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Chindhu Gotu Sonar Vs. Vana Munji Patil - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.G.A. D. No. 1056 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Bom94; (1972)74BOMLR691; ILR1973Bom249; 1973MhLJ113
ActsBombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948 - Sections 32, 43, 70, 84 and 85
AppellantChindhu Gotu Sonar
RespondentVana Munji Patil
Appellant AdvocateM.A. Garud, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.V. Oak and ;S.V. Oak, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....act. , april 1, 1957 and he became the owner of the land from april 1, 1957. the possession of the suit land by the plaintiff was, therefore, clearly unlawful. the agreement set up by him, even if proved, was clearly in contravention of section 43 of the bombay tenancy and agricultural lands act, 1948, which inter alia lays down :no land purchased by a tenant under section 32 .shall be transferred by sale, gift, exchange, mortgage, lease or assignment or partitioned without the previous sanction of the collector. equitable remedies cannot be granted to wrong-doers, particularly against the lawful owners like the defendant in the present case ignoring the provisions of the bombay tenancy and agricultural lands act. 9. further the assumption of the learned assistant judge as well as of the..........of which the mamlatdar, taluka baglan, directed the plaintiff to hand over the possession of the suit land to the defendant, was ultra vires and for an injunction restraining the defendant from obtaining possession of the suit land on the strength of the said order. the suit land is survey no. 186 situate in village vanoli. the land originally belonged to one govind keshav, who is not a party to the suit. the defendant was cultivating the land as a tenant protected under the bombay tenancy and agricultural lands act, 1948. there was another land in the same village bearing survey no. 152 which originally belonged to the defendant. the defendant had sold the same to the plaintiff. the plaintiff alleged that he and the defendant entered into an agreement by which he agreed to reconvey.....
Judgment:

1. This is a defendant's second appeal against the judgment and decree dated April 2, 1968, passed by the Extra Assistant Judge, Nasik, setting aside the decree passed by the Civil Judge, Junior Division, Satana, dismissing with costs and suit filed by the plaintiff, by his judgment dated December 18, 1965.

2. The plaintiff had filed the suit in the Court of the Civil judge, Junior Division, Satana, on June 19, 1964, praying for a declaration that the order of the Deputy Collector dated April 24, 1964, in pursuance of which the Mamlatdar, taluka Baglan, directed the plaintiff to hand over the possession of the suit land to the defendant, was ultra vires and for an injunction restraining the defendant from obtaining possession of the suit land on the strength of the said order. The suit land is Survey No. 186 situate in village Vanoli. The land originally belonged to one Govind Keshav, who is not a party to the suit. The defendant was cultivating the land as a tenant protected under the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. There was another land in the same village bearing Survey No. 152 which originally belonged to the defendant. The defendant had sold the same to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that he and the defendant entered into an agreement by which he agreed to reconvey Survey No. 152 to the defendant and the defendant agreed to give him half of Survey No. 186 as tenant of Govind Keshav. In pursuance of this agreement, the plaintiff got possession of the northern half portion of Survey No. 186 on July 12, 1958. A possession receipt or Taba Pavti or Kabje Pavti was executed on the same. Since then the plaintiff claimed to be in possession of the northern half of the land. he averred that he gave possession of S. No. 152 to the defendant; but in spite of this, the defendant filed a criminal case against the plaintiff being Criminal Case No. 1586 of 1959 in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Satana, under Section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, alleging falsely that the plaintiff had no interest in the suit land and yet he forcibly entered into the land and removed the Kulith crop of the defendant and caused damage to the kulith crop. The plaintiff was acquitted in that case by the judgment dated November 19, 1959, passed by the Judicial Magistrate, because of the aforesaid Kabje Pavti. The defendant further filed two applications bearing Nos. 197/58 and 4/59 under Section 29 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, in the Court of the Tenancy Avval Karkun, Baglan. By an order dated August, 12, 1959, the Tenancy Avval Karkun dismissed the applications on the ground that the defendant should move under Section 84. The appeals filed by the defendant against it were also dismissed. Thereafter, the defendant filed an application under Section 84, of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, which was dismissed by the Deputy Collector on October 14, 1959, on the ground that the defendant should apply under Section 29. The plaintiff has further averred that in proceedings under Section 32-G the defendant was declared to have purchased the land bearing S. No. 186. The plaintiff preferred an appeal against the decision of the Agricultural Lands Tribunal, challenging merely the fixing of the price of the land, but the plaintiff's appeal was dismissed. By his said order dated April 25, 1964, the Deputy Collector further directed the Mamlatdar to restore possession of half the land, which is the suit land, to the defendant. Thereafter on the strength of the decision of the Prant Officer, the Mamlatdar passed an order on June 9, 1964, directing the Village Officer, Vanoli, to deliver possession of the land of the northern portion of S. No. 186 to the defendant. The plaintiff contended that the Mamlatdar had no jurisdiction to pass the said order.

3. In his written statement at Ex. 14 and the additional written statement at Ex. 19 the defendant resisted the suit contending inter alia that he was the tenant of the land and that he had not agreed to give possession of the northern half portion of the land to the plaintiff. He also denied that in pursuance of the alleged agreement the plaintiff reconveyed to the defendant S. No. 152. he contended that the agreement alleged by the plaintiff was against the provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act. The plaintiff could not claim any right, title or interest to Survey No. 186 under the alleged agreement. He submitted that Taba Pavti was executed by him on account of undue influence and fraud committed by the plaintiff. It was also contended that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to try the suit.

4. The suit was dismissed at first by the Civil Judge, Junior Division, Satana, on December 18, 1965, as the learned Civil Judge in substance held that the order passed by the Mamlatdar was not ultra vires; that the plaintiff's contention that the defendant did not get any right, title or interest by the impugned order or that the impugned order was nor correct, was contrary to law and hence the plaintiff was not entitled for injunction; that the order was passed in pursuance of the order passed by the District Deputy Collector in T. N. C. M/s.449 dated April 25, 1964 and that the Deputy Collector had issued the order under Section 84 to summarily evict the plaintiff, who in unauthorised possession of the agricultural land. He also held that it was not necessary for the Deputy Collector to hold an inquiry before passing such an order.

5. Against the said decision, the plaintiff carried an appeal to the District Court at Nasik. The appeal was heard by the Assistant Judge, Nasik, who allowed an amendment application of the plaintiff for amending the plaint which originally had challenged the order of the Deputy Collector dated April 25, 1964, instead of the order of the Mamlatdar dated June 9, 1964. The learned Assistant Judge ignored the powers or 'duty and function' of the Mamlatdar to award possession under the provisions of Section 70 (n) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act and curiously allowed the amendment, although in my judgment it was entirely unnecessary as the order of the Mamlatdar was in pursuance of the order made on reference by the Deputy Collector. After this amendment was allowed, the learned Assistant Judge though that it was not proper for him to decide the case on the evidence already on record and as the question of validity of the order of the Mamlatdar was not before the Civil Judge, the matter should be remanded and accordingly remanded the case to be tried de nova.

6. The learned Civil Judge, who heard the suit after remand, by his judgment dated March 30, 1967, dismissed the plaintiff's suit, as he came to the conclusion that although the order of the Mamlatdar could not be passed under Section 32-G of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, the plaintiff could not recover possession, observing as follows :

'In this case, the plaintiff was not in possession on 1-4-1957. He was therefore not entitled to purchaser any portion of S. No. 186. He had also not obtained possession of half the portion through the Mamlatdar. There is no evidence to show that the defendant surrendered the half portion to the landlord, and the landlord gave that portion to the plaintiff as a tenant, and that, the possession was given through the Mamlatdar, plaintiff's possession is therefore, not lawful, and the Mamlatdar had jurisdiction to give possession of the half portion to the plaintiff, under Section 29 (1) of the Tenancy Act.'

He, however, held that the Civil Court had jurisdiction to try the suit as it was alleged that the order was ultra vires.

7. Feeling aggrieved by the said judgment, the plaintiff once again carried an appeal to the District Fort at Nasik. The appeal came up for the hearing before the very learned Extra Assistant Judge, who had earlier remanded the appeal. Once again ignoring all the relevant provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, he set aside the decree passed by the Civil Judge, holding as follows :

'The only question was whether the Mamlatdar had authority to pass the order without a legal and proper application being filed before him for possession of the suit land. The learned Advocate for the defendant-respondent had urged that the alleged agreement between the plaintiff, the defendant and Govind Keshav was not proved. According to me, that was not necessary to be proved in this suit, because the question order passed by the Mamlatdar on 9-6-1964 was intra vires or ultra vires and when there was no legal and proper application before the Mamlatdar, his order ordering the Village Officer to deliver possession of the suit land to the defendant was ultra vires.'

In view of this conclusion, the learned Assistant Judge permanently restrained the defendant from taking possession of the suit land from the plaintiff.

8. As stated above, the remand order passed earlier and the present judgment and decree passed on April 2, 1968 were by the same learned Extra Assistant Judge. In both the orders the learned Extra Assistant Judge ignored the relevant provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. The evidence in the case clearly shows that the defendant became the statutory owner of the land by a decision of the Agricultural Lands Tribunal, confirmed in appeal by the Deputy Collector in proceedings under Section 32-G of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act. The effect of this order was that the defendant was in possession of the land on the Tillers Day i.e., April 1, 1957 and he became the owner of the land from April 1, 1957. The possession of the suit land by the plaintiff was, therefore, clearly unlawful. The agreement set up by him, even if proved, was clearly in contravention of Section 43 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, which inter alia lays down :

'No land purchased by a tenant under Section 32 ................. shall be transferred by sale, gift, exchange, mortgage, lease or assignment or partitioned without the previous sanction of the Collector.'

The section further lays down :

'Any transfer or partition of land in contravention of sub-section (1) shall be invalid.'

The assumption made by the learned Assistant Judge that the question as to whether the plaintiff was or was not in lawful possession of the land was not material or relevant in the case is manifestly contrary to law because a trespasser cannot approach the Court against the lawful owner for grant of an injunction which is an equitable remedy, taking advantage of his unlawful trespass or illegal possession. Equitable remedies cannot be granted to wrong-doers, particularly against the lawful owners like the defendant in the present case ignoring the provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act.

9. Further the assumption of the learned Assistant Judge as well as of the Civil Judge that the only provision to enable the Mamlatdar to deliver possession of the land was contained under Section 29 and not under any other provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, shows that the relevant provisions that the relevant provisions of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act were not brought to their notice. Thus under Section 84 the Deputy Collector could summarily evict any person unauthorisedly occupying or wrongfully in possession of any land and the transfer of which either by the act of parties or by the operation of law was invalid under the provisions of this Act. Even on the statement of the plaintiff himself, the occupation of the land under the alleged Taba Pavti was in contravention of the provisions under Section 43 and hence the Deputy Collector ordered summary eviction. In pursuance of the order of the Deputy Collector, the Mamlatdar was bound to put the tenant-defendant in possession, as a mandatory duty is cast on him under Section 70 (n) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, to take measures for putting the tenant into the possession of the land or dwelling house under the Act. That finding of the Assistant Judge that the Mamlatdar acted without jurisdiction is, therefore, contrary to the provisions of Section 70 (n) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948.

11. In the result, the decree dated April 2, 1968, passed by the Extra Assistant Judge, Nasik, is set aside and the decree passed by the Civil Judge, Junior Division, Satana, on March 30, 1967, dismissing the plaintiff's suit, is restored for the reasons stated above. Second Appeal is allowed. The respondent to pay costs of the appellant throughout.

12. Appeal allowed.


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