1. This petition raises questions under Section 15 of Act IV of 1938 resulting from rather unusual facts. The petitioner was the tenant and against him a decree had been passed for arrears of rent for faslis 1341 to 1343. At the same time he was litigating with his landlord in the Civil Court and as a result of that litigation there was an amount of Rs. 100 lying in deposit in the Court of the District Munsiff which the petitioner was entitled to draw subject only to a possible claim for restitution by the landlord. The landlord executing his decree for rent got a prohibitory order attaching' this sum of Rs. 100 lying in the District Munsiff's Court to the credit of the tenant. It is asserted in the petition under Section 15 to the Revenue Court that this sum of Rs. 100 was actually transferred to the credit of the rent suit and was lying in deposit in the Revenue Court at the relevant period. This assertion is not contradicted in the counter-affidavit. On 27th September, 1938, the tenant made this application to the Revenue Court praying that the deposit of Rs. 100 lying in the Revenue Court to the credit of the rent suit should be treated as a payment towards the rent for fasli 1347 so as to enable the tenant to get the benefit of Section 15 (4) of Act IV of 1938. Objection was taken on various grounds, one of which was that the rent due for fasli 1347 was Rs. 130 so that the deposit made would not suffice to qualify the applicant for relief. Without going into the figures the learned Deputy Collector held that Section 15 (4) does not contemplate the use of amounts covered by execution proceedings in some other connection to entitle the tenant to get relief. The petition was therefore dismissed.
2. The matter is not free from difficulty, but it seems to me that the view taken by the learned Deputy Collector is open to criticism. Under Section 15 (4) the tenant can claim relief not merely on the basis of a payment to the landholder but on the basis of a payment into Court, the Court being in this case the Court of the learned Deputy Collector. Under Section 15 (3) the landholder is under an obligation to credit any payment of rent in the first instance towards the rent due for fasli 1347 and not towards the rent due for any previous fasli. Reading these provisions together, it would seem to follow that where there is in deposit an amount of money earmarked for the rent of a particular holding as decreed, the landholder should not be allowed to draw out that money except on the terms that he credits it in the manner laid down in the statute. The tenant may reasonably assume that the amount of money so deposited would be used in the way contemplated in Section 15 (3). While therefore under the ordinary law, the tenant would have no power to require the Court to divert the attached sum away from the decree under which it has been attached, any more than he would have the power to require his landlord to divert an amount appropriated towards earlier faslis so as to satisfy the rent of a later fasli, the conclusion seems irresistible that the provisions of Section 15 (3) and (4) override the ordinary law in this respect. That is to say, when there is rent deposited in Court after the Act came into force, it would necessarily have to be drawn by the landholder only in accordance with the provisions of Section 15 (3) for credit firstly to the two faslis mentioned therein. Presumably the landholder withdrawing the money in pursuance of Section 15 (3) of the Act would be relieved of the necessity of recording satisfaction towards the decree for earlier faslis to the extent to which the statutory re-appropriation is made, the question of the satisfaction of this decree being left to be worked out in accordance with the provisions of Section 15 (4).
3. If this view is correct, it seems to me that the order of the learned Deputy Collector cannot be upheld. This sum of money, though earmarked for the old decree, could not legally be used by the decree-holder for the purpose for which it was earmarked until the arrears of faslis 1347 and 1346 had been satisfied. He would not, I think, be justified in opposing the adjustment of this deposit until the time stipulated in Section 15 (1) of the Act had elapsed in order to defeat the provisions of that section. Assuming that the money was actually in deposit in the Revenue Court before 30th September, 1938, when this application was made by the tenant that effect be given to Section 15 (3) and (4) and that this amount be credited firstly to fasli 1347, in my opinion the 'Court should have taken such action as was necessary to see that the obligation imposed by statute on the landholder was enforced. If, of course, the money was not in fact in deposit with the learned Deputy Collector until after 30th September had passed, the tenant would clearly have no right under Section 15 (4) at all. If, moreover, the amount standing to the credit of the tenant in the Revenue Court together with any other payment made towards the rent of fasli 1347 on or before 30th September, 1938, was less than the amount due for that fasli, including any interest that might be due thereon, then clearly the tenant's right to scale down the rent would disappear.
4. The civil revision petition is therefore allowed and the application is remanded to the trial Court for fresh disposal in the light of this judgment after recording findings on the questions (1) whether the deposit of Rs. 100 was lying to the credit of the rent suit in the Revenue 'Court on or before the 30th September, 1938, and (2) whether this amount together with any other payments made by the tenant on or before 30th September, 1938, was sufficient to satisfy the claim for rent of fasli 1347 together with any claim for interest thereon. Costs in revision will abide by the result.