1. These are related appeals from the judgment of the learned Principal Subordinate Judge of Cuddalore, in O.S. No. 65 of 1943, which was a suit remanded by this Court for recovery of the balance of principal and interest due upon a promissory note executed on 1st November, 1937. In A.S. No. 336 of 1956, the appellant is the second plaintiff in the suit. In A.S. No. 473 of 1956, the appellants are defendants 2 to 5 in the Court below.
2. The point raised in the main appeal (A.S. No. 336 of 1956) is a simple one; The plaintiff originally instituted the suit after reduction of the debt in accordance with the provisions of Madras Act IV of 1938, as it then stood. There was a decree and an appeal to this Court, and in this Court the decree and judgment of the lower Court were set aside, and the suit was remanded for disposal in accordance with the directions of this Court. The learned Subordinate Judge has finally awarded costs to the plaintiffs under Section 18(1) of Madras Act IV of 1938, since the suit was admittedly instituted after 1st October, 1937, upon the scale or proportion of the debt as ultimately scaled down. What is now urged is that this is a hardship, and that, since the plaintiffs are not blameable in respect of the amount for which they filed the suit in accordance with Madras Act IV of 1938 as it then stood, they ought not to be awarded any reduced costs, simply because the subsequent amendments to the Act have affected the amount of the decree.
3. The point would have some substance, but for the explicit and clear requirements of Section 18(1) of the Act. In Vemireddi Rangareddi v. Venkata Reddi : AIR1943Mad5 , a Bench of this Court had to deal, inter alia, with this matter of costs, and the learned Judges observed as follows:
Under the provisions of Section 18, when a suit is filed after 1st October, 1937, the Court must allow costs on the basis of the debt as scaled down. The corollary of this provision of law, is that when a suit is filed before 1st October, 1937, costs should legitimately be allowed on die basis of the decree which would have been passed, had it not been for the intervention of Act IV of 1938.
4. But this principle cannot be stretched further, to negate or nullify the explicit provisions of Sections 18(1) which the Legislature has thought fit to enact. In any suit filed after 1st October, 1937, even though the suit might have been instituted, for the proper amount as the provisions of Madras Act IV of 1938 then stood, if the ultimate scaled down amount for which the decree is passed is different, owing to the intervention of statutory amendments, the plaintiff will only be entitled to costs on the basis of the scaled down decree. There is no discretion in a Court administering a provision of this character, to import equitable considerations which would do violence to the plain language and purport of the section. I, therefore, find that the lower Court was right, and that this ground of objection must fail. Further, there is even ground to indicate that, with regard to certain of the amendments at least, the Legislature really intended them to be retrospective in their effect. All that can be suggested here is that a further amendment of Section 18(1) of Act IV of 1938 which would enable a litigant to obtain the scale of costs with reference to the provisions of the Act applicable at the time when he instituted the suit, and not with reference to future changes of the Act which could not be predicted or prophesied by any party, would appear to be in the interests of justice and equity.
5. With these observations, the appeal is dismissed. With regard to the related appeal (A.S. No. 473 of 1956) by defendants 2 to 5 this concerns two alleged further payments, namely Rs. 220-5-9 towards Exhibit B-5 and Rs. 60-11-3 towards Exhibit A-2. As the lower Court points out, these payments were not alleged at any stage prior to the arguments in the suit, and were not claimed in the pleadings. Further, they are not supported by any direct evidence, or by any of the accounts or other portions of the record. They are sought to be substantiated on the circumstantial evidence of the sums in renewal being less than the sums for which such renewals ought to have been made, if these payments had not really occurred. But, obviously, the facts are equally capable of another inference, that there was concession to this extent as between the parties.
6. The related appeal, A.S. No. 473 of 1956 is also seen to be lacking in merits, and both the appeals are hereby dismissed. The parties will bear their own costs.