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Report No. 63

4.8. Section 1-opening words.-

The opening words of section 1 indicate that it covers cases relating to "all debts or sums certain payable at a certain time or otherwise", and it confers jurisdiction on the Court to allow interest to the creditor at a rate not exceeding the current rate of interest from the time when such debts or sums certain were payable. Such debts or sums may be payable by virtue of some written instrument at a certain time, or may be payable otherwise. There is no express limitation that the principal must be outstanding. In the latter case, the Court is empowered to award interest frcim the time when a demand for payment shall have been made in writing so that such demand shall give notice to the debtor that interest shall be claimed from the date of such demand until the time of payment.

The proviso to the section prescribes that interest shall be payable in all cases in which it is now payable by law. Leaving out of consideration cases falling under the proviso, we may note that the jurisdiction of the Court to award interest at any rate as specified in the section arises when the Court is one "before which a suit for recovery of a debt or sum certain may be recovered". These words are ambiguous, as would appear from reported cases.1

1. Para. 4.9, infra.

Interest Act, 1839 Back

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