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Palanichami Chettiar and ors. Vs. the Reliance Bank of India, Ltd., Through Its Secretary - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1956)1MLJ1.
AppellantPalanichami Chettiar and ors.
RespondentThe Reliance Bank of India, Ltd., Through Its Secretary
Excerpt:
- - this condition having been satisfied i have next to consider whether the decision of the learned district munsiff is correct. 9 of 1952 and 88 of 1953 are 'decrees for the payment of money passed in a suit for the recoveiy of a debt'.if an application for rateable distribution was an application for the execution of a decree the terms of section 3 would be satisfied and the bar imposed would emerge. it is therefore clear that an application for rateable distribution is an application for execution so that the terms of section 3 of act v of 1954 are literally satisfied. in this view, the order of the learned district munsiff is clearly erroneous and is hereby set aside and e......these applications for rateable distribution are barred by reason of section 3 of this act.3. the learned district munsiff held that this provision was no bar and that the purpose of the enactment did not require the application for rateable distribution being thrown out. on this reasoning the applications for rateable distribution were allowed. it is the correctness of this order that is challenged in revision before me.4. when the petitions were originally opened learned counsel for the respondent disputed the assumption by the court below regarding the status of the judgment-debtor and contended that there was no specific finding regarding his being an agriculturist. i therefore called for a finding on this point and the learned district munsiff has submitted his report in the course.....
Judgment:

Rajagopala Ayyangar, J.

1. These two revisions arise out of a common order passed in two applications for rateable distribution E.A. No. 164 of 1954 and E.A. No. 180 of 1954.

2. The decree-holder in O.S. No. 5 of 1953 attached certain properties belonging to the judgment-debtor, brought them to sale in E.P. No. 5 of 1954 and the sale having been effected is pending confirmation. Meanwhile the respondents in the revisions before me who held decrees in O.S. No. 9 of 1952 on the file of the Ramnad District Court and in O.S. No. 88 of 1953, District Munsif's Court, Paramakudi, for the payment of money by the same judgment-debtor applied for rateable distribution of these assets to them also along with the decree-holders in O.S. No. 5 of 1953. The judgment-debtor is an agriculturist within the meaning of the Madras Indebted Agriculturists' (Temporary Relief) Act, 1954. The question raised for decision is whether these applications for rateable distribution are barred by reason of Section 3 of this Act.

3. The learned District Munsiff held that this provision was no bar and that the purpose of the enactment did not require the application for rateable distribution being thrown out. On this reasoning the applications for rateable distribution were allowed. It is the correctness of this order that is challenged in revision before me.

4. When the petitions were originally opened learned Counsel for the respondent disputed the assumption by the Court below regarding the status of the judgment-debtor and contended that there was no specific finding regarding his being an agriculturist. I therefore called for a finding on this point and the learned District Munsiff has submitted his report in the course of which he has stated that before him all parties agreed that the judgment-debtor was an agriculturist. This condition having been satisfied I have next to consider whether the decision of the learned District Munsiff is correct.

5. The entire question depends upon the proper construction of Section 3 of Madras Act V of 1954 which runs in these terms:

No suit for the recovery of a debt shall be instituted, no application for the execution of a decree for the payment of moneys passed in a suit for the recovery of a debt shall be made, and no suit or application for the eviction of a tenant on the ground of non-payment of a debt shall be instituted or made, against any agriculturist in any Civil or Revenue Court before the expiry of a year from the date of commencement of this Act.

6. It is a common ground that O.S. Nos. 9 of 1952 and 88 of 1953 are 'decrees for the payment of money passed in a suit for the recoveiy of a debt'. If an application for rateable distribution was an application for the execution of a decree the terms of Section 3 would be satisfied and the bar imposed would emerge. Section 73 of the Civil Procedure Code which sets out the conditions under which a decree-holder could claim rateable distribution enacts-include an application to the Court for 'the execution of a decree for the payment of money' and the non-satisfaction of such decree. It is therefore clear that an application for rateable distribution is an application for execution so that the terms of Section 3 of Act V of 1954 are literally satisfied. The reasoning however by which the learned District Munsiff got over the effect of the words in Section 3 was by resort to a speculation as to the purpose for which the Madras Act V of 1954 was passed. No doubt if the language used in the operative portion of a provision is ambiguous and is capable of more than one construction, the purpose of the enactment and the mischief it sought to remedy might legitimately be referred to to decide which of the two alternative constructions could be adopted. But when the language used is clear, Courts have to give effect to them and cannot cut down their scope by reference to the presumed intentions of the Legisalature. Learned Counsel for the respondent could not contend that an application for rateable distribution was not an application for execution. In this view, the order of the learned District Munsiff is clearly erroneous and is hereby set aside and E.As. 164 of 1954 and 180 of 1954 are dismissed. The petitioner will be entitled to his costs one-half in each petition.


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