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Jethmal and anr. Vs. Ramvilas and Babulal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Revision Petition No. 390/1978
Judge
Reported in1979WLN670
AppellantJethmal and anr.
RespondentRamvilas and Babulal
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredCaptain Ramesh Chander Kaushol v. Mrs. Veena Kaushal and Ors.
Excerpt:
.....rajasthan scheduled debtors (liquidation of indebted ness) act, 1976 - section 2(a)--word 'household income'--explained--collective income of all members living in a family is 'household income'.;the legislature by using the term house 'hold income' meant the income of all those living together in the same house and comprising a family.;the word 'whose' is used as singular and plural both. the word 'from all sources' succeeding the term 'household income' of whatever type of all the members that is to say the income should come to the family from whatever source it may be. the individual income of each member of the family dwelling in the same house is a source and therefore, the income of all the family members residing in the same house and comprising a household will have to..........of attack on the impugned order is that the learned munsif has wrongly interpreted the term 'house hold income' as being the combined income of both the petitioners and other members of the family living with them controverting the arguments, the learned counsel for the non-petitioners submitted that it was on the admission of jetihmal, petitioner himself that he and his wife and three sons are earning by labour, that the court has calculated yearly income of the family. meeting out the second contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners it has been urged, that, the word house hold income 'means' the income of the whole family and not that of the judgment-debtors alone.4. so far as the first point is concerned, the order is quite clear-and based on the appreciation of evidence......
Judgment:

Kanta Bhatnagar, J.

1. This revision petition is directed against the order passed by the Munsif & Judl. Magistrate, Bilara dated 23-9-1978.

2. Briefly stated the facts of the case giving rise to this revision petition are that in a suit filed by the non-petitioners a money decree was passed in their favour against the petitioners. The decree-holders filed Execution Petition. In those proceedings, an application under Section 4 of the Rajas-than Scheduled Debtor's (Liquidation of Indebtness) Act, 1976 (hereinafter to be referred as 'the Act') was filed by the petitioners, claiming themselves to be scheduled debtors & certificate issued by the Tehsildar, Bilara, certifying the petitioners to be scheduled debtors was filed. Refuting that contention, decree-holders filed that the reply that the petitioners were not agricultural, labourers but were carrying on shop of gold and silver business. Bath the parties led evidence. The learned Munsif on the basis of the evidence adduced by the parties, arrived at a conclusion that the annual income of the petitioners judgment debtors was more than Rs. 2,400/- per year and, therefore, they do not come within the definition of agricultural labourers and, are, therefore, not entitled to the benefit under the Act. In view of that finding the application of the petitioners was rejected and attachment under order XXI, Rule 54 was ordered to be issued on the decree-holders filing the process for the same.

3. The grievance of the petitioners against that order is two fold. It has been strenously pressed by the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the learned Munsif has committed illegality in holding that their income is more than Rs. 2,400/- per year. The second ground of attack on the impugned order is that the learned Munsif has wrongly interpreted the term 'house hold income' as being the combined income of both the petitioners and other members of the family living with them Controverting the arguments, the learned Counsel for the non-petitioners submitted that it was on the admission of Jetihmal, petitioner himself that he and his wife and three sons are earning by labour, that the court has calculated yearly income of the family. Meeting out the second contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners it has been urged, that, the word house hold income 'means' the income of the whole family and not that of the judgment-debtors alone.

4. So far as the first point is concerned, the order is quite clear-and based on the appreciation of evidence. The learned Magistrate has discussed the evidence of the parties and based his conclusion mainly on the statement of jethmal, petitioner who has deposed that five members of his family were doing labour. On the basis of the evidence led by Jethmal the court has calculated the amount of income of the male members at the rate of Rs. 4/- per day and that of the lady at the rate of Rs. 3/- per day by labour. He has also taken into consideration the fact that average working days were about 15 days in a month. This reasoning is well founded because agricultural labourers have seasonal work and many a times remain idle Hence, the calculation about the income of the petitioner and his family members has been properly calculated and it would be wrong to say that finding of the learned Munsif is based on surmises or conjectures.

5. It is the second point that is, the definition of the 'household income' on which the learned Counsel for the petitioners has laid great stress According to him the object of this, legislation will be frustrated if the interpretation of the term 'house hold income' will be made so liberally so as to include the income of the whole family, because in that case very few persons will be entitled to the benefit under the Act.

6. This is correct that the intention of the legislature was to rescue the poor agricultural labourers, marginal, farmers and rural artisans from the clutches of the debt which was telling so high on their financial possession and number of families were becoming hand to mouth. The criteria for fixing the amount of income of the agricultural labourer to Rs. 2,400/- per year to entitle him to an exemption is also for the reasons that with income less, than that it is very difficult to maintain himself and the family. Enactments foe social reforms fall within the definition of benevolent legislation and the interpretation of the previsions is to be made in a way beneficial to she persons for whom it is also to be kept in, mind that the interpretation may not be so liberal so as to go beyond the intention of the legislature and prejudicial to the other side. With this principle in mind, the definition of the term 'house hold income' occurring in Section 2(a) is to be understood.

7. The term 'house hold income' or even the word 'house hold' has not been defined in the Act. The learned Counsel for the parties also could not point out the definition of this word in any other enactment which could have thrown light on the point for decision in this case. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has of course drawn my attention to the previsions of Section 230 of the Hindu Law and Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Cede to substantiate his contention that this term means the 'individual income' of the person concerned, that is, the judgment-debtor. He cited one authority each on both the provisions. In the case of Ram Charan Das v. Girja Nandini Devi and Ors. : [1965]3SCR841 . The meaning of the word family with reference to the 'family settlement' under the Hindu Law came for decision and their Lordships were pleased to observe that in this context the word 'family' is tot to be understood in a narrow sense, being a group of persons whom the law recognised as having a right of succession or having a claim to a share in the disputed property. According to the learned Counsel this observation clearly indicated that family does not consist of the people who live under the same roof and, therefore, the term 'house-hold income' occurring in the Act should be taken to be the individual income of the judgment-debtor and not the total income of the whole family. In my opinion, this authority is of no help in the present case for the two reasons Firstly, the term 'house-hold income' and the separate income of an individual or the meaning of family are distinct things. In the present case it is the term 'household income' which is to be interpreted and not the term 'family' or the separate income of a Hindu member of a joint family. Secondly the Act is applicable to every sect of the society & is not confined to the Hindus only and, therefore, provision of the Hindu Law regarding the individual income or separate income of the members of the Joint Hindu Family will not be applicable to this Act.

8. With reference to Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the learned Counsel for the petitioners referred to the case of Captain Ramesh Chander Kaushol v. Mrs. Veena Kaushal and Ors. : 1979CriLJ3 . While interpreting the term 'in the whole' occurring in Section 125 Cr.P.C., their lordships were pleased to observe that the words 'in the whole' in the context mean, taking all the items of maintenance together and not all the members of the family put together. This authority is also of no assistance in the present case because the interpretation of the term 'in the whole' cannot be taken as the interpretation of the term 'from all sources' occurring in the definition of 'agricultural labourer' in Section 2(a) of the Act.

9. The definition of the term 'house-hold income' or the word 'household' not being in the enactment, referred to various dictionaries for and noted the meaning of word 'house-hold' and related words appearing in them to have a guidance in arrived at a decision on the point.

10. In Comprehensive English-Hindi Dictionary by Prof. Dr. Raghuvira the meaning of term 'house-hold' is given as (i), (ii) family; and that of words.

11. In Venkataramaiya's Law Lexicon, the meaning of term 'House-holder' is an occupier of a home or a man of family as the context my indicate. In Legal Glossary, Government of India Ministry of Law the meaning of term 'House hold effects' is given as, '...'

12. In Webster's Third New International Dictionary, the meaning of the word 'Household' is given as, those who dwell under the same roof and compose a family; a domestic establishment; a social unit comprised of those living together in the same dwelling place.

13. In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of the word 'House-hold' is given as the maintaining of a house or family, house keeping, the contents of a house collectively; House-hold good; the inmates of a house collectively; a domestic establishment. The meaning of teim 'Household stuff' is given as the goods, utensils; vessels, etc. belonging to a house-hold.

14. According to Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary 'Household' means those who are held together in the same house and compose a family.

15. . From the meaning of the term 'House-hold' and connected words in these dictionaries. It is clear that it means members of the family dwelling in the same house.

16. In Dr. Raghuvir's Dictionary the meaning of the word 'Household' is given as'...' or 'family'. In my opinion this meaning 'family' of the house-hold appearing in Dr. Raghuvir's Dictionary read with the meaning given in other dictionaries referred to above, gives an idea that 'house hold' means those who live together in the same house and compose a family. It distinguishes it from the definition of the term family' used in common parlance & found in certain special Acts. Though the meaning of the 'Household term Income' is not traceable in these dictionaries, yet sc me help can be taken to understand the term by referring to the meaning of the word, Effect 'Household goods'. The meaning given to these words is.... The word 'Household Collectively' appearing in the meanings of the term 'house hold' carries importance, in Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In the same dictionary the meaning of the term 'household Stuff' is given as goods, utensils, vessels, etc. belonging to a household. If the word 'Income' be read instead of the word 'Stuff' along with 'Household', it may mean the income belonging to a household. Thus, I am inclined to hold that the legislature by using the term 'household income' meant the income of all those living together in the same house and comprising a family. The contentions of the learned Counsel for the petitioners that word 'whose' preceding the term 'household income' in the definition of agricultural labourer appearing in the Act is a singular expression is not appealing. The word 'whose' is used as singular and plural both. The words 'from all sources' succeeding the term 'Household Income' of whatever type of all the members that is to say the income should come to the family from whatever source it may be. The individual income of each member of the family dwelling in the same house is a source and, therefore, the income of all the family members residing in the same house and comprising a household will have to be taken into consideration in calculating the income of the judgment-debtor. To my mind, the meaning of the term 'Household' is too plain to import any other meaning than that it is the collective income of all the members of the family living together.

17. In view of the discussion above, the finding of the learned Munsif regarding the amount of yearly income of judgment-debtors and the interpretation of the term 'Household Income' is perfectly correct and the impugned order calls for no interference. The revision petition is, therefore dismissed but in the circumstance with no order as to costs.


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