1. By three separate orders marie in three different cases under Rule 1(ii) Chapter II of the Appellate Side Rules, a Division Bench has referred practically the same question of law for decision by a larger Bench. The question concerns the effect of the repeal of the West, Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act. 1950 by Act XII of 1956 on proceedings pending on the date of the repeal. The repealed Art was a temporary Act, due to expire on the 31st March, 1956 and it was repealed on that very date. Oneof the cases out of which the references havearisen is a second appeal, one is an appeal underClause 15 of the Letters Patent and one is a revision under Section 32(4) of the repealed Act.
2. In the second appeal, S. A. No. 842 of 1954, the facts are that six persons who were the co-owners of a house brought a suit for theejectment of the tenant occupying it on theground that they required the house for theirown occupation and had terminated the tenancyby a notice to quit. Subsequently, the sixth plaintiff was transferred to the category of defendants.The trial court found that the requirement of theplaintiffs had been established and decreed thesuit. On an appeal by the tenant the appellatecourt held that three of the plaintiffs did not require the house for their own occupation andtherefore the suit must fail, because, in the Court'sview, where there were more landlords- than one,Proviso (h) to Section 12(1) of the Act of 1950 contemplated that the requirement must be the requirement of all of them. The landlords then preferred the present second appeal to this Court whichcame up for hearing before P. N, Mookerjee, J.,but was referred by him to a Division Bench. Itnext came up for hearing before a Division Bench,constituted of Das Gupta and Guha, JJ., on the21st of May, 1956. By that time, the Act of 1950had already been repealed.
3. In the Letters Patent Appeal, No. 1 of 1956, the facts are that the owner of a house served on the tenant on the ground floor a notice to quit and then sued him in ejectment on the allegation that she required the ground floor for her own use and occupation and further that the tenant had been a defaulter. The plaintiff's case of her personal requirement was negatived by both the trial court and the first appellate court. The trial court hold further that the tenant had not been a defaulter within the meaning of the proviso to Section 14(3) of the Rent Control Act of 1950, because no defaults of the required nature and number had occurred within the period of 18 months immediately preceding the institution of the suit and also that the plaintiff's suit was bound to fail in any event, since the had waived the benefit of her notice to quit by subsequent acceptances of rent. The suit was accordingly dismissed. On appeal by the plaintiff, that deci-sion was reversed and the suit decreed by the first appellate court which held that there had been no waiver of the benefit of the notice to quit and further that the tenant had been a defaulter within the meaning of the proviso to Section 14 (3) which did not require that the defaults contemplated by it should occur within the 18 months immediately preceding the suit. There was a second appeal by the tenant which came to be heard by P. N. Mookerjee, J. The learned Judge upheld the view of the lower appellate court on both the points and dismissed the appeal, but he gave leave to the tenant for a further appeal under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent. The Letters Patent Appeal came up for hearing before Das Gupta and Guha, JJ., on the 22nd May, 1956, but before that date, the Act of 1950 had been repealed.
4. In both the second appeal and the Let-ters Patent Appeal the learned Judges thought that whether, in view of the repeal of the Act of 1950, its provisions could any longer be applied at all in the proceedings before them and other like proceedings was a question affecting thousands of cases and, therefore, it would be right to have it decided at an early date, so far at least as this Court was concerned, once and for all. Accordingly, in each of the two cases, they framed andreferred for decision by a larger Bench the following question of law:
Are the previsions of Section 12 of the W. B. Premises Kent Control Act, 1950 applicable to the present proceedings
5. In the revision case, Civil Revision No. 3610 of 1955. the facts are that the tenant commenced a proceeding for a re-fixation of the stand-and rent under Section 17(2) of the Rent Act of 1950 and the Rent Controller re-fixed it at an amount which was accepted by both the parties. But the month from which the standard rent, so re-fixed, was to take effect became the subject of controversy. Both the Rent Controller and the learned Judge of the Small Cause Court on appeal held that under Section 17(1), the re-fixation would take effect from the month next after the month when the Act had come into i'orce and not from the month next after the month when the application had been made. That decision did not satisfy the landlord who moved this Court under Section 32(4) of the Act and obtained a Rule. The Rule came up for hearing before Bachawat, J., sitting singly, who referred it to a Division Bench. It next came up for hearing before a Division Bench, constituted of Das Gupta and Guha, JJ. on the 5th June, 1956 when also it was riot decided. The learned Judges thought that the Act of 1950 having already been repealed, the question of the continuance of the operation of Section 32(4) after the repeal of the Act itself was a matter of considerable difficulty and importance which was likely to arise in a large number of similar cases and therefore it would be right to have it finally decided, so far as it could be finally decided by this Court, at an early date. Accordingly, they referred for decision by a larger Bench the following question of law:
'Whether, after the 31st March, 1956, this Court can exercise powers under Section 32 (4) of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950 in a pending proceeding'.
6. After the references had been made, the present Bench was specially constituted under Rule 1(ii) of Chapter II of the Appellate Side Rules for the decision of only the question of law referred. Fundamentally, the questions are one and the same. We therefore heard the three references together in order that we might get the benefit of having before us all the arguments which the supporters of either view of the question might desire to advance. It was also advisable to do so, because under Rule 9 of Chapter VII of the Appellate Side Rules, our decision will operate as a decision of a Pull Bench.
(The circumstances in which the references came to be heard twice and this judgment came to be prepared in two parts on the basis of two different states of the law will appear later. The first part which next follows deals with the law as it was at the date of the Reference of the first hearing of them.)
7. There can be no doubt that by reason of the bareness of the manner in which the life of the Act of 1950 was terminated, the difficulty felt by the learned referring Judges has arisen. ;t is much to be regretted that it should have been allowed to arise, because by a little regard paid to the incidents of temporary statutes and a little consideration of the form of provision that would be required to be made according as if such a statute was repealed, its continuance or discontinuance for the purposes Of pending proceedings was desired, the difficulty might have been avoided. The proceedings affected by the difficulty are multitudinous in number. We recognise that in trying to solve it, we must not pro-ceed as mere grammarians of the written law, but must search for the true intention of the Legislature. But, as has been said, the intention of a Legislature is not to be judged by what is In its mind but by its expression of that mind in the relevant statute itself.
The only repository of a Legislature's intention is the language it has used and in examining that language, it must be presumed that the Legislature knows the accepted vocabulary of legislative bodies and so knows what words are requirec and considered apt to effect a particular result. If it has not made a provision or used words from which a particular result can properly be found, Courts will not be Justified in finding it, simply because a contrary decision would cause hardship to the public. It is true that one must not expect in a statute the completeness and elaboration of a deed and where the minimum required to make a particular meaning which la obviously intended is found, effect must given to such meaning. But Courts' cannot dispense with even the minimum. Where even such minimum is absent, Courts must declare the deficiency and let it have its effect rather than strain themselves to make it good. Thereby, not only will the Courts prevent themselves from taking up the functions of the Legislature but the Legislature may also profit, because it may take care to avoid such deficiencies in future.
8. Taking now the question referred in the first two cases, it will be noticed that it contains no enquiry as to the continuance of the proceedings themselves. The second appeal was preferred under Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code and the Letters Patent Appeal was preferred under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent. Those provisions were in no way affected by the repeal of the Rent Control Act of 1950 and therefore by the repeal of that Act, no bar to the continuance of the appeals was created. But the Act had concern with the questions to be determined in the appeals. Even so, in so far as this Court, as an appellate Court and a Court of error, had merely to see whether the Act had been correctly applied by the courts below, it was immaterial whether the Act was still in operation or had ceased to be in force. But if, in order to complete its decision, this Court required to apply the Act on its own account, it would be necessary that the Act should be alive at the time, at least for the purposes of pending proceedings. The question referred therefore asks accurately, not whether the appeals could be proceeded with but whether the Act could any longer be applied in the appeals. In other words, it asks whether notwithstanding its repeal, the Act was continuing to be in operation for the purposes of matters arising out of it and pending decision before Courts when the repeal took place. In my view, there can be but one answer to that question.
9. The Act of 1950, as originally enacted, was intended to remain in force till the 31st of March, 1953, but by subsequent enactments Its life was extended upto the 31st of March, 1956. It is a settled principle of interpretation of statutes that if a temporary Act is continued from time to time by subsequent Acts, it is, even as so continued, regarded as an Act passed In the session when it was first passed. The present Act must therefore be regarded as a temporary Act passed in 1950 & limited in duration upto the 31st March, 1956. Normally, it would have expired on that date, but on that very date, the last day of its existence, it was repealed by the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act (XII of 1956). That Act & the President's assent to it were first published in the Calcutta Gazette of the 30th March, 1956 butIt did not come into force on that date since it Itself stated in Section 1(2) that it would come into force on such date as the State Government might, by notification, appoint. Such a notification, being Notification No. 6348 LR dated the 30th March, 1956, was published in an extraordinary issue of the Gazette on the 31st March, 1956 and therein it. was stated that the Governor had appointed the 3lst March, 1956 to be the date on which the Act would come into force. By virtue of that notification and Section 6(2) of the Bengal General Clauses Act, the Act of 1956 came into force immediately on the expiration of the 30th March, 1956 and it was on that date that the Act of 1950 was actually repealed. Thus, immediately after the midnight of the 30th March, 1956, the life of the Act of 1950, which had but one day of its allotted span, left, was brought to an end.
10. The question before us is whether after the Act was thus repealed instead of being allowed to expire, it continued to remain alive for the purposes of proceedings pending at the date of the repeal. The repealing provision which is Section 40 of the Act of 1956 contains no saving clause. But it may be conceded that the Legislature was not mindless of the fact that the Act of 1950 was due to expire on the 31st of March, 1956 and that if it was left to expire in the ordinary course, certain consequences would follow and it wanted to avert those consequences and bring into operation the savings provided for in S, 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act by substituting a repeal for expiry as the mode of the Act's termination. On any other hypothesis, the repeal of the Act on the very day of its destined expiry would be a farcical proceeding. It is true that the act by which the repeal was actually brought about was not an act of the Legislature but an act of the State Government. If, instead of the 31st March. 1956, the State Government brought the Act of 1956 into force on the 1st April, there would be no scope for the operation of the repealing provision contained in Section 40 and notwithstanding the enactment of that section by the Legislature, there would actually be no repeal of the Act of 1950. That Act would simply expire. Nevertheless, the provision for repeal may properly be taken as an index of the intention of the Legislature. It was the Legislature itself Which conferred on the State Government the authority to bring the Act of 1956 into force. It will therefore be proper to proceed on the basis that the Legislature did not merely make a provision in the abstract for the repeal of the Act of 1950, leaving it to the State Government to make or not make use of it as they chose, but that the Legislature intended the Act to be repealed and itself repealed it.
11. What was the effect of such repeal? We need no longer search for English authorities as to whether the Interpretation Act of 1889 applies to the repeal of temporary statutes. By the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Punjab v. Mohar Singh, : 1955CriLJ254 , it has now been finally decided that Section 6 of the Indian General Clauses Act applies not only to repeal of a permanent statute but also to the repeal of a temporary statute before its expiry by (sic) of time. The case before the Supreme Court was a case of a repeal of a Governor's Ordinance by an Act of the State Legislature. It is therefore not clear why it was decided by reference to the provisions of the central General Clauses Act, but the judgment points out the identity between the provisions of the Indian and the Punjab General Classes Acts and since the provisions of the Bengal GeneralClauses Act are also identical, the rule as to their applicability must obviously be the same. The repeal of the Act of 1950 must therefore be held to have attracted the provisions of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act. The next question is what the effect of those provisions has been upon and after the repeal.
12. The function of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Ar:t which corresponds to Section 6 of the Indian General Clauses Act is to attach a saving Clause in terms of its provisions to even such repealing Acts as do not contain a saving clause, except where the repealing Act makes it rlear that no saving is contemplated. But the effect of the provision is only to save and not to add or enact anything new. What it saves from is extinction by the repeal and what it saves are rights and liabilities accrued under the repealed Act, including the right under that Act to institute proceedings in lespect of them and proceedings already instituted. The scope of the provision is thus confined, as the scope of all saving provisions must by their very nature be, to the original scope of what is saved. It is not wider. The section does not extend any repealed Act as regards its duration, nor enlarges any such Act as regards its scope, but only preserves accrued rights and liabilities as they were under the .repealed Act, and proceedings, so far as they might be commenced or continued under it, by excluding from them the operation of the repeal. Such scope of the section is brought out pointedly by the section itself when it adds to all rights, liabilities and penalties preserved by it the nullifying words 'under any enactment so repealed' and when, in providing for the enforcement of accrued rights and liabilities and the institution or continuance of proceedings, it adds the qualifying words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed.' The whole effect of the section therefore is only to keep off the repealing Act from the matters mentioned in it and thereby make it possible for the repealed Act to take effect in regard to them as if it had not been repealed. But there is no absolute saving in the sense that the rights, liabilities, remedies and proceedings saved by the section are saved altogether, freed even from the limitations which were attached to them under the repealed Act. Those limitations would remain, because what is done is only that, for the limited purposes mentioned, the operation of the repealed Act is restored. The rights and liabilities saved are rights and liabilities as accrued or incurred under the repealed Act; and remedies can be pursued and proceedings instituted or continued only so far as that Act would warrant them, if not repealed.
13. Prom the above it must be clear that where the repealed Act is a permanent Act, the effect of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act is to restore it, for the purposes specified, as such Act, unless the repealing Act shows a contrary intention; and upon such restoration of the Act, the rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under it before the repeal, can be enforced and proceedings in regard to them can be commenced or continued to completion at or up to any time, unless forbidden by the law of limitation or other-wise the restoied Act being a permanent one. But where the repealed Act is a temporary Act, it is restored only as an Act due to expire on the date originally specified. There can be no other effect of deeming the repealing Act as not passed. Upto the original date of its expiry, rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under the Act before its repeal can be enforced and proceedings in regard to them under the Act can be instituted or continued by virtue of Section 8 because by virtueof that section, the Act will remain in force upto that date for the purposes of such rights, liabili-ties and proceedings. But once that cate has passed, Section 8 will have spent itself. The tempor-rary Act will then have expired under its own terms and the position in regard to rights and liabilities, accrued and incurred under it before its reyeal and in regard to proceedings under the Act respecting them, whether pending or intended, will then be as in the case of an expired temporary statute. Whether or not such rights and liabilities can still be claimed and enforred and whether proceedings under the Act in regard to them can still be instituted or continued, will depend on the general incidents of temporary statutes and the construction of the particular Act.
14. I expressed this view of Section 8 in connection with a similar repeal of the Act of 1948 by the Act of 1950 in the Pull Bench case of T.S.R. Sarma v. Nagendra Bala Debt : AIR1952Cal879 ; and earlier, sitting with P. N. Mookerjee J., I expressed the same view in N. K. Dey and Sons v. Eastern Stock and Agency Ltd., Civil Rule No. 1749 of 1951, D/- 9-8-1951 (Cal) (C). I heard nothing in the course of the arguments in the present cases which I find to require me to modify that view. It was contended that the effect of the words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed', occurring in Section 8, was only to emphasise the i'act that the repeal would in no way affect rights and liabilities, already accrued and incurred, b:.'t not, also to keep attaching to them their limitations under the repealed Act. I do not consider that contention tenable because it is contrary to the natural meaning of the words and contrary also to the manifest object of the section. The section, as I have tried to explain, only saves accrued rights and liabilities; as they were under the repealed Act, from the effect of the repeal and similarly it saves proceedings so far as they might be warranted by that Act. It does no more. The principle is well established that in the case of temporary statutes, no proceedings can be taken under them after their expiry and proceedings, already commenced, terminate ipso facto, unless there is a special provision to the contrary; and it is an ordinary principle of law that in order that the provisions of an Act may be applied, it should be in force at the time. It would be strange indeed if an enactment were to' provide that although, if a temporary Act was allowed to run out in the ordinary course, rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under it and proceedings warranted by its provisions would be subject thereafter to the limitations of its temporary nature, yet, if the Act was repealed before its expiry, those limitations were no longer to be regarded. To say so would be to say that a repeal of a temporary Act would enlarge its scope. In terms of the present cases it would be to say that although the Act of 1950 was due to die on the expiry of the 31st March, 1956, yet, by being killed at the previous midnight, it acquired a longer and. in fact, a permanent lease of life. Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act says no such thing but, on the other hand, says the contrary by providing for the restoration of the repealed Act, as it was, whether a permanent or a temporary Act. aS I have already explained, where the repealed Act was a permanent Act. no difficulty can arise from the Act itself as regards the subsequent enforcement of accrued rights and liabilities or the commencement or continuation of proceedings under the Act in regard to them, because, the Act being a permanent Act and being maintained for the purposes of such matters by Section 8. it will always be in force. But where the repealed Act was a tem-porary Act, a difficulty must arise after the date when it was due to expire, because Section 8 would maintain it only upto the end of its original life and no further. But it was also contended that such was not the effect of Section 8, because the words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed were attached only to the general clause at the end of the section, speaking of proceedings and penalties, and not to any of the designated clauses, particularly not to Clause (c). It is true that, grammatically, the words go only with the general clause, but the effect is not for that reason any the different. A mere declaration of a right without provision of means to enforce it is futile. Clauses (c) to (e) of the section therefore declare the savings and the general clause provides the machinery for giving effect to them. Clause (c) says that the repeal shall not affect 'any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred' under the repealed Act. Clause (d) says that it shall not affect 'any penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred in respect of any offence' committed against the Act. Clause (e) then says that it shall not affect
'any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment as aforesaid'.
thus connecting the proceedings and remedies saved with the rights, liabilities and penalties and under the repealed Act previously mentioned, by the words 'such' and 'as aforesaid'. Then comes the general clause which really provides an explanation of Clause (e) and declares to what extent the proceedings and remedies shall not be affected and it says that
'any such investigation, legal proceeding or remedy may be instituted, continued or enforced and any such penalty, forfeiture or punishment may be imposed, as if the repealing Act had not been passed'.
It is thus clear that neither Clause (c), nor any of the other two clauses is an independent provision, but they are all related to the general clause. The effect of Clause (c) is to declare that the repeal shall not affect rights accrued and liabilities incurred under the repealed Act in the sense and to the extent that they may be enforced and proceedings may be instituted or continued in respect of them, as if the repealing Act had not been passed,
15. A passing reference is necessary to the case of S. B Trading Co. v Satyendra Ch. Sen. 54 Cal WN 756 (D) decided by Harries, C. J. and Banerjee, J., though it was not cited at the Bar. There, the same question was raised as to effect of the words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed' in connection with the repeal of the Act of 1948 by the Act of 1950 but a contrary view was taken. The judgment was delivered by Banerjee, J. 'Counsel for the delendants', observed the learned Judge.
'in the alternative said that the Act of 1948 was to expire on March 31, 1950 and as such should be deemed to have expired on that date by virtue of the words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed' and this case should be decided on the basis of an expired statute. The answer to that argument is two-fold. First, the Act, of 1950 (Section 45) expressly pays that the Act of 1948 is repealed; and secondly, it is clear from the Act or 1948 that the intention of the legislature was that it should expire'.
With the greatest respect to the learned Judge, I must say that I am entirely unable to follow either of his two reasons. He next proceeds to a discussion of certain further matters, obviously:
drawn from Craies on Statute Law, but its relevancy to the point he was considering is not too apparent.
16. In my view, although the Legislature interposed a repeal of the Act of 1950 Just on the last day of its life, presumably intending thereby to save rights and liabilities accrued arid incurred under the Act before its repeal absolutely, so as to enable them to be enforced at any time and also to make provision for the commencement or continuation, without regard to time, of proceedings in regard to them, it failed to achieve that object. It is true that when an Act is repealed, the savings mentioned in Section 8 of the General Clauses Act shall take effect, unless the repeal-ing Act shows a contrary intention and it is also true that no such Intention is shown by the Act of 1956. But Section 6 has its own limitations. When calling it into operation, the Legislature appears to have overlooked the fact that the Act it was repealing was a temporary Act and that such Acts had certain incidents inherent in their very nature and peculiar to them. The only effect of the repeal was that the Act was maintained in life by Section 8 of the General Clauses Act, for the purposes mentioned in the section, upto 'the date originally fixed for its expiry, that is to say, for the 24 hours of the 31st March, 1956, but no new rights or liabilities could accrue or be incurred during those 24 hours. Since, the 1st April, 1956, the question of enforcing rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under the Act, before its repeal and of commencing or continuing proceedings in regard to them, has gone back to the realm of the principles applicable to temporary statutes which have expired.
17. What those principles are and what the effect of their application in the present case is I shall presently discuss, but an extreme plea in bar may first be disposed of. Against their applicability it was contended that they were no longer to be applied in India and two decisions, one of the Privy Council and one of the Supreme Court, were cited in support of that contention. It was said that in the case of Kesho-ram Poddar v. Nundo Lal Mallick , the Privy Council had made a clean sweep of those principles and in the case of : 1955CriLJ254 the Supreme Court had upheld a conviction for an offence against a repealed Ordinance made in a proceeding commenced after the repeal. In my view, neither of the cases cited establishes the proposition contended for.
18. The case decided by the Privy Council where the facts were as follows is easily disposed of. The Calcutta Rent Act which came into force on the 6th May, 1920, provided by Section 1(4) that it would remain in force for three years from the date of its commencement. By an amendment of the provision made in 1923, the duration of the Act was extended upto the end of March, 1924. By a further amendment made in 1924, the year 1927 was substituted for 1924 but, at the same time, a proviso was added to the effect that after the 31st of March, 1924, the Act would cease to apply to any premises carrying a rent exceeding Rs. 250/- per month in 1918. A tenant who had been let into possession in June, 1920, made an application under the Act to the Rent Controller to have the standard rent of the premises fixed by him. Admittedly, in 1918, the premises had borne a rent exceeding Rs. 250/-per month. By an order made in October, 1922, the Rent Controller fixed the rent at a certain amount but the tenant, being dissatisfied, preferred an appeal to the President of the CalcuttaImprovement Tribunal under Section 18 of the Act. The appeal was preferred on the 25th of November, 1922, but it did not come up for hearing till the 3rd of August, 1924. On that date the President disposed of the appeal by holding that in as much as the Act had in the meantime ceased to apply to the premises before him, he had no longer any jurisdiction to determine the matter involved in the appeal. On an application being made to this Court in revision, the order was affirmed, the learned Judges proceeding on principles applicable to an expiry of a temporary statute.
19. On an appeal to the Privy Council, their Lordships held that the view taken by this Court that the effect of the proviso was 'to make the Act a temporary Act ending at March, 1924, as regards the higher valued premises, but an existing Act until 1927 as to other premises' was erroneous. Having so held, they naturally held further that 'the discussions as to the different effects of a repealing Act on the one hand, and an expiring Act on the other, which bulk largely in the judgments given' were 'really beside the point'. The Privy Council was thus holding that, the case was not at all a case of an expired temporary statute, as it had been wrongly supposed to be, and therefore it had no occasion to say what principles would apply when there was such a case. On the other hand, their Lordships explained that the effect of the proviso was just as if the words therein had been inserted in the original Act, that the Act was to be so read after the introduction of the proviso and that, so read, the Act was good for premises of all values upto March, 1924 and only good for those of a lower value after that. The Act, containing such provisions, they emphasised, 'still lives until 1927'. It is thus clear that the Privy Council was treating the Act as an existing Act though, with respect to premises of a certain kind, it was applicable only upto a certain date, but that circumstance, it held, could be no bar to applying the Act in the case of such premises after that date with regard to a period prior thereto, as long as the Act itself was subsisting. Accordingly, it remitted the case to the High Court for directing the President to exercise his jurisdiction. The decision of the Privy Council was given on the 24th February, 1927.
20. In the course of its Judgment, however, the privy Council made the following observation :
'The application of the Act is when the parties begin to move under it. This was done in the present case before March, 1924. The rest is merely the working out of the application'.
21. It was said that by the making of that observation, the Privy Council had 'swept away' the principles relating to the effect of the expiry of temporary statutes, so far as their application in India was concerned. I am unable to agree that any such thing was done. All that the Privy Council did by that observation was to point out that the case before it was not a case of a proceeding under the Act commenced after the Act had ceased to apply to the premises concerned, but it was a case of a continuation of a proceeding, commenced when the premises were still governed by the Act. The proceeding could be carried on to its completion, because the Act. as an operative Act, was still subsisting and the provision for an appeal to the President had in no way been affected. It was contended that the Privy Council knew that the Act was going to expire at the end of March, 1927 and if it yet remitted the casefor a decision by the President of the appeal before him on the 24th of February, 1927 and made a similar order on the 28th of January, 1928 in the next case of the Karnani Industrial Bank Ltd. v. Satya Niranjan Shaw, 32 Cal WN 1093: (AIR 1928 PC 227) (F), it must be regarded as having held by implication that proceedings under the Act might be validly continued even after its expiry. I am unable to see that that argument proves anything. In the first place, it cannot be proper to infer from a judgment a decision on a point which was never argued or considered. The respondent was not represented in the first case and the second case merely followed the first, without any question being raised as to considerations arising from a total expiry of the Act. In the second place, the orders made by the Privy Council, assuming they can be read as containing a decision that proceedings under the Act might be validly continued even after its total expiry, do not and cannot establish that, in the view of the Privy Council, the principles relating to the effect of the expiry of temporary statutes did not apply in India. It is not that, according to those principles, the expiry of a temporary statute inevitably brings proceedings initiated under it to an end. Even according to those principles, proceedings commenced under the Act of 1920 might be continued alter its' expiry if it appeared from the construction of the Act that such proceedings, pending at the date of the expiry, were intended to be continued. The Privy Council was not asked to construe the Act with a view to determining the effect of its expiry on pending proceedings end did not say that no such construction was necessary, because the principles governing temporary statutes in England did not apply in India. The mere passing of an order, involving a direction for a continuation or possible continuation of proceedings after the expiry of the temporary Act, does not therefore show that the application of principles relative to the expiry of temporary statutes was ruled out. If it was its intention to rule out; the application of such well-established principles, it is hardly credible that the Privy Council should have done so in such an indirect manner instead of giving a direct decision.
22. It may be interesting to note in this connection that almost the same view of the decision in Keshoram Poddar v. Nundo Lal Mallick (E) (ante) as was advocated before us was taken by Sastri, C.J. of the Supreme Court in the case of Lachmandas Kewalram Ahuja v. State of Bombay, : 1952CriLJ1167 , by reliance on the same passage, but it was rejected by the rest of the Court. The extreme contention that since the decision in Keshoram Poddar's case (E), the special principles relating to temporary statutes are no longer applicable in India is also refuted by the decisions of the Supreme Court in Keshvan Madhava v. State of Bombay, : 1951CriLJ680 and S. Krishnan v. State of Madras : 2SCR621 , in both of which the principles were referred to and applied.
23. The case of : 1955CriLJ254 (A), decided by the Supreme Court and also relied on in support of the contention, establishes it even less. The facts were as follows. In March, 1948, the Governor of East Punjab promulgated an Ordinance under Section 88 of the Government of India Act, 1935 and thereby made provision for the registration of land claims of refugees from West Pakistan. Section 7 of the Ordinance made it an offence for any person to submit a false claim. In April, 1948, the Ordinance, which was necessarilya temporary enactment, was repealed by an Actof the Legislature but by that very Act, all the provisions of the Ordinance were re-enacted. In March 1948, when the Ordinance was still in force, one Mohar Singh filed a claim which, on-subsequent investigation, was found to be false. Thereupon on the 13th May, 1950, a prosecution was started against him under Section 7 of the Act, which was in the same terms as Section 7 of the Ordinance, and he was convicted and sentenced under the provisions of the Act in July, 1951. The question before the Supreme Court was whether, the offence having been committed during the currency of the ordinance, the conviction for it made in a proceeding commenced after the Ordinance had been repealed, was legal.
24. The Supreme Court applied Section 6 of the Indian General Clauses Act, corresponding to Section 4 of the Punjab General Clauses Act, and held that the conviction had been validly made. By virtue of Section 88(2)(a) of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Ordinance, even if it had not been repealed, would have ceased to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature. Actually, the Legislature reassembled in April, 1948, as shown by the passing of the repealing Act in that month, The prosecution, started in May, 1950, was therefore started at a time when the Ordinance could not have been in existence, even if the repealing Act had not been passed and it had not been repealed. It was accordingly contended that the affirmance of the conviction by the Supreme Court showed that it; was not accepting the principle that on a repeal, of a temporary enactment, proceedings under it could be initiated or continued only so long as it might have been in operation if it had not been repealed and that thereafter such proceedings might be commenced or continued only if the temporary enactment itself authorised such commencement of continuation after its expiry.
25. The whole argument was based on a misreading of the decision. What the Supreme Court affirmed was not a conviction under the Ordinance but a conviction under the Act and it was a conviction made in a proceeding, not commenced under the Ordinance after its repeal, nor continued from the time of the Ordinance, but commenced under the Act itself. The only questipn before the Supreme Court therefore was whether for a liability incurred under the Ordinance, a proceeding could be started after its repeal under the Act and whether a conviction could thereunder be made. Mukherjea, J., as he then was, who delivered the judgment of the Court pointed out first that no man could be prosecuted or punished under a law which had come into existence after the commission of an offence but he added that that, by itself, might not create any difficulty, since the Court had ample authority to alter the conviction to one under the Ordinance, provided the accused could be prosecuted and punished under the Ordinance after it had been repealed. If the Supreme Court had done with what Mukherjea, J. said it might do, if necessary, the argument advanced before us would have been a tenable one in view of the dates of the commencement of the proceeding and the conviction. But the Court did not do so. On the other hand, it pointed out that although the saving clause contained in the Act did not apply to offence committed against the Ordinance, Section 4 which provided that a person who had already submitted a claim under the Ordinance must not file another claim, made a claim under the Ordinance a claim under the Act. 'Such claim', it) was observed,
'would be reckoned and registered as a claim under the Act and once it is so treated, the incidents and corollaries attached to the filing of a claim, as laid down in the Act, must necessarily follow. The truth or falsity of the claim has to be investigated in the usual way and if it is found that the information given by the claimant is false, he can certainly be punished in the manner laid down in Sections 7 and 8 of the Act ..... Wethink that the provisions of Sections 4, 7 and 8 make it apparent that it was not the intention of the Legislature that the rights and liabilities in respect of claims filed under the Ordinance shall be extinguished on the passing of the Act, and this is sufficient for holding that the present case would attract the operation of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act.'
26. The judgment then proceeded to affirm the conviction. What the decision amounts to, therefore, is that there being no contrary intention in the repealing Act, the liability incurred under the Ordinance for an offence committed against it, survived its repeal by virtue of the Provisions of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, but it also happened that the repealing Act, by one of its provisions, took over that liability and made it a liability under itself and therefore the offender could thereafter be validly prosecuted and punished under the Act, as the accused before the Court had been. In that view of the case, the Court had no occasion to consider and did not consider whether there could be a valid Prosecution under the Ordinance in 1950 and a conviction under it in 1951. There is thus no warrant for saying that the decision shows that, according to the Supreme Court, a proceeding under a temporary enactment, repealed before its expiry, can always be initiated or continued even after the expiry of the date upto which it would have remained operative if it had not been repealed and that therefore the special principles governing temporary statutes, in English Law must be held to be no longer applicable in India.
27. If the principles apply, it is by reference to them that the question whether the Act of 1950 could be applied or any proceeding under it could be commenced Or continued after the 31st March, 1956, must be decided. It was rightly contended that the expiry of a temporary Act had not always the consequence that, all proceedings taken under it came to an end with its expiry or that it could no longer be applied in any manner. Whether or not that consequence resulted from the expiry of a particular Act, depended on the nature of the Act itself. So it was held in the old case of Steavenson v. Oliver. (1841) 8 M & W 234 (J) and the correctness of the proposition had never been doubted. It is also true, as was held in the same case, that an Act, though itself temporary, may create permanent rights. That again is a question of the construction of the Act. The general rule is that unless it contains some special provision to the contrary, a temporary Act ceases to have any further effect after it has expired. No proceedings can be taken under it any longer and proceedings already taken and pending terminate automatically as soon as it expires. See Craies on Statute Law, 5th Edition, pp. 377-78. The enquiry before us therefore is whether there is anything in that Act of 1950 to show that rights and liabilities created by it were intended to be enforceable and proceedings initiated under it were intended to survive even after its expiry.
28. I can find no such intention. When passing the Act, the Legislature appears to have concerned itself with considering whether it shouldmake provision for the survival of any of the rights, liabilities and remedies under the Act after its expiry, but all that it did was to provide by a proviso to Section 1(4) that the expiry of the Act would not make any sum irrecoverable under it recoverable, nor make any sum recoverable by a tenant irrecoverable. No other saving was made and it is therefore reasonable to presume that no other saving was intended. The Legislature itself seems to have taken the same view, because unless it thought that if the Act of 1950 was allowed to expire, no rights, liabilities or remedies under it would survive, it is not intelligible why it should have repealed the Act just on the last day of its existence. The step must have been taken with a view to averting the consequence of an extinction of all rights, liabilities, remedies and proceedings under the Act which, it was thought, would follow, if the Act was left to expire and for bringing into existence the savings provided for in Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act. But the enquiry in the present context is not as to the intention of the Act of 1956 but as to the intention of the Act of 1950. With reference to the Act of 1948 which was also a tempo-rary Act, I was able to find an intention that the rights, liabilities and remedies under it should survive its expiry because, as I pointed out theAct, even as originally passsd, provided that it might be extended upto the 31st March, 1953 and the Act of 1950, which replaced it and substantially re-enacted its provisions, was also to remain in force upto that date. There was thus evidence of a legislative intention evinced by the Act of 1948 itself that the benefits provided by it should remain available upto the end of March, 1953 and the Act of 1950 which brought about an earlier end of the Act was designed to continue the beneficial policy of the Legislature during the remainder of the period which emphasized the intention (see Civil Revn. No. 1749 of 1951, D/- 9-8-1951 (Cal) (C). ) The Act of 1950, on the other hand,was expressed as due to expire on a certain date, the 31st March, 1953 and there was no p'ovision. for any extension. Its life was extended subsequently by means of independent amending Acts, but even as last amended, it was due to expire on a certain date without any extension or any saying, except the one I have mentioned, being provided for. It was contended that the Legislature must have known that some rights and liabilities under the Act might arise even on the 30th or the 31st March, 1953 or as the date was changed later, 1956, and therefore it was not reasonable to presume that it allowed rights and liabilities to arise upto the last moment without intending that they should be enforceable after its expiry and thus without taking due care to prevent their almost immediate and certain extinction as soon as the Act expired. That, however, is an incident of all temporary Acts which contain no saying provisions and cannot entitle anyone to read into such an Act an intention that rights and liabilities accrued under it should survive. Persons seeking to avail themselves of any benefits conferred by such an Act must make hay while the sun shines. If their hay matures when the sun is already declining or if they begin thsir operations under a declining sun, they may not be able to make any hay at all and can in no event make it under the sun of the following day. In my opinion, as a matter of construction, there is nothing in the Act of 1950 which indicates that the rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under it and proceedings already initiated were intended to remain alive after its exviry. Of how such an intention can be indicated, the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, considered tothe case of Wicks v. Director of Public Procecu-tions (1947) AC 362 (sic) cited before us, is an apt example. There the temporary Act provided as follows:
'The expiry of this Act shall not affect the operation thereof as respects things previously done or omitted to be done'.
29. It was next contended that even if there was no survival of such rights, liabilities and proceedings by the force of anything contained in the Act of 1950 itself, the Act of 1956 kept them alive. In support of that contention, reference was made to Section 8(1)(c) of the latter Act. An argument of a general nature was also advanced to the effect that when Courts interpreted an Act so as to find in favour of the continuance of accrued rights, they really procesded on extraneous considerations of justice and equity. It was therefore proper to refer to the surrounding cir-cumstances as well and not to limit oneself to the strict terms of the Act in order to ascertain and give effect to the true legislative intention. The general import of the Act of 1956 as continuing the same type of beneficial legislation on the same subject as the Act of 1950, together with the specific provision contained in Section 8(1) (c), might therefore, it was contended, be taken into account as indicia of the legislative intention as to the latter Act, even if the express terms of Section 8 (1) (c) might not suffice to cover the whole ground. I do not think that the general argument can be accepted, for, to do so would be to act on speculations which might mislead the Courts into legislating for themselves. The intention of a legislature can be judged only by how that intention has been expressed in the relevant statute itself. If it was the intention of the legislature, when repealing the Act of 1950, to save the rights and liabilities accrued and incurred under it and proceedings pending at the date of the repeal absolutely and without any limitation, nothing was easier than to make an express provision in that behalf. None was made. Instead, the Act was simply repealed and the survival of accrued rights and liabilities, as also that of pending proceedings, was left to Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act. It is therefore not possible to read any larger general intention in the Act of 1956. But the specific provision contained in Section 8(1)(c) requires a little closer consideration.
30. Section 8(1) of the Act of 1956 is a definition section and says in its several clauses what 'fair rent' in relation to any premises means. Various circumstances are contemplated. In Clause (c), the sub-section says that 'fair rent' means:
'Where any proceeding is pending for fixation of rent of such premises under the West Bengal Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950, the rent fixed under the provisions of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950.'
From the above provision it was contended that the Act of 1956 obviously contemplated that proceedings for the fixation of rent under the Act of 1950, pending at the date of the former Act, should be continued to their completion. Assuming that the contention is correct, the clause covers only pending proceedings and only such proceedings for the fixation of rent. Rights and liabilities in regard to which no proceedings wilder the Act were pending are not covered, nor rights and liabilities which were enforceable only in other proceedings under the general law, such as proceedings for ejectment of the tenant. Evenwithin the expressly limited scope of the clause, the question of its true import presents an apparent difficulty by reason of the provisions of Section 10(i) of the Act. That section provides that the Controller shall, on an application made to him, 'fix the fair rent referred to in Section 8'. It may plausibly, be argued that since Section 10(i) refers to 8. 8 in general terms, necessarily including thereby all its clauses, the 'fair rent' referred to in Clause (c) of Section 8(1) must also be a rent fixed by the Controller which must mean the Controller appointed under the Act--on an application being made to him. If such be the effect of Section 10(i), Section 8(1) (c) can only mean that where proceedings for the fixation of rent under the Act of 1950 were pending at the date of the Act of 1956, the Tair rent' shall be such rent as may be fixed by the Controller appointed under the new Act by applying the provisions of the Act of 1950. I am, however, prepared to concede that Section 10(i) does not compel that construction of Section 8(1)(c). In the first place, there would seem to be no scope in a pending proceeding for an application such as is contemplated by Section 10(i). In the second place, Section 8(1) also contains Clause (b) where 'fair rent' is defined, for cases in which the rent had already been fixed under the Act of 1950, as 'the rent so fixed'. There is thus nothing further to be fixed by the Controller under Section 10(i). In my opinion, Section 10 only defines the powers of the Controller appointed under the Act and as regards 'the fair rent referred to in Section 8'. he is intended to fix it only in those cases contemplated by the set'tion where there is scope for fixation by him. But this view of Section 10(1) by no means removes the difficulty of construing Section 8(1)(c) and by no means establishes that by virtue of that provision, pending proceedings for fixation of rent can be continued even after the expiry of the Act of 1950. The section does contemplate that such proceedings should continue after the repeal of the Act and such contemplation by the Legislature may not have been altogether invalid because the Act was being repealed, and, accordingly, proceedings pending at the date of the repeal would survive by virtue of the provisions of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act. But the Legislature apparently forgot that the repealed Act was a temporary Act, due to expire on the 31st March, 1956, and that therefore the General Clauses Act would not keep it alive for the purposes of such proceedings beyond that date and upto their end, as it would have done if it were a permanent Act. it may be said that for the continuation of proceedings for fixation of rent, neither the General Clauses Act, nor any indication of intention in the repealed temporary Act is required, because Section 8(1) (c) of the repealing Act continues them by an express provision. The difficulty of accepting that interpretation is that such view of the section will not be workable. The majority of the proceedings for fixation of rent must have been pending before the Controller appointed under the Act of 1950. Those appointments would cease with the repeal or the expiry of the Act and thereafter there would be no Controller appointed under the Act of 1950. Before whom would the proceedings continue? The Act of 1956, by Section 26(1), provides for the appoint-ment of Controllers under its own provisions. The same persons may not be appointed such Court oflers and even if they are. they will not be Controllers appointed under the new Act. Even if no fresh appointments ere made and Section 26(1) cf the Act of 1956 is taken as a re-enactment of Section 28(1) of the Act of 1950. the old officers shall, by virtue of the provisions of Section 25 of the Bengal General Clauses Act, be deemed to have been appointed under the re-enacted provision in the new Act. That Act gives no power to Controllers appointed under it to deal with pending proceedings initiated under the Act of 1950, nor does the Act of 1950 give power to deal with proceedings initiated under it to anyone other than a Controller appointed under its own provisions. It follows that Section 8(1) (c) of the Act of 1953, in so far as it purports to authorise the continuance of pending proceedings for fixation of rent initiated under the Act of 1950 beyond the life of that Act, is an abortive provision and will not work. The enactment of the section must be taken along with the fact that the Act of 1856 was repealing the Act of 1950, and the real position appears to be that the Legislature enacted that section, relying on the repeal and counting on the continuance of the proceedings by Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act which would keep the Act of 1950 alive for the purposes of those proceedings as if it had not been repealed, but it overlooked the fact that even the General Clauses Act would not be able to carry the repealed Act beyond the 31st of March, 1956. The result has been that Section 8(1)(c) would take effect only during the 31st of March, 1956 and any rent fixed on that date in any pending proceedings would undoubtedly be 'fair rent', as contemplated by the new Act. But the section cannot have the effect of continuing pending proceedings any further. Thus the Act of 1956 also does not serve to keep alive any accrued rights or incurred liabilities or rcending proceedings beyond the 31st of March, 1956.
31. I may refer at this stage to an argument based on the Letters Patent but only to say that I am unable to follow it. The learned Advocate who advanced the argument was appearing for the respondents in one of the appeals and he joined the appellants in contending that the Act of 1950 could still be applied and procesdings initiated under that Act could still be continued. His contention was that Clause 21 of the Letters Patent made it obligatory on the High Court, in exercising its appellate jurisdiction, to apply the law which the Court of first instance ought to have applied and, therefore, even after the expiry of the Act of 1950, we were bound in these appeals to apply that Act, since it was the law which the trial Courts had to apply when the cases were before them. The argument, to my mind, is plainly untenable and proceeded on a misconception as to the meaning and effect of Clause 21. The clause of the Letters Patent merely means that the High Court, as an appellate Court, shall not apply any law which the trial Court could not have applied and if that Court did not apply some law which it ought to have applied or did not apply it correctly, it shall apply the correct law. For example, in an appeal from the mofussil, the High Court shall not apply the law of damdupat and if a mofussil Court decided a case according to the English common law, the High Court shall, in an appeal from the decision, correct the error and apply the relevant statute. See Khirod Behari Dutt v. Man Govinda Panda : AIR1934Cal682 . The clause does not mean that even if the law which the trial Court had to apply has ceased to be law, for the purposes of pending proceedings as well, the High Court still can, and indeed must, apply it in an appeal in the case by reason of the provisions of the clause. Indeed, it would be strange if a provision, laying down for one of the Courts in the hierarchy of Courts what law it was to apply in exercising its appellate jurisdiction, could have the effect of keeping alive an otherwise expired law for the purposes of that Court alone. Since its expiry, the Act of 1950 is, for the purposes of accrued rights, incurred liabilities and pending proceedings, eitheralive or not alive. Whether or not it is alive depends upon its own provisions and the law relating to the duration of statutes. If under those provisions and that law it is no longer alive, it cannot still be alive for the purpose of appeals pending in the High Court by virtue of Clause 21 of the Letters Patent but not alive for the purposes of appeals or proceedings pending in other Courts to which the Letters Patent do not apply. It is not necessary to pursue that absurdity further, because Clause 21 of the Letters Patent does not bear the meaning which the learned Advocate would attribute to it.
32. The third question referred to us concerns the exercise of powers under Section 32(4) of the Act of 1950 in a pending proceeding and, therefore, unlike, the question in the other two cases, concerns the further maintainability of a proceeding under the Act itself. In the absence of any contrary intention indicated by the Act, of which none can be found, such proceedings would terminate automatically as soon as the Act expired, unless something else kept them alive. The only provision which could be said to aim at keeping them alive is Section 8(1)(c) of the Act of 1956 which I have already discussed. I would concede that 'any proceeding--for fixation of rent', as mentioned in the section, would cover proceedings pending in any tribunal, original, appellate or re-visional and I would also concede that no difficulty, such as that of finding a Controller under the Act after the Act had expired, would arise in regard to revision cases pending in the High Court. But Section 8(1) (c) would be a provision of an odd meaning if its import was to keep alive proceedings pending in the High Court but not those pending before the Controller. The true view of the section, in my view, is that it was based on the expected effect of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act and extends the pending proceedings only so far as that provision could extend them. Accordingly the position in regard to proceedings under Section 32(4) of the Act of 1950, pending in the High Court, is not different. If it is not, the Court has no longer any jurisdiction to entertain the proceedings, although it had jurisdiction to entertain them when they were brought, as was held in similar circumstances by Roche J., Spencer v. Hootan, (1920) 37 TLR 280 (M), since approved by the Court of Criminal appeal in Wicks v. Director of Public Prosecutions (1947) 116 LJR 191 (N).
33. I need not discuss in detail the decisions in Gosto Behary Sadhukhan v. Panchu Gopal Paramanic, 54 Cal WN 613 (O) and Monomohan Moitra v. Govinda Das, 55 Cal WN 6 (P), which were cited in this connection. In the first case, the fact of the repeal of the Act of 1948 and the effect of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act were relied on but the words 'as if the repealing Act had not been passed' were not considered. Besides, as I have already pointed out, the Act of 1948, as set against the background of a possible extension upto March, 1953 even under its original intention, stood on a different footing. In the second case, where a proceeding started when the Calcutta House Rent Control Order, 1945, was in force was heard after the Act of 1948 had come into operation, it was held, on the principle that ordinarily a suit is to be tried by the law as it stood at the date of its institution, that the House Bent Control Order of 1945 and not the Ordinance of 1946 or the Act of 1948 would apply. The incidents of temporary statutes were not considered.
34. For reasons which I have endeavoured to give at some length, I would render an answer inthe negative to the questions referred in each of the three references.
35. The judgment I have so far read was trepared and made ready for delivery on the 7th of August last and the references were in fact included in the Cause List for that day for judg-ment. In the morning of that very day, however, was suddenly called away from the Court to other duties with the result that the judgment could not be delivered. Nor could it be delivered during my absence under the provisions of Order 49, Rule 4 of the Code in view of the nature of the office to which I had been called and which I was holding at the time. My release was delayed till the 3rd of November when the Court was in the midst of its Long Vacation. Even before the 7th of August but only a few days before that was published in the Calcutta Gazette an Act, called the West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act. 1956, which the Legislature had passed in the meantime and by which inter alia a new section was substituted for the old Section 40 of the principal Act. It appeared that even the Bill had been introduced after the hearing of the references had been concluded. Necessarily, there had been no argument before us on the effect of the amendment. Nor was it possible to hearing further argument then, because it was found that on account of the indisposition of one of us, it would not be possible for the same Bench to sit for a considerable time. In those circumstances, we had then decided to deliver our judgment as it was, without expressing any opinion on the effect of the substituted Section 40 which was not in existence either when the references had been made or even when the arguments had been heard. But since the judgment could not be delivered for reasons beyond our control and by the date the Bench was again in a position to deliver judgment, a great deal of time had elapsed, it appeared to us that it could no longer be right to limit our judgment to the old state of the law, particularly as, by the amendment, a saving clause in respect of pending proceedings had been introduced in express terms. Accordingly, we directed the references to be set down for further hearing and heard the parties again. The appellants in the appeals and the petitioners in the Revision Case all contended that whatever might have been the position under the old Section 40, the proceedings in which they were respectively interested had all been saved by the amendment. The respondents in the appeals and the opposite party in the revision case still demurred.
36. The relevant section of the amending Act of 1956 is Section 5 which is expressed in the following terms:
'5. For Section 40 of the said Act, the following section shall be substituted and be deemed always to have been substituted, namely :
'Repeal and savings.
40. (1) The West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950 (in this section referred to as the said Act), is hereby repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of the said Act:
(a) any proceeding pending on the 31st day of March, 1956, may be continued, or,
(b) any proceeding or remedy in respect of any right, privilege, obligation, liability penalty, forfeiture or punishment under the said Act and relating to the period before such repeal may be instituted,
as if the said Act had been in force:
Provided that for any of the purposes aforesaid, a Controller, an Additional Controller or aDeputy Controller appointed under this Act shall be deemed to be a Controller, an Additional Controller or B Deputy Controller appointed . under the said Act.
Explanation.--In this section 'proceeding' includes any suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution, or any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act.
(3) In computing the period of limitation for the institution of any proceeding under the said Act, the period beginning with the 31st day of March, 1956 and ending with the 30th dsy after the commencement of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1956, shall be excluded.'
37. It is clear that the Legislature is no longer relying on what I have called the standard saving clause, as contained in Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act, but has enacted a special saving clause for its instant purpose. The object of the provision is undoubtedly to save pending proceedings and authorise new institutions for the enforcement of rights and liabilities accrued under the Act of 1950, notwithstanding the repeal of. that Act. The only question is what pending proceedings it has succeeded in saving and what new institutions it has authorised.
38. The amendment substitutes a new section for the old Section 40 with retrospective effect from the date of the principal Act. Before dealing with the effect of the section, I may refer to two of its several infelicities on which caustic comments were made. Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of the section says that 'any proceeding or remedy.... may be instituted'. It was said that to speak of instituting a remedy was to use old language. The use of the word 'instituted' in connection with, the word 'remedy' is undoubtedly inappropriate. I do not know if the explanation is that the draftsman tried to model himself on the last paragraph, of Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act but failed to give each noun a verb appropriate, to it as has been done there. The other infelicity almost affects the sense. Sub-section (2) taken as a whole, says that notwithstanding the repeal of the Rent Act of 1950.
'any proceeding pending on the 31st day of March, 1956 may be continued, or, any proceeding or remedy in respect of any right, privilege.....may be instituted as if the said Act had been in force,'
The use of the past perfect tense in the last clause made the learned Advocate for the respondents in one of the appeals ask whether it was intended that the Act of 1350 should be deemed to have been in force on some past date and if so, what that date was. I cannot say the enquiry was not pertinent. If someone refers to the repeal of an Act and says that in spite of such repeal, pending proceedings under or in relation to the Act may be continued and even new proceedings may be instituted in future, he can properly say that such proceedings may be continued or instituted 'as if the Act is, still in force', but if he says 'as If the Act had been in force', he naturally gives the impression that he is asking an assumption to be made as to the existence of the Act at some past point of time. Of such an expression it cannot be said that it really carried a sense of the present tense and that its use of the past Perfect tense is an idiom of the English language. I think, however, that although the language used in the Sub-section (2) of the Act is infelicitous and inaccurate, it is not difficult to gather the intention. When it says that any remedy may be 'en-tuted', it means that any remedy may be 'enforced, and when it says 'as if the said Act hadbeen in force', it means 'as if the said Act is still in force'.
39. We are really concerned in these references only with Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) of the amending Act which purports to save pending proceedings, 'Proreeding' is a general term and a term of wide connotation. It has been used in Sub-section 2(a) without any limitation of any kind as to the nature of the proceedings contemplated. If Sub-section (2) had stood alone, Clause (a), taken along with the last words of the sub-section. might be construed without much difficulty as meaning that notwithstanding the repeal of the Act of 1950, any pending proceeding, whether a proceeding under that Act or a proceeding under some other law but having some concern with the Act, may be continued on the footing that the Act is still in force. Under Clause (a), so construed, pending proceedings under the Act would survive, because the Act itself was to be deemed to be surviving and for the same reason, the Act could be applied in such proceedings under other laws where ap-plication of the Act was called for. But a difficulty is created by the 'Explanation' which, in-stead of clarifying the meaning of the word 'proceeding', greatly obscures it. The words 'or any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act', occuring at the (sic) of the explanation, certainly suggest that the various types of proceedings mentioned earlier are also proceedings under the Act. If so. proceedings under other laws in which ques-tions relating to the Act may be involved are not covered by the word 'proceeding', as used in Clause (a) of Sub-section (2). and accordingly the clause does not save such proceedings. That indeed was the contention advanced on behalf of the respondents in one of the appeals.
40. Mr. Gupta, though appearing on behalf of the appellant in one of the appeals, accepted the position that the words 'under the said Act', occurring at the end of the Explanation. applied to all the various tyres of proceedings specified earlier and indeed insisted that such must be the true construction of the Explanation. The language of the Explanation, he submitted. would admit of no other construction. hP also drew attention to Sub-section (3) of the section where the words ''any proceeding under the said Act' occur and contended that it could not possibly be said that, in that sub-section any proceeding other than a proceeding under the Act, as understood by the Legislature, was contemplated. The same, he submitted, was the contemplation of the Explanation and Clause (a) of Sub-section (2) which could have no concern with proceedings in general. But the words 'under the said Act', he contended, had been used inexactly and in a loose sense to indicate not merely proceedings authorised by the Act, but all the proceedings concerned with the Act or in which, application of the Act was called for. That the words were not intended to be taken in a literal sense would, it was said, appear from the absurdity which would result in certain cases if they were so taken, for example, if they were taken along with the words 'any suit', occurring in the Explanation. There could be no suit under the Act of 1950, because that Act did not authorise the institution of any suit.
41. Mr. Ray who appeared for the respon-dent in the seme appeal but supported the appellant submitted that even if the words 'under the said Act' in the Explanation attached to all the various types of proceedings specifically mentioned earlier and even if the words meant 'authorised by the Act', Sub-section 2(a) could still be construed as saving proceedings under other laws as well. It was pointed out that the Explanation began withthe word 'included' so that it gave only an illustrative and not exhaustive definition of 'proceeding'. All that the Explanation did was to say expressly that among the proceedings covered by the 'general and comprehensive word 'proceeding', proceedings authorised bv the Act were in laded, but the effect of the Explanation, so expressed, was not to exhaust the connotation of the term 'proceeding'. Other proceedings covered by the term according to its natural meaning still remained and since the term had been used in Sub- section 2(a) without any qualification, pending proceedings under other laws were comprised within its residuary connotation and therefore they too were saved.
42. The new Section 40 was substituted in the principal Act of 1956 by an amendment and there can be no doubt that the object inter alia was to make a specific provision for the saving of pending proceedings from the effect of the repeal of the old Act. It cannot reasonably be thought that the ob-ject was to save only some of the pending proceed-ings but not all. While the difficulty created by the Legislature by its very attempt to explain its true meaning is obvious, the intention struggling to find expression through the inaccurate and in-appropriate language used by it is equally obvious.
43. I cannot, however, agree that, the words, 'under the said Act' can be construed as mean- ing 'with which the Act is concerned or to which the Act applied'. Such a construction would be plainly opposed to the natural meaning of the words and extend it beyond the limits to which it could reasonably he stretched. Nor can I agree that the explanation merely specifies some of the proceedings comprehended within the general meaning of the term 'proceeding'', leaving other proceedings comprehended by it unspecified. The effect of a definition clause beginning with the word 'includes', is not to single out for specific mention some of the things comprised within the natural import of the term defined, but the effect is to enlarge that import by the addition of certain things which would not otherwise he reeard-ed as included. In that sense, it is undoubtedly true that a definition clause, so expressed, is ordinarily not exhaustive, but it can be so in certain contexts. 'But the word 'include' is susceptible' observed Lord Watson in Dilwort h v. Commissioner of Stamps, (1899) AC 99 at p. 106 (Q)
'of another construction, which may become imperative, if the context of the Act is sufficient to show that it was not merely employed for the purpose of adding to the natural significance of the words or expression defined. It may be equivalent to 'mean and include', and in that case it may afford an exhaustive explanation of the meaning which, for the purposes of the Act, must invariably be attached to those words or expressions'. In my opinion, the word 'includes' has been used in the Explanation in the present case in the latter sense. The context of an object to save pending proceedings from the effect of the repeal of the earlier Act points to that meaning and the phrase 'any other proceeding whatsoever' expresses it. If the Legislature was providing for the saving of pending proceedings, as it undoubtedly was, and if the words 'under thee said Act' attach to all the various kinds of proceed-ings mentioned in the Explanation, as Mr. Ray as-sumed, then, in his construction, the Legislature was saying generally by Sub-section 2 (a) that pending proceedings might be continued and when saying by way of an explanation of its meaning that such pending proceedings would include pro-ceedings authorised by the Act itself. I can see no point in an explanation of that kind. If the Act though repealed, was being kept in force for the purposes of pending proceedings, proceedings authorised by the Act itself would be the first to be saved and indeed would be saved automatically. No explanation, declaring or clarifying the intention to save them would be required. In my opinion, whatever the true import of the Ex-planation, it is intended to give an exhaustive definition of the word 'proceeding', as used in the section and the word 'includes' has been used in the sense of 'means and includes'.
44. If such be the effect of the Explanation, it follows that the Explanation and the word 'proceeding' as used in Sub-section 2(a) are co-extensive. The real question in construing the word 'proceeding' in Sub-section 2(a) therefore is what the Explanation means and what proceedings it covers. For the purposes of the reference in the Civil Revi-sion Case, the question is not of any importance, because that case was initiated by an application under Section 32(4) of the repealed Act itself and therefore it would be saved under Sub-section 2(a) even on the narrowest construction of the Explanation. For the purposes of the references in the two appeals, however, which were preferred under other laws, the question is a crucial one.
45. In my opinion, in spite of the complications created by its language, the Explanation covers all proceedings concerned with the Act of 1950, whether brought under that Act or under other laws. It is to be noticed that the words 'or any other proceedings whatsoever under the said Act' are separated from the rest of the Explanation by comma. It would thus appear that the words I have just quoted are intended to be a distinct and separate provision. There is undoubtedly a rule of construction that, in construc-ing a statutory provision, no account may be taken of punctuation marks. The reason why that rule came to be laid down was that in old times punctuation marks formed no part of a statute, as passed by Parliament, but were added subsequently when the statute was published in print. It is at least doubtful whether the rule would apply to the construction of modern statutes which are almost always presented to the Legislature and passed by it in a punctuated form. We do not, however, know, if the comma occurred in the Bill introduced in the Legislature. But even apart from the comma, I do not find it impossible to hold that the words 'suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution' form a separete group, comprising all proceedings of those des rip-tions. whether authorised by the Act of 1950 or authorised by other laws and that it is only the residuary clause 'or any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act' which is limited to proceedings authorised by the Act itself, such proceedings being proceedings of a nature different from the nature of the proceedings specifically men-tioned. if any such proceedings under the Act can at all be conceived of. In that view of the Explanation, the words 'under the said Act' would not attach to the various types of proceedings specifically mentioned earlier.
46. That such is the proper construction of the Explanation will appear, if it is sought to be applied to Sub-section (3) of the section. The Explanation purports to be an explanation of the term proceeding 'in this section' and therefore it applies to Sub-section (3) as well. That sub-section lays down a special rule of limitation and provides for the exemption of a certain period for the institution of 'any proceeding under the said Act'. If the words 'under the said Act' in the Explanation aretaken to attach to all various types of proceedings-mentioned therein and if, as a result, the word 'proceeding', as used in the section, is to be taken as a proceeding 'under the said Act', the curious result of applying that explanation or definition to Sub-section (3) would be that the words 'any proceeding under the said Act' would have to be read as 'any proceeding under the said Act under the said Act'. If by virtue of the Explanation, the word 'proceeding', wherever used in the section, means a 'proceeding under the said Act', there was no need, when the word was used in Sub-section (3) to add the words 'under the said Act' for those words would be implied in the word 'proceeding' itself and would come in as a part of the definition. A specific addition of those words would in that view be an absurd duplication. Sub-sec-tion (3) of the section, however, does use the words ''under the said Act' and attaches them to the word 'proceeding' on its own account and does not seek to draw them from the Explanation, In my view, a reasonable inference from the spe-cific use of the words 'under the sa'd Act' in Sub-section (3) is that those words, as used in the Explanation, do not attach to all proceedings, but attach, only to the undefined proceedings referred to at the end of the Explanation. Taken as a whole, the Explanation thus comprises by its first part all proceedings of the various denominations specifically mentioned, whether brought under the Act of 1950 or under other laws and comprises by its latter part proceedings of other denominations, if any, as may be authorised by the Act. The last words are of the nature of a residuary clause and seem to have been added by way of caution.
47. Support to the above construction of the Explanation may, in my opinion, also be derived from Clause Co) of Sub-section (2). That clause authorises new institutions and the proceedings it authorises are proceedings 'in respect of any right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeituie or punishment under the said Act'. Obviously, proceedings in respect of rights or liabilities under a particular Act need not necessarily be proceedings authorised by that Act, Clause (b) of Sub-section tion (2) therefore contemplates proceedings under all laws, whether the Act of 1950 or any other Act, in which some right or liability arising out of the Act of 1950 may be sought to be enforced. It is not reasonable to think that in Clause (b) of Sub-section (2), the Legislature was thinking of proceedings under all laws, so far as new institutions are concerned, but in Clause (a), which is concerned with pending proceedings, it was only thinking of proceedings authorised by the Act of 1950. In my view, there is no warrant for the presumption that the Legislature had different intentions with respect to pending proceedings and new institutions. Its intention with regard to new institutions is perfect-ly clear from Clause (b) of Sub-section (2) and the same intention must be read in Clause (a), though the language used in that clause is not equally clear and has been further obscured by the Expla-nation Since the language in Clause (a) is 'continued', it presupposes that the proceedings should be pending at the date of the amending Act as well.
48. I am sensible that the construction I am adopting does not He on the surface of the section and indeed involves some strain on its language. But the language is not wholly incapable of bearing the construction. This is not a case where the Legislature has altogether failed to say a cer-tain thing and by adopting the construction. I have proposed, the Court would be making good that total omission. This is a case whe.e the Legislature has made what it intended to sayclear, has tried to say it, but in making the attempt to express its mind, has been able to achieve only a confused utterance. In my view, in such a case the Court may properly put the confused speech of the Legislature into order and give effect to the underlying intention. To do so would not be to make unwarranted excuses for the Legislature and not to do so would be to act like what I have called earlier mere grammarians of the written law.
49. For the foregoing reasons, I hold that the effect of Section 40(2) of the Act of 1956, as substituted by the amending Act, is to keep the Act of 1950 alive for the purposes of all proceedings pending on the 31st day of March 1956 and also pending at the date of the amendment, in which application of that Act was called for. whether such proceedings were brought under the Act itself or brought under other laws. Accordingly, the answers to the questions referred to us should, in my opinion, be as follows:
S. A. 842 of 1954--Yes, owing to the substitution of a new Section 40 in the Act of1956 since the reference was made.L. P. A. 1 of 1956 - DoCivil RevisionNo. 3810 of 1955 Do
50. The order in each reference will be that the case, with our answer on the point of law referred shall go back to the referring Bench for final decisions.
51. Costs--costs in the Second Appeal, Letters Patent Appeal and Civil Revision Case respectively--hearing fee five gold mohurs in each case.
K.C. Das Gupta, J.
52. I entirely agree with my Lord in his conclusion as regards the legal effect of Section 40 of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956, as originally enacted and the reasonings for that conclusion.
53. I also agree with him as regards the legal effect of the new Section 40 as enacted by the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Amendment Act 1956, but for different reasons.
54. The 2nd sub-section of the new Section 40 says in its first clause--clause (a)--that notwithstanding the repeal of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950--hereafter also referred to as the 1950 Act--any proceeding pending on the 31st day of March, 1956. may be continued as if the said Act had been in force. In its second sub-clause it provides that any proceeding or remedy In respect of any right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment under the said Act and relating to the period before such repeal may be instituted as if the said Act had been in force. We are directly concerned at present only with the first clause, viz., the provision that any proceeding pending on the 31st day of March, 1956, may be continued notwithstanding the repeal of the 1950 Act as if the said Act had been in force. If that were all, I do not think there could be any doubt, in spite of the fact that the 1950 Act would nave died a natural death only a few hours later if it had not been repealed, that for the purpose of proceedings of whatever nature pending before the Courts of law on the 31st day of March, 1956. the Courts could apply the provisions of the 1950 Act. In the absence of any definition clause, it would be reasonable to interpret the word 'proceeding' to include all suits whether for ejectment or for other reliefs in any civil Court, any appeal from the decrees passed in any suit, or from any order, any application for execution, or for any other relief. The Legisla-ture has however thought fit to add a definition clause of the word 'proceeding' in the form of an explanation in these words:
'proceeding includes any suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution, or any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act.' There cannot be any doubt that though the word 'includes' has been used, it should be interpreted as 'includes and means' and the definition of 'proceeding' given here is exhaustive. My Lord has discussed in detail the considerations which compel this conclusion, and as I respectfully agree with his reasons for this conclusion it is not necessary for me to discuss this question again. The result is that if any proceeding does not fall within this definition, it cannot get the benefit of Sub-section (2) of the new Section 40.
55. It appears at first sight difficult to say that suits for ejectment or second appeals arising out of suits for ejectment fall within this definition. There would have been no difficulty if the explanation had ended with the words 'applica-tion for execution'; nor would there have been any difficulty if the concluding words had been 'any other proceeding' or 'any proceeding whatsoever under the Act'. The concluding words of the explanation 'any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act' seem at first sight to compel a conclusion that only suits under the Act, appeals under the Act review or revision under the Act, any application for execution under the Acs and all other proceedings under the Act fall within the definition; but a suit or appeal or review or revision or application for execution which cannot be said to be under the Act does not fall within the definition. It appears, difficult to hold that in spite of the use of the words 'other' and 'under the Act', in the concluding portion of the explanation, the words 'under the Act' will not qualify the words in the first part of the explanation, namely, 'suit, appeal, application etc.' It appears no less difficult to hold that a suit for ejectment or a second appeal arising out of such a suit is under the Act.
56. To my mind these difficulties are more apparent than real. I am constrained to admit that according to strict grammar the use of the words 'any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act' justifies the conclusion that the' phrase 'under the said Act' qualifies also the words 'suit, appeal, review, revision, application' in the earlier part of the explanation. If this strict grammatical interpretation must be adhered to, suits for ejectment or second appeal arising out of suits for ejectment must be held to be outside the definition unless they can be said to be under the 1950 Act. I am unable to see any reason, however, why such suits or appeals should not be said to be 'under the 1950 Act'. I am not aware of any authority where the words 'a suit under the Act' or 'appeal under the Act', has been judicially interpreted, and one has been shown to us. An appeal is a creature of statute, so that it would not be inappropriate to speak of an appeal as being 'under' the statute which creates it. With certain exceptions a suit, however, is not a creature of statute. Some suits, it is true, are brought on the strength of specific provisions of a statute. This. Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act provides that under certain circumstances, if any person is dispossessed, he may by suit recover possession. Here, it may reasonably be said that the suit is the creature of that statute. It is worth noticing that this section itself speaks of 'suit under the section'. There are undoubtedly some other cases also where a suit can be said to be a creature of statute. In the majority of thesuits which come before the Courts, however, the suits are brought without any specific provision in law that such a suit will He. Such suits are instituted to enforce rights or obtain remedies which exist, under the common law or have teen created by statute, without any specific provision that the rights can be enforced or remedies obtained, by 'suit' If the words 'under the Act' be interpreted to mean only 'authorised under the Act' it would be inappropriate to speak of any of the suits that are brought without a specific authority of a statute to institute it as 'under' sny Act, except perhaps the Act which prescribes the procedure in accordance with which the suits have to be instituted.
57. I am not prepared to hold however that the word 'under' has to be interpreted only in this limited sense. I do not think it can be ie-nied that in the Courts of law lawyers often speak of a suit brought by a lessor for ejectment of the lessee, as a suit 'under the Transfer of Property Act'. It is clear, however, that while the Trans-fer of Property Act contains the law as regards termination of leases it contains no provision that a lessor may on such termination bring a suit for possession. Nobody thinks it wrong however to say that such a suit is under the Transfer of Property Act. There are many other crises where in the Courts suits in respect of the rights, remedies or privileges created by a particular statute are said to he cases under the statute. It is interesting to notice in this connection that in the Schedule' to the Limitation Act, we find the mention of 'suits under Section 360 or Section 361 of the Indian Succession Act'. Section 360 of the Indian Succession Act authorises the executor or administrator to 'distribute assets; the proviso to the section says
'nothing herein contained shall prejudice the right of any creditor or claimant to follow the assets, or any part thereof, in the hands of the persons who may have received the same respectively.'
Section 361 provides that a creditor who has not received payment may call upon a legatee to refund. Neither of these sections 'authorises' any euit for enforcement of the right given by the section. Clearly, therefore, in this Article of the Limitation Act -- Article 43 'Suits under Section 360 or Section 361 of the Indian Succession Act', does not mean suits authorised by these . sections, but means suits in respect of the right given by those sections.
58. I think it can reasonably be held that where a suit is in respect of a right, privilege, or liability, created by a statute, the suit is often said to be under the statute. Even if such use be thought a departure from the pure use of the word 'under', I cannot see anything improper in such use. It may be further pointed out that a suit for ejectment which involves the application of the provisions of the West Bengal Premises Rent Control Act, 1950. had to be brought, in view of the provisions of Section 16(1) of the Act, in accordance with the snecial provisions laid down in that Act itself in Schedule B thereto. Even if it was right, therefore, to put a limited interpretation on the word 'under' it would, I think, be right to describe all suits for ejectment brought in accordance with the provisions of Section 46 of the 1950 Act as suits 'under the Act'.
59. My own view however is that it is not necessary and proper to put such a limited interpretation on the word 'under' and that reasonably interpreted the words 'under the said Act' in the Explanation mean 'in respect of rights, privileges, or liabilities created by the said Act'.
60. I have therefore come to the conclusion. that all suits for ejectment instituted when the1950 Act was in force, and all appeals and appli-cations arising out of such suits, are proceedings'under the Act' of 1950, and will therefore get thebenefit of Sub-section (2) of the new Section 40.
61. In the view I have taken of the meaningof the words 'under the said Act' it is unnecessaryfor me to consider whether it is possible to holdthat these words as appearing in the Explanationto Sub-section (2) of Section 40, do not qualify the earlierwords therein--viz. suit, appeal, review, revision,application for execution.
62. In the result, I agree with my Lord, in the answers he has given to the different questions referred to the Special Bench.
63. I have had the advantage of rending the judgment which has just now been de ivered by my Lord the Chief Justice. I agree with the answers given by him and also the reasons for those answers and I have nothing to add.
S.R. Das Gupta, J.
64. I agree with the conclusions reached by my Lord the Chief Justice as to the effect both of the earlier Act. that is, the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary provisions) Act of 1950 and of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act of 1956. I cannot, , however, agree with the process of reasoning, by which his Lordship arrived at his conclusion as to the effect of the Act of 1956 (The West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act). I am unable to hold that the words 'under the said Act', appearing in the Explanation to Sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the said Act, govern only the expression 'any other proceeding' and not 'any suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution', appearing in the said Explanation.
65. That view, in my opinion, is negatived by the use of the words 'other proceeding'. The words 'other proceeding' imply pro'eedin~s other than those already mentioned, that is. as it. ap-peal, review or revision application for execution' That being so. the expression 'under the Act' must be held to govern not only 'other proceed-ing' but also 'any suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution' mentioned in the said Explanation.
66. The correct view, in my opinion, to take would be to hold that the words' 'under the Act', though not happily worded, really mean, having regard to the expressions used in the earlier part of the said section, 'in respect of any right or obligation under the Act'. In my opinion, Sub-section 2(b) gives the clue as to the meaning of the said Explanation.
67. I. therefore, reach, although by a different process of reasoning, the same conclusion at which my Lord the Chief Justice has arrived as to the effect of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act. 1956.
68. I agree with what my Lord the Chief Justice has said in his judgment with regard to the effect on the questions referred to this Bench, of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956, (Act XXII of 1956) as it stood before it was amended by the West Bengal Premises Tenancy (Amendment) Act. 1956 (Act XVIII of 1956). On the amending Act, however, I wish to say a few words.
69. The amending Act substituted a new Section 40 in the principal Act with retrospective effect. By Sub-section (2) (a) of the new Section 40, it is provided that a proceeding pending on'the 31st day of March, 1956, might be continued, notwithstading the repeal by the principal Act of' the West Bengal Premises Rent Control (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1950 (Act XVII of 1950), in the same manner as if the Act of 1950 had been in force.
70. We have before us three proceedings which were pending on March 31, 1956. If they are proceedings of the kind contemplated by Sub-section (2)(a) of the new Section 40 they can be continued in the same manner as if the Act of 1950 on which they had been based is in force. Now whether they are such proceed ings or not depends on the last portion of Sub-section (2) which reads thus:
'Explanation. -- In this section 'proceedings' includes any suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution, or any other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act.'
By the words 'the said Act'' the Act of 1950 is being referred to.
71. The first difficulty that has arisen is whether in this explanation, the words 'under the said Act' govern the preceding wordy 'suit, appeal, review or revision, application for execution'. It seems to me, they must. When the explanation says 'any 'other proceeding whatsoever under the said Act' in my view, it inevitably means, any proceeding under the Act of 1950 other than those already mentioned. It follows from this that those already mentioned must also be proceedings under the Act. If this was not so we would have to read this portion of the section as if the word 'other' was not there. I do not conceive this to be permissible.
72. The next difficulty felt is as to the meaning of the words 'under the Act'. Do they mean a proceeding authorised by the Act, that is to say, a proceeding which can be launched because the Act says it can he so done and one which could not be so launched without a provi-sion in the Act authorising it? I do not think such is the meaning to be given to these words. I find no difficulty in holding that a prorceding can be said to be under an Act when it is in connection with a right given by the Act. It is not very often that statutes specifically authorise proceedings. They are generally concerned with defining rights and obligations. It is wellknown that when a right and infringement thereof exist, a suit lies without any other specific statutory provisions: Valli Ammal v. Corporation of Madras, ILR 33 Mad 41: (AIR 1916 Mad 1119) (R) and State of Bombay v Adamjee Haji Dawood & Co., : AIR1951Cal147 . If the right was created by a statute, I think that, a suit in respect of it can be properly said to be under that statute, though the statute itself does not mention anything about the right being enforceable by a suit.
73. I feel strengthened in this view of the matter by a consideration of the Explanation in Sub-section (2) itself. It contemplates suits and applications for execution under the Act of 1950. Now I do not find anything in the Act of 1950 which ran be said to authorise a suit or an application for execution. Therefore the suits and applications for execution under the Act cannot be such as are authorised bv the Act. If it were so. the words used in the Act would have been meaningless. It seems to me therefore that when the Explanation talks of suits and application for execution under the Act it must mean these proceedings in which rights given by the Act are concerned. If such is the proper meaning to be given to the words 'under the Act' that mean-ing must apply in the case of appeals, review or revision.
74. As the proceedings before us are concerned with the rights given by the Act of 1950 and as they were pending on March 31, 1956. for the reasons earlier stated, I agree with the answers given by my Lord the Chief Justice to the questions referred to the Pull Bench.