1. The question in this revision petition is whether a simple mortgagee of agricultural land has a saleable interest therein, so as to bring him within the definition of the term, 'agriculturist', in Section 3(ii)(a) of Madras Act IV of 1938.
2. A mortgage is certainly an interest in immovable property and it is certainly saleable, so that, on the plain language of the section, it would seem to follow that a simple mortgagee of agricultural land is an agriculturist. The contention which has found favour with the lower Court and which is urged before us is, that the words, 'has a saleable interest in land', mean, has a right to sell the land, and it is argued that it could not have been the intention of the legislature to give to a money-lender the rights and benefits of an agriculturist debtor. With reference to this argument, it need only be said that possibly the definition of the word 'agriculturist' has been framed too widely so as to bring within the benefits of the Act those whom the legislature did not intend to benefit, but if so, the remedy is to amend the Act and not to qualify its words by putting in words we do not find in the section. As the definition is drafted, we take it to include a simple mortgagee. The Civil Revision Petition is therefore allowed With costs and the application is remitted to the trial Court for disposal.
Patanjali Sastri, J.
3. I agree with my learned brother, and only wish to add that I was first inclined to think that the opening words of the section, 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,' might serve to exclude the petitioner in this case from the scope of the definition, as it does seem somewhat repugnant to the natural sense of the word, 'agriculturist' to hold that it includes a simple mortgagee who is only a creditor holding immovable property as security for his debt; but, having regard to the various classes of persons who cannot be said to be agriculturists in the strict sense of the term, but who are clearly intended to be benefited by the Act, I hesitate to base any conclusion on the repugnancy clause.