V. Ramaswami, J.
1. This is a petition to revise the order of the Authorised Officer, Land Reforms, Erode in O.P.No. 67 of 1973 dated 27th February, 1974 by which he had dismissed an application filed by the petitioner herein for a declaration under Section 3(i) (b)(ii) of the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Arrears of Rent (Relief) Act, 1972 that he had discharged the entire arrears due to the landlord by reason of the deposit of the current rent.
2. Section 3 of this Act provided that all arrears of rent payable by a cultivating tenant to the landlord and outstanding on the 30th June, 1971 shall be deemed to be discharged if such cultivating tenant pays or deposits in the manner specified in Clause (b) of that section within 6 months from the date of publication of the Act the whole of the rent due for the fasli year commencing on the 1st July, 1971 and ending with the 30th June, 1972. The Act was published on 11th August, 1972. The deposit in this cafe was made on 9th February, 1973 with an application for declaration that the entire arrears had been wiped out by reason, of such deposit. The landlord disputed the correctness of the amount deposited and contended that the rent payable for each fasli was Rs. 360 and not Rs. 300. The Authorised Officer enquired into this matter and ultimately accepting the contention of the landlord held that the rent payable was Rs. 360. Finding that a sum of only Rs, 300 had been deposited and in the view that he had no authority under the provision to extend the time for depositing the balance amount he dismissed the application. It is against this order the present revision petition has been filed.
3. It is contended by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that under Section 3 (c) of the said Act if the Court or competent authority finds that any further sum is due, it shall direct the cultivating tenant to deposit the further sum within the period specified in Clause (a)(ii) of that section. The learned Counsel relying on the decision of Ramaprasada Rao, J., in Guruswamy v. Mysore Mission by Rev. Father Uthirum and Ors. C.R.P.No. 1161 of 1974 and 1605 of 1973. and the decision of Kailasam, J. in S. Subramania Thevar v. Angammal C.R.P.No. 1968 of 1973. contended that when the Court finds that some more amount was due it ought to grant (time and in calculating the period of 6 months the Court will have to exclude the time taken by it in disposing of the application for declaration that there was no arrears. He also contended that as the application was filed on 9th February, 1973 and as until this date the matter was not being finally disposed of he is still having two more days to deposit the amount. It is also mentioned by him that he had already deposited the balance of Rs. 60 as found by the Authorised Officer on 11th April, 1975 and that if an extension of 2 days is granted automatically the deposit would be within time and that therefore his petition under Section 3(i)(b)(ii) will have to be allowed. The learned Counsel is well founded in this contention.
4. Ramaprasada Rao, J., construing the provision of Section 3 (c) of the Act held that the time taken by the Tribunal in adjudicating and disposing of the application filed by him under that section will have to be excluded but that still the deposit will have to be made within a period of 6 months calculated from 11th August, 1972 after excluding the time taken by the Court or authority in disposing of the application filed. That means if a few days are left after the application for declaration was filed then that tenant would be satisfying the provision if he deposits the money within left out period after the disposal of his application. But the learned Counsel for the respondent landlord contended that these decisions would be applicable only if the tenant bona fide making the mistake deposited the smaller amount and not to a case where he deliberately or knowing fully well that the amount deposited by him did not represent the full amount makes the deposit and files an application. In this connection he relied on the decision of N.S. Ramaswami, J., in Chinnathambi Padayachi v. Thamgiya Pillai and Anr. C.R.P.No. 1341 of 1973. It is true that in that decision the learned Judge had held that if the deposit of a shorter amount was not bona fide and there was no bona fide controversy before the Revenue Authority or the Court about the amount due, then the tenant would not be entitled to deposit the amount after the period of 6 months calculated from 11th August, 1972 without excluding any time. The decision is not in conformity with the lather decision of this Court. If on principle the time taken for the disposal of the application filed under Section 3 will have to be excluded I do not find any ground on which the tenant could be denied the opportunity of paying the amount as provided in the decisions of Ramaprasada Rao and Kailasam, JJ. Further the section in terms does not make any reference to the bona fides or otherwise of the dispute. In fact the provision is mandatory in nature and if the authority finds that any further sum is due, it shall direct the cultivating tenant to deposit the further sum within the period specified in Clause (a)(ii) in that section. It might also be pointed out that it is not necessary for the tenant to deposit the amount due for the debt fasli year commencing from 1st July, 1971 and ending with 30th June, 1972 in one lump sum within the period of 6 months from the date of publication of the Act. He can make it in such instalments as he may choose, but within the period of the said 6 months. Therefore if the principle is that the time taken by the Court will have to be excluded in all these matters certainly he would be entitled even if that application for declaration is dismissed to make the deposit immediately thereafter and calculate the period of 6 months after excluding the time taken by that Court. In this case, as already pointed out he has paid the amount already and therefore his application will have to be allowed.
5. The learned Counsel for the respondent also relied on the decision of Ramanujam, J., Kasthuri Ammal v. Perianal Naicker C.R.P.No. 1371 of 1973. But that is a case where the application for declaration was filed on the last date and therefore there was no further time available to the tenant to make the further deposit. I should also point out that my earlier decision in Baluchamy v. Srinivasan Ayyavaru : (1975)1MLJ30 . related to the provision before the 1972 Act and has no application for the consideration of Section 3 (c) of the 1972 Act.
6. For the foregoing reasons this Civil Revision Petition is allowed and the order of the Revenue Divisional Officer is set aside and the application filed by the
petitioner in O.P. No. 67 of 1973 is allowed. But there will be no orders as to costs.