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Channilal and anr. Vs. Bundelal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 400 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1973MP12; 1972MPLJ756
ActsMadhya Pradesh Anusuchit Janjati Rini Sahayata Adhiniyam - Sections 2(1), 2(4) and 8(2)
AppellantChannilal and anr.
RespondentBundelal
Appellant AdvocateP.P. Naolekar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.C. Chaturvedi, Adv.
DispositionRevision partly allowed
Excerpt:
- - 8. now we shall turn to section 9of the act which provides that, on the expiry of ninety days after the establishment of the debt relief court, the debt relief court shall consolidate all applications received by it under section 8. this clearly speaks of the debts existing on the appointed date end in respectof which applications are made either by creditors under sub-section (2) of section 8 or by debtors under sub-section (3) of that section......for the determination of the debts due to him along with three spare copies thereof before such debtrelief court as may be specified by the state government by notification in this behalf.'this sub-section requires every creditor to file as many applications as he has debtors and such applications have to be made within 60 days of the establishment of the debt relief court concerned, as is provided in sub-section (2) of that section which is in these words:'(2) the application under sub-section (1) may be filed in person or by duly authorised agent or by registered post acknowledgment due. such application shall contain the particulars specified in sub-section (7) and shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the limitation act, 1963 (6 of 1963), be filed within sixty days of the.....
Judgment:

Shiv Dayal, J.

1. This is a revision under Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act from a judgment and decree of the Small Cause Court. Hoshangabad, dismissing the plaintiffs' claim.

2. The petitioners' case was that the respondent borrowed from them one Mani of Juar and 2 maunds of gram on September 11, 1967 under a receipt (Ex P-l) and promised to return l1/4 quantity of the grain so taken on credit. It is not in dispute that the value of the grain borrowed was Rs. 210/-. The plaintiffs claimed Rs. 310/- by including Rs. 100/- as damages for breach of the contract for not returning the grain as promised.

3. The defence was that the plaintiffs practised fraud on the defendant and obtained his signature on Ex, P-l after compromising a case which had been pending before the Debt Relief Court, The execution of the document was, however, admitted subject to the above contention.

4. The learned Judge of the Small Cause Court dismissed the suit with the observation that since a compromise (Ex. P-l) had been executed between the parties on August 25, 1967, it could not be believed that the plaintiff would again advance grain of the value of Rs. 210/-on credit within a fortnight, that is to say on September 11, 1967. He further held that the suit was barred by Section 7 of the Madha Pradesh Anusuchit Janjati Rini Sahayata Adhiniyam. 1967 (hereinafter called the Act).

5. It is an admitted fact that the defendant belongs to a scheduled tribe. In this revision, the petitioners' contention is that the Act does not apply to the debt in suit. The Act applies only to debts which had been incurred before the commencement of the Act and its application to the area concerned on the appointed date. Emphasising the definition of the word 'debt', it is argued thatunless the debt was subsisting on the appointed date (which so far as the present case is concerned is March 15, 1967), the provisions of the Act would have no application. In order to appreciate this contention, we shall refer to some provisions of the Act. Section 2 (4) of the Act defines 'debt' as to include-

'(i) all liabilities owing to a creditor in cash, or kind, secured or unsecured, payable under a decree or order of a Civil Court or otherwise, and subsisting on the appointed date whether due or not due;

(ii) arrears of wages or salary subsisting on the appointed date.'

This definition makes it clear that where a debt is payable under a decree or it is due otherwise, and even if it is not vet due, it will be a debt within the meaning of the Act provided it is 'subsisting' on the appointed date. The same thing applies to arrears of wages or salary, The force of the word 'subsisting' is that, on March 15, 1967, the debt in respect of which the provisions of the Act ace sought to be applied must be in existence. This definition obviously does not apply to a debt which was borrowed after the appointed date. It is contended for the respondent that this definition is an inclusive definition, it does not say that the word 'debt' means the things enumerated in the definition, but merely includes those things, so that a debt borrowed even after the appointed date will be a 'debt' for the purposes of the Act This interpretation does not fit in with the scheme of the Act to which we shall advert presently.

6. Section 2 (10) of the Act defines 'secured debt' as follows:

' 'Secured Debt' means a debt subsisting on the appointed date whether due or not due, and secured by mortgage of, or charge on the immovable property or by pawn or pledge of movable property of the debtor.'

The word 'creditor' is defined in Section 2 (3) of the Act to mean a person to whom a debt is owing. The word debtor is defined as meaning a member of a Scheduled Tribe by whom such debt is owed. It is obvious enough that the reference is to 'debt' as defined in Section 2 (4) of the Act.

7. Now the Act provides a special procedure for dealing with such a debt as is owing to a creditor and is owed by a debtor within the meaning of the above definitions in Section 2 (3) of the Act Section 8 (1) of the Act reads as follows:

'8 (1) As from the appointed date, every creditor shall file a separate application in respect of each of his debtors praying for the determination of the debts due to him along with three spare copies thereof before such DebtRelief Court as may be specified by the State Government by notification in this behalf.'

This sub-section requires every creditor to file as many applications as he has debtors and such applications have to be made within 60 days of the establishment of the Debt Relief Court concerned, as is provided in Sub-section (2) of that section which is in these words:

'(2) The application under sub-section (1) may be filed in person or by duly authorised agent or by registered post acknowledgment due. Such application shall contain the particulars specified in sub-section (7) and shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Limitation Act, 1963 (6 of 1963), be filed within sixty days of the establishment of the Debt Relief Court concerned;

Provided that in any scheduled area where a Debt Relief Court was established before the appointed date, the period of sixty days for filing application in respect of debts which have come into existence during the period before the date of commencement of the Regulations and the appointed date, shall be counted from the appointed date.'

These provisions leave no manner of doubt that what is required of a creditor is that he must submit an application within 60 days of the establishment of the Debt Relief Court. This fortifies the view we take. So also Sub-section (3) enables a debtor to make an application to the Debt Relief Court within whose jurisdiction he owns land, ordinarily resides or earns his livelihood within sixty days of the establishment of the said Court for the determination of his debts. Thus it is implicit that such an application can be made in respect of a debt which was incurred before the Act came into force. In other words, this section necessarily applies to only those debts which were subsisting on the appointed date and its provisions throw a flood of light on the definition of the word 'debt' in Sub-section (4) of Section 2 of the Act Further light is thrown by the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 8 which declares that every claim of a creditor against his debtor, which is not submitted within the time specified in Sub-section (2) or Sub-section (3) shall be deemed for all purposes and all occasions to have been discharged against the debtor.

8. Now we shall turn to Section 9of the Act which provides that, on the expiry of ninety days after the establishment of the Debt Relief Court, the Debt Relief Court shall consolidate all applications received by it under Section 8. This clearly speaks of the debts existing on the appointed date end in respectof which applications are made either by creditors under Sub-section (2) of Section 8 or by debtors under Sub-section (3) of that section. In respect of every particular debtor, all applications are to be consolidated. This section also makes it clear that the Act does not apply to any debt borrowed after the establishment of the Debt Relief Court.

9. In short, the only doubt which could be entertained and for the removal of which the reference was made by the learned Single Judge, who heard this revision, seems to have been created by the word 'includes' occurring in the definition of 'debt' in Section 2 (4) of the Act. It is fully resolved when the scheme end the other relevant provisions of the Act are taken into account. We therefore, hold that the Act has no application to a debt which is incurred after the appointed date within the meaning of Section 2 (1) of the Act.

10. This brings us to the merits of the case. The defendant admitted his signature on the 'receipt (Ex. P-l). There is no evidence of fraud practised upon him as alleged by him the burden to prove which was on him. It must, therefore, be held that the defendant borrowed one Mani of Juar and 2 maunds of gram as acknowledged by him in the receipt. We see no force in the reasoning stated by the learned trial Judge that merely because there was a compromise a fortnight before the suit transaction, the plaintiffs must be disbelieved. On the contrary, it can be argued that, after the compromise which was effected on August 25, 1967, the parties had again Rood relations and the defendant could, therefore, borrow from the plaintiff the suit grain.

11. As regards the quantum, thevalue of the grain was Rs. 210/-. We do not find any evidence adduced by the plaintiffs to prove the amount of damages claimed by them which they estimate at Rs. 100/-. This part of the claim must, therefore, be disallowed.

12. In the result, the revision is partly allowed, the judgment and decree of the Small Cause Court are set aside and, instead, a decree shall be passed against the respondent for Rs. 210/-. Parties shall bear their own costs in this Court and in the trial Court.


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