1. The appellant filed an application purporting to be Under Section 19-A of the Madras Agriculturists Relief Act as amended by Madras Act XXIII of 1948 for the determination of the debt due by him. Admittedly on the material date the appellant would not be an agriculturist within the meaning of the definition in Section 3(ii) of the Act read with provisos (B) and (C). It was contended on his behalf before Rajagopalan J. on the Original Side that nevertheless the appellant was entitled to maintain the application because of the insertion to Section 13-A into the Act by the amending Act XXIII of 1948. Section 13-A runs thus 'Where a debt is incurred by a person who would be an agriculturist as defined in Section 3(ii) but for the operation of proviso (B) or proviso (C) to that section, the rate of interest applicable to the debt shall be the rate applicable to it under the law, custom, contract or decree of Court under which the debt arises or the rate applicable to an agriculturist under Section 13, whichever rate is less.' The contention on behalf of the appellant as developed by his learned Counsel, Mr. Slvaramakrishna Aiyar practically amounted to this, namely, that the effect of the new Section 13-A is to repeal by implication provisos (B) and (C) in Section 3(ii) of the Act, It is true no doubt that the definition starts by saying that 'Agriculturist' means a person who has a certain Interest in particular types of land, but the definition does not end there and it must be deemed to include the provisions by way of limitation declared in and by the different provisos (A), (B), (C) and (D). It is not accurate to say that the definition of an ''agriculturist' is only contained in Clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 3(ii) excluding the provisos. The provisons are as much an integral part of the definition as the main clauses which precede the provisos. If that be so, we fail to see, anything in Section 13-A which has the effect of repealing by implication provisos (B) and (C). That section 'ex facie' deals only with one subject-matter, namely, the rate of interest payable by certain persons. It gives the benefit of a reduced rate of interest to persons who would not be agriculturists within the definition contained in Section 3(11) read with the provisos, because it expressly says that even persons who would not be agriculturists because of the operation of proviso (B) or proviso (C) would, if they be otherwise agriculturists, be entitled to the benefit of the reduced rate of interest. Section 13-A does not deal with any other matter, it certainly does not confer any new procedural right on persons who did not have that right before the insertion of that section. We cannot attribute to the legislature the intention of repealing portions of the statute by implication, when the Legislature could have expressly and simply obtained the same effect by direct repeal. Apart from this well accepted canon of construction, our conclusion is also based on an interpretation of the language of Section 13-A itself which does not lend any support to the contention of the appellant's counsel. It may be that the appellant is entitled to relief in so far as the rate of interest is concerned. That does not fall to be considered now. All that Rajagopalan J. decided -- and we agree with his decision -- is that the appellant was not entitled to maintain an application under B. 19-A. Before Rajagopalan J. the appellant sought permission to convert this petition into a suit by paying the necessary Court-fee. The learned Judge saw no reason to grant that request. The same request was repeated to us, but we see no reason why this cumbrous procedure of converting an original petition into a suit should be resorted to when a suit can be filed in the usual course.
2. The appeal therefore fails and is dismissedwith costs.