Attachment of property (Rule 41 – 57)

Rule 41: Examination of judgment-debtor as to his property

(1) Where a decree is for the payment of money the decree-holder may apply to the Court for an order that—

(a) the judgment-debtor, or

(b) where the judgment-debtor is a corporation, any officer thereof, or

(c) any other person,

be orally examined as to whether any or what debts are owing to the judgment-debtor and whether the judgment-debtor has any and what other property or means of satisfying the decree; and the Court may make an order for the attendance and examination of such judgment-debtor, or officer or other person, and for the production of any books or documents.

(2) Where a decree for the payment of money has remained unsatisfied for a period of thirty days, the Court may, on the application of the decree-holder and without prejudice to its power under sub-rule (1), by order require the judgment-debtor or where the judgment-debtor is a corporation, any officer thereof, to make an affidavit stating the particulars of the assets of the judgment-debtor.

(3) In case of disobedience of any order made under sub-rule (2), the Court making the order, or any Court to which the proceeding is transferred, may direct that the person disobeying the order be detained in the civil prison for a term not exceeding three months unless before the expiry of such term the Court directs his release.


Rule 42: Attachment in case of decree for rent or mesne profits or other matter, amount of which to be subsequently determined

Where a decree directs an inquiry as to rent or mesne profits or any other matter, the property of the judgment-debtor may, before the amount due from him has ascertained, be attached, as in the case of an ordinary decree for the payment of money.


Rule 43: Attachment of movable property, other than agricultural produce, in possession of judgment-debtor

Where the property to be attached is movable property, other than agricultural produce, in the possession of the judgment-debtor, the attachment shall be made by actual seizure, and the attaching officer shall keep the property in his own custody or in the custody of one of his subordinates, and shall be responsible for the due custody thereof:

Provided that, when the property seized is subject to speedy and natural decay, or when the expense of keeping it in custody is likely to exceed its value, the attaching officer may sell it at once.


Rule 44: Attachment of agricultural produce

Where the property to be attached is agricultural produce, the attachment shall be made by affixing a copy of the warrant of attachment,—

(a) where such produce is a growing crop, on the land on which such crop has grown, or

(b) where such produce has been cut or gathered, on the threshing-floor or place for treading out grain or the like or fodder-stack on or in which it is deposited,

and another copy on the outer door or on some other conspicuous part of the house in which the judgment-debtor ordinarily resides or, with the leave of the Court, on the outer door or on some other conspicuous part of the house in which he carries on business or personally works for gain or in which he is known to have last resided or carried on business or personally worked for gain; and the produce shall thereupon be deemed to have passed into the possession of the Court.


Rule 45: Provisions as to agricultural produce under attachment

(1) Where agricultural produce is attached, the Court shall make such arrangements for the custody thereof as it may deem sufficient and, for the purpose of enabling the Court to make such arrangements, every application for the attachment of a growing crop shall specify the time at which it is likely to be fit to be cut or gathered.

(2) Subject to such conditions as may be imposed by the Court in this behalf either in the order of attachment or in any subsequent order, the judgment-debtor may tend, cut, gather and store the produce and do any other act necessary for maturing or preserving it; and if the judgment-debtor fails to do all or any of such acts, the decree-holder may, with the permission of the Court and subject to the like conditions, do all or any of them either by himself or by any person appointed by him in this behalf, and the costs incurred by the decree-holder shall be recoverable from the judgment-debtor as if they were included in, or formed part of, the decree.

(3) Agricultural produce attached as a growing crop shall not be deemed to have ceased to be under attachment or to require re-attachment merely because it has been severed from the soil.

(4) Where an order for the attachment of a growing crop has been made at a considerable time before the crop is likely to be fit to be cut or gathered, the Court may suspend the execution of the order for such time as it thinks fit, and may, in its discretion, make a further order prohibiting the removal of the crop pending the execution of the order of attachment.

(5) A growing crop which from its nature does not admit of being stored shall not be attached under this rule at any time less than twenty days before the time at which it is likely to be fit to be cut or gathered.


46. Attachment of debt, share and other property not in possession of judgment-debtor.—(1) In the case of—

(a) a debt not secured by a negotiable instrument,

(b) a share in the capital of a corporation,

(c) other movable property not in the possession of the judgment-debtor, except property deposited in, or in the custody of, any Court,

the attachment shall be made by a written order prohibiting,—

(i) in the case of the debt, the creditor from recovering the debt and the debtor from making payment thereof until the further order of the Court;

(ii) in the case of the share, the person in whose name the share may be standing from transferring the same or receiving any dividend thereon;

(iii) in the case of the other movable property except as aforesaid, the person in possession of the same from giving it over to the judgment-debtor.

(2) A copy of such order shall be affixed on some conspicuous part of the Court-house, and another copy shall be sent in the case of the debt, to the debtor, in the case of the share, to the proper officer of the corporation, and, in the case of the other movable property (except as aforesaid), to the person in possession of the same.

(3) A debtor prohibited under clause (i) of sub-rule (1) may pay the amount of his debt into Court, and such payment shall discharge him as effectually as payment to the party entitled to receive the same.


Rule 46-A: Notice to garnishee

(1) The Court may in the case of a debt (other than a debt secured by a mortgage or a charge) which has been attached under Rule 46, upon the application of the attaching creditor, issue notice to the garnishee liable to pay such debt, calling upon him either to pay into Court the debt due from him to the judgment-debtor or so much thereof as may be sufficient to satisfy the decree and costs of execution, or to appear and show cause why he should not do so.

(2) An application under sub-rule (1) shall be made on affidavit verifying the facts alleged and stating that, in the belief of the deponent, the garnishee is indebted to the judgment-debtor.

(3) Where the garnishee pays in the Court the amount due from him to the judgment-debtor or so much thereof as is sufficient to satisfy the decree and the costs of the execution, the Court may direct that the amount may be paid to the decree-holder towards satisfaction of the decree and costs of the execution.


Rule 46-B: Order against garnishee

Where the garnishee does not forthwith pay into Court the amount due from him to the judgment-debtor or so much thereof as is sufficient to satisfy the decree and the costs of execution, and does not appear and show cause in answer to the notice, the Court may order the garnishee to comply with the terms of such notice, and on such order, execution may issue as though such order were a decree against him.


Rule 46-C: Trial of disputed questions

Where the garnishee disputes liability, the Court may order that any issue or question necessary for the determination of liability shall be tried as if it were an issue in a suit, and upon the determination of such issue shall make such order or orders as it deems fit:

Provided that if the debt in respect of which the application under Rule 46-A is made is in respect of a sum of money beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Court, the Court shall send the execution case to the Court of the District Judge to which the said Court is subordinate, and thereupon the Court of the District Judge or any other competent Court to which it may be transferred by the District Judge shall deal with it in the same manner as if the case had been originally instituted in that Court.


Rule 46-D: Procedure where debt belongs to third person

Where it is suggested or appears to be probable that the debt belongs to some third person, or that any third person has a lien or charge on, or other interest in, such debt, the Court may order such third person to appear and state the nature and particulars of his claim, if any, to such debt and prove the same.


Rule 46-E: Order as regards third person

After hearing such third person and any person or persons who may subsequently be ordered to appear, or where such third or other person or persons do not appear when so ordered, the Court may make such order as is hereinbefore provided, or such other order or orders upon such terms, if any, with respect to the lien, charge or interest, as the case may be, of such third or other person or persons as it may deem fit and proper.


Rule 46-F: Payment by garnishee to be valid discharge

Payment made by the garnishee on notice under Rule 46-A or under any such order as aforesaid shall be a valid discharge to him as against the judgment-debtor and any other person ordered to appear as aforesaid for the amount paid or levied, although the decree in execution of which the application under Rule 46-A was made, or the order passed in the proceedings on such application, may be set aside or reversed.


Rule 46-G: Costs

The costs of any application made under Rule 46-A and of any proceeding arising therefrom or incidental thereto shall be in the discretion of the Court.


Rule 46-H. Appeals

An order made under Rule 46-B, Rule 46-C or Rule 46-E shall be appealable as a decree.


Rule 46-I. Application to negotiable instruments

The provisions of Rules 46-A to 46-H (both inclusive) shall, so far as may be, apply in relation to negotiable instruments attached under Rule 51 as they apply in relation to debts.


Rule 47: Attachment of share in movables

Where the property to be attached consists of the share or interest of the judgment-debtor in movable property belonging to him and another as co-owners, the attachment shall be made by a notice to the judgment-debtor prohibiting him from transferring the share or interest or charging it in any way.


Rule 48: Attachment of salary or allowances of servant of the Government or railway company or local authority

(1) Where the property to be attached is the salary or allowances of a servant of the Government or of a servant of a railway company or local authority or of a servant of a corporation engaged in any trade or industry which is established by a Central, Provincial or State Act, or a Government company as defined in Section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956, the Court, whether the judgment-debtor or the disbursing officer is or is not within the local limits of the Court’s jurisdiction, may order that the amount shall, subject to the provisions of Section 60, be withheld from such salary or allowances either in one payment or by monthly instalments as the Court may direct; and, upon notice of the order to such officer as the appropriate Government may by notification in the Official Gazette appoint in this behalf,—

(a) where such salary or allowances are to be disbursed within the local limits to which this Code for the time being extends, the officer or other person whose duty it is to disburse the same shall withhold and remit to the Court the amount due under the order, or the monthly instalments as the case may be;

(b) where such salary or allowances are to be disbursed beyond the said limits, the officer or other person within those limits whose duty it is to instruct the disbursing authority regarding the amount of the salary or allowances to be disbursed shall remit to the Court the amount due under the order, or the monthly instalments, as the case may be, and shall direct the disbursing authority to reduce the aggregate of the amounts from time to time to be disbursed by the aggregate of the amounts from time to time remitted to the Court.

(2) Where the attachable proportion of such salary or allowances is already being withheld and remitted to a Court in pursuance of a previous and unsatisfied order of attachment, the officer appointed by the appropriate Government in this behalf shall forthwith return the subsequent order to the Court issuing it with a full statement of all the particulars of the existing attachment.

(3) Every order made under this rule, unless it is returned in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule (2), shall, without further notice or other process, bind the appropriate Government or the railway company or local authority or corporation or Government company, as the case may be, while the judgment-debtor is within the local limits to which this Code for the time being extends and while he is beyond those limits, if he is in receipt of any salary or allowances payable out of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Consolidated Fund of the State or the funds of a railway company or local authority or corporation or Government company in India; and the appropriate Government or the railway company or local authority or corporation or Government company, as the case may be, shall be liable for any sum paid in contravention of this rule.

Explanation —In this rule, “appropriate Government” means,—

(i) as respects any person in the service of the Central Government, or any servant of a railway administration or of a cantonment authority or of the port authority of a major port, or any servant of a corporation engaged in any trade or industry which is established by a Central Act, or any servant of a Government company in which any part of the share capital is held by the Central Government or by more than one State Governments or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more State Governments, the Central Government;

(ii) as respects any other servant of the Government, or a servant of any other local or other authority, or any servant of a corporation engaged in any trade or industry which is established by a Provincial or State Act, or a servant of any other Government company, the State Government.


Rule 48-A. Attachment of salary or allowances of private employees

(1) Where the property to be attached is the salary of allowances of an employee other than an employee to whom Rule 48 applies, the Court, where the disbursing officer of the employee is within the local limits of the Court’s jurisdiction, may order that the amount shall, subject to the provisions of Section 60, be withheld from such salary or allowances either in one payment or by monthly instalments as the Court may direct; and upon notice of the order to such disbursing officer, such disbursing officer shall remit to the Court the amount due under the order, or the monthly instalments, as the case may be.

(2) Where the attachable portion of such salary or allowances is already being withheld or remitted to the Court in pursuance of a previous and unsatisfied order of attachment, the disbursing officer shall forthwith return the subsequent order to the Court issuing it with a full statement of all the particulars of the existing attachment.

(3) Every order made under this rule, unless it is returned in accordance with the provisions of sub-rule (2), shall, without further notice or other process, bind the employer while the judgment-debtor is within the local limits to which this Code for the time being extends and while he is beyond those limits, if he is in receipt of salary or allowances payable out of the funds of an employer in any part of India; and the employer shall be liable for any sum paid in contravention of this rule.


Rule 49: Attachment of partnership property

(1) Save as otherwise provided by this rule, property belonging to a partnership shall not be attached or sold in execution of a decree other than a decree passed against the firm or against the partners in the firm as such.

(2) The Court may, on the application of the holder of a decree against a partner, make an order charging the interest of such partner in the partnership property and profits with payment of the amount due under the decree, and may, by the same or a subsequent order, appoint a receiver of the share of such partner in the profits (whether already declared or accruing) and of any other money which may be coming to him in respect of the partnership, and direct accounts and inquiries and make an order for the sale of such interest or other orders as might have been directed or made if a charge had been made in favour of the decree-holder by such partner, or as the circumstances of the case may require.

(3) The other partner or partners shall be at liberty at any time to redeem the interest charged or, in the case of a sale being directed, to purchase the same.

(4) Every application for an order under sub-rule (2) shall be served on the judgment-debtor and on his partners or such of them as are within India.

(5) Every application made by any partner of the judgment-debtor under sub-rule (3) shall be served on the decree-holder and on the judgment-debtor, and on such of the other partners as do not join in the application and as are within India.

(6) Service under sub-rule (4) or sub-rule (5) shall be deemed to be service on all the partners, and all orders made on such applications shall be similarly served.


Rule 50: Execution of decree against firm

(1) Where a decree has been passed against a firm, execution may be granted—

(a) against any property of the partnership;

(b) against any person who has appeared in his own name under Rule 6 or Rule 7 of Order XXX or who has admitted on the pleadings that he is, or who has been adjudged to be, a partner;

(c) against any person who has been individually served as a partner with a summons and has failed to appear:

Provided that nothing in this sub-rule shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect the provisions of Section 30 of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (9 of 1932).

(2) Where the decree-holder claims to be entitled to cause the decree to be executed against any person other than such a person as is referred to in sub-rule (1), clauses (b) and (c), as being a partner in the firm, he may apply to the Court which passed the decree for leave, and where the liability is not disputed, such Court may grant such leave, or, where such liability is disputed, may order that the liability of such person be tried and determined in any manner in which any issue in a suit may be tried and determined.

(3) Where the liability of any person has been tried and determined under sub-rule (2), the order made thereon shall have the same force and be subject to the same conditions as to appeal or otherwise as if it were a decree.

(4) Save as against any property of the partnership, a decree against a firm shall not release, render liable or otherwise affect any partner therein unless he has been served with a summons to appear and answer.

(5) Nothing in this rule shall apply to a decree passed against a Hindu undivided family by virtue of the provisions of Rule 10 of Order XXX.


Rule 51: Attachment of negotiable instruments

Where the property is a negotiable instrument not deposited in a Court, nor in the custody of a public officer, the attachment shall be made by actual seizure, and the instrument shall be brought into Court and held subject to further orders of the Court.


Rule 52: Attachment of property in custody of Court or public officer

Where the property to be attached is in the custody of any Court or public officer, the attachment shall be made by a notice to such Court or officer, requesting that such property, and any interest or dividend becoming payable thereon, may be held subject to the further orders of the Court from which the notice is issued:

Provided that, where such property is in the custody of a Court, any question of title or priority arising between the decree-holder and any other person, not being the judgment-debtor, claiming to be interested in such property by virtue of any assignment, attachment or otherwise, shall be determined by such Court.


Rule 53: Attachment of decrees

(1) Where the property to be attached is a decree, either for the payment of money or for sale in enforcement of a mortgage or charge, the attachment shall be made,—

(a) if the decrees were passed by the same Court, then by order of such Court, and

(b) if the decree sought to be attached was passed by another Court, then by the issue to such other Court of a notice by the Court which passed the decree sought to be executed, requesting such other Court to stay the execution of its decree unless and until—

(i) the Court which passed the decree sought to be executed cancels the notice, or

(ii)(a) the holder of the decree sought to be executed, or

(b) his judgment-debtor with the previous consent in writing of such decree-holder, or with the permission of the attaching Court,

applies to the Court receiving such notice to execute the attached decree.

(2) Where a Court makes an order under clause (a) of sub-rule (1), or receives an application under sub-head (ii) of clause (b) of the said sub-rule, it shall, on the application of the creditor who has attached the decree or his judgment-debtor, proceed to execute the attached decree and apply the net proceeds in satisfaction of the decree sought to be executed.

(3) The holder of a decree sought to be executed by the attachment of another decree of the nature specified in sub-rule (1) shall be deemed to be the representative of the holder of the attached decree and to be entitled to execute such attached decree in any manner lawful for the holder thereof.

(4) Where the property to be attached in the execution of a decree is a decree other than a decree of the nature referred to in sub-rule (1), the attachment shall be made, by a notice by the Court which passed the decree sought to be executed, to the holder of the decree sought to be attached, prohibiting him from transferring or charging the same in any way; and, where such decree has been passed by any other Court, also by sending to such other Court a notice to abstain from executing the decree sought to be attached until such notice is cancelled by the Court from which it was sent.

(5) The holder of a decree attached under this rule shall give the Court executing the decree such information and aid as may reasonably be required.

(6) On the application of the holder of a decree sought to be executed by the attachment of another decree, the Court making an order of attachment under this rule shall give notice of such order to the judgment-debtor bound by the decree attached; and no payment or adjustment of the attached decree made by the judgment-debtor in contravention of such order with knowledge thereof or after receipt of notice thereof, either through the Court or otherwise, shall be recognised by any Court so long as the attachment remains in force.


Rule 54: Attachment of immovable property

(1) Where the property is immovable, the attachment shall be made by an order prohibiting the judgment-debtor from transferring or charging the property in any way, and all persons from taking any benefit from such transfer or charge.

(1-A) The order shall also require the judgment-debtor to attend Court on a specified date to take notice of the date to be fixed for settling the terms of the proclamation of sale.

(2) The order shall be proclaimed at some place on or adjacent to such property by beat of drum or other customary mode, and a copy of the order shall be affixed on a conspicuous part of the property and then upon a conspicuous part of the court house, and also, where the property is land paying revenue to the Government, in the office of the Collector of the district in which the land is situate and, where the property is land situate in a village, also in the office of the Gram Panchayat, if any, having jurisdiction over that village.


Rule 55: Removal of attachment after satisfaction of decree

Where—

(a) the amount decreed with costs and all charges and expenses resulting from the attachment of any property are paid into Court, or

(b) satisfaction of the decree is otherwise made through the Court or certified to the Court, or

(c) the decree is set aside or reversed,

the attachment shall be deemed to be withdrawn, and, in the case of immovable property, the withdrawal shall, if the judgment-debtor so desires, be proclaimed at his expense, and a copy of the proclamation shall be affixed in the manner prescribed by the last preceding rule.


Rule 56: Order for payment of coin or currency notes to party entitled under decree

Where the property attached is current coin or currency notes, the Court may, at any time during the continuance of the attachment, direct that such coin or notes, or a part thereof sufficient to satisfy the decree, be paid over to the party entitled under the decree to receive the same.


Rule 57: Determination of attachment

(1) Where any property has been attached in execution of a decree and the Court, for any reason, passes an order dismissing the application for the execution of the decree, the Court shall direct whether the attachment shall continue or cease and shall also indicate the period up to which such attachment shall continue or the date on which such attachment shall cease.

(2) If the Court omits to give such direction, the attachment shall be deemed to have ceased.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Investigation into an order for attachment:

Jagat Tarim Dassi v. Saroj Rahjan Pal Chowdhury and ors., AIR 1941 Cal 357 : “………..As we read Or. 21, r. 42 of the Code, on an application under this rule, the Court has no jurisdiction to enter into an investigation of claims and objections to the proposed attachment at the stage the application is made.…..


2. Attachment of Movable Property:

Teeka v. State of U.P., AIR 1961 SC 803 : “………Order 21 Rule 43, of the Code of Civil Procedure describes the mode of attachment of movable properties other than agricultural produce in the possession of the judgment-debtor. It says that the attachment of such properties shall be made by the actual seizure, and the attaching officer shall keep the attached property in his own custody or in the custody of one of his subordinates and shall be responsible for the due custody thereof…………”


3. When property is in custody of Court or a public officer:

Kanhaiyalal v. Dr. D.R. Banaji, AIR 1958 SC 725 : “….Rule 52 of Order 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure, requires that where the property is in the custody of any court or public officer, attachment shall be made by a notice to such court or officer. But the absence of such a notice would not render the sale void ab initio, because the jurisdiction of the court or the authority ordering the sale, does not depend upon the issue of the notice of attachment.….


4. “Liability”:

Gambhir Mal Pandiya v. J.K. Jute Mills Co. Ltd., AIR 1963 SC 243 : “…………if in an inquiry under Order 21 Rule 50(2) it were decided that a person summoned as a partner was, in fact, a partner, his liability is established. The intention of the rule is to give an opportunity to such a person to dispute this liability……..”


CONNECTED SECTIONS

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