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Bal Chand Vs. the District Judge - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 47 of 1977
Judge
Reported in1985(2)WLN694
AppellantBal Chand
RespondentThe District Judge
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Ram Rakh v. Creditors
Excerpt:
.....the act, the act will undoubtedly be not applicable. therefore, the question of determination of the amount under section 6 of the act would not arise and application under section 6 of the act is not maintainable.;writ dismissed - - aggrieved by the order of the learned debt relief court, the petitioner, bal chand, filed a revision petition under section 17 of the act, before the district judge, kota, contending that the learned debt relief court failed to exercise his jurisdiction, as the application under section......1957 (for short here in after 'the act'), contending that he was an agriculturist, and that, the debt relief court should determine his debt. the panchayat samiti, sultanpur contested the application contending that the application filed by the petitioner under section 6 of the act, was not maintainable as the loan granted by the panchayat samiti to the petitioner, did not fall within the definition of the term 'debt' as given in clause (c) of section 2 of the act. the learned debt relief court framed a preliminary issue regarding maintainability of the application under section 6 of the act. the learned debt relief court after hearing the arguments on preliminary issue held that the loan granted to the petitioner did not fall within the definition of debt as defined in section 2(c) of.....
Judgment:

Panna Chand Jain, J.

1. This writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, arises out of the following circumstances:

2. The petitioner, Bal Chand, took a loan of Rs. 4,554.71 from the Panchayat Samiti, Sultanpur, for seed and fertilizer. As the said amount was not paid back by the petitioner, proceedings for recovery were initiated against him. The petitioner filed an application under Section 6 of the Rajas-than Relief of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 1957 (for short here in after 'the Act'), contending that he was an agriculturist, and that, the Debt Relief Court should determine his debt. The Panchayat Samiti, Sultanpur contested the application contending that the application filed by the petitioner under Section 6 of the Act, was not maintainable as the loan granted by the Panchayat Samiti to the petitioner, did not fall within the definition of the term 'debt' as given in clause (c) of Section 2 of the Act. The learned Debt Relief Court framed a preliminary issue regarding maintainability of the application under Section 6 of the Act. The learned Debt Relief Court after hearing the arguments on preliminary issue held that the loan granted to the petitioner did not fall within the definition of debt as defined in Section 2(c) of the Act. Consequently, the petition was held to be not maintainable. Aggrieved by the order of the learned Debt Relief Court, the petitioner, Bal Chand, filed a revision petition under Section 17 of the Act, before the District Judge, Kota, contending that the learned Debt Relief Court failed to exercise his jurisdiction, as the application under Section. 6 of the Act was not maintainable. The learned District Judge upheld the order passed by the Debt Relief Court and dismissed the revision petition by his order dated 24th August, 1976. Before this Court, the petitioner has challenged the correctness of the order passed by the Debt Relief Court and that of the District Judge inter alia, on the grounds that the loan in dispute is a debt falling with in the definition of the 'debt' as given in the Act and that Section 4(k) of the Act, being ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution, the debt payable to the local authority, viz., Panchayat Samiti could be adjudged under the provisions of the Act.

3. Mr. Soral, the learned counsel for the petitioner, submits that clause (k) of Section 4 of the Act has already been declared ultra vires of Article 14 of the Constitution by this court in Fateh Singh v. Gram Panchayat, Ransi . In such circumstances, the Panchayat Samiti is not entitled to seek exemption and petitioner's debt requires to be determined under Section 6 of the Act.

4. To substantiate his arguments, Mr. Soral, learned counsel for the petitioner, also submitted that same result would follow if the obseravations made by this Court in Nathudan v. The State of Rajasthan AIR 1964 Raj 374 are studied.

5. In Nathudan's case (supra), the provisions of Section 4(j) of the Act were under challenge. In that case it was observed that the said provisions are ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution as there was no intelligible principle underlying the exempted category of debts due of Government. This judgment was followed in the case of Fateh Singh (supra). In that case, it was contended that Section 4(j) of the Act has been declared ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and on the parity of reasoning clause (k) of Section 4 is also violative of Article 14 and, this court declared clause (k) of Section 4 being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

6. In Ram Rakh v. Creditors 1970 RLW 309 a Division Bench of this court held Section 4(b) of the Act to be in valid and hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. This Authority has been considered in Fateh Singh's case (supra). Fateh Singh's case, on which much reliance has been placed by Mr. Soral, learned counsel for the petitioner, is distinguishable as only point that was required to be determined by the Court was, whether Section 4(k) of the Act was a valid law and, as such it debarred the Debt Relief Court to adjudicate the date of the Panchayat Samiti, as Section 4 creates a bar for adjudication of such debt by the Debt Relief Court. In that case, no decision was given by the court as to whether the amount claimed falls within the definition of the term 'debt' as given in the Act, though an objection was taken in the writ petition. While, in the instant case, the main question that has been agitated by the learned counsel for the respondent is that amount of the from given by the Panchayat Samiti to the petitioner does not fall within the definition of the term 'debt' as defined in Section 2 of the Act, which is reproduced as under:

2(c). 'Debt' includes all liabilities owing to a creditor; in cash or kind secured or unsecured payable under a decree or order of a civil court or otherwise, whether due or not due, but shall not include land revenue or anything recoverable as land revenue other than liabilities payable under a decree of a village Panchayat or any money for the recovery of which a suit is barred by limitation.

7. Mr. Singhi, learned counsel for the respondent, contends that the loan advanced by the Panchayat Samiti falls within the definition of expression 'land revenue' by virtue of Section 82 of the Rajasthan Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishad Act, 1959. He also submits that the same result will follow if Section 256 of the Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956 is taken into consideration. He contends that as the loan advanced by the Panchayat Samiti comes within the category of land revenue. Consequently, it is excluded from the definition of 'debt' as defined under the Act and, therefore, the application under Section 6 of the Act is not maintainable.

8. I have given my anxious consideration to the respective arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties and I am of the view that Fateh Singh's case (supra) is not applicable in the instant case. As already observed in that case, it was not determined as to whether the loan advanced by the Panchayat was a debt or not. The said judgment proceeded on the footing that the amount to be recovered was a debt within the meaning of the Act. The only contention raised in that case and determined, was about the constitutionality of Section 4(k) of the Act. Thus, the said case stands distinguished.

9. In the instant case, I am of the opinion, that the loan granted by the Panchayat Samiti is recoverable as arrears of land revenue and therefore, it is not a debt falling within the definition of Section 2(c) of the Act. If the loan is not a debt within the meaning of the Act, the Act will undoubtedly be not applicable. Therefore, the question of determination of the amount under Section 6 of the Act would not arise and the application under Section 6 of the Act is not maintainable. In this view of the matter I am in agreement with the order passed by the learned District Judge, Kota and hold that the loan granted by the Panchayat Samiti is recoverable as arrears of land revenue and, therefore, it is not a debt falling within the definition of Section 2(c) of the Act.

10. Having considered this aspect of the matter, no question arises for the determination of the constitutionality or validity of Section 4(k) of the Act Even if it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution it does not effect the present case as the applicability of the Act would come when a particular loan is held to be a debt and the party claims exemption from operation of the Act.

11. In the result, the writ petitition is dismissed with no order as to costs.


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