(1) This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India came up for hearing in the first instance on 18th of September, 1964, in absence of any State counsel and in view of the point raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner I adjourned the proceedings to obtain representation on behalf of the State I have heard today both the learned counsel for the petitioner and the Advocate General.
(2) The facts giving rise to this petition are not in dispute and may briefly be narrated. Mohinder Singh petitioner a resident of village Khanal Khurd was granted a loan of Rs. 5,000/- on the 18th of July, 1960. The loan was taken by the petitioners ostensibly for improvement of his land by installing a tube-well. According to the agreement the loan was to be repaid in 20 equal six monthly installments. No installment has so far so been paid. As stated by the petitioner himself before the Naib Tehsildar (Recovery) the loan was never utilised for the purpose for which it was taken. The Collector Sangrur proceeded with the recovery of the amount in pursuance of the following terms of the agreement.
'If any of these conditions is contravened or any installments is not paid within one month of its due date the whole amount due on account of principal and interest shall become payable at once and the same may at the discretion of the Collector and without prejudice to other rights and remedies of Government be recoverable at one in a lump sum as arrears of land revenue.
The loan shall be applied solely to the purpose specified above and if it shall be proved to the satisfaction of the Collector that any part of the loan has been mis-applied, the whole amount of the load then remaining unpaid shall with such interest as may have become due thereon shall become payable at once. Unless the work has been completed by one year to the satisfaction of a competent officer the loan shall be held to have been misapplied.'
It cannot be contested that the Collector would be entitled to recover the entire amount in lump sum in pursuance of the conditions of the agreement.
(2a) It is contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that the recovery can be made only in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of the Lind Improvement Loans and Act (1183) which says:
'6.(1)Every loan granted under this Act shall be made repayable by installments (in the form of an annuity or otherwise) within such period from the date of the actual advance of the loan... as may from time to time be fixed by the rules made under this Act.
(2) The period fixed as aforesaid shall not ordinarily exceed thirty-five years.'
(3) According to Mr. Basins the counsel for the petitioner the amount can never be recovered under this Act in a lump sum and the payment can be enforced even in case of default only by installments. The recovery which is the subject-matter of section 7 is not fettered by the condition which applies to 'repayment.' Under sub-section (1) of section 7 of the Act all loans under the recoverable by the Collector amongst other modes as arrears of land revenue. There is a clear line of distinction between 'repayment' mentioned in sub-section '(1) of section 6 and the term 'recoverable' employed in sub-section (1) of section 7. When a borrower is making repayment within the stipulated time or the period of grace. he may do so in installments and when he fails to do so the balance of the loan becomes due and the element of imposition or enforcement is implied in the amount becoming recoverable.
(4) According to the agreement the amount of loan became due one month after the default had been made by the petitioner in making the payment of the first installment. It would be putting an unreasonable strain on the language to say that the amount of loan even when it becomes due has to be recovered by installments and by no other mode. This construction leading as it does to the result of creation of a right to receive a loan without the corresponding responsibility of repayment by the borrower being made effective would make nonsense of the provisions of this ameliorative Act and should be avoided unless the words employed are clearly indicative of such intention or the context warrants an interference so to be reached. If the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner were to prevail a recalcitrant defaulter may defy the conditions of the agreement with impunity and the State would be driven to the expedient of resorting to coercive measures on as many occasions as the installments become payable.
As I read section 7 it seems clear that the Collector can recover the amount in its entirely from the borrower as arrears of land revenue after it has become due. It is only when the repayment is being made according to agreement that installments can be asked for. It is further to be borne in mind that the Collector is given the discretion to recover the amount in a lump sum as arrears of land revenue and in suitable cases where the borrower is willing to make reasonable amends for his default by paying up the past dues of installments he may not insist on recovery in a lump sum. The contention of the learned counsel that the condition of the agreement cannot override the express provision of the statue in my opinion has no substances for the simple reason that section 6 does not make it imperative that the recovery of the lump sum as and when it becomes due has also to be made by installments.
(5) This petition in my opinion has no force and must be dismissed with costs.
(6) Petition dismissed.