Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation Vs. Jahan Ara Akhtar and others, 49 DLR (AD) (1997) 80

Case No: Civil Appeal No. 54 of 1995

Judge: ATM Afzal ,

Court: Appellate Division ,,

Advocate: Mr. Rafique-ul-Huq,Dr. Kamal Hossain,,

Citation: 49 DLR (AD) (1997) 80

Case Year: 1997

Appellant: Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation

Respondent: Jahan Ara Akhtar and others

Delivery Date: 1996-06-22

Supreme Court of Bangladesh
Appellate Division
(Civil)
 
Present:
ATM Afzal, CJ.
Mustafa Kamal, J.
Latifur Rahman, J.
Md. Abdur Rouf, J.
Bimalendu Bikash Roy Choudhury, J.

 
Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation
………………………..Appellant
Vs.
Jahan Ara Akhtar & others
…………………Respondents
 
Judgment
July 22, 1996
 
Artha Rin Adalat Act (IV of 1990)
Section 5 (1)
President’s Order No. 27 of 1993
Article 27
‘Suit’, is a term of art and ordinarily means a proceeding instituted in the Civil Court by presentation of a plaint. The action contemplated under article 27 is, therefore, outside the concept of ‘মামলা’ which we have found to correspond with ‘suit’ as provided in the main part of section 5 (1) of the Act. …. (14)

 
Lawyers Involved:
Rafique-ul-Huq, Senior Advocate, Shaheed Alam, Advocate with him instructed by Md. Sajjadul Huq, Advocate-on-Record—For the Appellant.
Dr. Kamal Hossain, Senior Advocate, instructed by Abdul Quasem, Advocate-on-Record — For the Respondents.
 
Civil Appeal No. 54 of 1995
(From the judgment and order dated 5 January, 1995 passed by the High Court Division, Dhaka in Civil Revision No. 1419 of 1993).
 
JUDGMENT
ATM Afzal CJ.
 
1.         This appeal, by leave, by the Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation from judgment and order dated 5 January, 1995 passed by a Division Bench of the High Court Division in Civil Revision No.  1419 of 1993 making the Rule absolute.
 
2.         Facts of the case, briefly, are that the appellant-Corporation filed five applications before learned District Judge, Tangail under article 27 of the Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation Order, 1973 (President’s Order No.  7 of 1973) for the reliefs mentioned therein in respect of the amounts due from the borrower-respondents. When the said applications were pending the Artha Rin Adalat Act, 1990 (Act No IV of 1990), briefly, the Act, was promulgated on 20 January, 1990. Section 9 of the said Act providing for pending suits was substituted by Act No.  LI of 1990 with effect from 31-7.1990. At the instance of the appellant, the applications pending before the learned District Judge, Tangail were transferred to the Court of the learned Subordinate Judge and Artha Rin Adalat, Tangail which were renumbered as Miscellaneous Case No 1, 2, 6 and 9 of 1992. The respondents filed an application before the learned District Judge praying for withdrawal of the said Misc. cases from the Artha Rin Adalat to the Court of the learned District Judge and disposal of the same according to the provisions of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 which gave rise to Misc. Case No.  64 of 1992. After hearing both the parties and considering the relevant provision of law, the learned District Judge dismissed the Misc. Case by his order dated 6-1-93 holding that the Misc. cases pending in the Artha 1 Adalat should be tried and disposed of by that Court. Being aggrieved by the said order the respondents moved the High Court Division in revision and, as already noticed, a Division Bench, by the impugned judgment and order, made the Rule absolute in the revision case. The order of the learned District Judge, Tangail dated 6-1-93 was set aside and it was directed that the Misc. cases pending before the Subordinate Judge and Artha Rin Adalat, Tangail be transferred to the Court of the District Judge, Tangail and heard and disposed of by him (District Judge) according to the provision of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973.
 
3.         Leave to appeal was obtained from the impugned judgment of the High Court Division by the appellant submitting that the High Court Division gave a wrong interpretation of section 5 of the Act without considering the object and purpose of the Act. The proviso to section 5 of the Act, it was submitted, merely saves the special provisions and methods for realisation of loan by financial institutions provided by laws by which they were established but as far as suits are concerned, the Artha Rin Adalat has been given exclusive jurisdiction in sub-clause (1) of section 5. 3. At the hearing of the appeal, Mr. Rafiqe-ul Huq, learned Counsel for the appellant, elaborated the above submissions with reference to the various sections of the Act including its object and purpose and provisions of other allied laws. According to Mr. Huq, upon a true construction of section 5 of the Act vis-a-vis the special provisions made for realisation of loan under President’s Order No. 7 of 1973, it is to be held that sub-section (1) of section 5 has impliedly repealed article 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 According to him, after the promulgation of the Act and substitution of section 9 thereof by amendment, no proceeding in Court which was heretofore permissible for realisation of loan under article 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 would be competent and all such proceedings must be tried and disposed of in the Artha Rin Adalat.
 
4.         Dr. Kamal Hossain, learned counsel for the respondents, however, submitted that the interpretation sought to be put upon section 5 of the Act by Mr. Huq militates against the plain and ordinary meaning of the said section and particularly the usual and accepted meaning of the word ‘Mamla” as mentioned in section 5. Dr. Hossain contends that in spite of the promulgation of the Act the present proceedings which were initiated under article 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 can be prosecuted under the said President’s Order in accordance with the proviso to section 5 of the Act and that is clearly the intention of the legislature. Dr. Hossain supports the impugned judgment of the High Court Division.
 
5.         Section 5 of the Act which calls for interpretation reads as follows (relevant portion):
 
৫। অর্থ ঋণ আদালতের ক্ষমতা ও এখতিয়ার ।-(১) অন্য কোন আইনে জাহা কিছুই থাকুক না কেন, আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠানের ঋণ আদায় সংক্রান্ত জাবতিও মামলা অর্থ ঋণ আদালতে দায়ের করিতে হইবে এবং উক্ত আদালতের উহা নিষ্পত্তি করা হইবেঃ
তবে শর্ত থাকে যে, কোন আইন দ্বারা কোন আর্থিক প্রতিষ্ঠান প্রতিষ্ঠা করা হইয়া থাকিলে এবং উক্ত আইনে উহার ঋণ আদায়ের জন্য কোন বিশেষ বিধান আব পদ্ধতি থাকিলে সেই বিধান বা পদ্ধতি এই ধারার দ্বারা ক্ষুণ্ণ হইবে না
(১)……………………
(২)………………….
(৩)………………………..
(৪)……………………
(৫ ক)…………………..
(৬)……………………….
 
6.         President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 has made special provisions for realisation of the Corporation’s loans from the borrowers in articles 26 and 27, Article 26(1) provides that when a borrower or his surety makes default in repayment etc., the Corporation notwithstanding the provisions of any other law may, without the intervention of any Court, sell any property pledged, mortgaged, etc. Sub-article (3) provides that all sums due to the Corporation from the borrower or his surety shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue. Article 27(1) provides that where by reason of the breach of any agreement by the borrower the Corporation becomes entitled to require the immediate payment of the amount due by the borrower to the Corporation, any officer of the Corporation …………..may apply to the District Judge for any one or more of the following reliefs, namely:

(a) an order for the sale of any property or properties pledged, mortgaged ……………..by the borrower.
(b) for an injunction restraining the borrower or his ……………….. surety……………….
(c) for an ad-interim attachment…………………………
Similar provisions are to be found in .the Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha Order, 1972 (President’s Order No. 128 of 1972) in articles 33, 34 and 35 thereof. In this case, the consideration will relate to articles 26 and 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 only in the context of section 5 of the Act.
 
7.         The gist of the submission of Mr. Rafique-ul Huq is that the word “Mamla” in section 5 (1) of the Act-does not only mean ‘suit’ as under the Code of Civil Procedure but also includes all legal proceedings in a court of law including that under article 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973.
 
8.         He has put emphasis’ upon the qualifying word “যাবতীয়” before the word “মামলা” in section 5(1) of the Act. He has drawn our attention to the object of the Act which says that it is necessary and desirable to make special provision for realisation of loan given by the financial institutions. Mr. Huq has also referred to section 3 of the Act which says that the provisions of the Act, unless there is anything otherwise, will be in addition and not prejudicial to any other law for the time being in force. According to Mr. Huq, the proviso to section 5 is referable only to article 26 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973 and not to article 27 which provides for a proceeding in Court and article 27 will be excluded by reason of the provision in section 5(1) of the Act.
 
9.         To illustrate that the word “Mamla” does only mean suit, Mr. Huq quoted from the standard Bengali dictionaries and others sources, some of which are as follows:

বাংলাদেশের ব্যবহারিক বাংলা অভিধান (১৯৭৪-৮৪)/ বাংলা একাডেমীঃ মাম্লা-মকদ্দমা (=আদালতে দায়েরকৃত নালিশের বিচার), কেস; চলন্তিকা (১৩৮৯/ রাজশেখর বসুঃ মামলা মকদ্দমা (=আদালতে অভিযোগ), litigation; বাংলা ভাষার অভিধান (১৯৭৯)/ জ্ঞানেন্দ্রমোহন দাসঃ মামলা মোকদ্দমা (=আদালতের অভিজগের পরিচালনা), নালিশ; বঙ্গীয় শব্দকোষ (১৯৭৮)/ হরিচরন বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ঃ মামলা-অভিযোগ, মোকদ্দমা; আধুনিক বাংলা অভিধান (১৯৮৫)/ মোসলেমউদ্দিন আহমদঃ মামলা-মোকদ্দমা (=আদালতে অভিযোগ ও তাহার বিচার), litigation, suit, case; ব্যবহারিক শব্দকোষ (১৩৬৯) কাজী আব্দুল ওদুদঃ মাম্লা-রাজদ্বারে অভিযোগ, মোকদ্দমা; বাংলায় অতিথি শব্দের অভিধান (১৩৯৭/ডঃ অরুণকুমার মুখোপাধ্যায়ঃ মামলা-মকদ্দমা (=আদালতে অভিযোগ ও তার বিচার)
যথা শব্দ (১৯৯৩)/ মুহাম্মদ হাবিবুর রহমানঃ মামলা মোকদ্দমা, কেস, বিচার্য বিষয়; নালিশ, অভিযোগ; আর্জি, দাবি, পিটিশন, আবেদন, দরখাস্ত, এজাহার, থানায় ডায়েরি; আদালতের শরণাপন্ন হওয়া; আইনের আশ্রয় নেয়া; প্রতিকার প্রার্থনা করা-।
সংসদ সমার্থ শব্দকোষ (১৯৯০): মামলা-মোকদ্দমা, কেস; অভিযোগ, নালিশ; আর্জি; আইনের আশ্রয় নেয়া; থানা পুলিশ করা; আবেদন; পিটিশন--------।
 
The uses of the word ‘mamla’ in Bengali Texts:

আমরা কি যাব না তাদের কাছে জারা শুধু বাংলায় কথা বলে (১৯৯৬)/মুহাম্মদ হাবিবুর রহমানঃ দেশে অনিসম্পন্ন মামলা সংখ্যা আশংকাজনকভাবে বেড়ে যাচ্ছে। দেশের মোট জনসংখ্যা, ন্যায্য দাবি-দাওয়া পরিত্যাগ করেছে আমন হতাশাগ্রস্ত ব্যক্তির সংখ্যা, পার্শ্ববর্তী অঞ্চলে বা দূরে অবস্থিত যুক্তরাজ্য বা যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের অনিস্পন্ন মামলার সংখ্যার সাথে তুলনা করলে আমাদের অবস্থা তেমন ভয়াবহ মনে হবে না। কোর্টে পড়ে থাকা মামলা সম্পর্কে একটা চাঞ্চল্যকর আবহের সৃষ্টি করে থাকেন সাংবাদিকরা। অনিস্পন্ন মামলার অনেকখানি নীরস তরুবর, ছেঁটে ফেলে দিলেই হয়। আমি গত মাসে কিছু ছেঁটে ফেলার কাজ করে আত্মপ্রসাদ লাভ করছি।

The English equivalents of the word ‘mamla’ in the Bengali-English dictionaries are as under:

A Mussalmani Bengali-English Dictionary (1970)/The Rev. William Goldsack: ‘মামলা’—A Law-suit, litigation.
Bangla Academy Bengali-English Dictionary (1994) : “মামলা” case/suit in law; “মামলা”-bring/file a law-suit; proceed (against)/enter into litigation. Samad Bengali-English Dictionary (1991) ঃ“মামলা”law-suit, a case, a process; “মামলা করা”- bring or file a law-suit; to enter into litigation. The word “মামলা”
Case from the Arabic Word “Muamala”which means: A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Arabic-English) (1974)/Hans Wehr:’ ‘(muamala).treatment, (and other). A1-Mawrid (Arabic-English) (1988)/Dr. Rohi Baalbaki:
(muamula)—processing; treatment; handling; application, petition, request, motion (and others).
Arabic-English Dictionary (1980)/F. Steingass:
‘(muamala) — management, treatment, (and others).
 
10.       Mr. Huq has referred to different provisions of the Constitution (Bengali Text) to show that the word t has been used to mean legal proceeding other than a suit. For example, article 44(1) provides as follows:

“44(1). The right to move the High Court Division in accordance with clause (1) of article 102, for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.”
৪৪। (১) এই ভাগে প্রদত্ত অধিকারসমূহ বলবত করিবার জন্য এই সংবিধানের ১০২ অনুচ্ছেদের (১) দফা অনুযায়ী হাইকোর্ট বিভাগের নিকট মামলা রুজু করিবার অধিকারের নিশ্চয়তা দান করা হইল।
 
11.       Dr. Kamal Hossain learned Counsel appearing for the respondents, however, submits that the word “মামলা”in section 5(1) in the context of the Act cannot mean anything other than a suit as referred to in the Code of Civil Procedure. The word has been used not in a generic or vagrant sense so as to include any and every kind of action in a Court of law, but it has reference to the usual and accepted sense which is known as suit’.
 
12.       Upon examining the relevant provisions of the Act and President’s Order No. 7 of 1973, particularly article 27, we find it difficult to accept the submission of Mr. Rafique-ul Huq. All indications therein lead to the conclusion that the word “মামলা”in section 5(1) refers to ‘Suit’ and not to all kinds of legal proceedings. It cannot be disputed; Mr. Huq does not, that before the promulgation. of the Act a financial institution such as the appellant could institute a suit in the civil Court for realisation of its dues notwithstanding the special provisions made for the same purpose in law by which the appellant was established .The purpose of enacting the An Rin Adalat Act appears to be that the legislature wanted to exclude the ordinary civil Court with all its lengthy procedure as a forum for realisation of loan given by a financial institution and substitute in its place a special Court, namely, the Artha Rin Adalat, with some special procedure for the purpose of cutting delay but the action will nevertheless be in the form of a suit involving all other allied laws, namely, the Court Fees Act, the Limitation Act, the Code of Civil Procedure (to the extent made applicable).
 
13.       Section 9 of the Act originally provided that notwithstanding the provisions of the Act if “কোন মামলা”was pending in any Court for realisation of loan of a financial institution, the same could be disposed of by that Court and the Act would not be applicable in respect of that “মামলা”Section 9 was amended by Act No. L1 of 1990 on 31-7-1990 providing for the transfer of pending “কোন মামলা”as aforesaid to the Artha Rin Adalat. From the statement of object and reason for the said amendment (supplied by Mr. Rafique-ul-Huq) it is found that the amendment was felt necessary because the disposal of “মামলা মোকদ্দমা” relating to realisation of loan in accordance with the existing law was very much time-consuming and often resulted in non-realisation. It is clear that the legislature intended to avoid the ordinary civil Court with its congestion and lengthy procedure by transferring the relevant suits to the Artha Rin Adalat for an early disposal.
 
14.       Now it may be considered whether an application to the District Judge under article 27 can be said to be of the same category of a ‘suit’ or is a special provision made for realisation of loan. A Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Farkhundali vs. VB Potdar AIR 1962 Bombay 162 observed that the word ‘suit’ is a term of art and ordinarily means a proceeding instituted in the civil Court by presentation of a plaint. It observed further that a proceeding under section 54 of the Co-operative Societies Act was not a suit. We find ourselves in agreement with the statement of law as above and do not think that there will be two opinions on the point. Applying the said test there cannot be any difficulty in holding that an application under article 27 cannot be equated with a suite for, in an application under that article none of the requirements as in a Suit is attracted. No plaint, no court fee, no limitations, no written statement, no other necessary steps, no decree, nothing, the financial institution will get the relief or reliefs in a summary manner which is not available in the form of a suit. It cannot, therefore, but be said that article 27 is a special provision or procedure for realisation of loan which comes squarely within the proviso to section 5(1) of the Act. And it is well-settled that a proviso accepts out of a previous enacting part of a statute something which but for the proviso would have been within the enacting part. The action contemplated under article 27 is, therefore, outside the concept of “মামলা” which we have found to correspond with suit as provided in the main part of section 5(1) of the Act.
 
15.       If it is the contention of Mr. Huq that after the introduction of the Act a legal proceeding ( (for realisation of loan) under section 5(1) of the Act only is permissible and a proceeding under article 27 is not because the latter proceeding falls within the, description of “মামলা”then a strange result will follow because in that case it has to be conceded ex hypothesi that a proceeding under article 27 will also be entertainable by the Artha Rin Adalat—a proposition so obnoxious even Mr. Huq would not agree to own. Dr. Hossain, in our opinion, has rightly contended that merely because the word “is a generic term, there is no good reason, rather the reasons are against, to attribute a wide meaning to that word except that of a ‘suit’ as in section 5(1). It is true that in the Constitution, the word “মামলা”has been used in various articles to mean legal proceedings other than a suit. But the word “মামলা”has also been used in the Constitution for the word suit’, vide paragraph 3A(3) Fourth Schedule. Therefore the use of the word “মামলা” in the Constitution to mean proceedings other than suit is no guide for giving a meaning to the word “মামলা” in section 5(1) of the Act. It has to be understood in the context and background of the said Act.
 
16.       Mr. Rafique-ul Huq lastly argued that the High Court Division was at least wrong in holding that the appellant cannot take recourse to section 5 (1) of the Act for realisation of loan and it has to proceed only under article 27. Yes, at some places of the impugned judgment, the impression has been given as above, such as, it has been said: Provisions of section 5(1) of Artha Rin Adalat Act are very clear and, as such, the cases of the House Building Finance Corporation for realisation of loan cannot be tried by the Artha Rin Adalat and if it is done, it will be wholly without jurisdiction.
 
17.       The view expressed by the High Court Division overlooks the provision of section 3 of the Act and does not comprehend section 5(1) with the proviso as a whole. In view of the said provisions, the position is that a financial institution may institute a suit in connection with realisation of loan in the Artha Rin Adalat under the Act and by reason of the proviso to section 5(1) the special provision or procedure for realisation of loan provided in the law by which the financial institution is established will not be affected. The option is with the financial institution either to bring a suit under section 5(1) of the Act or take recourse to the special procedure provided in the relevant law.
 
18.       As far as the present case is concerned the appellant already brought the proceedings under article 27 of President’s Order No. 7 of 1973. These proceedings cannot be transferred to the Artha Rin Adalat which has jurisdiction to try a suit and not proceedings under article 27. Notwithstanding the promulgation of the Act, the proceedings under article 27 can continue and we understand that this is that the High Court Division has really intended to convey although at places an impression has been given that a financial institution has to follow the special provision or procedure as provided in the relevant law for realisation of loan and a suit under the Act for the said purpose, will be without jurisdiction. We are, however, inclined to think that the High Court Division expressed itself keeping in view the facts of the present case only and its observations are meant to govern the case in hand and not generally. The appellant’s interpretation of section 5(1) read with the proviso is found to be unacceptable.
 
19.       For the reasons stated above, we hold that the impugned order passed by the High Court Division is correct and calls for no interference.
 
The appeal is accordingly dismissed without any order as to cost.
 
Ed.