Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The question of debts incurred before the passing of a measure of this kind deserves consideration. It can be urged that it is inequitable to apply fresh restrictions on the recovery of money lent while these restrictions were not in force or even contemplated. On the other hand, it is certain that, if special measures to limit the extent of recovery of old debts are not adopted, there are many workers who will have no prospect of securing freedom. Further, in many cases the loans have been lent without regard to their effect upon the debtor. It would be possible to grant a period of grace, for example, two years before the new legislation took effect, but we fear that this would be made the opportunity for a flood of litigation. Our recommendation that the oldest debts should have preference will give protection to reasonable loans incurred in the past, and we must regard the grant of credit to an extent greater than the amount we propose to make recoverable as ordinarily unreasonable. The greatest concession we would make therefore would be to allow, in respect of applications made during the first three years of the operation of the Act, the amount recoverable to be based on three, instead of two years' income and expenditure and the maximum period during which decrees could remain effective to be four years instead of three.