1. It was only on the ground of limitation that the plaintiff's claim against the defendant to recover the money due under the promissory note was dismissed. It is the correctness of that conclusion that is the subject-matter of this application for revision.
2. It is common ground that unless the provisions of Madras Act I of 1955 could apply, the plaintiff's claim would be beyond the period of limitation. The promissory note was executed on 10th February, 1953, and the suit was filed on 4th September, 1957. The plaintiff could claim the benefit of the period excluded under Section 5 of Act V of 1954. But since the suit was filed only on 4th September, 1957, unless the time which can be excluded under Act I of 1955 is also excluded, the claim would be out of time. In deciding whether the defendant is an agriculturist within the meaning of Section 2 of Act I of 1955, what I have to consider is really whether the defendant comes within the scope of the exclusion in Section 2(a)(i). The defendant's specific case was that the joint family of which he and his brother were members paid land revenue beyond the limit prescribed by Section 2(a)(i), that is Rs. 150. Explanation 1 of Section 2 runs:
Where a joint family is an agriculturist, every coparcener shall be deemed to be an agriculturist provided that he does not fall under any of the categories specified in Sub-clauses (i) to (v).
As the learned Counsel for the petitioner points out, that Explanation cannot be extended to cover a converse case, that is, where the joint family ceased to be an agriculturist because of the operation of Section 2(a)(i), every member of that joint family also ceased to be an agriculturist within the meaning of Section 2(a). It should be remembered that the joint family as such is a separate juristic entity, and the individual coparcener in relation to his individual liability is a distinct juristic entity, distinct from that coparcenery. As I said, the learned Counsel for the petitioner is well-founded in his contention, that Explanation I does not cover the case of the defendant. Now we are left with this position, that the joint family of which the defendant is a member pays more than Rs. 150 as land revenue. But there is nothing to show that the defendant himself in his individual capacity paid anything beyond the monetary limit fixed by Section 2(a)(i). There was the claim of the plaintiff that the defendant was an agriculturist. That claim was not as such resisted. Only the defendant pleaded he came within the scope of the exclusion specified in Section 2(a). That has not been made out in this case.
3. I reverse the finding of the learned District Munsiff on the issue of limitation. This revision petition is allowed. The plaintiff's claim is decreed with costs in both the Courts.