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The Money-Lenders Act, 1940 (Bengal Act)

( ACT NO. X OF 1940 )

Chapter III


Appointment of Provincial and other Registrars
6. There shall be a Principal Registrar for the purposes of this Act and as many Registrars and Sub-Registrars of money-lenders for assisting the Registrar as the Government may from time to time determine. The Government may define, by notification in the official Gazette, the area within which each such officer shall exercise his powers and perform his duties and may prescribe the control which shall be exercised by the Principal Registrar over Registrars and Sub-Registrars and by a Registrar over Sub-Registrars:
Provided that no person who is not a Government servant shall be empowered to act as a Principal Registrar, Registrar or Sub-Registrar under this Act.
Register of money-lenders
7. Each Sub-Registrar shall maintain in the prescribed form a register of money-lenders holding licences issued by him.
Money-lending business not to be carried on except under licence
8. After such date not less than six months after the commencement of this Act as the Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, appoint in this behalf, no money-lender shall carry on the business of money-lending unless he holds an effective licence.
Explanation.- An effective licence for the purposes of this Act comprises a licence issued to a person who is not disqualified for holding a licence.
9. (1) A licence shall be valid throughout the whole of Bangladesh for a period of three years from the date of its issue or until it is cancelled.
(2) On the expiration of the period for which the licence was granted or on the cancellation of a licence it shall be returned by the money-lender to the Sub-Registrar who issued it.
Licence fee
10. There shall be paid to the Government a fee of fifteen Taka for a licence issued under this Act:
Provided that the Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, remit any part of such fee either generally or for any particular class of money-lenders.
Application for licences
11. An application for the grant of a licence shall be made in the prescribed form and manner to the Sub-Registrar within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the money-lender has a place of money-lending business and shall contain such particulars as may be prescribed.
Entry in register and grant of licences
12. On receipt of an application under section 11 and on payment in the prescribed manner of the licence fee specified in section 10, the Sub-Registrar shall, subject to the provisions of section 16, enter the name of the applicant in the register and grant the applicant a licence in such form as may be prescribed.
Stay of suit when money-lender does not hold licence
13. (1) No Court shall pass a decree or order in favour of a money-lender in any suit instituted by a money-lender for the recovery of a loan advanced after the date notified under section 8, or in any suit instituted by a money-lender for the enforcement of an agreement entered into or security taken, or for the recovery of any security given, in respect of such loan, unless the Court is satisfied that, at the time or times when the loan or any part thereof was advanced, the money-lender held an effective licence.
(2) If during the trial of a suit to which sub-section (1) applies, the Court finds that the money-lender did not hold such licence, the Court shall, before proceeding with the suit, require the money-lender to pay in the prescribed manner and within the period to be fixed by the Court such penalty as the Court thinks fit, not exceeding three times the amount of the licence fee specified in section 10.
(3) If the money-lender fails to pay the penalty within the period fixed under sub-section (2) or within such further time as the Court may allow, the Court shall dismiss the suit; if the money-lender pays the penalty within such period, the Court shall proceed with the suit.
(4) The provisions of this section shall apply to a claim for a set-off by or on behalf of a money-lender.
(5) In this section, the expression “money-lender” includes an assignee of a money-lender, if the Court is satisfied that the assignment was made for the purposes of avoiding the payment of licence fee and penalty which may be ordered to be paid under this section.
Disqualification of persons for holding a licence
14. (1) A person shall be disqualified for holding a licence-
(a) if so ordered by a Court under section 20, for the period ordered;
(b) if he has been convicted of any offence specified in the Schedule to this Act and if such conviction has not been set aside by any Court of appeal or revision under any law for the time being in force.
(2) The Government may, at any time, on application in the prescribed form accompanied by the prescribed fee, remove a disqualification referred to in sub-section (1), having regard to the time which has elapsed since the order and the circumstances under which it was made or to the time which has elapsed since the conviction and to the nature of the offence.
Proof of conviction or order for disqualification
15. Where it is required to be proved for the purposes of this Act that any person has been convicted of an offence specified in the Schedule to this Act or has been disqualified by an order of a Court for holding a licence, such conviction or order may be proved, in addition to any other mode provided by any law for the time being in force-
(a) by an extract certified under the signature of the officer having the custody of the records of the Court in which such conviction was had, or such order was passed, to be a copy of the sentence or order, or
(b) in the case of a conviction, by a certificate signed by the officer in charge of the jail, in which the punishment or any part thereof was undergone, or by the production of the warrant of commitment under which the punishment was suffered, together with, in each of such cases, evidence as to the identity of the person so convicted or in respect of whom such order was passed.
Refusal to grant licence
16. (1) The grant of a licence shall not be refused except one or more of the following grounds, namely:-
(a) that the applicant has not complied with the provisions of this Act or of the rules made thereunder in respect of an application for the grant of a licence;
(b) that the applicant or any person responsible or proposed to be responsible for the management of the applicant's money-lending business is under this Act disqualified for holding a licence;
(c) that the applicant is not a citizen of Bangladesh.
(2) A Sub-Registrar refusing a licence-
(i) under clause (a) of sub-section (1) shall record his reasons for such refusal;
(ii) under clause (b) of sub-section (1) shall record the evidence of the disqualification.
(3) An appeal from the orders of a Sub-Registrar refusing a licence shall, if made within thirty days from the date of such order, lie to a Registrar authorised under section 6 to hear such appeal.
(4) A Registrar referred to in sub-section (3) may decide, if such appeal is allowed, as to the Sub-Registrar to whom application for a licence shall be made and his decision shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (5), be final for all purposes, and shall be binding on such Sub-Registrar whether he be under the control of such Registrar or not.
(5) A Competent Court may, on application made within ninety days from the date of the decision of the Registrar in appeal under sub-section (3), revise such decision.
(6) The procedure to be followed by a Competent Court or by a Registrar in proceedings under this section shall be in accordance with rules prescribed under this Act.
(7) The provisions of sections 4, 5 and 12 of the Limitation Act, 1908, shall apply to all appeals and applications for revision made under this section, and for the purposes of the said sections a Registrar shall be deemed to be a Court.
Cancellation of licence by a Sub-Registrar
17. Any Sub-Registrar may, after giving the money-lender to whom a licence entered in the register maintained by such Sub-Registrar was issued an opportunity of being heard, cancel the licence if it is proved that such money-lender was disqualified for holding a licence at the time when such licence was issued; and thereupon the provisions of clause (ii) of sub-section (2) and of sub-sections (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) of section 16 shall apply.
Power to Registrar and Sub-Registrar to examine any person on oath
18. For the purposes of an inquiry under this Act relating to a disqualification for holding a licence a Registrar or a Sub-Registrar shall have and may exercise the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath.
Application for cancellation of licence
19. Any borrower may, in respect of any money-lender from whom he has taken a loan, make an application to a Competent Court for an order under section 20 on the ground that such money-lender has committed such contravention of the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder as render him unfit to carry on the business of money-lending, and on receipt of such application, the said Court shall hold such inquiry as it deems necessary.
Court’s power to cancel a licence
20. (1) A Competent Court on an application under section 19 or a Court trying a suit to which this Act applies or a Court passing an order of conviction upon a money-lender for an offence under this Act, if satisfied that the money-lender has committed such contravention of the provisions of this Act or of the rules made thereunder as, in its opinion, makes him unfit to carry on the business of money-lending-
(a) shall cause the particulars of the conviction, if any, and of any order passed by the Court under this sub-section to be endorsed on the licence held by the money-lender or by any other person affected by such order; and
(b) may declare such money-lender or any person responsible for the management of his money-lending business or both disqualified for holding a licence for such period as the Court may think fit and shall cancel and impound the licence held by the money-lender:
Provided that, except in the case of an order passed by a District Court or by the Court of an Additional District Judge, the period of disqualification shall not exceed one year.
(2) If a Court other than a District Court or the Court of an Additional District Judge is of opinion that a period of disqualification exceeding one year should be imposed, it shall record its opinion and forward the proceedings to the District Court having jurisdiction in the place where such Court is held.
(3) The District Court to which such proceedings are submitted may, if it thinks fit, examine the parties and recall and examine any person who has already given evidence in the proceedings, and may call for and take any further evidence, and shall pass such order in the case as it thinks fit in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1).
(4) Any person aggrieved by the decision of a Court under this section may appeal against such order, to the Court to which an appeal ordinarily lies from the decision of the Court passing the order; and the Court which passed the order or the Court of appeal may, if it thinks fit, stay the operation of the order under this section pending the disposal of the appeal:
Provided that where the Court of appeal sets aside or varies an order passed under this section, it shall order that any endorsements made in pursuance thereof upon a licence held by a money-lender shall be erased or modified.
(5) The substance of any order passed under sub-section (1), sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) shall be sent forthwith in the prescribed form by the Court passing the order to the Principal Registrar and also together with the cancelled licence to the Sub-Registrar who maintains the register in which the licence affected has been entered for entry in the said register and for such circulation of the substance of the said order to other Registrars as may be prescribed.
(6) Any licence required by a Court for endorsement under sub-section (1) shall be produced in such manner and at such time as the Court may direct by the person by whom it is held, and any person who without reasonable cause makes default
herein shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty Taka for each day of the period during which the default continues.
(7) The powers conferred on a Court under sub-section (1) may be exercised by a Court in appeal or in revision.
No compensation for cancellation of licence
21. A person whose licence has been cancelled shall not be entitled to any compensation on such account nor to the refund of any licence fee paid in respect of such licence.
Licence fees and penalties recoverable as public demands
22. All licence fees and all penalties imposed under this Act shall be recoverable as public demands.
Offences in respect of licences
23. (1) Whoever being disqualified for holding a licence, applies for or obtains a licence during the pendency of such disqualification, without disclosing the fact thereof, shall be punishable, on conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five hundred Taka or with both, and any licence so obtained shall not be deemed to be an effective licence.
(2) Whoever obliterates or causes to be obliterated or attempts to obliterate an endorsement entered on a licence under this Act or abets such obliteration or attempt shall be punishable, on conviction, with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five hundred Taka or with both.

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Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs