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KalimuddIn Mollah Vs. SahibuddIn Molla Alias Sywali (Syedeya in Vakalutnama), Molla - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in54Ind.Cas.705
AppellantKalimuddIn Mollah
RespondentSahibuddIn Molla Alias Sywali (Syedeya in Vakalutnama), Molla
Cases ReferredAbdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun
Excerpt:
limitation act (ix of 1998), sections 14, 29(b) - registration act (xvi of 1998), section 77--stilt to enforce registration of document--limitation, whether can be extended under section 14 of limitation act. - lancelot sanderson, c.j.1. the question which has been referred to the full bench is whether the case of abdul hakim v. latifunnessa khatun 30 c. 582 : 7 c.w.n. 550 was rightly decided. the above named case is reported in 30 calcutta 532 under the name of abdul hakim v. latifunnessa khatun 30 c. 582 : 7 c.w.n. 550.2. the question arose in a second appeal in a suit brought by the plaintiff to enforce registration of a conveyance alleged to have been executed in his favour by the defendants.3. the document in question was presented for registration in the sub-registry office at sealdah. as the defendants did not appear, registration was refused by the sub registrar; against this order the plaintiff made an application to the registrar on the 26th of january 1914 : his application was.....
Judgment:

Lancelot Sanderson, C.J.

1. The question which has been referred to the Full Bench is whether the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 was rightly decided. The above named case is reported in 30 Calcutta 532 under the name of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550.

2. The question arose in a second appeal in a suit brought by the plaintiff to enforce registration of a conveyance alleged to have been executed In his favour by the defendants.

3. The document in question was presented for registration in the Sub-Registry office at Sealdah. As the defendants did not appear, registration was refused by the Sub Registrar; against this order the plaintiff made an application to the Registrar on the 26th of January 1914 : his application was rejected.

4. Thereupon on the 21st of February following, the plaintiff brought his suit in the Court of the Munsif at Alipore. On the 19th of June 1914, the Sealdah Sub-Registry office not being within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Munsif at Alipore, the plaint was returned under the provisions of Order VII, Rule 10, of the Code of Civil Procedure and was on the same day presented in the proper Court, namely, the Court of the Munsif at Sealdah. By Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908, it is provided that when the Registrar refuses to order the document to be registered under Section 72 or Section 76, any person claiming under such document or his representative, assign or agent may within thirty days after the making of the order of refusal institute in the Civil Court, within the local limits of whose original jurisdiction is situate the office in which the document is sought to be registered, a suit for a decree directing the document to be registered in such office, if it be duly presented for registration within thirty days after the passing of such decree.

5. The suit was not brought in the Court specified by the section within thirty days after the making of the order of refusal and so prima facie the suit could net be entertained.

6. It was urged, however, that the provisions of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act of 1908 should be applied and that the time during which the plaintiff was prosecuting the suit in the Court of the Munsif at Alipore should be excluded in computing the period of limitation prescribed by Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908.

7. If the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 was rightly decided, Section 14 of the Indian Limitation act would not apply to the present case and the plaintiff's appeal should be dismissed.

8. Section 29(6) of the Indian Limitation act provides as follows: Nothing in this act shall affect or alter any period of limitation specially prescribed for any suit, appeal on application by any special or local law now or hereafter in force in British India.

9. It is not denied that the Indian Registration Act, 1908, is a special law within the meaning of Section 29(6) and that the thirty days prescribed by Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908, is a period of limitation specially prescribed by such special law. The question, therefore, remains whether the provisions of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, if applied to this case, would ''affect or alter' the period of limitation specially prescribed by the Indian Registration Act.

10. It was argued on behalf of the plaintiff that the true construction of Section 29(b) was that, save as to the period of limitation, the other provisions of the Act of Limitation are applicable to cases falling under any special or local law.

11. These are not the words of the section, and it must be considered whether the application of the provisions of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, would 'affect or alter' the period of limitation specially prescribed by the Indian Registration Act.

12. The words of Section 29(b) are plain and unambiguous and in my judgment they should be construed according to their natural significance.

13. In this case if the provisions of Section 77 of the Registration Act alone were applied, the plaintiff would have had to institute his suit in the Court specified by the section within thirty days after the making of the order of refusal by the Registrar, i.e. within thirty days from the 26th January 1914. On the other hand if the provisions of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1908, were applicable, the plaintiff would obtain an extension of the period of limitation until the 19th Jane 1914, provided he could show that he had been prosecuting his suit in the Alipore Court with due diligence and good faith.

14. Under such circumstances it seems clear to me that the applications of the provisions of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1908, would affect, even if it did not alter, the period specially prescribed by the Registration Act.

15. It was argued on behalf of the respondent that the words 'prescribed for any suit' in Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act mean 'prescribed by this Act for any suit.' Whether that be so or not (which I do not decide), there is a dear distinction between the words used in Section 14, namely, 'prescribed for any suit' and the words used in Section 29(b), namely, 'specially prescribed for any suit by any special law,' and in my judgment the words used in Section 14 do not apply to the computing of the period of limitation 'specially prescribed by the special law' contained in the Indian Registration Act, 1908.

16. The case relied upon by the learned Judges who referred this question to the Full Bench is Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 decided in 1883. But on reading the judgment in that case it appears that no reference was made to Section 6 of the Limitation Act of 1877. This fact, I find, is mentioned by Sir Francis Maclean, C.J., in his judgment in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 and he described the section which was not noticed 'as of the highest importance in deciding this question.'

17. I think the authority of the case in Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 is much diminished by the omission to consider the effect of Section 6 of the Limitation Act, 1877.

18. In 1889, in Girija Nath Roy v. Patani Bibee 17 C. 263 the learned Judges said: ''As regards the case of Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 the decision is not easily to be reconciled with Section 6, for the effect of that decision was undoubtedly to alter the period prescribed, by the special Limitation Act,' the learned Judge, however, did not consider themselves bound by the case, as the one under consideration was a different one.

19. Then in 1903 came the decision in Abdul Hakim v. Abdul Rahim (or Latifunnessa Khatun) 30 C. 532 : 7 C.W.N. 550.

20. Since 1903 the authority of that decision in this Court has not been doubted.

21. The Indian Limitation Act and the Registration Act which are now in force, were passed in the same years, namely 1908, five years after the decision in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 532 : 7 C.W.N. 550. I cannot help thinking that if it was thought that a wrong interpretation had been placed in the above mentioned case upon the Limitation act and the Registration act of 1877, the material sections of which are similar to the section now under consideration, this would have been put right by the Legislature in 1908.

22. In my judgment, therefore, both upon the interpretation, which I think should be placed upon the material sections of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, and of the Indian Registration Act, 1908, and upon the authorities in this Court, the question submitted to us should be answered in the affirmative and the appeal should be dismissed with costs.

Woodroffe, J.

23. I agree.

Mookerjee, J.

24. The litigation which has culminated in this reference was commenced by the appellant under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act, 1808, to enforce registration of a conveyance. The document was in the first instance presented for registration to the Sub Registrar of Sealdah, who refused to register it on the ground of denial of execution. An application was thereupon made under Section 73, Sub-section (1), to the Registrar at Alipore. This was dismissed on the 26th January 1914. On the 2nd February 1914, the plaintiff lodged a plaint in the Court of the Munsif at Alipore under Section 77, Sub-section (1). The Munsif had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, which should have been instituted in the Civil Court within the local limits of whose original jurisdiction was situated the office in which the document was sought to be registered. This was plainly the Court of the Munsif at Sealdah, and not the Court of the Munsif at Alipore within the local limits of whose original jurisdiction was situated, not the office in which the document was sought to be registered, but the office of the Registrar who bad exercised jurisdiction under Section 73, Sub-section (1). The Munsif accordingly returned the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. This order was made on the 19th June 1914. and on the same day the plaint was lodged in the Court of the Munsif at Sealdab. In these circumstances, the defendant contended that the suit was barred by limitation, inasmuch as it had been instituted in a Court of competent jurisdiction beyond the expiry of the period of thirty days prescribed by Section 77, Sub-section (1). The plaintiff urged that he was entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908. That section is in the following terms:

In computing the period of limitation prescribed for any suit, the time during which the plaintiff has been prosecuting with due diligence another civil proceeding, whether in a Court of first instance or in a Court of Appeal, against the defendant, shall be excluded, where the proceeding is founded upon the same cause of Action and is prosecuted in good faith in a Court which from defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature is unable to entertain it.

25. The Courts below have dismissed the suit as barred by limitation on the authority of the decision in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 which holds that Section 14 of the Indian Limitation act does not apply to a suit instituted under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act. The plaintiff has appealed to this Court. The appeal came in the first instance before Teunon and Greaves, JJ., who held, first, that there was a conflict of judicial opinion upon the question as was clear from an examination of the decisions in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 and Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 and secondly, that the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 had not been correctly decided. Under the rules of Court, consequently, the following question has been referred for decision by a Pall Bench: 'Whether the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 was rightly decided.'

26. Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, provides that nothing in the act shall affect or alter any period of limitation specially prescribed for any suit, appeal or application by any special or local law now or hereafter in force in British India, It baa not been disputed that the Indian Registration act is a special law and that Section 77 contained therein, which creates the right to bring a suit to compel registration of a document, also specially prescribes a period of thirty days as the period of limitation for the institution of such a suit. The question thus arises, whether the rule contained in Section 14 of the Indian Limitation act would, if applied to a suit under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act, affect or alter the period of limitation prescribed thereby. The appellant has contended that the answer should be in the negative. His argument in essence is that the period of thirty days prescribed by Section 77 would remain untouched; although the plaintiff would be entitled in the computation of the period of 30 days to exclude the period of pendency of proceedings in another Court, such exclusion, it has been suggested, would not alter the period of limitation specially prescribed. But this interpretation, even if adopted, would be of no avail to the plaintiff, unless he could establish that the process of exclusion described would not affect the period of limitation specially prescribed. We have been invited in substance to restrict the application of the terms 'affect' and 'alter' to two classes of cases, namely, first, where the commencement of the period of limitation is postponed, and secondly, where the period provided in the Indian Limitation act is different from that prescribed by the special or local law. I am not prepared to accept this narrow interpretation of Section 29, Sub-section (1), Clause (b). We are bound to adhere to the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words, as Lord Wensleydale observed in Grey v. Pearson (1857) 6 II. L.C. 61 : 26 L.J.Ch. 473 : 3 Jur. (N.S.) 823 : 5 W.R. 454 : 10 E.R. 1216 : 108 R.R. 19 unless that would lead to some absurdity or some repugnance or inconsistency with the rest of the Statute, in which case the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words may be modified, so as to avoid that absurdity and inconsistency, but no further Vacher & Son, Limited v. London Society of Compositors (1913) A.C. 107 at p. 117 : 82 h L.J.K.B. 232 : 107 L.T. 722 : 57 S.J. 75 : 29 T.L.R. 73; Inland Revenue Commissioners v. Herbert (1913) A.C. 326 at p. 332 : 82 L.J.P.C. 119 : 108 L.T. 850 : 11 L.G.R. 865 : 57 S.J. 516 : 29 T.L.R. 502. On a plain reading of Section 29, I am of opinion that cases of the description now before the Court, where neither the commencement of the period of limitation is postponed nor the length of the period modified, but a portion of the time which has elapsed is eliminated, may well be deemed to furnish instance? where the period of limitation has been 'affected or altered.' In all the three classes of cases, the result to the defendant is precisely the same, namely, he remains exposed to the risks of litigation for a much longer period than what is prescribed by the special Statute. The chief object of a Statute of Limitation is to quiet titles and extinguish State demands, and from this standpoint, the effect upon the defendant who is attacked is identical. See the observation of Lord St. Leonards in Trustees of Dundee Harvard v. Dongall (1852) 1 Macq. H.L.C. 321 quoted in Tara Nath v. Iswar Chandra Das 11 Ind. Cas. 164 : 16 C.W.N. 398 : 14 C.L.J. 598. Prima facie, then the interpretation is reasonable that Section 29, Sub-section (1), Clause (b), excludes the application of Section 14 to suits instituted under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act. Besides, we cannot, in Section 14, construe the words 'any suit' as meaning 'any suit, including a suit for which a period of limitation has been specially prescribed by any special or local law,' This conclusion, as will presently be seen, is consistent with principles which have been well-recognised in this Court for a long series of years.

27. The question was raised as early as 1864, with regard to the applicability of the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act, 1859, to the Bengal Rent Act, 1859. A Full Bench of this Court in the case of John Poulson v. Modhoosoodun Paul 2 W.R. Act X Rul. 21 came to the conclusion that suits for arrears of rent, under the Rent act were not affected by the Limitation Act. Norman, J,, relied upon the observations of Wood, V.C. in Fitzgerald v. Champneys (1861) 2 J. & H. 31 : 30 L.J.Ch. 777 : 7 Jur. (N.S.) 1006 : 5 L.T. 233 : 9 W.R. 850 : 70 E.R. 958 : 134 R.R. 104 : 'The Legislature having had its attention directed to a special subject and observed all the circumstances of the case and provided for them, does not intend by a general enactment afterwards to derogate from its own Act, where it makes no special mention of its intention so to do.' The same view was adopted in Dinonath Panday v. Roghoonath Panday 5 W.R. Act X Rul. 41 and was re-affirmed by a Pull Bench in Nogendro Nath Mullick v. Mathura Mahun Parhi 18 C. 368 where it was held that Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1877, was pot applicable to suits for arrears of rent under the Bengal Rent Act, 1859. The Court overruled the contention that Section 14 embodied a general principle of law and there was nothing in-consistent if that equitable rule was applied to rent suits. These views are in conformity with two decisions of the Judicial Committee, viz., Unnoda Persaud Mookerjee v. Krishto Coomar Moitro 19 W.R. (P.C.) 5 : 15 B.L.R. 60 note (P.C.) and Mohummud Buhadoor Khan v. Collector of Bareilly 21 W.R. 318 : 13 B.L.R. 292 (P.C.) : 1 I.A. 167 : 3 Sar. P.C.J. 363. In Unnoda Persaud Mookerjee v. Krishto Commar Moitro 19 W.R. (P.C.) 5 : 15 B.L.R. 60 note (P.C.) the question arose whether the period of limitation applicable to an Action for rent brought under the Rent Act, 1859, was affected by the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act, 1859. The answer was in the negative, and Sir Montague Smith who delivered the opinion of the Judicial Committee quoted with approval the observations of Wood, V.C., mentioned above. In Mohummud Buhadoor Khan v. Collector of Bareilly 21 W.R. 318 : 13 B.L.R. 292 (P.C.) : 1 I.A. 167 : 3 Sar. P.C.J. 363 the Court was called upon to consider whether the exceptions in favour of minority and other legal disabilities contained in the Indian Limitation Act, 1859, were applicable to suits under Section 20 of act IX of 1859, which authorised the institution of suits to contest the forfeiture of the properties of rebels. The plaintiffs were infants when the confiscation took place and the period prescribed for the institution of a suit expired before they attained their majority. Morgan, C.J., and Robert, J., held that the suit was barred by limitation, because in their opinion, the plaintiffs, notwithstanding that they were minors at the time of the confiscation, could claim no exemption from the operation of Section 20 and as more than one year had elapsed from the time of the seizure, the suit could not be maintained, This view was confirmed by the Judicial Committee. Sir Montague Smith, in overruling the contention that a saving with respect to parties under disabilities must be taken to be, by equitable construction, implied in act IX of 1859, observed as follows:

It is impossible that any Court can add to the Statute that which the Legislature has not done. The limitation is enacted in plain and absolute terms. The Legislature has not thought fit to extend the period which it has prescribed to persons under disability. Where such enlargements have been intended, they are found in the Acts containing the limitation, as in the General Act. This act contains no such saving, and their Lordships would be legislating and not interpreting the Statute if they were to introduce it. It was said that the clauses in the General Statute, act XIV of 1859, relating to disabilities might be imported into this Act, but this cannot properly be done. Act XIV is a Code of Limitation of general application. This act in of a special kind and does not admit of those enactments being annexed to it.

28. Let us now examine the decision in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550. Maclean C.J. and Mitra, J., held that the decision of the question whether Section 14, Indian Limitation Act, was applicable to a suit under Section 77 of the Indian Registration act was governed in principle by the Full Bench case of Nogendro Nath Mullick v. Mathura Mahun Parhi 18 C. 368 which itself followed in principle the decisions of the Judicial Committee in Unnoda Persaud Mookerjee v. Krishto Coomar Moitro 19 W.R. (P.C.) 5 : 15 B.L.R. 60 note (P.C.) and Mohummud Buhadoor Khan v. Collector of Bareilly 21 W.R. 318 : 13 B.L.R. 292 (P.C.) : 1 I.A. 167 : 3 Sar. P.C.J. 363. They were pressed to follow the contrary view taken in the earlier decision of this Court in Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265. Mitra, J. pointed out in the course of argument that the attention of the Court had not, on that occasion, been invited to the provisions of Section 6 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1877, which corresponds to Section 29 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908. Indeed, the correctness of the decision in Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 had been doubted earlier in Girija Nath Roy v. Patani Bibee 17 C. 263, With all respect I am unable to follow the decision in Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265. On the other hand, the judgment of Maclean, C.J., in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 5 12 : 7 C.W.N. 550 appears tome to be unassailable and is in conformity with the decision of a Full Bench of the Madras High Court in Veeramma v. Abbiah 18 M. 99.

29. It is not necessary for our present purpose to consider in detail the numerous judicial decisions which involve the Question of the applicability of one or other of the sections of the Indian Limitation act to cases under local and special laws, such as the Provincial Insolvency Act, the Indian Companies Act, the Land Acquisition Act and the Bengal Tenancy Act. Many of these case are noticed in Secretary of State v. Shib Narain Hazra 47 Ind. Cas. 502 : 46 C. 199 : 22 C.W.N. 802 and they disclose a divergence of judicial opinion which cannot be reconciled. To take one instance, the decisions are by no means uniform upon the question whether Section 5 of the Indian Limitation act is applicable to suits under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act. In Ahad Baksh v. Sheikh Babar Ali 14 Ind. Cas. 173 : 16 C.W.N. 721. Jenkins, C.J. was inclined to adopt the view that Section 5 was not applicable, but he felt himself bound by previous decisions. Cases of that type, however, are, as was pointed out in Surendra Nath Nag v. Gopal Chunder Ghosh 8 Ind. Cas. 794 : 12 C.L.J. 464 governed by the principle embodied in Section 10 of the General Clauses Act, 1897; Matabbar Mollah v. Shoshi Bhushan Ghatak 12 Ind. Cas. 33 : 16 C.W.N. 20. Reference may also be made to the decisions in Secretary of State v. Gangadhar Nanda 45 Ind. Cas. 228 : 27 C.L.J. 374 : 45 C. 934 and Secretary of state v. Shib Narain Hazra 47 Ind. Cas. 502 : 46 C. 199 : 22 C.W.N. 802 where the cases of Daropadi v. Hira Lal 16 Ind. Cas. 149 : 34 A. 496 : 10 A.L.J. 3 and Srinivasa Aiyangar v. Secretary of State 18 Ind. Cas. 617 : 38 M. 92 : 24 M.L.J. 41 were distinguished and it was ruled that Section 15, Sub-Section 2, of the Indian Limitation act did not extend the period of limitation prescribed by Section 104H of the Bengal Tenancy Act.

30. I am fortified by another circumstance in the conclusion that Section 14 of the Indian Limitation act does not apply to suits under Section 77 of the Indian Registration Act. The decision of Maclean, C.J., in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 was pronounced on the 31st March 1903. At that time the Indian Registration Act, 1877, and the Indian Limitation Act, 1877, were in force. Since then, both the Statutes have been recast and re-enacted in 1908, but the Legislature has introduced no alteration with a view to nullify the effect of the decision in question; consequently, a well-known rule of interpretation becomes applicable. It is a well' settled principle of construction that the Legislature is presumed to know not only the general principles of law but also the construction which the Courts have put upon particular Statutes, and, therefore, where a Section of an Act, which has received a judicial construction, is re-enacted in the same words, each re-enactment must be treated as legislative recognition of that construction Jogendra Chundra Roy v. Syam Das 1 Ind. Cas. 168 : 36 C. 543 : 9 C.L.J. 271; Gokul Bagdi v. Debendra Nath Sen 11 Ind. Cas. 453 : 14 C.L.J. 136; Nandlal v. Bank of Bombay 5 Ind. Cas. 457 : 12 Bon. L.R. 316. The Legislature knows what the law is and has the power to alter the phraseology, if it transpires that its true intention has not been given effect to in judicial decisions : the absence of such Action on the part of the Legislature during a period of time may well be taken to indicate that the Courts have rightly ascertained its intention, specially if, in the interval, the Statute has been amended in other respects, The case before us is much stronger, as we have here a legislative affirmance of the judicial interpretation of this provision of the law.

31. I hold that the provisions of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation act cannot be applied in computing the period prescribed under Section 77 of the Indian Registration act; the question referred to the Pull Bench must, accordingly, be answered in the affirmative and the appeal dismissed with costs.

Chatterjea, J.

32. The question referred to the Fall Bench is whether the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 was rightly decided, and arises oat of a suit for registration of a document under the following circumstances.

33. The plaintiff presented a document said to have been executed by the defendant, for registration in the Sealdah Sub Registration office. Registration was refused by the Sub-Registrar as the defendant did not appear. The plaintiff appealed to the District Registrar, which was rejected on the 26th January 1914. The plaintiff thereupon brought a suit on the 21st February 1914 in the Court of the Munsif of Alipore. The Sealdah Sub-Registry not being within the jurisdiction of the Alipore Munsif's Court, the plaint was returned on the 19th June for presentation to the proper Court, and was presented on the same day in the proper Court, viz., the Court of the Munsif of Fealdah. The Courts below concurred in dismissing the suit on the ground of limitation. On second appeal to the High Court, Tennon and Greaves, JJ., relying upon the decision in the case of Khetter Mohun Chuekerlutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 and differing from the case of Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 have referred the question whether the latter ease was rightly decided.

34. Now Section 29 of the Limitation act prescribes that nothing in the act shall 'affect or alter any period of limitation specially prescribed for any suit, appeal or application by any special or local law now or hereafter in force in British India.' Section 77 of the Registration act (Act XVI of 1908), which is a special Act, prescribes a special period of 30 days for a suit for registration of a document. Prima facie, therefore, the provision of Section 14 of the Limitation act does not apply to a suit brought under Section 77 of the Registration Act. It is contended, however, that the provision of Section 14 of the Limitation act does not affect or alter the period prescribed by Section 77 of the Registration Act. The period of 30 days remains the same, only the time during which the suit was pending in the Alipore Court, which had no jurisdiction to try the suit, is excluded in computing the period of 30 days prescribed by the Registration Act. I am of opinion, however, that the application of Section 14 does 'affect' the period prescribed by Section 77 of the Registration Act, although the 'period prescribed' may not be altered. The suit, which according to the provisions of Section 77 of the Registration act had to be brought in the proper Court within 30 days of the date of the order of refusal to register, i.e., on the 26th January 1914, is extended by the period during which it was pending in the Alipore Court, viz. from the 21st February to 26th June 1914. The period fixed by the special law (the Registration Act) is affected, because there is no doubt that the period prescribed by that Act is extended.

35. In the case of Unnoda Persaud Mookerjee v. Krishto Coomar Moitro 19 W.R. (P.C.) 5 : 15 B.L.R. 60 note (P.C.) the Judicial Committee, in considering the question whether the provision of Section 14 of act XIV of 1859, the Limitation act then in force, was applicable to suits under Bengal Rent act X of 1859, observed that according to a well-established rule for the construction of Statutes it should be presumed that the Legislature did not intend by the general enactment to interfere with a special legislation. Their Lordships referred to the rule of construction expressed by Lord Hatherly in Fitzgerald v. Champneys (1861) 2 J. & H. 31 : 30 L.J.Ch. 777 : 7 Jur. (N.S.) 1006 : 5 L.T. 233 : 9 W.R. 850 : 70 E.R. 958 : 134 R.R. 104: 'The reason is that the Legislature, having had its attention directed to a special subject and observed all the circumstances of the case and provided for them, does not intend by a general enactment afterwards to derogate from its own Act, where it makes no special mention of its intention to do so.' In Mohummud Buhadoor Khan v. Collector of Bareilly 21 W.R. 318 : 13 B.L.R. 292 (P.C.) : 1 I.A. 167 : 3 Sar. P.C.J. 363 which was a case relating to a claim to recover confiscated property for which special provision was made by act IX of 1859, the Judioia-1 Committee, referring to the contention which had been urged before the High Court, viz., that a saving with respect to parties under disabilities mast be taken to be equitable construction implied in the clause, observed: 'Their Lordships, however, think that it is impossible that any Court can add to the Statute that which the Legislature has not done. The limitation is enacted in plain and absolute terms. The Legislature has not thought fit to extend the period which it has prescribed to persons under disability. Where such enlargements have been intended they are found in the Acts containing the limitation, as in the General Act. This act contains no such saving, and their Lordships would be legislating and not interpreting the Statute if they were to introduce it. It was slid that the clauses in the General Statute, Act XIV of 1&59, relating to disabilities, might be imported in this Act, but this cannot properly be done Act XIV is a Code of Limitation of general application. This act is of a special kind and does not admit of those enactments being annexed to it.'

36. It is contended that the Registration Act, unlike act X of 1859, is not a Code complete in itself and, therefore, the general provision, contained in Parts II and in of the Limitation act should be held applicable. It was held, however in Veeramma v. Abbiah 18 M. 99 that the Registration act is a complete code in itself, and that, therefore, the general provisions of the Limitation act (the provisions of Section 7) are not applicable. It is to be observed that the Registration act prescribes special periods for the proceedings to be taken under it, including a suit for registration of documents, and it appears that the intention of the Legislature was to reduce to the shortest limits the time within which the parties aggrieved by the registration authorities might take action.

37. I may refer in this connection to the case in Abu Baker v. Secretary of State 5 Ind. Cas. 884 : 34 M. 505 : 7 M.L.T. 132 : 20 M.L.J. 283 where a Full Bench of the Madras High Court held that the provisions of Section 12 of the Limitation Act affect the special period prescribed by the Madras Forest act V of 1882, which prescribed at period of 30 days for appeal.

38. It appears that the only case in which the provisions of Sections 14 of the Limitation act have been applied to a Suit sunder the Registration act is the case of Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 relied upon by the referring Judges, but the provisions of Section 6 of Act, IX of 1871, which corresponds to Section 29 of the present Limitation Act, was not at all considered or referred to The learned Judges did not give any reasons but proceeded upon the ground that the question had been decided in more than one case, the only case expressly referred to being the case of Golap Chand Nowluckha v. Krishto Chunder Dass Biswas 5 C. 314 in which the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation act were applled to a suit for rent.

39. The case of Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 was followed in the Bombay High Court in Guracharya v. President of Belgium Town Municipalities 8 B. 529 in a case under Section 86 of Bombay act VI of 1873 (Municipalities Act). Sarjent, C.J., held that the question whether the general provisions of act XV of 1877 are applicable to cases provided for by special Acts was rightly decided in the affirmative by the Calcutta High Court in Golap Chand Nowluckha v. Krishto Chunder Dass Biswas 5 C. 314; followed in Nijabutoolla v. Wazir Ali 8 C. 910 : 10 C.L.R. 333; Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265. The only reason given by the learned Chief Justice was that had the Legislature intended to entirely exclude cases under special Acts from the operation of the act of 1877, it would scarcely have used the qualified language it has employed in Section 6 of that Act. Evidently the words 'affect or alter the period so prescribed' in Section 6 were referred to, but the question whether the application of Section 14 of the Limitation act would affect the limitation prescribed by the special act does not appear to have been considered. In our Court, however, in the case of Girija Nath Ray v. Patani Bibee 17 C. 263 in dealing with the question whether the provisions of Sections 6 and 7 of the Limitation act were applicable to a suit for rent under Bengal Rent Act VIII of 1869, Tottenham and Ghose, JJ., observed with reference to the case of Khetter Mohan Chuckerbutty v. Dinanashy Shaha 10 C. 265 that the decision 'is not easily to be reconciled with Section 6, for the effect of that decision was undoubtedly to alter the period prescribed by the special Limitation Act. We do not, however, consider ourselves bound by that decision, for the present case is an entirely different one.'

40. The case of Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinanashy Shaha 10 C. 265 was referred to in the order of reference in the case of Nogendro Nath Mullick v. Mathura Mahun Parhi 18 C. 368 where a Full Bench of this Court held that the provisions of Section 14 are not applicable to suits for arrears of rent under Act X of 1859 as that code is a complete code in itself, though it is not referred to in the judgment of the Full Bench. Lastly in the case of Abdul Hakim v. Lotifunness Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 where the question of the applicability of Section 14 of the Limitation act to a suit under the Registration act had to be considered, Maclean, C.J., (Mitra, J, concurring) observed that the case was governed in principle by the Full Bench case of Nagendra Nath Mullick v. Mathura Mahun Pahri 18 C. 368 and pointed oat that in Kheter Mohun's Case 10 C. 265 Section 6 of the Limitation Act, which is of the highest importance in deciding the question, is not even referred to, and that the decision in that case did not meet with the approval of the Judges who decided the case of Girija Nath Roy v. Patani Bibee 17 C. 263.

41. The learned Pleader for the appellant relied upon the fact that the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation act have been applied to suits under Section 77 of the Registration act and referred to the cases Nijabutoolla v. Wazir Ali 8 C. 910 : 10 C.L.R. 333; Matabbar Mollah v. Shoshi Bhushan Ghatak 12 Ind. Cas. 33 : 16 C.W.N. 20; Ahad Baksh v. Sheikh Babar Ali 14 Ind. Cas. 173 : 16 C.W.N. 721; Surendra Nath Nog v. Gopal Chunder Ghosh 8 Ind. Cas. 794 : 12 C.L.J. 464; Hossein Ally v. Donzelle 5 C. 906 : 6 C.L.R. 239. The last case, however, was under the Bengal Rent act VIII of 1859 and decided without reference to the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. The ease of Ahad Buksh v. Sheikh Babar Ali 14 Ind. Cas. 173 : 16 C.W.N. 721 was a case under the Registration Act, hut was decided by the Court of Appeal without reference to the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Jenkins, C.J., pointed out that in some cases the Court profesed to follow Mayer v. Harding 18 C. 231 but went further than is sanctioned either by that case or the maxim on which the whole doctrine rests, but in, view of previous decisions [in Hossein Ally v. Donzelle (1867) 2 Q.B. 410 : 9 B. & S. 27n : 16 L.T. 429 : 15 W.R. 816; Sho shee Bhusan Rudro v. Gobind Chunder Roy 18 C. 231; Peary Mohun Aich v. Anunda Charan Biswas 18 C. 631 and of the legislative sanction accorded to the rule there laid down by the General Clauses Acts of 1887 and 1897, he applied the principle to the case, and I agreed with the decision. It is true that the decisions in the first two cases Nijabutoolla v. Wazir Ali 8 C. 910 : 10 C.L.R. 333 and Matabbar Mollah v. Shoshi Bhushan Ghatak 12 Ind. Cas. 33 : 16 C.W.N. 20 were based upon the ground that the general provisions of the Limitation act applied to special and local Acts, but the decisions may be supported on the principle that, where parties are prevented from doing a thing in Court on a particular day not by any act of their own, but by the act of the Court itself, they are entitled to do it at the first subsequent opportunity. The observations in Surendra Nath Nag v. Gopal Chunder Ghosh Kundu 8 Ind. Cas. 794 : 12 C.L.J. 464 were obiter.

42. The question, whether Section 29(1) merely applied to the period of limitation prescribed and does not necessarily make part 111 relating to computation of the period inapplicable to a special period of limitation prescribed by a special or local law, was considered in a recent case Secretary of State v. Shib Narain Hazra 47 Ind. Cas. 502 : 46 C. 199 : 22 C.W.N. 802 where Richardson, J , reviewed many of the cases on the point and held that both parts II and III of the Limitation act are inapplicable to special periods of limitation. See also Secretary of State v. Gangadhar Nanda 45 Ind. Cas. 228 : 27 C.L.J. 374 : 45 C. 934.

43. It is unnecessary to refer to the other cases in which the question of the applicablity of the general provisions of the Limitation act to special and local Acts has been considered : the decisions are not uniform. So far as the question of the applicability of Section 14 of the Limitation act to suits under Section 77 of the Registration act is concerned, the only case is that of Khetter Mohun Chuckerbutty v. Dinabashy Shaha 10 C. 265 and it was, as stated above, disapproved in Girija Nath Roy v. Patani Bibee 17 C. 263 and expressly dissented from in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550 and it is to be observed that the Registration act and Limitation act of 1908 did not alter the law, although the said Acts were passed 5 years after the decision in Abdul Hakim v. Latifunnessa Khatun 30 C. 582 : 7 C.W.N. 550. On these grounds, I answer the question referred to us in the affirmative.

Newbould, J.

44. I agree.


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