C.B. Capoor, J.
1. This is a defendants' appeal. The plaintiff-respondents filed a suit to recover a sum of Rs. 1,106 on foot of a simple mortgage-deed, dated 10-10-1945. The plaintiff-respondents had in the plaint given up the security and claimed to recover the amount from the defendants personally.
2. The suit was resisted and one of the pleas raised in defence was that under the provisions of U. P. Zamindars Debt Reduction Act, the debt was liable to be scaled down. That plea found favour with the learned trial Court, but it has been repelled by the lower appellate Court. The view of the Court below was that as the plaintiff respondent has given up the security and had not claimed a decree under Order 34 Rule 4 of C. P. C. the provisions of the U. P. Debt Reduction Act were not attracted. The Court of appeal passed a decree for a sum of Rs. 826 with proportionate cost and pendente lite and future interest at 3% per annum. Aggrieved by the aforesaid decree, this appeal has been filed.
3. The only contention that has been put forward on behalf of the appellants is that the provisions of the aforesaid Reduction Act would be applicable even though the plaintiffs did not claim a decree under Order 34 RULE 4 of C. P. C. and had given up the security. It has been contended that it should not be at the option of the plaintiffs to deprive the debtors of the benefits conferred by the aforesaid Act merely by giving up the security and claiming a personal decree. The question raised is an interesting one.
4. Section 3 of the aforesaid Act roads as below:--
'Notwithstanding anything in any laws, agreement or document, in any suit to which this Act applies relating to a secured debt, the Court shall, after the amount due has been ascertained, but before passing a decree, proceed as hereinafter stated.'
5. The first question that arises for consideration is as to whether the present suit was one to which the aforesaid Reduction Act applied. According to Clause (c) of Section 2 of the aforesaid Act, the suit to which this Act applies means any suit or proceeding relating to a debt whether secured or otherwise and there can be no doubt that the suit filed by the plaintiff wasa suit to which the provisions of the aforesaid Reduction Act applied. The next question that awaits consideration is as to whether the suit under consideration related to a secured debt. Secured debt according to Section 2 (m) means a debt secured by mortgage of an estate or an estate and other immoveable property. The mortgage deed executed in favour of the plaintiff, it is not disputed, comprised estate and prima facie the suit related to a secured debt. It is significant that the words used by the legislature in Section 3 are 'relating to a secured debt.'
6. There is a vital difference between the expression a suit 'relating to a secured debt' and the expression a suit 'to enforce secured debt'. In the aforesaid section there is no reference to the nature of the relief that may have been sought and if the intention of the legislature had been that the section would apply to that suit only which seeks to recover money by sale of secured property, a specific provision to that effect would have been made. It is a well established canon of interpretation that the intent of the legislature is to be gathered from the words used and that if the words used have not acquired any technical meaning, they should be deemed to have been used in their ordinary meaning. The safer and more correct way of dealing with a question of construction is to take the words themselves and arrive, if possible, at their meaning without, in the first place, reference to cases. See Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 11th Edition, pp. 3 and 4.
7. in the case of Raghuraj Singh v. Murari Lal, 1961 All LJ 955: (AIR 1962 All 91), it was held that Sections 3 and 4 of the aforesaid Act were applicable to secured debts and that if a debt was simple, the mere fact that a charge was created on some villages by the decree, it will not change the nature of debt so as to attract the application of Section 4.
8. The learned lower appellate Court had, in the course of the judgment, observed as below:--
'In the present case, the decree is a pure and simple money decree. So the provisions of the U. P. Zamindars' Debt Reduction Act cannot apply to the facts of the present case. Unless and until the decree is to be passed against the mortgaged properly there can be no charge under the decree.'
The learned Court below erred in thinking that a simple money decree had been passed. In making that observation it had presumably Section 4 of the aforesaid Reduction Act in mind. But that section will not be applicable as a decree had not been passed prior to the filing of the suit which has given rise to this appeal. Again, the words 'charged under the decree' as used in Section 4 of the aforesaid Act have been deleted retrospectively by an amendment made in the year 1962.
9. No successful argument can, therefore, be built on the use of the aforesaid expression in Section 4 prior to its amendment. The decisions of this Court in the cases of Jwaleshwar Pratap Narain Singh v. Parchanbir Singh, 1957 All LJ 81 and Banumal v. Bashir Ahmad Khan, 1962AH LJ 88, were also based on the provisions of Section 4 as it stood prior to its amendment in 1962 and the view expressed therein on the basis of the aforesaid expression can perhaps no longer be considered to be good law.
10. I am, therefore, of the opinion that if a debt is a secured one at its inception, a creditor cannot deprive the debtor or the benefits conferred by the aforesaid Reduction Act merely by giving up the security at the time of the filing of the suit and claiming a personal decree.
11. The learned Trial Court did not allow any interest as the plaintiff was not found to have complied with the provisions of Section 32 of the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act. The learned lower appellate Court was of the opinion that as the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act was repealed with effect from 1st of July 1952, the Elaintiff was entitled to interest for the period from 1st of July 1952. The learned counsel for the appellant challenged the aforesaid finding. Since the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act was repealed with effect from 1st of July 1952, prospectively, it would not be proper to enforce the provisions of Section 32 of that Act after its repeal. I am, therefore, in agreement with the view expressed by the learned lower appellate Court that the plaintiff was entitled to be awarded interest for the period subsequent to 30th of June 1952.
12. A reference to the grounds of appeal set forth in the memo of appeal filed in the Court of the learned District Judge would indicate that the correctness of the calculation made by the trial Court was not challenged. The counsel for parties are agreed that in accordance with the findings recorded by the Court, the reduced amount of debt will be Rs. 214.
13. In conclusion, the appeal is allowed in part and the decree passed by the learnedlower appellate Court is modified to this extentthat the suit of the plaintiff-respondent is decreed for recovery of Rs. 214. The contestants shall receive and pay costs throughout in proportion to success and failure.