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Patel Hirji Vithal Vs. Rana Dungarsinhji Ladhubha - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 8 of 1956
Judge
Reported in(1958)60BOMLR1200
AppellantPatel Hirji Vithal
RespondentRana Dungarsinhji Ladhubha
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....of tenant to comply with order and application by girasdars to mamlatdar for ejectment of tenant--tenant paying rent pending final disposal of application--order made subsequently by mamlatdar directing tenant to hand over possession to girasdars--whether such order sustainable--mamlatdar's discretion to give relief to tenant against termination of tenancy.; on an application made by certain girasdars under section 13 of the saurashtra land reforms act, 1951, for ejectment of their tenant for default in payment of rent, the mamlatdar on may 2, 1953, passed an order calling upon the tenant to pay the arrears of rent within fifteen days of the order, failing which the tenancy was to be terminated. the tenant failed to pay the amount within the specified time and the girasdars on.....vyas, j.1. this is a letters patent appeal from a decision of mr. justice chhatpar by which decision mr. justice chhatpar set aside the order of the revenue tribunal. the revenue tribunal had confirmed the order passed by the deputy collector, pursuant to which order, the order passed by the mam-latdar was set aside and the tenant was directed to be put in possession.2. a few facts leading upto this appeal may be briefly stated. patel hirji, the present appellant, was a tenant of the girasdars. the girasdars are the respondents before this court. patel hirji was a tenant of certain lands admeasuring 56 acres and 32 gunthas. he committed a default in the payment of rent for samvat year 2009 corresponding to the year 1953. thereupon the girasdars filed an application under section 13 of the.....
Judgment:

Vyas, J.

1. This is a Letters Patent Appeal from a decision of Mr. Justice Chhatpar by which decision Mr. Justice Chhatpar set aside the order of the Revenue Tribunal. The Revenue Tribunal had confirmed the order passed by the Deputy Collector, pursuant to which order, the order passed by the Mam-latdar was set aside and the tenant was directed to be put in possession.

2. A few facts leading upto this appeal may be briefly stated. Patel Hirji, the present appellant, was a tenant of the girasdars. The girasdars are the respondents before this Court. Patel Hirji was a tenant of certain lands admeasuring 56 acres and 32 gunthas. He committed a default in the payment of rent for Samvat year 2009 corresponding to the year 1953. Thereupon the girasdars filed an application under Section 13 of the Saurashtra Land Reforms Act for the ejectment of the tenant. A notice wag issued to the tenant on April 11, 1953, to show cause why he should not be ejected from the lands. After hearing the parties on April 24, 1953, the Mamlatdar passed an order on May 2, 1953, calling upon the tenant to pay the arrears of rent together with the costs of the proceedings within fifteen days. The Mamlatdar made it clear in his order that in case the tenant failed to pay the arrears of rent within fifteen days from May 2, 1953, the tenancy would be terminated. It so happened that Patel Hirji, the tenant, failed to pay the amount within fifteen days from the day on which the Mamlatdar passed his order, which was May 2, 1953. Mr. Justice Chhatpar has observed in the course of his judgment that upon those circumstances, the Mamlatdar was bound in law to pass an order of ejectment. The order of ejectment was actually passed by the Mamlatdar on February 20, 1954. But it may be noted at this stage that on October 5, 1953, the girasdars made an application to the Mamlatdar bringing it to the notice of the Mamlatdar that the tenant had not paid up the amount which he was called upon to pay within fifteen days, and, therefore, his tenancy ought to be terminated. That application of the girasdars was heard, and before final order could be passed upon that application, the tenant paid the amount of Rs. 110-14-9 (which was an amount larger than the amount of rent) on February 2, 1954. Thereafter, on February 20, 1954, as I have just said, the Mamlatdar passed an order directing the tenant to hand over possession of the land to the girasdars. As Mr. Justice Chhatpar has pointed out in his judgment Section 13A of the Land Reforms Act was introduced into the Statute Book on October 23, 1953, and under this section (Section 13A), a right was given to the tenant to get a relief against the termination of his tenancy by payment of an amount equal to six times the assessment together with arrears of rent and interest. Mr. Justice Chhatpar has taken the view that this amount of six times the assessment together with arrears of rent and interest has to be paid within four months from the date of the order passed by the Mamlatdar. In this particular case, the tenant filed the appeal from the Mamlatdar's order directing ejectment on June 4, 1954. This appeal was not pending at the date upon which Section 13A was introduced into the Statute Book. As I have stated above, Section 13A came into force on October 23, 1953. Therefore, on the date upon which that section came into force, there was no appeal or revision application filed by the tenant which was pending. Therefore, Mr. Justice Chhatpar took the view that the payment which the tenant made on February 2, 1954, would not save the termination of the tenancy. Upon this ground, Mr. Justice Chhatpar restored the order of the Mamlatdar viz., the order of ejectment and set aside the order of the Deputy Collector which was confirmed in revision by the Revenue Tribunal. I should have stated above that from the order passed by the Mamlatdar on February 20, 1954, the tenant had gone in appeal before the Deputy Collector, and by the order made by the Deputy Collector, the order passed by the Mamlatdar directing ejectment was reversed and possession was ordered to be given to the tenant. This order of the Deputy Collector was confirmed in revision by the Revenue Tribunal, and it is that order of the Revenue Tribunal which was set aside by Mr. Justice Chhatpar under Article 226 and Article 227 of the Constitution. It is from the aforesaid order of Mr. Justice Chhatpar that the tenant has filed the present Letters Patent Appeal.

2. Upon a perusal of the order of the Mamlatdar dated February 20, 1954, and upon a perusal of the orders passed by the Deputy Collector and by the Revenue Tribunal, and upon a perusal of the order passed by Mr. Justice Chhatpar, and upon a careful consideration of the arguments advanced before us on behalf of the girasdars, we have come to the conclusion that in this case there is no need really to go to the provisions of Section 13A of the Act at all. As I have mentioned above, the order was made by the Mamlatdar on May 2, 1953, calling upon the tenant to pay up the arrears of rent within fifteen days. There is no doubt that the tenant did not make the payment within the requisite time of fifteen days. Thereupon, after some time, the girasdars made an application to the Mamlatdar, and there is no doubt, upon the consideration of its contents, that it was an application under Section 13 of the Act, made on October 5, 1953, requesting the Mamlatdar that the tenant should be ejected from the land. Before final orders were passed by the Mamlatdar upon that application, the tenant paid up the sum of Rs. 110-14-9, which was an amount larger than the amount decreed against him by way of rent, and this payment was made on February 2, 1954. Now in our view, when the tenant made that payment of Rs. 110-14-9 on February 2, 1954, when the girasdars' application dated October 5, 1953, was pending before the Mamlatdar, the Mamlatdar ought to have used his discretion and ought to have given relief against the termination of the tenancy. In our view, Section 13 of the Saurashtra Land Reforms Act does not contain a greater compulsion upon the Mamlatdar than what is provided for by Section 29 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. This is what Section 29(3) provides:

On receipt of application under Sub-section (i) or (2) the Mamlatdar shall, after holding an enquiry, pass such order thereon as he deems fit.

Under Section 29 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, therefore, there is no compulsion upon the Mamlatdar that in case the tenant fails to pay the amount within the time prescribed by the Mamlatdar, the Mamlatdar is bound to evict the tenant, although the tenant might have subsequently made payment of the requisite amount. A discretion was conferred by the Legislature, when the Legislature enacted the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, upon the Mamlatdar to give relief against termination of the tenancy in case the tenant paid up the amount, though later than the period provided for by the Mamlatdar's order, but in any ease before the Mamlatdar passed the final order in the matter of ejectment. Now in this case, there is no doubt that before the Mamlatdar passed his final order on February 20, 1954, the tenant had paid up the amount of Rs. 110-14-9 on February 2, 1954. That payment should have been accepted by the Mamlatdar, and upon the acceptance thereof, relief against the termination of the tenancy ought to have been given to the tenant. As I have stated above, upon a fair and just construction of the intention of the Legislature, we are of the opinion that the intention of the Legislature in enacting Section 13 of the Saurashtra Land Reforms Act was not to impose a greater compulsion upon the Mamlatdar than what was provided for by the Bombay Legislature when the Bombay Legislature enacted Section 29 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. That being so, in this case, we are of the view that the Mamlatdar ought to have exercised his discretion and ought to have given relief to the tenant against the termination of the tenancy. The Mamlatdar failed to exercise that discretion and failed to give relief to the tenant against the termination of the tenancy. When the matter went in appeal before the Deputy Collector, he exercised the discretion which the Mamlatdar had failed to exercise ; and when the matter went in revision before the Revenue Tribunal, it was held by the Tribunal that the Deputy Collector had rightly exercised that discretion, and the order of the Deputy Collector in appeal was confirmed by the Tribunal. This, therefore, is a case which, in our view, does not really attract the provisions of Section 13A of the Saurashtra Land Reforms Act at all. The case properly falls under Section 13 of the Act, and the order of the Deputy Collector was perfectly good. Upon this view of the matter, Mr. Justice Chhatpar, with respect, exercising jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution, ought not to have interfered with the order of the Revenue Tribunal, which confirmed the order of the Deputy Collector, and ought not to have set it aside.

3. Accordingly, the judgment and decree passed by Mr. Justice Chhatpar are reversed and the present Letters Patent Appeal is allowed. Possession to be given over to the tenant by the Mamlatdar. So far as the costs of this appeal are concerned, the girasdars must pay the tenant's costs and bear their own.


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