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Harendra Nath Vs. Sm. Dakhyamoni Dassi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Rule No. 829 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Cal191
ActsBengal Agricultural Debtors Act, 1936 - Sections 44 and 55; ;Bengal Agricultural Debtors Rules - Rule 91; ;Debt Law
AppellantHarendra Nath
RespondentSm. Dakhyamoni Dassi
Appellant AdvocateAjoy Kumar Basu, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateSyama Charan Mitter, Adv.
Cases Referred(Vestry of St. John Hampstead v. Cotton
Excerpt:
- .....that the term 'award' was not specifically included that would not take away the right of the board to review its own decision which had ultimately culminated in the award.7. the difference in the language used between sections 40 and 44 may also be explained. by a technical and very strict interpretation; it may be stated that the word 'award' is not a decision by the board, but it is a formal paper, which records the effect of the decision or order. an appeal under section 40 is allowed not only against the earlier order passed, but against the award as it stands. review as allowed under section 44 is against any order or decision passed by the board and if a review is limited to the award itself without questioning any earlier or previous orders passed by the board, it may be.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R.P. Mookerjee, J.

1. This application in revision is on behalf of the creditor. On an application by the creditor, an award was made by Fatepur Debt Settlement Board on 25th January 1942. In 1944, an application was filed by the debtor before the Collector of 24 Parganas for permission under Rule 91 (b) read with Section 44, Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act for review of the award which had been made in January 1942 inasmuch as more than 60 days had expired from the making of the award. On 21st July 1944, the order passed by the Collector permitting review of the previous award was received by the Debt Settlement Board. From the order sheet maintained by the Board, it appears that after the receipt of that intimation various orders were passed from time to time, sometimes directing service of notice on the creditor and sometimes on the debtor concerned. On 12th April 1946 up to which the proceedings were continuing before the Board, the latter directed the debtor to file a formal application for review under Section 44, Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act accompanied by the requisite court-fees. An application was accordingly filed on 14th June 1946. The Board however held on 8th August 1946 that there had been inordinate delay in filing the application and accordingly dismissed the prayer for review.

2. On an appeal being taken to the Appellate Officer, the order was set aside directing the Debt Conciliation Officer concerned to deal with the application according to law and on the merits. This order was affirmed by the District Judge under Section 40A, Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act. 3. On behalf of the creditor, it is contended that it is not competent for the Board to entertain the application for review after an award has been signed. Section 44 of the Act is in the following terms :

'Subject to any rules made under this Act--(a) a Board may, on an application made by any person interested, or of its own motion review any decision or order passed by it and pass such order in reference thereto as it thinks fit.'

Clause (b) authorises the Appellate Officer in similar terms. There is a proviso that no order shall be varied or reversed unless an opportunity has been given to a person interested to appear and be heard in support of such order.

4. It is contended on behalf of the petitioner that the expression 'decision' or 'order' used in Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 44 does not include an award. Reference is, in this connection, made to the provisions contained in Section 40 of the Act where while dealing with the right of appeal in addition to the reference made to a decision or order of a Board, an award is referred to in the next clause. It is urged that had the expression 'decision' or 'order' the general significance, there would not have been any necessity of making separate reference to the word 'award'.

5. Before I refer to the effect of the use of the relevant words in Section 40 we have, in the first instance, to consider the effect of the words as appearing in Section 44. The elementary rule of construction is that it is to be assumed that the words and phrases of a technical legislation are used in their ordinary meaning (Corporation of the City of Victoria v. Bishop of Vancouver Island, (1921) 2 A. C. 384 : (A. I. R. (8) 1921 P. C. 240). If there is nothing appearing in the section itself either to modify or to alter or if there be nothing to qualify the language which the statute contains, it is to be construed in the ordinary and natural meaning of the words and sentences. (Vestry of St. John Hampstead v. Cotton, (1886) 12 A. C. 1, 6.) If the language is not only plain, but admits of only one meaning, it has repeatedly been held that the task of interpretation can hardly be said to arise. It is not allowable to interpret what has no need of interpretation.

6. The words 'order' and 'decision' are quite clear and make no differentiation between certain classes of orders and others. Looking at it from the practical point of view, there must be certain orders or decision by the Board before an award can be drawn up and if there be any defect or any ground on which review will be allowed, such previous order or decision being modified on review, the award also falls to the ground as a corollary. Even if it were taken that the term 'award' was not specifically included that would not take away the right of the Board to review its own decision which had ultimately culminated in the award.

7. The difference in the language used between Sections 40 and 44 may also be explained. By a technical and very strict interpretation; it may be stated that the word 'award' is not a decision by the Board, but it is a formal paper, which records the effect of the decision or order. An appeal under Section 40 is allowed not only against the earlier order passed, but against the award as it stands. Review as allowed under Section 44 is against any order or decision passed by the Board and if a review is limited to the award itself without questioning any earlier or previous orders passed by the Board, it may be contended that review is not allowed under such circumstances. But on the other hand, if any earlier order or decision passed by the Board is questioned any review and a modification of each earlier order or decision, if affecting the award itself, will be permissible.

8. Merely because there has been an award will not take away the jurisdiction of the Board to review its own order or decision. This objection, therefore, must be overruled.

9. It is next contended that as there had been no application for review filed before the permission of the Collector was sought, the proceedings now pending before the Board are without jurisdiction. This contention also cannot be supported. If an application is made within 60 days under Rule 91 (b), that application has to be filed before the Board immediately. If the Board exercises its right to review its own order suo motu within 60 days that also can be done without any reference to the Collector, If review, however, of the earlier order or decision is to be made beyond the period of 60 days such an application cannot be dealt with by the Board unless the permission of the Collector has been obtained. Reliance is placed upon the proviso to Rule 91 (b) wherein it is laid down 'that no action shall be taken by a Board' and it is argued that it is only taking some action on the application which is barred and not the filing of the application before the Board. It is further pointed out that there is no definite provision barring out the entertaining of an application before the Collector's permission is obtained. There is no substance in this contention. If the application itself cannot be dealt with by the Board before the permission of the Collector is obtained, there is nothing in the rule which requires the previous filing of the application in the Board and then approaching the Collector for permission. As there is no direct provision in the rule requiring such previous filing of the application before the Board, I would not accept such a far fetched interpretation.

10. In the present case, it appears that after the order from the Collector was received by the Board, the Board proceeded to deal with the matter although there had been no application filed for review before the Board itself. It might have been taken on the special facts of this particular case that the Board was exercising its powers to review its own order of its own accord. But on the subsequent filing of the application as required by the Board two years later, it cannot be thrown out, because there had been no such application at an earlier stage. My attention has not been drawn to any provision under which the application must be filed within a definite period. As the Board had already taken cognisance of the proceedings and had been dealing with the same from July 1944, till April 1946, it was not open to the Board to take an objection, thereafter about any supposed delay an the part of the debtor.

11. The decision by the Additional District Judge cannot be assailed. This Rule is accordingly discharged.

12. There will be no order for costs.


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