1. This is an appeal against the appellate decree of the District Judge, Hoshiar-pur, dismissing the appeal against the decree of the Senior Subordinate Judge, whereby the plaintiff's suit was dismissed.
2. On the basis of a mortgage deed dated the 19th of May 1933, for a sum of Rs. 1,200/-, the plaintiff brought a suit. During the course of the trial, the debtor made an application to the Debt Conciliation Board who on the 16th of October, 1946, passed an order for stay of proceedings in the civil Court. The plaintiff on the same day made an application to the Court that the Board had no jurisdiction in the matter on the ground, (1) that the defendants had not admitted any debt due to the plaintiff and (2) that he (the plaintiff) had applied to the Board stating that he was not prepared to have any kind of conciliation with the defendants. On the 7th of February 1947, the Board passed an order for the discharge of the debt and on the 17th the plaintiff put in a fresh application in the Court reiterating his previous objections and also asked that the suit be proceeded with. The trial Court dismissed the plaintiff's suit holding that the debt had been validly discharged and this on appeal was affirmed by the District Judge.
3. The counsel for the appellant has submitted that the debt could not be ordered to be discharged because the Board had no jurisdiction to discharge it under the circumstances of this case. The plaintiff had been called upon by the Conciliation Board to file documents in support of his debts and in support he had produced a certified copy of his mortgage deed. The debt could only be deemed to be discharged if he had not complied with the orders of theBoard. Under section 14(1) of the Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act, a creditor who is called upon under section 13 to make a statement of his debts has to furnish along with such statement full particulars of all such debts and to produce all documents including entries in the books of account on which he relies to support his claim. The plaintiff in this case relied on the mortgage deed to support his debt. This mortgage deed was based on a decree which was obtained by the plaintiff against the defendants. The plaintiff also applied to the Board that he had applied for a copy of the decree which he would produce as soon as it was received, but they refused to give him any extension of time although he produced the receipt of the application which he had made.
4. Counsel has submitted that under section 14 of the Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act all that he had to do was to produce the mortgage deed on which he relied to support his case. It was not necessary in the case of a mortgage deed to put in any other document. When the application was made for conciliation, the debtor admitted that he owed a debt to the plaintiff and when the plaintiff was called upon to make a statement, he had only to support it by such documents on which he relied and the only document on which he relied was the mortgage deed and. a copy of this was produced, and, in my opinion, this was a sufficient compliance with the penal provisions of the Act because all that section 14 requires is that the creditor should 'produce all documents including entries in account-books on which he relies to support his claim'. In this particular case, the plaintiff only relied on the mortgage deed. The words which I have quoted show that the creditor has only to produce the documents on which he wishes to rely in support of hjs claim and if he does not wish to rely on any document or there is none to support the claim the plain wording of the section shows that he need not produce it. I am not giving any opinion on the question whether it is not open to the Conciliation Board to ask for other documents. It may or it may not be, but the decision on that point is not necessary in this case. Respondent's counsel submitted that the plaintiff did not produce a copy of the decree. It is true that he did not, but he had applied for one & asked for time to produce it. Nothing has been shown why no time was given and even if it was not produced the plaintiff was satisfied with the mortgage deed which is sufficient to prove his case. In these circumstances the Board had no jurisdiction to discharge the debts of the plaintiff. As a matter of fact, it has been held in 'SAT PAL v. ABDUL HAYI', AIR 1949 E P 1 (FB), that an order of the Board discharging debts under section 13(3) of the Relief of Indebtedness Act is 'ultra vires' and in the circumstances the Board had no jurisdiction to discharge the debts of the plaintiff.
5. I, therefore, allow this appeal, set asidethe judgment and decree of the Courts belowand remand the case for trial in accordancewith law. Costs will be costs in the cause. Theparties have been directed to appear in thetrial Court on the 30th of July, 1951.