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18 1926



Examination of Debtors.

Procuring attendance of debtor for examination as to means.

15. —(1) If and whenever any person (in this Part of this Act called a creditor) shall produce to a Justice of the District Court prima facie evidence—

(a) that any debt is due to the creditor under a judgment of a competent court, and

(b) that the person (in this Part of this Act called the debtor) by whom the said debt is payable is ordinarily resident in the court district for which the Justice is then sitting, and

(c) that the debtor has no goods which could be taken in execution under any process of the court by which the said judgment was given,

the Justice may make an order (in this Part of this Act called an examination order) that the debtor do attend before him on a specified date to be examined as to his means, and do also not less than one week before the said specified date lodge with the District Court Clerk a statement in writing (in this Part of this Act called a statement of means) setting forth his assets and liabilities, his income earned and unearned, and the means by which it is earned or the source from which it is derived, and the persons for whose support he is legally or morally liable.

(2) The creditor shall be entitled to inspect and take or obtain copies of the statement of means at any time after it is lodged pursuant to the foregoing sub-section.

(3) In this section the word “judgment” includes any order or decree, and in this Part of this Act the word “debt” includes any balance of a debt remaining due after payment or recovery of part thereof.

Procedure on examination of debtor.

16. —(1) On the examination of the debtor as to his means pursuant to an examination order, the statement of means lodged by the debtor shall be received in evidence and the creditor and the debtor may each adduce further evidence as to the means of the debtor, and the debtor may also himself give evidence on oath, and may, whether he gives evidence or not, be cross-examined by or on behalf of the creditor on the statement of means and his evidence (if any).

(2) If the Justice is satisfied on the evidence adduced on the examination as to means that the statement of means lodged by the debtor is false to the knowledge of the debtor in any material particular, the Justice may forthwith order the arrest of the debtor and sentence him to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding three months and the debtor shall be imprisoned accordingly.

Order for payment of debt by instalments.

17. —If the debtor fails to lodge a statement of means or fails to attend for examination in accordance with an examination order or refuses to submit himself to cross-examination by or on behalf of the creditor, or fails on such examination and cross-examination (if any) to satisfy the Justice that he is not able to pay the debt either in one sum or by instalments, the Justice, if so requested by the creditor, shall order the debtor to pay the debt and the costs of the proceedings in the District Court either in one payment or by such instalments and at such times as the Justice shall in all the circumstances consider reasonable.

Imprisonment of debtor on failure to pay instalments.

18. —(1) If the debtor fails to pay the debt and costs, or any one or more instalments thereof at the time or times at which the same is or are made payable by an order under this Part of this Act, the Justice may, on the application of the creditor order the arrest and imprisonment of the debtor for any period not exceeding three months, and thereupon the debtor shall be arrested and imprisoned accordingly.

(2) Whenever a debtor is arrested and imprisoned under this section he shall be entitled to be released immediately upon payment by him or on his behalf to the District Court Clerk or to the Governor of the Prison for the District Court Clerk of the sum of money (to be specified in the order of arrest and imprisonment) consisting of the amount of the debt and costs unpaid at the date of the order (including instalments which have not accrued due at that date), and such further sum (if any) for the costs of the order and the expenses of the arrest and removal of the debtor as the Justice shall think reasonable.

(3) All moneys paid under this section to the District Court Clerk by or on behalf of the debtor shall be paid by the District Court Clerk to the creditor on demand.

Continuance of pending proceedings.

19. —(1) Any proceedings under Part III . of the Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1924 (No. 20 of 1924) which were pending in the District Court immediately before the expiration of that Act may be continued under this Part of this Act, and all steps lawfully taken and things lawfully done in such proceedings before the passing of this Act shall be deemed to have been done under this Part of this Act as if this Act had been in force at the time when such steps were taken or such things were done.

(2) Nothing in this section shall operate to render any person liable to any punishment or penalty for any act (whether of commission or omission) done by him in the period between the expiration of the said Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1924 and the passing of this Act which would have been lawful if this section had not been enacted.

Saving for other remedies.

20. —The imprisonment of a debtor under this Part of this Act shall not operate as a satisfaction or extinguishment of the debt or any part thereof or deprive the creditor of any other rights or remedies for the recovery thereof.