1. This is an appeal by Gheesa Lal against the decree of the District Judge of Nagaur. The appeal is only with respect to interest and the appellant has raised four points.
2. The Khata on the basis of which the suit was filed carried interest at 24 per cent per annum. The Court has however, decreed interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum and the first contention of the appellant is that he should be allowed interest at the contractual rate. Secondly it is being urged that the Court has miscalculated the amount of interest even treating the rate as 12 per cent, and that this should be corrected. Thirdly it is said that the Court has given no reason for not allowing pendente lite interest and this Court should, therefore, grant pendente lite interest. Lastly, it is contended that future interest should also be allowed as the Court below disallowad future interest by not saying anything about it.
3. The main question in this appeal is whether the Court below was justified in reducing the rate of interest from 24 per cent, per annum to 12 per cent, per annum. In this connection the law applicable is contained in Section 5 of the Marwar Relief of Indebtedness Act 1941. That section authorises; the Court, if it has reason to believe that the interest is excessive or that the transaction was as, between the parties substantially unfair, to re-open the transaction and relieve the debtor of all liability in respect of it. Section 5(2) (a) lays down what 'excess' means and Section 5(2)(b), (c) and (d) give the principles on the basis of which the Court has to consider whether the interest is excessive or the transaction was unfair. Then comes Section 5(2)(e) which lays down that the Court shall deem interest to be excessive if on secured loans it exceeds twelve per cent, per annum simple interest.....and if on unsecured loans it exceeds eighteen and three quarter per cent, per annum simple interest.....
4. Learned counsel has, in view of this provision, given up his case that he should be allowed interest at 24 per cent. per annum but he contends that he is entitled to interest at eighteen and three quarter per cent. per annum as that is allowed under the law. It is true that it is open to a Court to allow interest upto eighteen and three quarter per cent. per annum and it is only when the interest is more than eighteen and three quarter per cent. per annum that the Court is bound to presume from that fact alone that the interest is excessive. But this does not mean that the Court is bound to allow the maximum interest of eighteen & three quarter per cent, per annum in every case. It is open to the Court after considering the circumstances mentioned in Section 5(2) (a), (b) (c) & (d) to decide for itself what would be the reasonable rate of interest in a particular case, and that reasonable rate can be less than eighteen and three quarter per cent, per annum. In this connection, we may refer to 'JIWAN DASS v. RAKH-MAT DIN', AIR 1941 Lah 212 where a similar provision in the Punjab Relief of Indebtedness Act which provided that the Court was bound to hold interest to be excessive if it exceeded twelve per cent per annum in case of secured debts, was interpreted and it was held that the provision did not necessarily mean that the Court had no power to reduce interest below twelve per cent. per annum if the circumstances of the case justified a lower rate being allowed. In the present case, the Court after considering the circumstances came to the conclusion that the rate was excessive and reduced it to twelve per cent, per annum. We are not prepared to allow the appellant anything more than that.
5. Next we come to the question of wrong calculation of interest. Learned counsel for the appellant contends that the Court below has made a mistake in calculating the interest at Rs. 1000/-. Actually, it comes to Rs. 1453/10/6 and the decree of the Court below will have to be increased by RS. 444/14/6. Learned counsel for the respondents admits the correctness of this figure which has been given to us by the learned counsel for the appellant.
6. Then we come to the question of pendente lite and future interest. The Court below has said nothing about this and has by implication refused to allow pendente lite and future interest. We are of opinion that a creditor is entitled to pendente lite and future interest unless there are reasons why he should be deprived of it. In this case, no such reasons are in our opinion present. The appellant is, therefore, entitled to pendente lite and future interest. We allow him this interest at 6 per cent. per annum from the date of the suit to the date of the decree and from the date of decree to the date of realisation.
7. We, therefore, allow the appeal and modify the decree of the Court below as indicated above. The appellant will get proportionate costs of this appeal from the respondents. He will also get proportionate costs of the lower Court according to the amount decreed by us.