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Kannappa Chettiar vs Kandaswami Pillai on 23 July, 1954

Madras High Court
Kannappa Chettiar vs Kandaswami Pillai on 23 July, 1954
Equivalent citations: AIR 1955 Mad 547
Author: R Ayyangar
Bench: R Ayyangar


JUDGMENT

Rajagopala Ayyangar, J.

1. This is judgment-debtor’s appeal against an order by the learned District Judge of North Arcot allowing the execution of the decree in O. S. No. 292 of 1930 to proceed. To appreciate the point that has been raised by the learned counsel for the appellant, it is necessary to state a few of the facts in the protracted history of this litigation. The respondent obtained a money decree in O. S. No. 292 of 1930 on the file of the ‘Court of the District Munsif, Tiruvamamalai, on 10-4-1930. Pending the suit, the decree-holder had obtained an attachment before judgment which was effected on 9-4-1930. But even before this date, on 4-4-1930, the judgment-debtor had filed I. P. No. 20 of 1930’ for his own adjudication and this was ordered on 11-9-1930. On 11-4-1930, that is, after the institution of the insolvency proceedings, but before the adjudication, the decree-holder filed E. P. No. 391 of 1930 for executing the decree which bet had obtained.

However, on the application of the judgment-debtor, execution proceedings were stayed under Section 29, Provincial Insolvency Act by order dated 18-8-1931. There were several intermediate proceedings in relation to the attached properties to which it is unnecessary to refer at this stage. Suffice it to say that the attachment as well as the right of the judgment-debtor to the properties attached were the subject-matter of these several proceedings which continued for a considerable time. On 26-1-1942, the decree-holder applied in I. A. No. 103 of 1942 to the insolvency Court for permission to execute the decree and this permission was accorded on 10-2-1942 and in pursuance of this permission, lie filed execution applications which, however, were dismissed on technical grounds, but were again restored to file and the present execution application was filed on 17-3-1944.

2. One ground urged against this execution application is that it is barred by limitation. A contention was raised that as the application for execution was filed beyond 12 years from the date of the decree, this was barred under S. 48, C. P. C. for the reason that the limitation imposed by this provision operated as an absolute bar and that no application for execution, notwithstanding that the execution had been stayed, could be filed after the expiry of 12 years from the date of the decree.

But this contention is no longer tenable since a Full Bench this Court has held that Section 48, C. P. C, is controlled and is subject to the exemption granted by Section 15, Limitation” Act. This point having been disposed of, the judgment-debtor contended that the decree-holder could have moved the insolvency Court for obtaining the order of the stay passed under Section 29 to be modified or vacated, that the bar imposed by the section is not absolute and that consequently Section 15, Limitation Act could not avail to give an extended period of limitation for the purpose of pursuing the proceedings in execution.

The learned District Munsif upheld this contention of the judgment-debtor and dismissed the execution application. The decree-holder thereupon preferred an appeal to the District Court and the learned District Judge allowed the appeal and permitted the execution to proceed. It is against this order of the learned District Judge that this appeal had been preferred.

3. Section 15, Limitation Act as now amended reads as follows:

“In computing the period of limitation prescribed for any suit or application for the execution. of a decree, the institution or execution of which has teen stayed by injunction or order, the time of the continuance of the injunction or order, the day on which it was issued or made and the day on which it was withdrawn, shall be excluded.” , Section 29, Provincial Insolvency Act under which the execution of the decree was stayed on application made by the judgment-debtor runs as follows:

“Any Court in which a suit or other proceeding is pending against a debtor shall, on proof that an order of adjudication has been made against him under this Act, either stay the proceeding, or allow it to continue on such terms as such Court may impose.”

Under this provision, it is clear that the Court has power to stay the proceeding and it is not disputed that in the present case, the Court did pass an order for stay on 18-8-1931 which continues in force till 10-2-1942 when it was modified or revoked. On a literal reading of the section, therefore, it is clean that here is an order of a Court which has stayed the execution of a decree within the meaning of Section 15, Limitation Act. The terms and language of the section being satisfied, the contention that is raised is that as it was open to the decree-holder to have applied to have this order of slay modified ar vacated it is not such an order of absolute stay as is contemplated by Section 15.

I do not agree that this is a proper construction of Section 15, Limitation Act. When once there is an order of a Court which absolutely on its terms prohibits a party from executing the decree, the mere fact that the Court has the power to modify such an order does not make it any the less an order staying the execution of a decree. For instance it has to be conceded mat the mere fact that an order for stay could have been challenged by an application for review or by an appeal to a superior Court would not detract from the absolute nature of the order so as to attract the exemption provision under Section 15, Limitation Act.

4. Mr. Thyagaraja Aiyar, the learned counsel For the appellant, relied upon a decision of a Pench of the Patna High Court reported in – “Kirtyanand Singh v. Pirthichand Lal’, AIR 1929 Pat 597 (A), where the learned Judges had to construe the effect of Section 16, Provincial Insolvency Act of 1907. This section corresponds to the present Section 28(2) and it is necessary to notice that under that provision there is no question, of any order passed by a Court stay-Ing a suit, as is provided by Section 29 which has been newly introduced in the Provincial Insolvency Act of 1920.

I do not consider that this decision has really any bearing upon the matter to be considered in the present appeal. No doubt, there are decisions in which it has been held that” to attract the operation of Section 15, Limitation Act, the bar to interdict must be absolute. I respectfully agree with them. But the exception related to cases where only a particular mode of execution was denied to the decree-holder leaving him free to proceed by other methods for realising his decree.

These cases could have no applicability where the bar is absolute though the Court might have set aside the order on an application by the decree-holder. Learned counsel for the appellant had to concede that the Court when moved by the decree-holder had the discretion and the power to refuse the application to modify the order of stay granted under S, 29. If in the present case, the application for vacating the stay had been dismissed instead of being allowed, it could not be contended that the decree-holder could at the same time be prevented from executing the decree by an order of Court while he was riot able to invoke the provision of Section 15, so as to enlarge the time within which he could file the execution application.

If this would” be the result, if the application for modification of the order of the stay when it was dismissed, the result cannot be different merely because the Court in its discretion allowed the execution to proceed.

5. I am clearly of the opinion that the deci
sion of the learned District Judge is correct and
that the execution petition filed by the respondent
is in time. This appeal fails and is dismissed with
costs. No leave.

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