B.K. Mukherjea, J.
1. This is a reference made by the Munsif of Nator under Order 46, Civil P. C, and he has invited our opinion on a question of law arising under the Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act, 1935 (Bengal Act 7 of 1936). A rent suit was filed in the Court of the Munsif, by the manager, Nator Raj Ward's Estate, against certain tenants on 12th April 1940, and rent was claimed for the years 1343 to Pous 1346 B.S. After the suit was instituted the defendants approached the Debt Settlement Board at Bharabari, and notice was issued by the latter under Section 34, Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act, requesting the Munsif to stay all further proceedings in connexion with the suit. In pursuance of this notice, the Munsif made an order of stay on 22nd May 1940. In July 1940, the Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act was amended, and under Section 2, Clause (8) of the amended Act, the word 'debt' includes liabilities incurred prior to 1st January 1940. As a liability incurred subsequent to 1st January 1940, is no longer a debt within the meaning of the Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act, and the suit filed by the plaintiff included a claim of rent for Pous kist, of 1346 B.S., which had accrued due by the middle of January 1940, the plaintiff made an application to the Munsif praying that the stay order might be vacated at least with regard to that portion of the claim which was not a debt within the meaning of the amended Act. As the Court entertained a doubt as to whether it was permissible in law to stay a suit in part, which might involve the passing of two decrees in the same suit, he has referred the matter for our opinion under Order 46, Rule 1, Civil P.C
2. We do not think that in the circumstances of the present case, the questions formulated by the Munsif at all arise. The rent suit undoubtedly included a claim for rent for periods both anterior and subsequent to 1st January 1940, but Mr. Rama Prosad Mookerjee has placed before us the papers of the Debt Settlement Board, which would go to show that the application to the Debt Settlement Board for the settlement of debts under Section 8, Bengal Agricultural Debtors Act, did include claims for both the periods. In fact, the entire claim made by the plaintiff in the rent suit is shown as one item of debt in the application under Section 8. That being the position, under Section 20, of the amended Act, it is the Debt Settlement Board which has the exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether the liability is a debt or not. Till the matter is decided by the Board, the civil Court has nothing further to do except to stay all further proceedings in the suit under Section 34 of the Act. The question of partial stay of suit could arise, if the claim for the period subsequent to 1st January 1940 was not before the Debt Settlement Board at all, or if the latter expressly decided not to deal with this portion of the claim as not being a debt within the meaning of the Act. Let this opinion be sent to the Munsif of Nator.
3. I agree.