1. This appeal is confined only to a question of the number of instalments to be granted to the defendants to pay up the amount due. The plaintiffs filed a suit for recovery of Rs. 32,212, on the basis of a promissory note dated 3lst October 1936 executed by the defendant, Shiam Lal, in plaintiffs' favour. The other defendants are Shiam Lal's sons and grandsons. The defendants were agriculturists on the date of the suit and on the date of the loan and claimed relief under the Agriculturists' Relief Act. 'When the suit was filed on 4th November 1939 the Agriculturists' Belief Act was in force. The said Act, however, was repealed by the U.P. Debt Redemption Act, which came into force on 1st January 1941. The learned Civil Judge passed the decree on 17th April 1941 and held that Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act, had been repealed by the U.P. Debt Redemption Act and the defendants were, therefore, not entitled to instalments under the U.P. Agriculturists' Relief Act. He, however, fixed six equal six-monthly instalments to pay up the decretal amount.
2. Learned Counsel for the defendants has argued that the instalments given by the learned Civil Judge were wholly insufficient and he could have, under the Agriculturists' Relief Act, made the amount payable by fifteen instalments. We think the learned1 Civil Judge was right in his decision that the Agriculturists' Relief Act was no longer applicable. Learned Counsel has relied on Section 6, General Clauses Act and has argued that Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act gave the defendants a right to claim instalments and that right accrued to them on the date the suit was filed and it could not be taken away by any subsequent legislation unless it was in terms retrospective. The U.P. Debt Redemption, Act, Schedule 2, provides that certain sections including Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act are repealed except in their application to advances made before the first day of June 1940 not being loans as defined in the definition. The idea clearly was that to those loans to which the Debt Redemption Act applied, the benefit of Sections 3 to 8, 28 to 31, 37, 38, 40 to 42 and Schs. 1 to 5, Agriculturists' Relief Act was not to be given. It is admitted that the defendants are not entitled to the benefit of both the Agriculturists' Relief Act and the Debt Redemption Act. The interpretation that learned Counsel wants to place On Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act would make his clients entitled to the benefit of reduction of interest under Sections 8 and 9, Debt Redemption Act and also to instalments under Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act. We think that under Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act, the defendants had no absolute right to claim any instalments which, it could be argued, could not be taken away by legislation unless it was in terms retrospective. Under Order 20, Rule 11, Civil P.C. the Court in passing a money decree is entitled to give instalments to a decree-holder, but in that case the Court would have to give reasons why the instalments were being given. Without making any amendment to Order 20, Rule 11,. Civil P.C. the Legislature provided in Section 3,. Agriculturists' Relief Act that in case the Court refused to give any instalments to an agriculturist the Court would have to give-reasons for such refusal. It could not be said that an agriculturist has any absolute right to pay up a debt by instalments. The matter is still left to the discretion of the Court. The only change introduced was that while under Order 20, Rule 11, Civil P.C. the Court had to give reasons for granting instalments, under Section 3, Agriculturists' Relief Act the Court had to give reasons for refusing to grant instalments. These were really matters of procedure and it cannot be said that any substantive right of the defendants was interfered with by the U.P. Debt Redemption Act.
3. In any case, the Court below gave to the defendants six instalments which we think under the circumstances were quite reasonable. The question whether the defendants-should get six instalments or fifteen instalments was entirely within the discretion of the Court and the defendants cannot claim that they had a right to get fifteen instalments. The next ground urged on behalf of the defendants was that they were mere sureties and therefore they were entitled to the special protection of the Court. It is admitted that the plaintiffs would not have lent the money to firm Sukha Nand Shyam Lal if the defendants had not come forward to stand sureties for them. There is no reason why the defendants should not now pay up the amount. In any case, when the firm failed to pay the money and the money was claimed from the defendants, the defendants executed the promissory note in suit and became the principal debtors. We do not think that we can interfere with the decree passed by the Court below. We have been informed that when the defendants applied for stay of execution of the decree, the learned application Judge granted the application on condition that the defendants paid by instalments of Rs. 2000 a year. The defendants have also had the benefit of that order. This litigation has been pending from 1939, and we think it is now time that the plaintiffs decree-holders were allowed to realise their money from the defendants. We dismiss this appeal with costs.