Mookerjee and Beachcroft, JJ.
1. This Kale raises an important question of first impression, namely, whether it is competent to a putnidar to avail himself of the provisions of Section 61 of the Bengal Tenancy Act notwithstanding Clause (e) of Section 195. The circumstances under which the question arises for consideration are not disputed and may be briefly stated.
2. The plaintiff alleges that he holds a putni taluk, that on several occasions he had paid rent to the Mustaphis, that thereafter on the assertion that the estate had been sold for arrears of revenue and that the certified purchaser had conveyed title to him, one Janaki Nath Pandey, the present defendant, had realised rent from him on threat of proceedings under Regulation VIII of 1819, and that recently on the 11th December 1912 in a suit between the representatives of the original proprietors and the defendant, it was decided that the property was not comprised within the estate sold for arrears of revenue. The plaintiff asserts that, under these circumstances, he entertained a bona fide doubt as to who was entitled to receive the rent and that consequently he was entitled to make a deposit under Clause (e) of Section 61 of the Bengal Tenancy Act. He accordingly made a deposit on the 15th May 1913. Notice was thereupon issued to the rival claimants. One of these, the transferee from the purchaser at the revenue sale, entered appearance and prayed that the money deposited might be retained in Court as he intended to institute a suit within a fortnight for the establishment of his alleged right to the rent. A receipt was then granted to the plaintiff by the Court where the deposit had been made. The claimant, however, did not institute the suit. On the other hand, he took recourse to the summary procedure laid down in Regulation VIII of 1819, for recovery of arrears of rent. The consequence was that the plaintiff was, constrained to deposit the money claimed to prevent the sale of his tenure. The plaintiff now sues to recover damages from the defendant on the allegation that at the time he was compelled to make the deposit to prevent the sale, there was no arrear due from him. The defendant resisted the claim on the ground that an arrear of rent was due from the plaintiff Who was not competent to make a deposit under Section 61.
3. It cannot be disputed, that Section 61, literally construed by itself, is applicable to the case of the plaintiff. It provides that when the tenant entertains a bona fide doubt as to who is entitled to receive the rent, he may present to the Court having jurisdiction to entertain a suit for rent of the tenure an application in writing for permission to deposit in Court the full amount then due. It is not questioned that the plaintiff is a tenant. It is also not seriously contested, and, upon the facts stated, it cannot be contested, that in the events which have happened, the tenant may entertain a bona fide doubt as to who is entitled to receive rent from him. Section 61 is, consequently, prima facie applicable. But reliance is placed, on behalf of the defendant, upon Clause (e) of Section 195, which provides that nothing in the Bengal Tenancy Act shall affect any enactment relating to putni tenures in so far as it relates to those tenures. The question, consequently, arises whether Section 61 does in any way affect an enactment relating to putni tenures. We invited the learned vakil for the defendant to specify the particular provision of Regulation VIII of 1819, which is affected by Section 61 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, but he was constrained to admit that he could not point out any such section. On the other hand, an examination of the provisions of Regulation VIII of 1819, indicates that there is no section which corresponds to Section 54 of the Bengal Tenancy Act. If the Putni Regulation had contained a provision as to the time and place for payment of putni rent, it might have been plausibly argued that Section 61 of the Bengal Tenancy Act, if applied to putni tenures, would affect the provisions of the Putni Regulation. On these grounds, we hold that Section 61 is applicable to a putnidar, and it was open to the plaintiff to deposit in Court the putni rent in the manner he did. The consequences which follow from such a deposit are stated in Sub-section (2) of Section 62, which provides that a receipt given under the section shall operate as an acquittance for the amount of the rent payable by the tenant and deposited, in the same manner and to the same extent as if that amount of rent had been received by the person entitled to rent. Consequently at the time when the proceedings under Regulation VIII of 1819, were instituted at the instance of the defendant, there was no arrear of rent due from the plaintiff. The inference follows that the plaintiff is entitled to be indemnified on account of money paid under wrongful compulsion of legal process: Fatima Khatoon v. Mahomed (1868) 12 Moo. I.A. 65 Dulichand v. Ram Kishen Singh (1881) I.L.R. 7 Calc. 648; L.R. 8 I.A. 93 Kanahya Lal v. National Bank of India, Ld. (1913) I.L.R. 40 Calc. 598; L.R. 40 I.A. 56.
4. The result is that this Rule is made absolute and the decree of dismissal made by the Court below set aside. The suit will stand decreed for the sum of Rs. 110-11-6 with interest thereon at the rate of 12 per cent, per annum from the 25th May 1913 up to this date. The sum decreed will bear interest at the rate of six per cent, per annum from this date till realisation.
5. The plaintiff will also recover his costs both here and in the Court below with interest as usual.