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Bhikha Fakira Vs. Raichand Manji - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 386 of 1912
Judge
Reported in(1913)15BOMLR68
AppellantBhikha Fakira
RespondentRaichand Manji
Excerpt:
.....relief act (xvii of 1879), section 2 - agriculturist-a person engaging himself personally in agricultural labour-bharvad-pastoral income.;a person who ordinarily engages himself personally in agricultural labour is an agriculturist as defined in section 2 of the dekkhan agriculturists' relief act, 1879, irrespective of the proportion which his strictly agricultural income may bear to any other income accruing to him.;a bharvad (shepherd) who earns his livelihood, partly by personal agricultural labour is an agriculturist, even though his income from non-agricultural (i. e., pastoral) sources may be greater. - section 3: [s.b. mhase, d.s. bhosale & a.s. oka, jj] offences of atrocities - complaint under held, merely because the caste of the accused is not mentioned in the fir..........of bharwads.3. if the matter rested there we should consequently feel ourselves bound to ask the district judge to reconsider the matter and to favour us with a fresh finding. there is, however, another point upon which it seems to us possible and right for us to pronounce definitely. as the second part of the appellants' case they relied upon the latter portion of the definition of ' agriculturist' within the act, where the word is defined as meaning ' anyone who ordinarily engages personally in agricultural labour within certain specified limits.' it is plain from the definition that any person who satisfies the condition imposed by these words is an agriculturist irrespective of the proportion which his strictly agricultural income may bear to any other income accruing to him......
Judgment:

Batchelor, J.

1. This suit was brought by the present appellants for the taking of accounts under the provisions of the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act. One of the questions raised was whether the present appellants were agriculturists within the definition in the Act and that is the only question which is now before us. Both the lower Courts have decided it against the appellants. It appears to us, however, that their decision upon this point cannot be accepted and that the reasoning upon which it proceeds is mistaken. It is admitted that the appellants, who are Bharwads, derive their livelihood partly from the cultivation of the land and partly from the rearing of goats and sheep and the sale of these animals and of milk and ghee.

2. In the District Court the learned Judge was satisfied that the annual amount of strictly agricultural income might be estimated at Rs. 100. It was not clear what amount was derived from the pastoral sources, but the learned Judge says that it must exceed Rs. 100, inasmuch as the appellants had thirteen persons to maintain and could not maintain them upon a sum less than Rs. 300 a year. This reasoning, however, assumes that the Bharwads are living within their income, a fact of which we have no knowledge, and we doubt if it was competent to the learned Judge to conjecture what expenses would be caused on account of the maintenance of a family of Bharwads.

3. If the matter rested there we should consequently feel ourselves bound to ask the District Judge to reconsider the matter and to favour us with a fresh finding. There is, however, another point upon which it seems to us possible and right for us to pronounce definitely. As the second part of the appellants' case they relied upon the latter portion of the definition of ' agriculturist' within the Act, where the word is defined as meaning ' anyone who ordinarily engages personally in agricultural labour within certain specified limits.' It is plain from the definition that any person who satisfies the condition imposed by these words is an agriculturist irrespective of the proportion which his strictly agricultural income may bear to any other income accruing to him. Whatever that proportion may be, if he ordinarily engages personally in agricultural labour within the defined limits, he is an agriculturist. This point, however, seems to have escaped the notice of the District Judge, for he says that the appellants are disentitled to rely upon this portion of the definition, inasmuch as they do not live solely by agricultural labour. This, however, as we have said, is to import into the definition a condition which the Legislature has not imposed. Both the Courts find that the appellants possess lauds of their own, and that they personally engage themselves ordinarily in the cultivation of those lands. In the words of the District Judge ' they live by cultivating lands and rearing stock.' Upon those findings we are bound to hold that under the statutory definition the appellants are agriculturists. We must, therefore, reverse the decree under appeal, and substitute for it a decree declaring that the appellants are agriculturists within the meaning of the Act. The appellants must have their costs throughout. The cross-objections are dismissed with costs. The suit will be remanded for trial on its merits.


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