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C. Gopalachariar Vs. Deepchand Sowcar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectService
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1941Mad207; (1940)2MLJ782
AppellantC. Gopalachariar
RespondentDeepchand Sowcar
Cases ReferredSalem v. Gururaja Rao
Excerpt:
.....new english dictionary as well as in webster's dictionary is 'for the sake of',by reason of' or 'because of. i see no good reason why it should be deemed to be otherwise. the intention behind the provisions of section 11 of the pensions act is applicable to the commuted portion as well as to the uncommitted portion of the pension and the language of section 11 does not appear to exclude from its protection the money that is due under a commutation order commuting a part of the pension......and a portion of his pension was commuted sometime in march, 1939, or thereabouts and the commuted portion of the pension amounted to rs. 3,500 and odd, and a payment order for this amount was forwarded to the postmaster, conjeevaram, for delivery to the petitioner. as the learned district judge observes, the only act remaining to be done by the petitioner is to take delivery of the payment order and to cash it at the local treasury. before he could do so attachments were made at the instance of certain money-lenders. on objection by the petitioner that the attachments were illegal in view of the provision of s11 of the pensions act, the courts below have held that his contention is not well founded and have confirmed the attachments.2. there is no doubt that in view of the.....
Judgment:

Pandrang Row, J.

1. In these connected Civil Revision Petitions from the orders of the District Judge of Chingleput in appeals which were heard together, only one point arises for determination, namely, whether the commuted portion of the pension due to the petitioner by the Government is liable to attachment at the instance of creditors of his in view of Section 11 of the Pensions Act (XXIII of 1871). The petitioner is a retired postal official, and a portion of his pension was commuted sometime in March, 1939, or thereabouts and the commuted portion of the pension amounted to Rs. 3,500 and odd, and a payment order for this amount was forwarded to the postmaster, Conjeevaram, for delivery to the petitioner. As the learned District Judge observes, the only act remaining to be done by the petitioner is to take delivery of the payment order and to cash it at the local treasury. Before he could do so attachments were made at the instance of certain money-lenders. On objection by the petitioner that the attachments were illegal in view of the provision of S11 of the Pensions Act, the Courts below have held that his contention is not well founded and have confirmed the attachments.

2. There is no doubt that in view of the Bench decision in The Municipal Council Salem v. Gururaja Rao (1934) 68 M.L.J. 118 : 58 Mad. 469, when a pension is commuted or a portion thereof, it ceases to be pension and becomes a capital sum. This decision is binding on me and I have to proceed on the basis that the commuted portion of the pension cannot be treated as pension after the commutation. It has been brought to my notice that a certain passage which was quoted and relied upon in Municipal Council, Salem v. Gururaja Rao1 from Crowe v. Price (1889) 22 Q.B.D. 429 is to be found no doubt in the Law Journal Reports Crowe v. Price (1889) 58 L.J.R. Q.B.D. 215 but is not to be found in the report of the same case in Crowe v. Price (1889) 22 Q.B.D. 429. It would seem indeed that the latter report gives a revised version of the judgment of Lord Coleridge, C.J. Nothing, however, turns on this, because apart from this passage which is relied on in The Municipal Council Salem v. Gururaja Rao (1934) 68 M.L.J. 118 : 58 Mad. 469, the Bench has clearly Laid down that after commutation the portion of the pension that was commuted ceases to he pension.

3. The point for determination is however not concluded by the decision in The Municipal Council Salem v. Gururaja Rao (1934) 68 M.L.J. 118 : 58 Mad. 469 , for, that was a case in which the question was whether the commuted portion of the pension was 'income' for the purpose of assessing profession-tax in a municipality. In the present cases it was urged in the Courts below, and the same contention is repeated in this Court, that the commuted portion of the pension is not attachable by reason of the provisions of Section 11 of the Pensions Act which runs as follows:

No pension granted or continued by Government on political considerations, or on account of past services or present infirmities or as a compassionate allowance, and no money due or to become due on account of any such pension or allowance, shall be liable to seizure, attachment or sequestration by process of any Court in British India, at the instance of a creditor, for any demand against the pensioner, or in satisfaction of a decree or order of any such Court.

4. Reliance is specially placed on the clause 'and no money due or to become due on account of any such pension or allowance,' because in view of the Bench decision in The Municipal Council, Salem v. Gururaja Rao (1934) 68 M.L.J. 118 : 58 Mad. 469, it is not really possible for the petitioner to contend successfully that that the commuted portion of the pension is still pension so as to bring , hese cases under the first portion of the section. The question. therefore is whether the commuted portion of the pension - I am using these words : 'commuted portion of the pension' as they are the words employed in the rule relating to this subject which defines the legal effect of an order of commutation; namely, Rule 6(2) of Civil Pensions (Commutation) Rules - is 'money due or to become due on account of pension.' The point is not covered by any authority; in any case no authority bearing on it has been quoted before me and no judicial interpretation of the words on account of has been brought to my notice. The phrase is a phrase used in ordinary parlance and it, is certainly not a. term of art which has acquired a definite or precise meaning in law. The ordinary dictionary meaning of the phrase has to be ascertained and applied to the facts of the present cases. The meaning given in the New English Dictionary as well as in Webster's Dictionary is 'for the sake of', 'by reason of' or 'because of.' Now can it be said that the commuted portion of the pension is not money due on account of the pension? Though the pension has been commuted, still can it be said that money due because of, or by reason of such commutation is not money due on account of the pension? It is brought to my notice by the learned advocate for the petitioner that Section 10 which relates to commutation of pension is part of Chapter III which is headed 'Mode of payment'. In other words, the commutation of pension is regarded as a mode of payment of pension. If so, can it be reasonably urged that payment of the commutation amount is not payment on account of the pension, though not of the pension itself, because after commutation it ceases to be pension? I see no good reason why it should be deemed to be otherwise. No doubt money is due immediately under the commutation order, but the commutation order itself is on account of a pension which was commuted or a portion of the pension which was commuted. The intention behind the provisions of Section 11 of the Pensions Act is applicable to the commuted portion as well as to the uncommitted portion of the pension and the language of Section 11 does not appear to exclude from its protection the money that is due under a commutation order commuting a part of the pension. I am therefore of opinion that in these cases the attachments were contrary to the provisions of Section 11 of the Pensions Act, and it follows therefore that these petitions must-be allowed and the attachments must be set aside with costs in all the Courts.


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