1. In these two appeals by the plaintiffs landlords, the only question which has been raised is as to whether Courts below were right in refusing to grant the plaintiffs a decree at the enhanced rate, because the enhancement contravened the provisions of Section 29, Ban. Ten. Act. In the suit out of which S. A. 2314 has arisen, the enhancement is 9/80th of a pie and in the suit out of which S. A. 2315 has arisen, the enhancement is 3/16th of a pie. It is argued by Mr. Sanyal the learned advocate who has appeared for the plaintiffs appellants that the enhancement is so small that it might be disregarded, having regard to the well-known maxim of law De minim is non curat lex. It is argued that the enhancement is so small that it is not capable of realization and that, consequently, for all practical purposes, the enhancement must be regarded as falling within the limits of two annas in the rupee. I have already stated that in the two cases respectively the enhancement exceeds two annas by 9/80th of a pie and 3/16th of a pie. It is argued on behalf of the respondent, however, that although the amount for one year is very small when the rent for four years for which the suit has been instituted is taken into account, it swells into an amount which is capable of being realized. What I have to consider is the language of Section 29, Ben. Ten. Act. Section 29, Clause (b) runs as follows:
The money rent of an occupancy-raiyat may be enhanced by contract, subject to the condition that the rent must not be enhanced so as to exceed by more than two annas in the rupee the rent previously payable by the rai-yat.
2. There can be no doubt that the enhancement in these two cases exceeds more than two annas in the rupee, although the excess might be a very small one and, for all practical purposes, might be disregarded. The maxim 'De minimis non curat lex has been held to justify Courts of justice not to take trifling and immaterial matters into account, except Under peculiar circumstances, such as the trial of a right or where personal character is involved. It has been applied also to cases where trifling irregularities or even infractions of the strict letter of the law are brought under the notice of the Court. It has been applied to support a rate in the assessment of which there were some comparatively trifling Omissions of established forms. It has been applied with reference to proceedings for an infringement of the revenue laws. My attention has been drawn to a remark made by a learned English Judge that:
the Court is not bound to a strictness at once harsh and pedantic in the application of statutes, and that the law permits the qualification implied in the ancient maxim, 'da minimis non curat lex.
3. I have not been given reference to any case where the law in the interests of the tenant states that the enhancement shall in no case exceed more than two annas in the rupee that even a slight variation Could be permitted. Once a departure is made from the strict language of the stasute it may be difficult to draw the line The question as to what is a negligible variation may vary according to the different circumstances of each case. In this state of facts it would be difficult to make any departure from the strict language of the statute and to apply the principle embodied in the maxim to which I have referred, to a case where the statute has laid down a mandatory provision fixing the limit of the enhancement of rent. I think the view taken by the Court below is right. The appeals, therefore, fail and must be dismissed with costs.