D.M. Bhandari, J.
1. This is a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
2. The case of the petitioners is that they were the creditors of non-petitioner No. 1 Lachhu. On 24th December, 1962, they filed a suit against him in the court of Munsiff City Bali on the basis of a promissory note of Rs. 680/- which the non-petitioner No. 1 had executed in their favour. On 3rd July 1963, non-petitioner No. 1 filed an application in the Debt Relief Court, Bali, under Section 6 of the Rajasthan Relief of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 1957 (hereinafter called (he Act), mentioning therein the debt relating to the promissory note only. Notice of this application was issued to the petitioners and they filed their claim of Rs. 1,325/3/3 under the following heads:
(i) Rs. 821/- On the basis of the promissory note including the cost of the suit filed in the court of the Munsiff, Bali.(ii) Rs. 433/8/- On the basis of Khata executed on Jeth Badi 12 Samvat 2013 for Rs. 808/8/- fixing instalments for the payment thereof and in which certain payments had already been made.(iii)Rs. 70/11/3 On the basis of Khata beginning from Jeth Sudi 15 Samvat2018 to Poh Sudi 1 Samvat 2019 and signed by non-petitioner No. 1 on Poh Sudi 1 Samvat 2019.
The case was adjurned several times for the evidence of the petitioners. On 20th March, 1964, non-petitioner No. 1 filed an application for the rejection of the claim of the petitioners as they have not filed all the accounts of the previous transactions. The Judge, Debt Relief Court, Bali, declared the claims of the petitioners for Rs. 433/8/- and Rs. 70/11 3 to be discharged for all purposes and all occasions under Section 8(2) of the Act. A revision petition was filed by the petitioners against the aforesaid order in the court of the District Judge, Pali. The learned District Judge dismissed the revision petition.
3. The main contention in this writ petition is that the Debt Relief Court had no jurisdiction to declare both the claims of the petitioners as discharged. In order to appreciate this contention, it is necessary to refer to Sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Act which reads as follows:
8(2). On the date on which the case is fixed for hearing, every creditor shall produce the documents in his possession or control on which he bases his claim. He shall also furnish a full and true statement of accounts of all previous transactions between him and his debtor leading to the claim and his account books or copies thereof, if any, in his possession or control. If such documents and statements are not produced at such hearing or at any adjourned hearing fixed for the purpose by the Debt Relief Court, the Court may declare such claim to be discharged for all purposes and all occasions against such debtor or debtors.
Provided that if the Debt Relief Court is satisfied that any creditor was for good & sufficient cause unable to produce such documents or statements, it may on such conditions as to costs as it may think fit extend the date for the purpose and may revise the claim.
4. Under the aforesaid provision on the date fixed for hearing of the case a creditor is required to produce the document in his possession or control on which he bases his claim. He has also to furnish a true and full statement of accounts of all previous transactions between him and the debtor leading to the claim and also his account books and copies thereof in his possession or control. The petitioners had produced only the documents on which they based these two claims.
5. According to the Debt Relief Court, the creditor failed to produce for these claims a full and true statement of accounts of all previous transactions and his accounts books of these transactions. We have to examine whether that court had committed an error of law for discharging both the claims of the petitioners on this ground.
6. So far as the claim for Rs. 70/11/3 is concerned, there was no question of the petitioners famishing any full or true statement of accounts of the previous transactions because it is not the case of the parties that the claim for this amount was based on any previous transactions not contained in the Khata filed by him. The previous transactions which are mentioned in Sub-section (2) refer to the transactions which are not contained in the documents on which the claim is based. The creditor is to prove his claim before the Debt Relief Court and for proving that claim he may rely on any document. Opening part of Sub-section (2) requires production on the date fixed for hearing only of such documents on which he bases his claim. The other supporting or corroborating documents may be produced later on The consequence for the non-production of these documents provided in the concluding part of this Sub-section cannot ensue only for the reason of the non-production of such documents, unless the document on which the petitioners have based their claim or the pleadings of the parties show that certain previous transactions had taken place between the creditor which constitute part of the claim contained in that document. If the document produced by the creditor on which he bases his claims or the pleadings show previous transactions between the parties then it is the duty of the creditors to furnish a full and true statement of accounts of all previous transactions and also to file his account books or copies thereof in his possession or control In this case, we find that so far as the claim of the petitioners for Rs. 70/11/3 is concerned, it is not the case of the parties that there were any previous transactions with regard to this claim. For this reason the Debt Relief Court could not have discharged the claim of Rs. 70/11/3 of the petitioner.
7. There is yet another point which arises in this case. Under Sub--section (2) of Section 8 of the Act, the Court can declare the claim to be dishcharged only if the documents and the statements relating to previous transactions are not produced on the date fixed for hearing or at any adjourned hearing fixed for this purpose by the Debt Relief Court. This part of the section is couched in a negative form. Both the alternatives provided to the creditor in this sub-section for the production of the documents and statements must be fulfilled before the penal consequences provided therein are ordered by the Court to ensue. Unless both the alternatives are not fulfilled, the Court cannot order that the claim shall stand discharged. In this sense the word 'or' in this sub-section should be read as 'and.' Proper interpretation of this part of the section is, therefore, that 'if such documents and statements are neither produced at such hearing or at any adjourned hearing fixed for the purpose by the Debt Relief Court, the court may declare such claim to be discharged.' We are supported in this interpretation by what is contained in the proviso. The proviso contemplates that under certain circumstances the Debt Relief Court may extend the date for the purpose of production of the documents and statements. All this shows that the Debt Relief Court before declaring the claim to be discharged on the ground of the non-production of documents and statements must fix a date for the production of such documents, and even on such date or any other future date, if the date has been extended under the proviso, the creditors fails to produce the documents and statements, then and then alone the Court can declare the claim to be discharged. There is yet another reason for adopting this construction. The discharging of the claim is a serious matter so far as the creditor is concerned, and such serious consequences should not be permitted to ensue unless the Court has applied its mind on a date of hearing that certain documents and statements are not before it and then directs the creditor to produce them at an adjourned hearing.
8. In this case the Court had not fixed any date for the purpose of production of the documents and statements and proceeded to declare the claim relating to Rs. 70/11/3 as discharged. In our opinion, the Debt Relief Court could not have done so on the proper interpretation of Sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Act. There is thus an apparent error on the face of record so far as this part of the claim of the petitioners is concerned.
9. Now, we take up the petitioner' case for their claim of Rs. 433/8/-. Learned Counsel for the petitioners stated that his old account books which could provide a material to examine the old transactions relating to this claim, were lost and therefore his clients were not in a position to furnish a statement of the old transactions relating to this claim, nor could produce the account books. If this is the stand of the petitioners, then no useful purpose can be served if the case is remanded to the Debt Relief Court directing it to produce the statement of account books. In such circumstances, we feel that no useful purpose will be served if we interfere with the order of the Debt Relief Court discharging this claim of the petitioners.
10. The result is that we partly allow the writ petition and quash the order dated 29th March, 1964, of the Debt Relief Court, Bali, so far as it purports to discharge the claim of the creditor relating to Rs. 70/11/3/-. The rest of the writ petition is dismissed. No order as to costs.