1. This revision petition raises the question of the meaning of the explanation to Section 8 of Madras Act IV of 1938. Does the term 'renewed or included in a fresh document' cover the case in which a debt due by A is discharged on a debt due by B to the same creditor being substituted for it?
2. The facts are that one Arunachala was indebted to the plaintiff under a promissory note Ex. E of the year 1918. That promissory note was discharged and in lieu of it on the same day (3rd October, 1934) a promissory note Ex. D was executed by the defendant who is a distant relative of Arunachala. This has been renewed by a series of documents terminating in the suit promissory note by defendant to the plaintiff dated 19th August, 1936. There is a missing link in 1925, but the lower Court has found that the evidence is sufficient to prove that the missing promissory note of 1925 was part of the chain of renewals. It follows therefore that in scaling down the debt the defendant is at least entitled to go back to Ex. D of 1924. The lower Court has found that he is also entitled to go back to Ex. E of 1918 executed by his relative Arunachala and the plaintiff seeks to revise this order.
3. It was held by Somayya, J., in In re Ramaswami Chettiar : (1939)2MLJ609 that when B takes over a debt due by A, the new document is not a renewal of A's debt nor is it an inclusion in a fresh document so as to bring in the explanation to Section 8. There is a very brief judgment of Stodart, J., in C.R.P. No. 1962 of 1939 where our learned brother held that in the case of a debt by A renewed by his legal representative B, the explanation to Section 8 applies and that B's debt was a renewal of that of A. It is possible that different considerations may govern the case of two debts, one incurred by the legal representative of the debtor under the earlier debt. We are not, however, concerned with such a case here. The defendant was not the legal representative of Arunachala. The fact seems to be that by some private Arrangement the debt due by the defendant was substituted for the debt due by his relative Arunachala. Can it be said in such circumstances that the defendant's debt is a renewal of the debt of Arunachala? We have no doubt that in ordinary parlance, when we speak of a renewal of a debt, we ordinary mean the substitution of a fresh contract between the same parties for the same amount or the same amount plus accrued interest. That is the view taken by the Court of Appeal in the case of Barber v. Mackrell 68 L.T. 29. Lord Justice Lindley says:
A bill is renewed when another bill is taken in its place, the parties to the bill and the amount of it being the same, though perhaps in some cases the interest due on the one bill is added.
4. It seems to us clear that this is the sense in which the word 'renewed' is employed by the Legislature in the explanation to Section 8.
5. It has been contended that though the defendant's debt may not be a renewal of the debt of Arunachala, it may be said to be an inclusion in a fresh document of Arunachala's debt and that the explanation can therefore be applied. We consider that this interpretation of the explanation to Section 8 involves violence to the language. Reading that explanation as a whole, we have no doubt that it was intended to cover the case of a debt by A in favour of X renewed by another debt by A in favour of X or included in a fresh document executed by A in favour of X for the original advance plus some further sum. This view is confirmed by reference to the later words of the explanation regarding the principal originally advanced with such sums, if any, as have been subsequently advanced and especially by reference to the final words 'principal sum repayable by the agriculturist'. Obviously, the Legislature was dealing with the same debtor throughout. We say nothing on the question whether when A dies and B inherits his liability and executes a new promissory note in substitution for that executed by A, the explanation would or would not apply.
6. In the result therefore we hold that the defendant will be entitled in scaling down the debt to go back only to the promissory note Ex. D dated 3rd October, 1924.
7. There is one other point with respect to which the lower Court's order appears to be defective. No provision is made in the lower Court's order for the costs in the suit. This is not a case to which Section 18(1) applies as the suit appears to have been filed before 1st October, 1937. The omission to provide for the costs in the suit seems to have been due to inadvertance. This will be remedied by the trial Court if the petitioner's statement that the suit was filed before 1st October, 1937, is found to be correct. The Civil Revision Petition is therefore allowed with costs and the application is remitted to the trial Court for disposal in the light of this judgment.