Skip to content


Fateh Singh Vs. Gram Panchayat Ransi Gaon and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 383 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1972Raj95
ActsDebt Law; Rajasthan Relief of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 1957 - Sections 4; Constitution of India - Article 14
AppellantFateh Singh
RespondentGram Panchayat Ransi Gaon and ors.
Appellant Advocate M.L. Shrimali, Adv.
Respondent Advocate H.C. Jain, Adv. for Respondent No. 1
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredRam Rakh v. Creditors
Excerpt:
- - that the provisions of the act were not applicable to the debts due to the local body like the gram panchayat and, therefore, the petitioner should not be allowed to raise that objection for the first time before this court in its extraordinary jurisdiction. it is now well settl-ed that in order to pass the test of permissible classification, two conditions must be fulfilled, namely, (1) that the classification must be founded on an intelligible differentiation which distinguishes persons or things that are to be put together from others left out of the group, and (2) that the differentia must have a rational relationship to the object sought to be achieved by the statute in question. 2 above has clearly not been satisfied in this case......damages from the petitioner for the breach of contract. the petitioner filed a petition before the debt relief court that the liability which was sought to be fastened on him by the gram panchayat did not fall within the definition of the term 'debt' as given in the act. the debt relief court held that the provisions of the act were applicable for the debt for which the gram panchayat had filed an application undersection 6 of the act. a revision petition was filed against that order of the debt relief court before the learned district judge, jodhpur. who, by his judgment dated 5th january. 1970, upheld the order of the debt relief court and laid down that the definition of the term 'debt' was quite comprehensive and it includes all the liabilities that can be measured in terms of.....
Judgment:

V.P. Tyagi, J.

1. This Writ Petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution by Fateh Singh and it arises Out of the following circumstances :---

The Gram Panchayat, Ransi Gaon, Tehsil Bilara. filed an application under Section 6 of the Rajasthan Relief of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 1957 (hereinafter called the Act) against the petitioner for the determination of Pan-chayat's debt which the Panchayat claimed as damages from the petitioner for the breach of contract. The petitioner filed a petition before the Debt Relief Court that the liability which was sought to be fastened on him by the Gram Panchayat did not fall within the definition of the term 'debt' as given in the Act. The Debt Relief Court held that the provisions of the Act were applicable for the debt for which the Gram Panchayat had filed an application underSection 6 of the Act. A revision petition was filed against that order of the Debt Relief Court before the learned District Judge, Jodhpur. who, by his judgment dated 5th January. 1970, upheld the order of the Debt Relief Court and laid down that the definition of the term 'debt' was quite comprehensive and it includes all the liabilities that can be measured in terms of money.

2. By filing this Writ Petition the petitioner has challenged the correct-ness of the judgment of the Debt Relief Court and that of the learned District Judge, inter alia, on the grounds that the word, 'debt' does not include the unliquidated damages and that under Clause (k) of Section 4 of the Act the debt payable to the local authority could not be adjudged under the provisions of the Act.

3. No reply has been filed by the Gram Panchayat or any other respondent, but Mr. Jain appearing on behalf of the Gram Panchayat has supported the judgment of the two courts below and submitted that the judgments do not suffer from any infirmity and hence they cannot be quashed by issuing a writ of certiorari. He also contended that the petitioner never took this objection either before the Debt Relief Court or before the learned District Judge. Jodhpur. that the provisions of the Act were not applicable to the debts due to the local body like the Gram Panchayat and, therefore, the petitioner should not be allowed to raise that objection for the first time before this Court in its extraordinary jurisdiction. It is also contended that Section 4 (j) of the Act has been declared ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and on that parity of reasoning clause (k) of Section 4 is also violative of Article 14 and hence on that ground no relief can be granted to the petitioner in this writ petition.

4. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, it was considered necessary that the petitioner may be allowed to raise the question of the jurisdiction of the Debt Relief Court by taking recourse to the provisions of clause (k) of Section 4 of the Act, but in view of the argument advanced by Mr. Jain that this provision of the law is ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution a notice was given to the Advocate-General on the last hearing. The learned Advocate-General, however, in spite of the notice, has not put in his appearance.

5. The only point argued by Mr. Shrimali and to be determined in this case is whether Section 4 (k) of the Act is a valid law and as such debars the Debt Relief Court to adjudicate thedebt of the Gram Panchayat as Section 4 (k) of the Act creates a bar for the adjudication of such debt by the Debt Relief Court.

6. Section 4 of the Act deals with the applicability of the Act and lays down that the provisions of this Act shall not affect claims due in respect of-

(k) any tax payable to a local authority and any other sum of money due to it by way of or towards repayment of a loan or otherwise.

It will be relevant to re-produce Clause (j) of Section 4 of this Act as an argument has been advanced by Mr. Jain that Clause (j) is analogous to clause (k) and on the parity of reasoning on which Clause (j) has been declared ultra vires by this Court, Clause (k) should also be declared unconstitutional. Clause (j) reads as follows:

'Section 4. The provisions of this Act shall not affect claims due in respect of-

xx xx xx (j) any revenue or tax payable to Government or any other sum of money due to Government by way of or towards repayment of a loan or otherwise.'

7. The only difference between these two Clauses (j) and (k) of Section. 4 is that the words 'any revenue' do not find place in Clause (k) otherwise the language of these clauses is identical. This difference as pointed out above has, however, no bearing on the question that has been raised for the determination of this Court.

8. Clause (j) of Section 4 has been declared as ultra vires by this Court in Nathudan v. State of Rajas-than 1964 Raj LW 437 - (AIR 1964 Raj 274).

9. In that case the constitutiona-lity of Clause (j) was challenged on the ground that the Government loan cannot be treated differently from the loan advanced by any other person to an agriculturist as the safeguards provided under the Act should be made applicable to the agriculturist even when he is required to pay the Government loan. The learned Judge while discussing the constitutionality of Clause (i)' relied on the following observations of the Supreme Court in the State of Raiasthan v-Mukan Chand, AIR 1964 SC 1633 where Section 2 (e) of the Raiasthan Jagir-dars' Debt Reduction Act was challenged as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution:

'We think that the High Court was right in holding that the impugned part of Section 2 (e) infringes Article 14 of the Constitution. It is now well settl-ed that in order to pass the test of permissible classification, two conditions must be fulfilled, namely, (1) that the classification must be founded on an Intelligible differentiation which distinguishes persons or things that are to be put together from others left out of the group, and (2) that the differentia must have a rational relationship to the object sought to be achieved by the statute in question. In our opinion, condition No. 2 above has clearly not been satisfied in this case. The object sought to be achieved by the impugned Act was to reduce the debts secured on jagir lands which had been resumed under the provisions of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Resumption of Jagirs Act. The Jagirdar's capacity to pay debts had been reduced by the resumption of his lands and the object of the Act was to ameliorate his condition. The fact that the debts are owed to a government or local authority or other bodies mentioned in the impugned part of Section 2 (5) has no rational relationship with the object sought to be achieved by the Act. Further, no intelligible principle underlies the exempted categories of debts.'

10. Mr. Jain vehemently urged that the exemption given to the debts belonging to the State Government or the local bodies has absolutely no relationship with the object sought to be achieved by enacting the law. According to him. the Act has been made by the Legislature to ameliorate the condition of agriculturists so that they may easily repay the debts which are found due under the provisions of the Act against the agriculturists. Mr. Jain's contention is that the debt due to the local body or the Government cannot be differentiated for the matter of payment by the agriculturist from the debts due to other bodies or individuals.

11. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, however, urged that Section 2 (b) of the Act was challenged before this Court in Ram Rakh v. Creditors, ILR (1969) 19 Raj 821 and the Court, after considering the arguments at length, has held that the debts due to the co-operative society have been rightly exempted by the legis-lature from the operation of the Act and (therefore, on that ground the learned Judge refused to declare that portion of Section 4 as ultra vires the Article 14 of Hie Constitution.

12. I have very carefully gone through the judgment of this Court in ILR (1969) 19 Raj 821. The reasons given to justify the exemption of the co-operative societies' debt was that the co-operative societies do not advance loan to any cersons other than themembers of the societies and that under the provisions of the Rajasthan Cooperative Societies Act such loan can be realised only under the provisions of that Act and there a member or the society has not to go to the court' of law to get the loan determined and secure the payment thereof to the creditor. The object of the present Act is to save the agriculturist from being exploited by the creditors from charging exorbitant rate of interest from the debtors and also to formulate a scheme in each case for the repayment of loan to the creditors by the debtor when the debt is determined under the provisions of Section 10 of the Act. The object for which the Act has been enacted by the State Legislature is fulfilled when the debt of the co-operative societv is required to be determined and paid under the provisions of the Rajasthan Co-operative Societies Act, but in case of the debt of the State Government and that of the local bodies the safeguards provided to the agriculturists under this Act cannot be availed of by the agriculturists if the exceptions enumerated in Clauses (j) and (k) are held valid and the provisions of the Act are not allowed to operate while dealing with the debts of the local bodies. In this view of the matter, the case of the co-operative societies stands on a different footing from the case of the local bodies and, therefore, the reasoning given by this Court in ILR (1969) 19 Raj 821 cannot be made applicable to uphold the validity of Clause (k) of Section 4 of the Act. This Court in 1964 Raj LW 437 = (AIR 1964 Raj 274) On the parity of the reasoning given by the Supreme Court in AIR 1964 SC 1633 has declared the provisions of Clause (i) of Section 4 violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, I feel, the same rea-soning applies on all fours to the debt advanced by the local body to the agriculturist and, therefore, on the basis of that very reasoning the provisions of clause (k) of Section 4 of the Act shall have to be declared ultra vires the Article 14 of the Constitution.

13. In this view of the matter, I feel that the Debt Relief Court was competent to entertain the claim to be fulfilled by the respondent Gram Pan-chayat to determine the debt of the Gram Panchayat against the petitioner who was undoubtly an agriculturist.

14. For the reasons mentioned above, the writ petition is dismissed. No order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //