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Midnapore Zemindary Co. Ltd. Vs. State of West Bengal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Bench Reference in A.F.O.D. No. 26 of 1950
Judge
Reported inAIR1961Cal353,64CWN1081
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Section 9; ;Tenancy Law; ;Bengal Tenancy Act, 1885 - Section 185
AppellantMidnapore Zemindary Co. Ltd.
RespondentState of West Bengal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateA.C. Gupta, ;J.K. Sen Gupta, ;Satya Priya Ghosh and ;Jnanendra Nath Mukherjee, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateJ. Majumdar, Addl. Govt. Pleader
Cases ReferredSm. Mrinalini Devi v. Satyendra Nath Das
Excerpt:
- p.n. mookerjee, j. 1. three questions require answer in this reference. they are, to quote them from what maybe called the order of reference, in the following terms:'(i) whether, apart from statute, there may be suspension of limitation or extension of prescribed periods of limitation; (ii) whether, in the above respect, cases coming under the bengal tenancy act, stand on any special or different footing by reason of section 185 of the said act, which makes, inter alia, section 9 of the indian limitation act inapplicable to suits, appeals and applications, specified in schedule iii, annexed to the bengal tenancy act; and (iii) whether the case of midnapore zemindary co., ltd. v. naba kumar singh, air 1950 cal 298, was rightly decided' and, in answering them, we have only to add that, as.....
Judgment:

P.N. Mookerjee, J.

1. Three questions require answer in this Reference. They are, to quote them from what maybe called the order of reference, in the following terms:

'(i) Whether, apart from statute, there may be suspension of limitation or extension of prescribed periods of limitation;

(ii) whether, in the above respect, cases coming under the Bengal Tenancy Act, stand on any special or different footing by reason of Section 185 of the said Act, which makes, inter alia, Section 9 of the Indian Limitation Act inapplicable to suits, appeals and applications, specified in Schedule III, annexed to the Bengal Tenancy Act; and

(iii) whether the case of Midnapore Zemindary Co., Ltd. v. Naba Kumar Singh, AIR 1950 Cal 298, was rightly decided'

and, in answering them, we have only to add that, as they arose before the referring Bench in relation to a suit, our answers would proceed on that footing and would comprehend no greater scope. For purposes of this reference, therefore, the questions referred must be understood with reference to suits and they will be dealt with accordingly.

2. The scope of the reference being defined as aforesaid, we proceed now to answer the questions.

3. The questions, though framed separately, are so inter-connected that, at least, for purposes of discussion, they may, best and most conveniently, be taken up for consideration together. Indeed, separate treatment of the three questions in watertight compartments is not possible and would hardly be either satisfactory or complete and the preliminary observations, which are necessary for a correct approach to the problem or problems, envisaged by the said questions before us, must clear up certain common grounds to prevent misapprehensions, likely to mislead and to lead to a wrong perspective.

4. In essence, and shortly put in the light of the order of reference, the point is whether, apart from the cases, mentioned in the Indian Limitation Act in that behalf, law recognises any rule of suspension or extension of limitation and whether, in view of Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, providing, inter alia, that Section 9 of the Indian Limitation Act will not apply to cases under Schedule III of the Bengal Tenancy Act, such cases stand on any different footing in the matter of suspension or extension of limitation, as aforesaid. The decision will, of course, depend mainly on two sections of the Indian Limitation Act, namely, Sections 3 and 9, and certain decisions of the Judicial Committee, to which we shall presently refer, and Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, and that decision will necessarily involve determination of the correctness or otherwise of the above-cited Bench decision of this Court AIR 1950 Cal 298, which also constitutes one of the points (questions) under reference.

5. Before, howsver, we proceed to the actual consideration of the above questions, it is necessary to state the meaning of the word 'suspension' or 'extension' in the above context. That meaning is best understood by taking or explaining the word as referring to the period, during which time (limitation) for an action (suit) ceases to run.

6. The conflict that has arisen and the divergence of judicial opinion on the point that has manifested itself so markedly, centres round the three familiar decisions o the Judicial Committee in the long-famouns triology of cases, reported in Mt. Ranee Surno Moyee v. Shoshee Mokhee Burmonia, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC); Mt, Basso Kuar v. Lala Dhun Singh, 15 Ind App 211 (PC); and Sm. Nrityamoni Dassi v. Lakhan Chandra Sen, ILR 43 Cal 660: (AIR 1916 PC 96) and the practical shape, which it has eventually assumed and in which it has ultimately emerged, is best understood in the light of and with reference to the relative proposition, stated and affirmed in the decision, reported in AIR 1950 Cal 298 (supra). That proposition, succinctly put, is as follows:

'Apart from Statute (the Indian Limitation Act) limitation may be suspended or extended in three classes of eases, namely:

1. where injustice has been caused by an act of Court.

2. where the cause of action was satisfied, and

3. where the cause of action was cancelled;

and that, notwithstanding Section 9 of the Indian Limitation Act.'

7. The correctness of the above proposition has been accepted and affirmed in numerous decisions of the different High Courts, which have drawn their inspiration from the three Privy Council cases, cited above, and pointed to them as the source of their authority. The proposition, on the other hand, has been doubted, disputed and dissented from in a number of cases, which have relied in their turn, mainly, upon the other set,--a triology, again, but a familiar and famous trio-logy too, --of three decisions of the Judicial Committee, often spoken of as the settler on the point, namely, Hurro Pershad Roy Chowdhury v. Gopal Chunder, 9 Ind App 82 (PC); Lala Soni Ram v. Kanhaiya Lal, 40 Ind App 74 (PC); and Rani Kuar Mani Singh Mandhata v. Nawab of Murshidabad, 46 Ind App 60: (AIR 1918 PC 180), in the light of Section 9 and also Section 3 of the Indian Limitation Act. It is interesting, however, to note that the lead-ing authorities on either side refuse to recognise any conflict between the above two sets of decisions of the Tudicial Committee, which they explain, in their own way, as supporting their respective points of view and as rejecting or being opposed to the contrary, and, to that agreement, we respectfully add or own, as, our view too, the two sets of decisions of the Judicial Committee, referred to above, do not disclose any real conflict between them. We may state here that we do not propose to enter into any detailed or elaborate discussion of the different methods of approach in the two lines of cases, on which the above conflict is founded. That task appears to us to be useless and unprofitable and we will at once address ourselves to an examination of the true position in law on the point or points, now before us, and of the above two sets of cases of the Privy Council, which constitute the apparent source and authority of the above two contrary propositions of law on either side.

8. For a suit, there must be a cause of action. In other words, there cannot be a suit unless there is a cause of action for the same. This cause of action, again, postulates or presupposes a right to sue, upon which it must be founded, and it arises upon a breach or threatened breach of some legal right, which is the occasion for the particular suit. Limitation must be in respect of the suit. Under the Statute or the law of limitation, it is the suit which is barred. Where, therefore, there is no cause of action, on which the suit can rest or upon which it can be brought, no question of limitation arises and time would not and cannot run, or, in other words, the law of limitation, for its application, postulates a suit, that is to say, a cause of action, otherwise subsisting. If this fundamental concept -- somewhat of the nature of an axiomatic truth, --be borne in mind, -which, as we shall sec hereinafter, underlies the three decisions of the Judicial Committee, first referred to above, and also the explanation of Surnomoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), given in 9 Ind App 82 at p. 85 (PC), in stating and applying the law of limitation, there will be no difficulty in solving the problem before us, without offending either the statute (the Indian Limitation Act) or any recognised rule or canon of construction or any of the authorities or authoritative pronouncements on the subject. It will also aid the construction of the Statute itself and, in particular, Sections 3 and 9 thereof, which have, apparently, created some difficulty.

9. It is clear, from what we have said above, that, at the earliest, the starting point of limitation must he the accrual of the cause ol action for the suit. It is true that, under the Indian Limitation Act, the starting point of limitation ia not always, or, in all cases, the accrual of the cause of action, but it is never earlier. If, then, the cause of action has arisen and the particular event (which may or may not synchronise always, and, in all cases, with the accrual of the cause of action), as mentioned in the third column of the relevant Article of the Indian Limitation Act, has happened, limitation starts. The cause of action, however, as seen above, must have, for its support, a right to sue. If now, due to some intervening circumstances, this right to sue itself disappears or becomes extinct or non-est or is extinguished or cancelled, no suit can be brought, prosecuted or supported, there being no cause of action, -- and no right to sue to support it, -- on which the same can be founded or maintained or proceeded with and, a fortiori, limitation will cease to run, there being, at the moment, nothing, on which it can operate, --unless there be something in the statute or the particular law of limitation, providing to the contrary. We do not think that Section 3, by itself, notwithstanding its language, namely, 'Subject to the provisions, contained in Sections 4 to 25 (inclusive), every suit instituted, appeal preferred, and application made, after the period of limitation, prescribed therefor, by the first Schedule, shall be dismissed, although limitation has not been set up as a defence', can be regarded as any such provision to the contrary, as, otherwise, the statute would not have contained Section 9 and there would have been no necessity for this latter section. It is because o this that, in practically all the decisions which purport to rule against the theory of suspension of limitation, reliance has invariably, been placed upon this particular section (Section 9 of the Act) for overruling the said plea. It is necessary then to examine the terms and contents of the said section for judging whether the theory of suspension of limitation on account, inter alia, of suspension or temporary extinction of the cause of action Or right to sue. has any application in this country.

10. Now Section 9, in its relevant part, provides as follows:

'Where once time has begun to run, no sub-sequent disability or inability to sue stops it: Provided that, where letters of administration to the estate of a creditor have been granted to his debtor, the running of the time, prescribed for a suit to recover the debt, shall be suspended while the administration continues.'

The section follows the disability sections (Sections 6 and 7) and the exception (special exception) thereto, namely, Section 8. It is obvious, then, that disability, as mentioned in Section 9, refers to disability or disabilities, enumerated in the two disability sections (Sections 6 and 7), which are definitely personaldisabilities, not related to or dependent upon any absence of a cause of action or right to sue but, rather, postulating the contrary. In the context, the inability also, as mentioned in the section (Section 9), must refer to personal inability or, inability due to some personal factor other than absence of a cause of action, as contemplated, possibly, inter alia, in Section 18 of the Act, which, obviously, postulates the existence of a cause of action. Indeed, as held by this Court in Jateendra Chandra v. Rebatee Mohan Das : AIR1935Cal333 , and by the Nagpur High Court in Prabhakar Nilkantha v. Chandrakanta Narayanrao, AIR 1943 Nag 178, ILR 1943 Nag 422, Section 9 contemplates cases of disability or inability but of existing causes of action. This is also plainly, supported by the proviso, contained in the section itself.

11. The statute, then, does not provide against or forbid suspension of limitation on account of suspension or temporary extinction of cause of action or of the right to Sue and, in that context, such suspension may well be within the contemplation of the statute. Equally, also, the statute does not anywhere seek to abrogate the age-long and well-settled rule Or principle that no one should be prejudiced by an act of Court and if, therefore, by reason of an act of Court, a party is prevented from instituting any particular suit, limitation cannot run against him during the relative period.

12. It is to be noticed, further, that satisfaction or cancellation of a cause of action may well mean extinction of the particular cause of action and consequent extinction of the relative right to sue, that is, extinction of the right to sue too, although only temporarily, and, in such circumstances, revival of the right to sue on the annulment of such satisfaction or cancellation may well give rise to a fresh or new cause of action and a fresh or new start of limitation, if accrual of the cause of action is the starting point of limitation under the relevant Article of the Indian Limitation Act, or, if the relative column 3 of the relevant Article of that statute, is, as a matter of construction, referable to the accrual of the particular cause of action. Such instances, then, will not, strictly, be cases of suspension of limitation and, to that extent, the statement of the law in some of the cases, notably AIR 1950 Cal 298 (supra), may require some obvious modification.

13. At this stage we deem it necessary and proper to turn to the decided cases which require consideration on the point. As we have said above, the root authority for the view, for which we have expressed preference, is to be found in the three Privy Council decisions in Surnomoyee's case, 12, Moo Ind App 244: 15 Jnd App 211 (PC); and, ILR 43 Cal 680 : (AIR 1916 PC 96), and with them, should be taken also the English decision in Pulteney v. Warden, (1801) 6 Ves 73 at p. 92, laying down the oft-quoted proposition that:

'if there be a principle, upon which courts of justice ought to act without scruple, it is this: to relieve parties against that injustice, occasioned by its own acts or oversights at the instance of the party, against whom the relief is sought.' The decision in (1801) 6 Ves 73 (supra), -- and, in particular, its above statement of the law or principle. described by the Lord Chancellor (Lord Cottenham) as a perfectly good principle', --was sufficiently approved by the English House of Lords in the East Indian Company v. Campion, (1837) 11 Bli (NS) 158, and it was quoted and relied upon in Lakhan Chandra Sen v. Madhusudan Sen, ILR 35 Cal 209, which received the approval of the Judicial Committee in ILR 43 Cal 660: (AIR 1916 PC 96), where their Lordships of the Judicial Committee accepted this Court's finding on the question of suspension of limitation after, inter alia, the very significant observation that :

'as their Lordships concur generally with the reasons, given by the appellate Court for overruling the plea of limitation, they do not wish to prolong the present judgment by dealing with the question at any length.'

14. On the general question of suspension or extension of limitation, the leading decision would, of course, be Surnomoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), particularly, in the light of its explanation in Hurro Pershad Roy Chowdhury's case, 9 Ind App 82 at p. 85 (PC), which latter decision is, strangely enough, regarded as an authority, to the contrary. To so regard it is, in our opinion, to misread the decision, which, however distinguishable on facts and however it may have refused to apply the above theory to its own particular facts, appears to have laid down, -- at least, by implication (vide the last three lines of the penultimate paragraph at p. 85), -- that, in certain circumstances, the statute of limitation may well cease to run. Their Lordships, no doubt, in speaking of Rani Surnornoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), as an exception to the operation of the statute of limitation, described it as an exception, rather apparent than real, but that, in the context of their other observations, to which we shall presently refer, would not necessarily rule out the theory of suspension of limitation even as a fundamental principle, based on axiomatic truth. It is indeed, significant that Hurro Pershad's case, 9 Ind App 82 (PC), explained and distinguished Surnomoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), upon, inter alia, the reasoning of suspension of limitation or cessation of the running of lime, as is obvious from the quoted observations of Sir James Colville, on which, in particular, stress was laid by Sir Robert P. Collier, who delivered the judgment in that case, 9 Ind App 82 at p. 85 (PC), and from the last three lines of the penultimate paragraph of that judgment, to which reference has already been made by us, where Sir Robert P. Collier sought to distinguish the case before him from Ranee Surnonioyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), upon the ground that:

'here there was no period of time in which the rent could not have been recovered and there was no period of time in which the statute might not have run,' {vide 9 Ind App 82 at p. 85 (PC) (supra)).

This latter decision, therefore, though it did not and could not apply the theory of suspension of limitation to the different Or particular facts before it, may itself be regarded as an authority for holding that Surnomoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), was based also on the said theory of suspension of limitation. Basso Kuar's case, 15 Ind App 211 (PC), also, may, no doubt, be distinguished and explained on the theory of new or fresh cause of action but it will not be unreasonable to regard it as an authority also for the theory of suspension of limitation. The third case, however, namely JLR 43 Cal 660: (AIR 191.6 PC 96) (supra), approving, as it did, Lakhan Chandra's case, ILR. 35 Cal 209, -- and, in the view, that it did so -- cannot be explained away and it will be doing violence to the decision and to the language, used by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee, to say that it was decided on or under Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act. -- or, upon some principle, analogous thereto, -- or on a wrong application of the said section. It we may say so with respect, such a course is not permissible in law and, in our view, this decision, ILR 43 Cal 660 : (AIR 1916 PC 96), of the Privy Council is almost a direct authority for suspension of limitation, where the cause of action is suspended Or temporarily extinguished, due to satisfaction or cancellation of the same on account of certain intervening events or circumstances where an injustice is caused by the Court's own action. We have not referred to Hem Chandra v. Kali Prosunno, 30 Ind App 177 (PC), notwithstanding its language, --namely, that 'the proceedings in the earlier suit stayed the operation of the law of limitation' (vide p.185), --directly supporting the theory of suspension of limitation, as the said case, on its peculiar facts, may furnish an explanation for that language on the terms of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act.

15. Turning now to the other group of cases, we would say a few words on 9 Ind App 82 (PC); 40 Ind App 74 (PC) and 46 Ind App 60 : (AIR 1918 PC 180) all cited above and also on Maqbool Ahmad v. Onkar Pratap Narain Singh . The first, 9 Ind App 82 (PC), has already been sufficiently noticed and explained. The second, 40 Ind App 74 (PC), was, at the most, a case of mere personal inability, as the necessary fusion of interest was not complete (vide Satish Chandra v. Nilratan Purkait, 59 Cal WN 642 at p. 648, and so, it was plainly within and excluded by Section 9 of the Act on its own express terms. Indeed, the Board's observations on the point at p. 85 of the Report were clearly confined to the facts of the particular case before their Lordships, which must be understood in the light of the explanation thereof, as given above, and in Satish Chandra Purkait's case, 59 Cal WN 642 (supra). The third case, 46 Ind App 60: (AIR 1918 PC 180), also, was, obviously, one of personal disability for purposes of extension of limitation and, as that disability was not covered by the disability sections (Sections 6 and 7), the decision may well be justified on the well known principle that express provision in regard to a particular matter excludes all implication in that behalf. Indeed, it was expressly made clear by their Lordships (vide p. 63 bottom) that although

'the Limitation Act recognises and enumerates certain conditions as legal disabilities, entitling the persons, affected thereby, to an extended period of limitation, the plaintiff's disqualification is not one of them, nor has any case been made which could suspend or modify the ordinary law of limitation as applicable to this case.'

As to the fourth case , it is enough to say that their Lordships merely repelled the plea o the Court's discretionary power apart from the statute, -- as also the argument, based on hardship, -- in the matter of limitation, and the observations of their Lordships on Section 3 or on the law of limitation in general must be read in that context.

16. As to the Madras Full Bench case of Muthu Korakki Chetty v. Madar Ammal, ILR 43 Mad 185:(AIR 1920 Mad 1) (FB), it may at once be pointed out that it was directly covered by the Privy Council case of Baijuath Sahai v. Ramgut Singh, 23 Ind App 45 (PC), and, strictly speaking, the point, involved therein, did not require application of any theory of suspension of limitation (vide, in this connection, Chandra, Mani Saha v. Anarjan Bibi and as to the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Sita Ram v. Municipal Board, Kanpur, : [1959]1SCR1148 , all that need be said here is that it was not a case of extinction or suspension of the cause of action and the question of Suspension of limitation did not strictly, arise in that case and their Lordships' observations at pp. 249-250 of the Report (SCA): (at p. 1041-42 of AIR), were merely approval of the quoted words of Seshagiri Aiyar, J., in the Madras Full Bench case of ILR 43 Mad 185: (AIR 1920 Mad 1), applicable to cases where the starting point of limitation synchronises with the accrual of cause of action on a proper interpretation of column 3 of the relevant Article and were, at the most, an inhibition, forbidding application of equity or equitable consideration to circumvent the statute or against lis express wording, We do not think that the Supreme Court's said observations should be given a greater or wider scope.

17. We are quite conscious that, in many of the High Courts (including this Court) a different view was taken on several occasions, but we may point out with respect that a careful examination of the eaid decisions will disclose, almost in each of them, an undercurrent of thought or idea, sufficiently in line with the concept of suspension of limitation which, broadly speaking, appears to pervade each of those judgments and, however loud the protests against it, this idea of suspension of limitation could not be completely discarded or thrown away In any particular case, which appeared to need its assistance or application. To cite a recent instance, we may refer to the case of Narayan Jivaji v. C. Khandappagouda Patil AIR 1939 Bom 1, where the learned Judges (Rangnekar and Wadia, JJ.) eventually rejected the theory of suspension of limitation but they also accorded it, at least, apparent recognition, when at p. 17, Rangnekar, J., who delivered the leading judgment, approved the principle that:

'where a claim is satisfied.....and the satisfaction is set aside subsequently in a judicial proceeding, the cause of action will be revived.....and he (the claimant) will be entitled to the deduction of the time occupied by the proceeding resulting in the annulment of the satisfaction.'

18. In taking the above view, we have also this satisfaction that our said view, as I stated on an earlier occasion (vide 59 Cal WN 642 aS p. 648), reconciles law with justice and vice versa. That justice may well embrace equity as well, but, even then, the above view does not, in any way, conflict with the rule, laid down by the. Privy Council in Nagendra Nath Dey v. Suresh Chandra Dey . Their Lordships, no doubt, in that case, observed at p. 288 of the Report (IA): (at p. 167 of AIR), that) equitable consideration is out of place in construing statutes of limitation, but that observation was made in relation to an Article, in which, their Lordships held, the language was plain and the quoted observation merely emphasised, in such cases, preference for strict grammatical construction of the words, used by the statute. This will be perfectly clear when the relevant passage in its entirety or the entire sentence of their Lordships, including the words that followed the above quoted observation, namely, 'and the strict grammatical meaning of the words is, their Lordships think, the only safe guide', is read as a whole. Indeed, their Lordships, in the passage quoted, were merely applying the well known golden rule of construing statutes according to the plain, literal, grammatical meaning of the words, used by the Legislature, and no part of their Lordships' observation should be read apart from its context. At any rate, even taking the words at their broadest, the rule would apply only to construction of the statute and should not be extended further.

19. In reaching, however, our conclusion, as aforesaid, we have not applied any equitable consideration in interpreting the statute but we have merely depended upon certain fundamental principles, which arc, more or less, in the nature of axiomatic truths, and applied the rule of common sense and avoided illogical and impractical situations and consequences and unfortunate results, so often lamented and regretted by learned Judges and openly deprecated by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee, at least, on one occasion, viz., in Basso Kuar's case, 15 Ind App 211 at p. 218 (PC). Moreover, even in construing statutes of limitation equitable consideration is not altogether excluded, unless, at least, the words are plain, and, indeed, the Privy Council decisions, cited above, (vide in particular, 12 Moo Ind App 244 (PC), 15 Ind App 211 (PC), and 23 Ind App 45 (PC), and the Judicial Committee's observations on Surnomoyee's case, 12 Moo Ind App 244 in 9 Ind App 82 at p. 85 (PC), that 'under the peculiar circumstances' of that case, 'the putnidar having recovered possession together with mesne profits it was equitable that he should pay the amount of rent which was in arrear' and supported by all, if they have to be explained otherwise than on the theory of suspension of limitation that is, as based on interpretation or construction of the statute, will be, from that point of view, merely instances of equitable construction of the statute or reasonable construction of the same suggested by equitable consideration. I have Only to add that, in the recent Bench decision of this Court in the case of Sm. Mrinalini Devi v. Satyendra Nath Das, S. A. No. 1033 of 1959 D/- 4-1-1960 a substantially similar view was taken of (supra), and of the above observation of their Lordships there.

20. A word now on Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act. That section excludes the application of Sections 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the Indian Limitation. Act, The disability sections (Sections 6 and 7) being excluded, the exception (special exception) section (Section 8) is also, necessarily, excluded, as the necessity for it, obviously, disappears by reason of the exclusion of the primary or the disability sections (Sections 6 and 7) in that context, the exclusionof Section 9, so far as it provides against suspension of limitation in case of disabilities, logically follows almost as a corollary, the consequence being that, so far as the Bengal Tenancy Act is concerned, or, more precisely, suits under Schedule III of that Act, limitation cannot be held to be suspended or to remain in abeyance by reason of any personal disability of the party concerned. Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, however, does not exclude the inability section or sections (vide e.g., Section 18, which is, possibly, one of them) of the Indian Limitation Act, so that, in regard to personal inabilities, the general statutory exception is well preserved in regard to the aforesaid suits under Schedule III of the Bengal Tenancy Act.

21. In the above context, the effect of exclusion of Section 9 of the Indian Limitation Act as a whole will be that, in case of inabilities too, dealt with by Section 9, the principle of suspension, if otherwise applicable, will apply and, to that extent, the position in respect of suits, with which alone we are here concerned, mentioned in, Schedule III of the Bengal Tenancy Act, may well be different in that the principle of suspension may have a greaterscope and application.

22. So far, therefore, as Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act is concerned and the effect of that section on the question of suspension of limitation in the matter of suits under Schedule III of the said Act, the decision in AIR 1950 Cal 298, would require some obvious modifications, or, to put it in another way, some addition by way of clarification and the view, there taken, apparently to the effect that, by reason of exclusion of Section 9 of the Indian Limitation Act by the said Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, the principle of limitation will have full play in regard to suits, mentioned in Schedule III of the said Act, may not be quite correct or capable of being supported. Indeed, as we have sufficiently explained above, the above principle can have no application at all in such cases, so far as personal disabilities are concerned, with the result that, from this point of view, that principle will have a much narrower application there than in cases coming under the general statute, namely, the Indian Limitation Act. On the other hand, so far as personal inabilities are concerned, the principle of suspension of limitation may well have a wider application in such cases.

23. In the light of the foregoing discussion, we would answer all the three questions, referred to us, in the affirmative on lines, indicated above, or, in other words, subject to the clarification that cases of satisfaction or cancellation of the cause of action may, in appropriate instances, be dealt with as cases of new or fresh causes of action, falling under particular Articles of the Indian Limitation Act, rendering unnecessary application of the theory of suspension of limitation, and that section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act has not the effect of sanctioning suspension of limitation, at least, in cases of intervening personal disabilities, and allows such suspension in case of intervening personal inabilities, only where it is otherwise available or permissible, the answers of course being, as stated in the opening part of this judgment, limited to suit.

24. The net result, therefore, is that, in regard to Suits, this Reference is answered as follows:

Question (i) --yes, subject to the clarification that cases of satisfaction or cancellation of the cause o action may, in appropriate instances, be dealt with as cases of new or fresh causes of action, falling under particular Articles of the Indian Limitation Act, rendering unnecessary application of the theory of suspension of limitation.

Question (ii) -- yes, subject to the clarification that the said Section 185 of the Bengal Tenancy Act has not the effect of sanctioning suspension of limitation, at least, in cases of intervening personal disabilities and allows such suspension in case of intervening personal inabilities, only where it is otherwise available or permissible.

And Question (iii) -- yes, except to the extent that it purported to make the theory of suspension of limitation fully applicable to suits under Schedule III of the Bengal Tenancy Act by reason of Section 185 thereof, the true position in that respect being, as explained above in the latter 'clarification part' of the answer to Ques. (ii).

25. With the above answers, we return the case to the learned Chief Justice. Let the records be placed before him for further and necessary directions.

26. Costs of this Reference will abide the final result of the connected appeal (F. A. No. 26 of 1950).

Guha, J.

27. I agree.

Banerjee, J.

28. I have not sufficient confidence in the grounds of my own scepticism to press them to the point of dissent. I accordingly agree with my Lord.


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