1. A short point is raised in this petition on which there is no authority whatever. The plaintiff-petitioner sued the defendant on the balance of a promissory note for Rs. 20. The promissory note is dated the 5th July, 1927, renewed by payment on the 13th June, 1930, and again on the 12th June, 1933, so that it would become barred on the 12th June, 1936. The District Munsif's Court of Ramachandrapur was closed for the long vacation from the 9th May, 1936, to the 19th June, 1936. The 20th was the penultimate Saturday, and the 21st was a Sunday, and so the petitioner filed his suit on the 22nd June, 1936. It is not contended that under ordinary circumstances, the suit would be within time; but the point was taken before the learned District Munsif that this was a suit which is cognizable by a Village Court under Section 13 of the Madras Village Courts Act. That is so. It is therefore argued that this suit could have been filed in the Court of the Village Munsif which was open during the vacation of the Court of the District Munsif and that it became barred on the 12th June, 1936, and any period subsequent thereto is not available to the plaintiff. The District Munsif took the view that the plea of limitation on which the defendant relied before him was well founded. He rested that finding on the fact that:
Normally the suit ought to have been filed in the Village Court and simply because the suit is barred by time the plaintiff cannot take advantage of the concurrent jurisdiction of this Court to try suits which are primarily triable by Village Courts.
2. Before me reliance has been placed by both sides on Section 20(a) of the Madras Village Courts Act, which states that if a suit which is triable by a Village Court is instituted in the Court of a District Munsif, he may, unless sufficient reasons exist to the contrary, transfer it to the Village Court. I may also refer to Sub-section (2). It is argued that the spirit of the Act is that suits of this value should in the first place be tried under the Village Courts Act. There are o-f course two great differences between the two tribunals. The District Munsif's Court is regulated by the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Court of the Village Munsif is not. The latter view seems to me to be the effect of the decision in Augustus Brothers v. Fernandez (1915) 29 M.L.J. 474. If that is so I think it is right not to apply Section 15, Code of Civil Procedure, to a suit of this sort. Section 15, Code of Civil Procedure, says:
Every suit shall be instituted in the Court of the lowest grade competent to try it,
and I think that must refer to Courts subject to the Code. The procedure of the Village Courts is very special and decidedly of a comprehensive character. I notice however that although the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act will apply to suits under the Village Courts Act (Section 20) - there is no provision applying the Code of Civil Procedure to such suits.
3. The point which I have to decide appears to have behind it no authority - that I have already indicated - and I must therefore decide the question as a matter of first impression after hearing the interesting arguments of learned Counsel on either side. In the absence of authority I do not consider that the period allowed by Section 4 of the Limitation Act was intended to be cut down. I do not think that I ought to imply that a litigant should be deprived of his right to go to a normal Court subject to normal procedure because a Court of a very special nature--the Village Court, happened to be open to him. To take away the right given by the Limitation Act requires, I think, some more substantial basis than implication. Prima facie, the plaintiff is entitled to sue in the District Munsif's Court. There is no compulsion to go to the Village Munsif's Court. Prima facie owing to the long vacation of the District Munsif's Court and the dates of the promissory note the plaintiff was entitled under Section 4 of the Limitation Act to wait until the 22nd June before filing the suit. In the absence of authority I see no reason why that right should be curtailed.
4. The result is in my view this petition should be allowed with costs in this Court; but in the lower Court each side will bear its own costs. The matter will go back for decision by the District Munsif. It will be open to the defendant to raise any points other than the point that the plaintiff had agreed to give up his claim which has already been decided. The defendant indicates that he will rely upon the terms of the Madras Agriculturists Relief Act.