Skip to content


Sivasubramaiam Alias Kandaswami Vs. Mohideen Pitchal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1986)1MLJ235
AppellantSivasubramaiam Alias Kandaswami
RespondentMohideen Pitchal
Excerpt:
- - the contention of the respondent-revision-petitioner is that in view of the several moratorium legislations the plaintiff was entitled to exclude the period between 16th january, 1975 and 13th june, 1979, that is, 4 years, 4 months and 27 days and when this period is excluded, the suit is well within time. if this period is excluded, the suit instituted by the respondents herein is well in time......an agriculturist for a period of one year from the date of the commencement of that act. the tamil nadu debt relief laws (amendment) act of 1977 amended the aforesaid period of one year as 1 year and 6 months. the tamil nadu debt relief laws (second amendment) act of 1977 amended the above period of 1 year and 6 months as 2 years. the tamil nadu debt relief laws (amendment) act 2 of 1978 further amended the aforesaid period of 2 years as p years and 6 months. the result of the aforesaid five amendments is that no suit could be filed against an agriculturist debtor from 16th january, 1975 to 14th july, 1978.6. then comes the tamil nadu debt relief act 40 of 1978. this act does not bar the institution of any suit; but provides for a radical scaling down of certain debts due from an.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.A. Kader, J.

1. The revision petition is against the judgment of the District Munsif, Ambasamudram, in O.S.No. 559 of 1981. The defendant is the revision petitioner.

2. The respondent filed this action on a lost promissory note dated 18th March, 1974 for Rs. 600 with subsequent interest thereon and costs. The suit was resisted by the defendant-revision-petitioner, but was decreed and hence this revision.

3. The first objection raised by the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner defendant is that the suit being one on a lost promissory note, the plaintiff ought to have filed an indemnity bond along with the plaint to indemnify the claims of any other person upon such instrument under Order 6, Rule 16 of the Civil Procedure Code, and this requirement has not been complied with by the plaintiff. No doubt, the plaintiff has not filed the indemnity bond along with the plaint, but he has produced ir before the court subsequently and the court below accepted the same. Hence, this contention is unsustainable as found by the learned District Munsif.

4. The main contention advanced by the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner is that the suit is barred by time. The promissory note is dated 18th March, 1974 and the suit has been filed on 8th June, 1981 and the claim is, therefore, hopelessly barred by time. The contention of the respondent-revision-petitioner is that in view of the several moratorium legislations the plaintiff was entitled to exclude the period between 16th January, 1975 and 13th June, 1979, that is, 4 years, 4 months and 27 days and when this period is excluded, the suit is well within time.

5. It is not in dispute that this is a debt due from an agriculturist. The Tamil Nadu Ordinance I of 1975 which has subsequently been replaced by the Tamil Nadu Indebted Agriculturists (Temporary Relief) Act 10 of 1975 bars the institution of a suit against an agriculturist debtor for a period of one year from the date of the promulgation of the Ordinance, that is from 16th January, 1975 to 15th January, 1976. On 15th January, 1976, the Tamil Nadu Indebted Agriculturists (Temporary Relief) Act 15 of 1976 came into force and Section 3 of the said Act bars the institution of any suit for recovery of any debt due from an agriculturist for a period of one year from the date of the commencement of that Act. The Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act of 1977 amended the aforesaid period of one year as 1 year and 6 months. The Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Second Amendment) Act of 1977 amended the above period of 1 year and 6 months as 2 years. The Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act 2 of 1978 further amended the aforesaid period of 2 years as P years and 6 months. The result of the aforesaid five amendments is that no suit could be filed against an agriculturist debtor from 16th January, 1975 to 14th July, 1978.

6. Then comes the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978. This Act does not bar the institution of any suit; but provides for a radical scaling down of certain debts due from an agriculturist. The scheme of the Act is as follows:

(i) Where the principal amount advanced or incurred does not exceed Rs. 500, the whole of the principal and interest shall be deemed to be wholly discharged;

(ii) Where the principal amount advanced or incurred exceeds Rs. 500, but does not exceed Rs. 5000, one half of the principal amount advanced or incurred and one half of the interest shall be discharged; and

(iii) Where the principal amount advanced or incurred exceeds Rs. 5000 but does not exceed Rs. 10,000 the interest shall be deemed to be wholly discharged.

The Act of 1978 has been repealed by the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1979 which came into force on 13th June, 1979 and the scaling down provided for in the Act 40 of 1978 has been given the go-by. There appears to be a conflict of views as to whether the debts already scaled down under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978 can be reopened. But we are not concerned with that question in the instant case. Section 34 of the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1979 provides for exclusion of time for limitation and the section runs thus:

Section 34(1).--Exclusion of time for limitation and dissolution of stay of proceedings in respect of certain suits and applications--Where, on or after the 15th day of January, 1976 but before the date of the publication of this Act in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette, any suit for the recovery of any amount towards any liability arising out of the debt due from a debtor would have been instituted or any application for the execution of a decree passed in any such suit would have been made but for the fact that the institution of the suit or the making of the application was barred by the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 1978 (Tamil Nadu Act 40 of 1978), in computing the period of limitation or limit of time prescribed for such suit or application, the period commencing on and from the 15th day of January, 1976 and ending with the date of the publication of this Act in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette, shall be excluded.

This section covers the period covered by the Tamil Nadu Indebted Agriculturists (Temporary Relief) Act 15 of 1976 as amended by the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act of 1977 the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Second Amendment) Act of 1977 and the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act 2 of 1978, and the period during which the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978 was in force, that is from 15th January, 1976 to 13th June, 1979, when the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1979 came into force. But the section is not happily worded, as I shall now show.

7. Under Section 34 the period commencing on and from 15th January, 1976 and ending with the date of the publication of this Act (13th June, 1979) is excluded in cases where suits or applications for execution would have been instituted or made 'but for the fact that the institution of the suit or the making of the application was barred by the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978. As already pointed out, the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978 did not bar the institution of the suit or the making of the application for execution, but only provided for scaling down of certain debts. The Legislature could not have intended to provide for a contingency which did not exist. What the Legislature has really intended is the application of the section to cases covered by the Rules of scaling down provided for in the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978. In respect of all those cases coming within the purview of the scaling down provisions of the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1978, the period from 15th January, 1976 till the date of the publication of Act 40 of 1979 (13th June, 1979) is excluded in computing the period of limitation for filing a suit or making of an application for execution.

8. A combined reading of Ordinance I of 1975 replaced by the Tamil Nadu Indebted Agriculturists (Temporary Relief) Act 10 of 1975, the Tamil Nadu Indebted Agriculturists (Temporary Relief) Act 15 of 1976 as amended by the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act of 1977, the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Second Amendment) Act of 1977 and the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Laws (Amendment) Act of 1978 and the Tamil Nadu Debt Relief Act 40 of 1979 is that the institution of a suit for recovery of a debt due from an agriculturist is barred from 16th January, 1975 to 14th June, 1979 for a period of 4 years, 4 months and 27 days. If this period is excluded, the suit instituted by the respondents herein is well in time. The plea of limitation put forward by the revision petitioner ('defendant') is therefore, unsustainable.

9. In the result, the revision petition fails and is dismissed. No costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //