P.B. Vedachella Mudaliar And Anr. vs Vijayaraghavachariar And Ors. on 20 September, 1911

Madras High Court
P.B. Vedachella Mudaliar And Anr. vs Vijayaraghavachariar And Ors. on 20 September, 1911
Equivalent citations: 13 Ind Cas 71, (1912) 22 MLJ 219


1. In this case the Sub-Collector and the District Judge concurred in holding that a suit for interest on arrears of rent is not cognisable by the Revenue courts under the provisions of Madras Act 1 of 1908. The definitions of ‘rent’ and of ‘arrears’ in the Act no doubt prima facie support that view, rent being defined in Section 3 as whatever is lawfully payable in money or in kind or in both to a landholder for the use or occupation of land in his estate for the purpose of agriculture” and arrear being defined in Section 60 as ” installment of rent not paid on the day on which it falls due.” Section 61 then enacts that an arrear shall bear simple interest at the rate of one half per centum per mensem for the days on which the arrear fell due until it is liquidated.” Section 77, Clause (1), lays down that at any time after an arrear of rent has become due the landholder may institute a suit before the Collector for the recovery of the arrear.” It does not say of a suit for ” arrear and interest” though Sections 60 and 61 taken together would prima facie tend to show that the word ” arrear” does not of itself include interest. Clause 2 of Section 77, in stating what other remedy is open to the landholder for the realisation of arrears, says that he may distrain the moveable property of the ryot. It is clear from Section 78 that the landholder is entitled to distrain unless both the arrear and interest, which it says he is entitled to include in his demand, are paid. This is made clearer by Section 127, which refers to the sale of the immoveable property for arrears of rent and interest. On going carefully through the sections of the Act, we cannot but come to the conclusion that the word ” arrear” was intended to include also the interest due on it-see Sections 78(a), 87, 112 and 122. We can see no reason for supposing that the Legislature intended to give jurisdiction to the Revenue courts exclusively to try suits for arrears of rent and to exclude from their jurisdiction claims to interest and arrears. Prima facie Revenue courts were regarded as best fitted to try claims for rent between landholders and ryots-Although the language of the sections is by no means as clear as might be desired, we are satisfied that the intention clearly was to include interest in the expression “arrear” in Section 77 and in the corresponding provision in Schedule A. The decrees of the lower courts must, therefore, be reversed and the suit remanded to the Sub-Collector for disposal on the merits. Each party will bear his own costs throughout up to date.

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