro-vision under which the amounts of decrees, already passed, could be reduced applied only to those decrees under which some property was charged and not to simple money decrees at all. The purpose of the Legislature was, therefore, not achieved, because the decrees passed by Special Judges, in respect of debts which were originally secured could not be reduced either under the provisions of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act or tinder the provisions of the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act. This defect can be removed only by a suitable amendment made by the Legislature.'

I respectfully agree that the lacuna can be removed only by legislative amendment. In fact, learned counsel for the applicant, stated during the course of his arguments, that an amendment was under way.

12. I may also refer to certain other decisions of this Court. They, however, have not decided the question now before this Full Bench.

(1) 1956 All LJ 704, where a Division Bench consisting of V. Bhargava and N. U. Beg, JJ., after enumerating the remedies open to a party aggrieved by an order passed under Section 4 of the Zamindars Debt Reduction Act, observed that the provisions of Section 4 applied to decrees passed under the Code of Civil Procedure or under the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act or by a Special Judge under the Encumbered Estates Act. This was a general remark and did not specifically relate to the question now before the Full Bench,

(2) Raja Jwaleshwari Pratap Narain Singh v. Parchandbir Singh, 1957 All LJ 81 was an Execution First Appeal, arising out of a simple money decree passed not under the Encumbered Estates Act, but under the ordinary law. Therefore it did not touch the question involved in the revision referred to the Full Bench : Hence, it is not applicable here.

(3) Raghuraj Singh v. Murari Lal, 1961 All LJ 955 : (AIR 1962 All 91) was an Execution First Appeal arising out of a decree passed in a suit on the basis of a promissory note. The decree was not passed under the Encumbered Estates Act. The judgment-debtors sought to get the decretal amount reduced under Section 4, Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act on the ground that a charge had been created on some villages by the decree. The objection was dismissed by the executing Court and that order was maintained by the Division Bench, who held that the mere fact that a charge had been created on some villages by the decree, would not attract the provisions of Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act. This decision obviously, is not applicable to the facts of the present case.

(4) Tula Ram v. Munga Devi, 1962 RD 189. There, in a decree passed for maintenance allowance, reduction under Section 3 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act was allowed in favour of the judgment-debtor. This decision also is not relevant to the present revision because that case did not deal with a decree passed under Section 14 of the Encumbered Estates Act.

13. To sum up, therefore, in my opinion, a simple money decree, passed under Section 14 of the U. P. Encumbered Estates Act, cannot be amended under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act of 1952. It, accordingly, follows that the Civil Judge of Kheri was right in dismissing the application, made by the applicant, under Section 4 of the Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act.

14. I would, accordingly, dismiss the revision petition. Bearing in mind, however the conflict of previous decisions, I would make no order as to costs.

Beg, J.

15. I agree.

16. BY COURT : We dismiss this revisionwith no order as to costs.


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