1. On 4th March, 1933, the petitioners executed a promissory note for Rs. 300 in favour of the respondent (plaintiff). In October of the same year he paid Rs. 100 towards the principal. On 18th November, 1935, we find the endorsement 'interest calculated, up to date has been paid off in full'. The plaintiff brings the present suit for the balance of Rs. 200 principal and Rs. 7-8-0 interest from the 22nd March, 1938 (the date on which the Madras Agriculturists' Relief Act came into force) to date of suit. Two questions arose; and the one with which we are concerned is what is the amount due under Act IV of 1938. It was held in favour of the plaintiff by the District Munsif of Poonamallee that the plaintiff was entitled to the amount claimed.
2. It is strenuously argued by Mr. Chakravarthy that in applying Section 9 of Act IV of 1938, interest should be calculated at 5 per cent, from the date when the debt was incurred; to that should be added the principal; and from that sum should be deducted the amount actually paid. The plaintiff, it is contended, would be entitled only to the balance, which would probably be something less than nothing in the present case. That however is not the correct interpretation to put on Section 9. Section 9(1) deals entirely with the question of interest. It says that interest shall be calculated up to the date of the commencement of the Act at 5 per cent, simple interest, that credit should be given for the interest already paid, and that the amount outstanding for interest should be added to the principal outstanding and the plaintiff should be given a decree for the amount so calculated. On 18th November, 1935, the interest Outstanding was paid off in full and the plaintiff has made no claim whatever for interest. As he is not bound to pay anything back, he cannot be given less than what he has claimed except for the small amount of Rs. 7-8-0, to which I shall presently refer.
3. It is further argued that if Section 9(1) be deemed to deal only with the question of interest and that the amount paid by way of interest has not to be deducted from the principal as well as the interest calculated at 5 per cent, then there would be no meaning in Section 9(2). I do not however agree; for it is easy to conceive of a case in which the debtor had paid off the entire amount of principal due and also paid an amount of interest which was greater than that calculated at 5 per cent. In such a case, were it not for the provision of Section 9(2), the debtor would be entitled to a refund.
4. I have been asked to remand this C.R.P. because the trial Court says in disposing of this point:
It is not open to me to re-open the adjustment arrived at between the parties before 18th November, 1935.
5. I do not know what the learned District Munsif had in mind when he said this; but the Court is clearly entitled to consider what principal was paid in the first instance and what interest had been paid. The Court was entitled and was bound to have regard to the transaction from the date on which the debt was first incurred. However, this point has no significance in view of my findings above; for the decree of the lower Court was right.
6. The plaintiff has claimed interest from the date on which the Act came into force up to the date of suit and costs and subsequent interest; but I find that he is not entitled to so much. Section 12 entitles a creditor to interest on any sum remaining outstanding after the debt has been scaled down from the date up to which it had been scaled down. That is to say, the plaintiff is entitled to interest only from the date of the decree.
7. With this slight modification, the petition is dismissed with costs.