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Sulthan Rowther Vs. Malungu Sahib - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Limitation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ227
AppellantSulthan Rowther
RespondentMalungu Sahib
Cases ReferredPonnappa Reddi v. Thiruvengada Pillai and Co.
Excerpt:
- .....original side for execution against immoveable properties.7. the civil revision petition is allowed and the judgment and decree of the learned subordinate judge arc set aside and those of the learned district munsif, koilpatti are restored. in the circumstances of the case the parties will bear their respective costs throughout.
Judgment:

R. Sadasivam, J.

1. Petitioner, Sulthan Rowther, was the defendant in S.C. No. 281 of 1952, on the file of the Subordinate Judge's Court, Tirunelveli, in which a decree was passed against him on 20th December, 1955. The decree-holder filed applications for transmission of the decree to the District Munsif Court, Tenkasi, for execution. By order on E.A. No. 7 of 1959 on the file of the Subordinate Judge's Court, Tirunelveli, within three years, the Subordinate Judge's Court, Tirunelveli, transmitted the decree to the District Munsif's Court, Tenkasi, on 26th January, 1959. Subsequently, the decree holder filed E.P. No. 44 of 1962 on 2nd January, 1962 in the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti, and it was dismissed on 3rd March, 1962 on the ground that the decree was not transmitted to that Court and that the execution proceedings should be taken in the District Munsif Court, Tenkasi, and that petition was dismissed as not pressed on 18th March, 1963. The present E.P. No. 88 of 1967 was filed in the District Munsif's Court, Koilpatti, to realise Rs. 853.67, by the sale of the immoveable properties of the petitioner within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court, Koilpatti, after getting the transmission order from the District Munsif's Court, Tenkasi.

2. Both the Courts below found that the execution petition was not barred by limitation on account of the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963). But the District Munsif dismissed the execution petition as not maintainable on the ground that E.P. No. 44 of 1962 was not in accordance with law and that the decree was not transmitted by the Subordinate Judge's Court, Tirunelveli, which passed the decree. The lower appellate Court also held that E.P. No. 44 of 1962, on the file of the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti, which had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition, could not be treated as a step in aid. But it held that by virtue of Article 136 of the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963), the execution petition was not barred by limitation.

3. The finding of the Courts below that E.P. No. 44 of 1962 on the file of the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti, is not in accordance with law is correct. By virtue of a notification of this Court in P.Dis. No. 301 of 1961, dated 18th April, 1961, the small cause powers of Subordinate Judge's Court, Tirunelveli, were withdrawn and thereafter the execution petitions even in respect of small cause decrees like the present one which remained unsatisfied could be entertained only in the District Munsif Court, having jurisdiction in the subject-matter of the suit. It is an undisputed fact that the District Munsif Court, Tenkasi alone was the Court having jurisdiction, and not the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti. Thus E.P. No. 44 of 1962 on the file of the District Munsif's Court, Koilpatti was not entertained by that Court as the decree was not transmitted to it by the Court which passed the decree before the date of the notification, or the District Munsif's Court, Tenkasi, subsequently. I sent for the records in E.P. No. 44 of 1962, on the file of the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti, and satisfied myself about the same. The words in accordance with law ' in Article 182 (5) of the old Limitation Act (IX of 1908) are adjectival not only to the words' to the proper Court for execution,' but also to the words ' to take some step in aid of execution.' Therefore it is necessary that in order to rely on E.P. No. 44 of 1962 as a step in aid of execution, it should be one in accordance with law. Hence an application for execution made to a Court which has no jurisdiction to entertain it is not an application in accordance with law. The finding of the Courts below that E.P. No. 44 of 1962 was not in accordance with law is correct and it cannot be relied as a step in aid of execution. If E.P. No. 44 of 1962 on the file of the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti is excluded, the present execution petition got barred by limitation before the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963) came into force on 1st January, 1964.

4. The only question for determination in this civil revision petition is whether the present execution petition is barred by limitation. It is true under Article 136 of the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963), a decree can be executed at any time within 12 years and there need be no execution petition once in three years as required under Article 182 (5) of the Limitation Act (IX of 1908). The learned District Munsif held that E. P. No. 44 of 1962 was not in accordance with law, that it could not be relied on as a step in aid of execution and that the present execution petition was not maintainable. But the learned Subordinate Judge has stated that, in view of Article 136 of the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963), providing a period of 12 years as limitation, it is not possible to rely on Article 182 of the old Limitation Act (IX of 1908) which has been repealed. But he has failed to note that the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963) which came into force on 1st January, 1964, could be invoked only in respect of subsisting causes of action, and not in respect of causes of action which got barred prior to that date. If the decree could not be executed on 1st January, 1964, on the ground that E.P. No. 44 of 1962 on the file of the District Munsif Court, Koilpatti, could not be relied on as a step in aid of execution, the decree became incapable of execution even prior to the date of the new Limitation Act coming into force. It is true that the general rule is that a statute of limitation is retrospective in operation and governs all proceedings from the moment of its enactment, though a cause of action might have accrued before the Act came into force. Thus, a larger period of limitation provided under the new Act could certainly be invoked in respect of a cause of action which had arisen even prior to the new Act coming into force. This is based on the principle that no one has a Vested right in any period of limitation and that rules of limitation are rules of procedure. But a suit or application which had already got barred under the old Act cannot be revived under the new Act in the absence of express words, or words of clear implication in taking away the right accrued to a person by virtue of the provisions of the old Act. There is nothing in the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963) to show that a decree-holder could execute a decree within a period of 12 years, though it was barred under Article 182 of the Limitation Act (IX of 1908), prior to the new Act (XXXVI of 1963) coming into force.

5. The learned Advocate for the respondent relied on Section 27 of the new Limitation Act (XXXVI of 1963), corresponding to Section 28 of the old Limitation Act (IX of 1908), and argued that it is only in a suit for possession of any property the right of a person to have property shall be extinguished after the period of limitation and that there is no such provision in. the case of other rights which do not relate to property. In fact, the above section is applicable only to suits and not even to applications, such as execution petitions. It is true that in cases which are not governed by the above section, the limitation merely bars the remedy, but does not extinguish the title. It is open to the judgment-debtor to agree to pay the decree amount it is barred and the decree in favour of the respondent could form valid consideration for any contract. But I fail to see how it would help the respondent to execute the decree within the 12 years rule prescribed under the new Act (XXXVI of 1963) when it has become barred under the old Act even before the new Act came into force.

6. The learned Advocate for the respondent urged that as the dispute between the parties is one under Section 47, Civil Procedure Code, the remedy of the petitioner is to file a civil miscellaneous second appeal, and that a civil revision petition is not competent. Having regard to the provisions of Section 102, Civil Procedure Code, a second appeal against an order passed in execution proceedings arising out of a suit of the nature of small cause is not entertainable though one appeal against such an order is permissible. This is clear from the Full Bench decision in Janaki Sahu Trust v. Rampalal : AIR1950All580 . The appeal preferred by the respondent in the lower appellate Court is no doubt competent. This is also clear from the decision in Ponnappa Reddi v. Thiruvengada Pillai and Co. : (1925)49MLJ104 the reason being the decree though one passed on the small cause side was transferred to the original side for execution against immoveable properties.

7. The Civil Revision Petition is allowed and the judgment and decree of the learned Subordinate Judge arc set aside and those of the learned District Munsif, Koilpatti are restored. In the circumstances of the case the parties will bear their respective costs throughout.


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