S.K. Chakravarti, J.
1. In intriguing point arises for determination in this Rule obtained by the plaintiffs- On the 15th of April, 1965 the petitioners filed a suit against the opposite party for recovery of a sum of Rs. 176/- as the price of the bhag produce in their share from the opposite party who was alleged to be their bargadar in respect of the land in question in the court of the Munsif at Raghunathpur in the district of Purulia. This sum included Rs. 16/- by way of interest. It is an admitted position that at the time the suit was instituted the West Bengal Land Reforms Act was not extended to Purulia. During the pendency of the suit, by Notifications dated the 24th June 1967 the Governor was pleased to appoint the 30th June 1967 as the date with effect from which the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955 was to extend to the transferred territories including Purulia. By another Notification bearing the same date and published on the same date as before, the Governor was pleased to specify the 1st day of July, 1967 as the date on which Section 2, Section 3, Section 16, Section 17 (excepting Sub-section (3) thereof), Section 18, Section 18-A, Section 19. Section 19-A, Section 19-B, Section 20, Section 21. Section 57, Section 58, Section 59 (so far as it relates to Clause (7), thereof), Section 60 shall come into force in all the areas transferred from Behar to West Bengal under the Behar and West Bengal (Transfer of Territories) Act, 1940. A question, therefore, was raised before the learned Munsif that under Section 21 of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955, hereinafter referred to as the Act, the Civil Court would have no jurisdiction to entertain the suit as it is a matter covered by Section 18 of the Act. This contention prevailed with the learned Munsif who dismissed the suit. The plaintiffs preferred an appeal and the learned Subordinate Judge, sitting in appeal, agreed with the learned Munsif that the Civil Court would have no jurisdiction and directed a return of the plaint. Against this order the plaintiffs have come up in this Rule.
2. Now, if the suit had been instituted after the relevant sections of the Act had been extended to Purulia, the question whether the Civil Court would have jurisdiction to entertain the suit would definitely arise. But herein the Civil Court had admittedly the jurisdiction to entertain the suit at the time the same had been instituted. Section 21 of the Act is the relevant section in this connection. Under Sub-Clause (1) of Section 21 no Civil Court 'shall entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter mentioned in Sections 17 and 18'. It has to be considered as to whether this has the effect of divesting the Civil Court of the jurisdiction it had admittedly at the time the suit was Instituted. Both the courts have held on an interpretation of Section 21 that Civil Courts would not have any such jurisdiction.
3. Upon hearing the learned Advocates on both sides I am, however, of a different opinion. It is a common maxim of law that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court, if it has to be taken away, must be taken away expressly or impliedly where there can be no question that such jurisdiction has been taken away. But if there is any question as to whether in any pending suit the amended new law would apply, there must be definite provisions to that effect. Every statute which implies that the provisions would apply to pending suits expressly provide for that. If there is no such provision, the inference would be that the Civil Court which was in seisin of the matter at a time when its jurisdiction over it could not be in question, would continue to have that jurisdiction in respect of that suit. In this particular case, Sub-section (2) of Section 21 provides for the transfer of proceedings pending before the Bhag Chash Board, under the West Bengal Bargadars Act, 1950 to the Officer or Authority having jurisdiction over the area to which the proceedings relate is situate under the Land Reforms Act. That would show that the legislature was quite aware of the fact that pending proceedings might be affected by Section 21 and expressly restricted the application to proceedings pending before the Bhag Chash Board and not before the Civil Court. Therefore, even by implication. Section 21 would not divest the Civil Court of the jurisdiction it had in entertaining the present suit.
4. Mr. Mahato, learned Advocate appearing for the opposite party, submits that Section 3 of the Act would show that no other law which would be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act would have any effect. But Section 3 can have no application to the facts of this case at this stage. In this view of the matter the orders passed by the courts below must be set aside and the suit decided on merits.
5. At the same time, it is not clear as to whether the Bargadars Act of 1950 was applicable to Raghunathpur at the time the suit was instituted or whether there was any such Act which would bar the jurisdiction of the Civil Court at the time the suit was instituted. This is a point which will have to be investigated by the learned Munsif on getting back the records of the case.
6. The result, therefore, is that subject to the observations made above, the Rule is made absolute and the order of the learned Appellate Court that the Civil Court would have no jurisdiction to dispose of the pending suit is set aside and the suit is remanded back to the trial court to be heard on merits and also on the point referred to above.
7. Each party will bear its own costs in this Court.
8. Let the records go down as quickly as possible.