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Sri Muniyellappa Vs. B.M. Krishnamurthy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1977Kant137; ILR1977KAR700; 1977(1)KarLJ389
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961; Karnataka land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1962 - Sections 2(34), 4, 45 and 141; Mysore (personal and miscellaneous) Inams Abolition Act, 1954 - Sections 4, 5, 6 and 9
AppellantSri Muniyellappa
RespondentB.M. Krishnamurthy and ors.
Appellant AdvocateU.L. Narayana Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.P. Holla and ;M.P. Chandrakantharaj Urs, Advs.
Excerpt:
- labour & servicesappointment on compassionate grounds: [p.d.dinakaran, c.j. & v.g.sabhahit,j] karnataka civil services (appointment on compassionate grounds) rules, 1966, rule 6(4) - compassionate appointment - claim for higher post authorities overlooked qualification of applicant already possessed at time of his appointment and also ignored representation of applicant held, merely because authorities have passed an appointment order to a lower post, it will not take away the right of petitioner to claim the higher post. rule 6(4) is not attracted. - 43 of 1956-57. the appellant unsuccessfully challenged the said order of the special deputy commissioner by appeal and revision and even by a writ petition before this court. 18. in order to pronounce our judgment on this question, we.....g.k. govinda bhat, c.j.1. this appeal arising out of the proproceedings initiated before the land tribunal, bangalore south taluk (respondent no. 4) on the application of the appellant under s. 4-a(1) of the karnataka land reforms act, 1961, (hereinafter called 'the act') is directed against the order dated oct. 21, 1976 made in w. p. no. 3288 of 1976 by bhimiah, j., allowing the said writ petition and quashing the order of the land tribunal dated feb. 20, 1976 granting the application of the appellant for registration of occupancy in respect of three agricultural lands in survey nos. 19/2, 65 and 94, measuring in all, 11 acres and 29 guntas, situate in vijanapur village, krishnarajapura hobli, bangalore south taluk overruling the contention of respondents i and 2 that the said lands are.....
Judgment:

G.K. Govinda Bhat, C.J.

1. This appeal arising out of the proproceedings initiated before the Land Tribunal, Bangalore South Taluk (respondent No. 4) on the application of the appellant under S. 4-A(1) of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961, (hereinafter called 'the Act') is directed against the order dated Oct. 21, 1976 made in W. P. No. 3288 of 1976 by Bhimiah, J., allowing the said Writ Petition and quashing the order of the Land Tribunal dated Feb. 20, 1976 granting the application of the appellant for registration of occupancy in respect of three agricultural lands in Survey Nos. 19/2, 65 and 94, measuring in all, 11 Acres and 29 Guntas, situate in Vijanapur village, Krishnarajapura Hobli, Bangalore South Taluk overruling the contention of respondents I and 2 that the said lands are under their personal cultivation.

2. Stated briefly, the facts relevant for the purpose of this appeal are: Three lands which are the subject-matter of the proceedings before the Land Tribunal are situate in Vijanapur village, which was an In am Village of which the late B. M. Muniswarnappa - father of respondents 1 and 2 was the Inamdar. Personal and Miscellaneous Inams in the erstwhile State of Mysore were abolished under the Mysore (Personal and Miscellaneous) Inams Abolition Act, 1954, hereinafter called 'the Inams Abolition Act'. The Inams Abolition Act provided for vesting of Inams in the State and grant of occupancy rights to the former Inamdars and certain classes of tenants described as (a) Kadim tenant, (b) Permanent tenant and (c) 5Quasi-permanent tenant, and also for recognition of the rights of 'other tenants'.

3. The Notification vesting the In am Village of Vijanapura is said to have been Issued in the year 1956. Late Muniswamappa, as also the appellant, made separate applications for registration of occupancy rights in respect of the aforesaid lands before the Special Deputy Commissioner for Inams Abolition. The application of late Muniswamappa was made under S. 9 of the Inams Abolition Act for grant of occupancy; the application of the appellant was one either under S. 4, 5 or 6 of that Act. The application of late Muniswamappa was allowed by granting him occupancy right by order-dated 19-4-1958 in Case No. 1 of 1957-58 on the file of the Special Deputy Commissioner for Inams Abolition. The application of the appellant was rejected in Case No. 43 of 1956-57. The appellant unsuccessfully challenged the said order of the Special Deputy Commissioner by appeal and revision and even by a Writ Petition before this Court. It is sufficient to state that all the proceedings under the Inams Abolition Act in respect of the lands in question have concluded and become final and that no proceedings under the said Act are -pending. The result, therefore, is that the father of respondents 1 and 2 was registered as occupant of the said lands under S. 9 of the Inams Abolition Act, negativing the claim of the appellant that he was entitled to be registered as a tenant under the said Act.

4. The Act (Karnataka Land Reforms Act) which enacts a uniform law relating to land reforms in the State of Karnataka was enacted by the State Legislature and was brought into force on 2-10-1965; the provisions of Chap. III for conferment of ownership on tenants, however, were not brought into force until the Act was amended by Act 1 of 1974. The said Amendment Act made revolutionary changes in the Act.

5. On 26-8-1974, the appellant made an application before the 4th respondent Land Tribunal in Form No. 7, under Section 48-A (1) of the Act for registering him as an occupant of 3 Acres and 9 Guntas of land in Survey No. 65 of Vijanapura village under S. 45 of the Act. The said application stated that the appellant ,his father and grandfather have been cultivating the said land as tenants since about 60 years and that the appellant has been cultivating the land as tenant for 30 years. The application further proceeded to state that the family, of which the appellant is a member, is the owner of the lands comprised in Survey Nos. 19/2 and 94 of Vijanapura Village. On 26-12-1974, he filed another application for registering him as the occupant of all the three lands, viz., Survey Nos. 19/2, 65 and 94 under S. 45 of the Act. It stated that the appellant has been cultivating the. Said lands as a tenant for over 40 years. On receipt of the said applications, the 4th respondent Tribunal issued notices to respondents I and 2. In the said proceedings the Land Tribunal made an order on 20-2-1976 holding that the appellant is a 'deemed tenant' of the aforesaid three lands and is entitled to be registered as the occupant under S. 45. The said order was challenged by respondents I and 2 in W. P. 3288 of 1976 on the ground that the writ petitioners were denied fair hearing by the 4th respondent Tribunal. Earlier, they had filed W P. 2167 of 1976 for a writ in the nature of prohibition against the 4th respondent Tribunal to forbear from proceeding with the enquiry. After the disposal of the appellant's application for registration of occupancy by the order made on 20-2-1976, the Tribunal, when it had become functus officio, made an order of injunction on 9-3-1976 restraining respondents 1 and 2 from interfering with the appellant's alleged Possession of the disputed lands. The said order was challenged in W. P. 5844 of 1976.

6. The said Writ Petitions were clubbed together, heard and disposed of by Bhimiah, J., by a common order made on 15-10-1976, by which W. P. 2167 of 1976 was also allowed. The said order was however modified by an order dated 21-10-1976 holding that W. P 2167 of 1976 does not survive as a result of quashing of the impugned order in W. P. 3288 of 1976. The learned Judge has, in detail, referred to the manner of conduct of the proproceedings from the very inception before the 4th respondent Tribunal and shown how respondents 1 and 2 who had contested the claim of the appellant were denied fair hearing and therefore the entire proceedings were conducted in gross violation of the Rules of Natural Justice. After holding that the Land Tribunal denied fair hearing to respondents 1 and 2 and there was a clear breach of the Rules Natural Justice in the conduct of the Proceedings, the learned Judge proceed examine the merits of the claim of the appellant for grant of registration of occupancy right under S. 45 and came to the conclusion that the appellant cannot be held to be a tenant or a 'deemed tenant' in view of the fact that his claim for registration of occupancy under the Inams Abolition Act had been rejected under the said Act. This is what the learned Judge has stated:

'It is clear, therefore, that the claims of the 3rd respondent falling under Ss. 4 to 9-A, were examined and the petitioners' father (late Muniswamappa) w as registered as an occupant of the lands. There fore, there was nothing left for the 3rd respondent to agitate before the 2nd respondent-Tribunal. It is a relevant circumstance which has got a bearing on the rights of the parties. This is one aspect of the matter.' (Underlining is ours.)

7. Aggrieved by the order of the learned single judge, the appellant has preferred this appeal.

8. Sri U. L. Narayana Rau, learned counsel for the appellant, rightly, has not challenged the conclusion of the learned single Judge that respondents I and 2 were denied fair hearing by the Tribunal and consequently the entire proceedings were vitiated on account of the breach of the Rules of Natural Justice. The appellant's only grievance is that the learned single Judge ought not to have given a decision on the merits of the claim of the appellant and that matter should have been remanded to the Tribunal.

9. The argument of Sri Narayana Rao is that under the Act, the Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to decide the claim of the party claiming that he is entitled to be registered as an occupant under S. 45 and it is not for this Court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution, to sit as a Court of Appeal or Revision. This submission of Sri Narayana Rao was supported by Sri Chandrakantraju, Senior High Court Government Advocate, appearing for the third respondent State of Karnataka. Sri B. P. Holla, learned counsel for respondents 1 and 2 -contended that on the basis of the very applications filed by the appellant before the Tribunal, he cannot be held to be a tenant or a 'deemed tenant'.

10. It is a fundamental requirement of our system of law that all Tribunals or Authorities vested with the power to adjudicate upon the rights of parties affecting their rights to life or property, shall comply with the Rules of Natural Justice. This basic requirement is not an empty formality. Violation of the Rules of Natural Justice renders the decision void even where the law provides for an, appeal. In Ridge v. Baldwin, (1964) AC 40 the House of Lords held that a decision given without regard to the principles of Natural Justice is void. In General Medical Council v. Spackman, (1943) AC 627 Lord Wright said.

'If the principles of natural justice are violated in respect of any decision, it is indeed, immaterial whether the same decision would have been arrived at in the absence of the departure from the essential principles of justice. The decision must be declared to be no decision.'

11. Bhimiah, J., has taken great pains to demonstrate as to how the entire proceedings before the 4th respondent Tribunal violated the principles of Natural Justice. He has stated how respondents 1 and 2, who were contesting the claim of the appellant, were denied the opportunity of presenting their case-, one of them was detained by the Police on the report of the Chairman of the Tribunal; the Tribunal refused to receive the documents produced in support of their contention.

12. Neither the counsel for the appellant nor Sri Chandrakant Raj Urs, learned Senior High Court Government Advocate appearing for the State, did challenge before us the correctness of the conclusion reached by Bhimiah, J., that the proceedings before the Tribunal violated the rules of Natural Justice.

13. Persons -affected by the provisions of the Act expect their rights being adjudicated upon by the Tribunals in a fair and just manner conforming to standards expected of all impartial Tribunals inspiring public confidence; openness, fairness and impartiality are the three essentials which are required of any Tribunal which is entrusted with the power of adjudicating -upon the rights of persons to life and property. Openness requires the publicity of the proceedings and knowledge of the essential reasoning underlying the decision; fairness requires adoption of a clear procedure, which enables the parties to know their rights, to present their case fully and to know the case, which they have to meet; impartiality requires the freedom of Tribunals from the Influence. Real or apparent, of extraneous agencies these requirements constitute the essence of the rules of Natural Justice. If the principles of Natural Justice are violated by the Tribunal, its decision must be declared to be no decision and therefore void.

14. The broad proposition as urged by Sri U. L. Narayana Rau, learned counsel for the appellant, that the learned single Judge, after quashing the order of the Tribunal, should have remitted the matter to the Tribunal for adjudication afresh on the question whether the appellant is or is not a tenant entitled to registration of occupancy under S. 45 of the Act and that no decision on merits of his claim should have been rendered in the proceedings under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution is correct. Sri Narayana Rao further urged that the view of the learned single Judge that there was nothing left for the appellant to agitate before the Land Tribunal after his claims under Ss. 4 to 9-A were examined by the Special Deputy Commissioner, and Muniswamappa was registered as the occupant of the lands, is erroneous.

15. Sri B. P. Holla, learned counsel for respondents 1 and 2, contended that his clients had not only challenged the decision of the Tribunal by seeking relief in the nature of certiorari but had also filed W. P. 2167 of 1976 for a writ in the nature of prohibition against the Tribunal to forbear from proceeding with the enquiry on the two applications of the appellant on the ground that the Tribunal is seeking to reopen, indirectly, the order granting occupancy to Muniswamappa. Under S. 9 of the Inams Abolition Act which is barred under S. 141 of the Act. Sri Holla submitted that it is not the case of the appellant before the Tribunal that his tenancy right originated subsequent to the grant of occupancy to Muniswamappa by the order of the Special Deputy Commissioner for Inams Abolition made on 19-4-1958, or, that he was recognised by the Special Deputy Commissioner for Inams Abolition, in the enquiry held under S 10 of the Inams Abolition Act, as a tenant coming within the scope of S. 9-A of the said Act. Sri Holla did not dispute before us that if the appellant's claim as a tenant falling under S. 9-A of the Inams Abolition Act had been allowed by the Special Deputy Commissioner, he would be entitled to registration as occupant under S. 45 of the Act. He also did not dispute that if the appellant's case is? That his tenancy originated after 19-4-1958, the date of the grant of occupancy under S. 9 to the father of respondents I and 2, the Tribunal under S. 48-A of the Act alone has the jurisdiction to decide that question.

16. The jurisdiction of the Tribunal is limited by the provisions of the Act; it has to function within the limits circumscribed by the Act. If it attempts to transgress the limits of its jurisdiction, this Court is entitled to intervene and order the Tribunal not to travel outside, the limits of its jurisdiction. Section 1411 of the Act prohibits the Tribunal from re opening or annulling the decision of the! Special Deputy Commissioner under the, Inams Abolition Act conferring right of occupancy. Under the pretext of granting occupancy right under S. 45 of the Act, the Tribunal indirectly cannot reopen the questions concluded in the proof proceedings under Chap. II of the Inams Abolition Act. Sri Narayana Rao conceded and, in our opinion, rightly, that age Tribunal has no jurisdiction to re-open or annul the decision of the Special Deputy Commissioner in proceedings for grant of occupancy right under the Inams Abolition Act. Sri Holla supported the decision of Bhimiah, J., on the ground that the appellant has no case except that he was a tenant before the lands vested in the State under the Inams Abolition Act and that notwithstanding the grant of occupancy to late Muniswamappa, he continued as a tenant, and as it is not his case that the lands were granted by either late Muniswarnappa or respondents 1 and -2 on lease after 19-4-1,958, there is no need to remit the matter to the Tribunal for adjudication.

17. The question is whether the matter, should be remitted to the Tribunal for a fresh adjudication of the claim of the appellant.

18. In order to Pronounce our judgment on this question, we considered it necessary that the appellant should state precisely what his case is and, by our order made on Feb. 3, 1977, directed him to state his case with reference to the following points:-

(1) In the enquiry held by the Special Deputy Commissioner for Inams Abolition under S. 10 of the Inams Abolition Act, whether the appellant had claimed that he was a tenant coming within the scope of S. 9-A of the said Act and/or whether his claim to tenancy, if any, under S. 9-A was recognised by the Special Deputy Commissioner? If so, the particulars of the Order of the Special Deputy Commissioner.

(2) If the claim of tenancy under Section 9-A was not made or allowed in the enquiry under S. 10 of the Inams Abolition Act, is it the appellant's case in the proceedings before the Land Tribunal that after the grant of occupancy right to Muniswamappa, father of respondents 1 and 2, by the order of the Special Deputy Commissioner dated 19-4-1958, the appellant was granted any lease by the said Muniswamappa or by his successors?

(3) If it is not the case of the appellant that there was any grant of lease by Muniswamappa or his successors in favour of the appellant subsequent to 19-4-1958, what is the basis of the claim of tenancy alleged by him for registration of occupancy under S. 45 of the Karnataka Land Reforms Act?

In obedience to our order, the appellant's counsel has filed a statement wherein it is stated as follows:-

'(1) The appellant had not claimed under the Inams Act that he was a tenant coming within the scope of S. 9-A of the Act.

(2) It is the specific case of the appellant that he and his predecessor in interest since about 40 years have been cultivating the lands under Muniswamappa on half crop share basis, notwithstanding the adjudication under the Inams Act in favour of Muniswamappa. It is further the case, of the appellant that in any event, with effect from 1963-64 in the Record of Rights and Pahanis extracts produced along with the Statement of Objections in W. P. 3288176 the appellant's name has been shown in the cultivator's column that continued for the years 1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73 and 1974-75. Even for the year 1975-76 the name of the appellant is shown in the cultivator's column. The appellant has been lawfully cultivating the land as on 1-3-1974 and that he is a 'deemed tenant' as contemplated under S. 4 of the Act entitled to be registered as 'occupant'. The said Muniswamappa, father of lst and 2nd respondents died in the year about 1965. Subsequent to the adjudication under the Inams Act in favour of Muniswamappa on 19-4-1958 the appellant continued to be in possession as a tenant under Muniswamappa as stated above on half crop share basis as evidenced from the Record of Rights and Pahaniss for the year 1963-64 onwards. Hence entitled for registration of occupancy right under S. 45 of the Act. The appellant, along with his family members is residing in a house situated in Sy. Nos. 59/1 and 59/2 adjacent to the petition properties all these years and has got Agricultural operators.

(3) Regarding query No. 3:- Its Claim of 'tenancy' was not made under the Inams Abolition Act as the appellant could not be described as a 'tenant' within the meaning of that Special Act, Nor is the claim based on any grant by the landlord subsequent to 19-4-1958. The specific case is, 'that the position of the appellant in relation to the lands, that existed for the last 40 years, falls within the special definition of 'tenant' as defined under the Land Reforms Act, 1961. That is the basis of the present claim. In view of the extended definition of 'tenant' in the Land Reforms Act, 1961, the appellant claims to be a tenant for the last 40 years. The Position of such a tenant who is a 'tenant' only within the meaning of Land Reforms Act but not otherwise, is analogous to Section 9-A tenant or that of a tenant inducted by Inamdar after 19-4-1958.'

Now, the case of the appellant has been made clear. He was not recognised as a 'tenant' within the scope of S. 9-A of the Inams Abolition Act; late Muniswamappa, father of respondents 1 and 2, was registered as an occupant by the order of the Special Deputy Commissioner made on 19-4-1958 and the application of the appellant for registration of occupancy under the Inams Abolition Act was rejected. His further case is that he and his predecessors-in-interest have been cultivating the lands under late Muniswamappa on half crop-share basis both before and after the date of vesting of the lands under the Inams Abolition Act, and that after Muniswamappa's death, he has been cultivating the lands on crop-share basis under respondents 1 and 2. The definite stand of the appellant now is that he is a person coming within the meaning of the term 'deemed tenant' under S. 4 of the Act.

19. It was conceded by Sri B. P. Holla, learned counsel for respondents 1 and 2 and in our opinion rightly, that agricultural lands in the former In am Villages are not excluded from the purview of the Act. The Inams Abolition Act is one of the Acts enacted by the State Legislature for abolition of In am tenures and conversion of the tenure of such lands into Ryotwari tenures. That purpose was sought to be achieved by vesting all lands in the In am Villages in the State Government on the issue of Notifications under subs. (4) of S. 1. The consequence of vesting of In am lands in the State is declared by S. 3. In Kempamma v. Kempanna, 1964 (2) Mys LJ 444 explaining the consequence of vesting of Inams, this Court stated that the relationship of landlord and tenant as between the Inamdar and the tenant (whether 'kadim tenant', 'permanent tenant' or 'quasi-perm anent tenant') became extinguished when the In am village vested in the Government and the only right given to such tenants is the right to make applications for grant of occupancy under S. 4, 5 or 6, and if in an enquiry held under the said Act it is found that any such person is entitled to be registered under S. 4, 5 or 6, the Inamdar is not entitled to be registered as an occupant under S. 9. Section 9 which provides for grant of occupancy to the Inamdar, reads:

'9. Lands and buildings to vest in the Inamdar.- (1) Every Inamdar shall, with effect on and from the date of vesting, be entitled to be registered as an occupant of all lands other than

(i) ** ** **(ii) lands in respect of which any person is entitled to be registered under S. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8;(iii) ** ** **

20. Only three classes of tenants, viz., Kadim tenants, Permanent tenants or Quasi-permanent tenants are entitled to be registered as occupants; pro vision is made by S. 9-A that every tenant of the Inamdar, other than the tenants entitled to be registered as occupants under Ss. 4, 5 and 6, shall, with effect on and from the date of vesting and subject to the provisions of Chap. III-A, be entitled to continue as a tenant of the land in respect of which he was a tenant immediately before the date of vesting. Chapter III-A contains provisions applicable to tenants continued under S. 9-A. Section 10, inter alia, provides that

'The Deputy Commissioner shall examine the nature and history of all lands

xx xx xxin respect of which any Person claims to be continued as tenant under S. 9-A**** and decide in respect of which lands the claims should be allowed.'

Sub-section (2) of S. 10 states that a tenant found to be in possession of any land on the first day of July, 1948, shall be presumed to be a quasi-permanent tenant as defined in Clause (14) of sub-s. (1) of S. 2. Section 10-A provides for entries Los De Made in the Record of Rights after determination- of the claims under S. 10.

21. The lands vest absolutely in the State and all rights of the Inamdar and the tenants under him are extinguished and the only right of the Inamdar and his tenants, whether Kadim tenant, permanent tenant or quasi-permanent tenant, is to make applications for grant of occupancy. The State there-after, when it grants occupancy, whether under S. 4, 5, 6 or 9, confers fresh title on the grantees of occupancy; all prior rights are extinguished except as provided in S. 9-A where under in the case of 'other tenants' they shall be entitled to continue as tenants of the lands of which they were tenants immediately before the date of vesting. The right of such 'other tenants' after the date of vesting is governed by Chapter III-A. It is conceded that the appellant was not recognised as a tenant coming within S. 9-A and his name has not been entered in the Record of Rights under S. 10-A, but late Muniswamappa obtained registration of occupancy under S. 9 in respect of the lands in question by the order of the Special Deputy Commissioner dated 19-4-1958.

22. The Act came into force on 2-10-1965; it applies to all agricultural lands in the State inclusive of lands In the former In am Villages. When the Act was enacted, all Inams in the State had not been abolished as is obvious from Sch. II to the Act. The Karnataka Village Offices Abolition Act, 1961 and the Bombay Pargana and Kulkar; Watans (Abolition) Act, 1950 were inserted in Sch. II by Act 6 of 1970. See. 126 of the Act declares that the provisions of the Act in so far as they confer any rights and impose obligations on tenants and landlords shall be -applicable to tenants holding lands in am and other alienated villages or lands and to landlords and Inamdar holding in such villages or lands. So far as the lands. In am Villages which were abolished are concerned, provision is made by S. 141 of the Act to declare as follows:

'Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of any of the Land Tenures Abolition Acts specified in Sch. II to the Act, in so far as such provisions relate to the conferment of the right of an occupant or grant of a ryotwari patta in favour of any inferior holder or tenant in respect of any land held by him.'

This provision has been incorporated in the Act to make it clear that the proceedings for conferment of occupancy under the Inams Abolition Act and other Acts specified in Sch.II do not abate, nor orders made there under are annulled.

23. The argument of Sri Holla is that if the -appellant were Permitted to urge before the Tribunal that he and his predecessors-in-interest were cultivating the lands as tenants of late Muniswamappa before the date of vesting of the In am village in the State Government under the Inams Abolition Act and the Tribunal were to uphold such a plea, it would amount to indirectly annulling the order made by the Special Deputy Commissioner under S. 9 of the Inams Abolition Act and re-opening the issue of tenancy which 'has been rejected. Sri Narayana Rau, learned counsel for the appellant, argued that the Inams Abolition Act was concerned with Kadim tenants, Permanent tenants. Quasi permanent tenants and 'other tenants' of the Inamdar, but not with 'deemed tenants' as defined in S. 4 of the Act and the Tribunal is not Precluded from considering the evidence of 'deemed tenancy' prior to the date of vesting under the Inams Abolition Act.

24. The purpose and scope of the two Acts are distinct. The Inams Abolition Act as stated earlier, was enacted for the purpose of abolition of In am tenures and conversion of such tenures into Ryotwari tenure and in that Process, grant occupancy rights to the Inamdars and the three classes of tenants. The purpose of the Land Reforms Act, however, is different. It is a legislation enacted to effectuate radical agrarian reforms by imposing ceiling of land-holdings and termination of landlord and tenant relationship in respect of tenanted lands and further conferment of occupancy rights on tenants personally cultivating the lands. Chapter III of the Act contains provisions for termination of -relationship of landlord and tenant; vesting of tenanted lands in the State and thereafter grants of occupancy right to the tenants. The material date with reference to which the rights under Chap. III have to be determined is 1st March 1974. Section 44 provides that all lands held by or in possession of tenants (including tenants against whom a decree or order for eviction or a certificate for resumption is made or issued) immediate prior to the date of commencement of the Amendment Act, other than lands held by them under leases permitted under S. 5, shall with effect from the said date, stand transferred to and vest in the State Government.

25. Section 45 provides for registration of tenants as occupants. Sub-section (1) of S 45, which is relevant for the purpose of this appeal, reads thus:

'Subject to the provisions of the succeeding sections of this Chapter, every person who was a Permanent tenant, protected tenant or other tenant or where a tenant has lawfully sublet, such subtenant shall, with effect on and from the date of vesting, be entitled to be registered as an occupant in respect of the lands of which he was a permanent tenant, protected tenant or other tenant or subtenant before the date of vesting and which he has been cultivating personally.'

Section 48-A provides for making applications by persons entitled to be registered as occupants under S. 45 to the Tribunal constituted under S. 48. Under the Scheme of the Act all lands, held by or in possession of tenants immediately prior to the first day of March 1974, vest in the State Government and the tenant or sub-tenant who has been personally cultivating the lands before the date of vesting is entitled to be registered as occupant of such land subject to certain conditions which are not material for the purpose of this appeal. Sections 44 and 45 have to be read together; the former section provides for vesting of tenanted lands in the State and the latter section provides for grant of occupancy to the tenants personally cultivating such lands.

26. It is relevant to observe that under the Inams Abolition Act all lands in am Villages vested in the State -Government. But under the Act, not all agricultural lands vest in the State; only lands held by or in possession of tenants immediately prior to 1st March 1974 vest in the State Government. The claim of the tenant or tenants for registration of occupancy under the Act has to be decided with reference to the date of vesting under S. 44, viz., 1st March 1974. Under the Inams Abolition Act, the rights of the Inamdars and tenants were decided with reference to the date of vesting under the said Act. The lands in question vested in the State Government under the Inams Abolition Act in about 1956. The material dates under the two Acts and the scope and purpose of the two Acts being different, the termination of the proceedings under the Inams Abolition Act in regard to grant of occupancy cannot bar an investigation of the claim under S. 45 of the Act by the Land Tribunal. What the Tribunal, under the Act, has to enquire into is whether the lands claimed by the applicant before it, have vested in the State Government under S. 44. For that purpose it has to decide whether the lands were held by or in the Possession of any tenant immediately prior to 1'st March 1974. The next question the Tribunal has to decide is: Who is the person that has been cultivating such lands personally immediately prior to lst March 1974? The two questions being closely related have to be dealt with and disposed of together. Besides the person claiming to be the tenant of the lands, the State is an interested party to the proceedings before the Tribunal. Under the Act, has, has to enquire into is whether the lands claimed by the applicant before it, have vested in the State Government under S. 44. For that purpose it has to decide whether the lands were held by or in the possession of any tenant immediately prior to 1st March 1974 The next question the Tribunal has to decide is: who is the person that has been cultivating such lands personally immediately prior to 1 march 1974? The two questions being closely related have to be dealt with and disposed of together. Beside the person claiming to be the ternate of the lands, the State is an interested party to proceedings before the tribunal. If the land is a tenanted land, even in the absence of any application by tenant, it stands transferred to and vested in the State Government. There may be instances where tenants have not filed applications for registration of occupancy and yet; such lands vest in the state government under S. 44.

27. Whether or not a person who cultivates land, belonging to another is a tenant, is not -always a simple question of fact; sometimes the question raises complex questions of law and fact. The word 'tenant' has been defined in S. 2(34) of the Act thus:

' 'tenant' means an agriculturist who cultivates personally the land he holds on lease from a- landlord and includes, -

(i) a person who is deemed to be a tenant under S. 4;

(ii) a person who eviction from any land Tenants (Temporary Eviction) Act, 1961;

(iii) a person who is and

(iv) a person who is a protected tenant (Explanation omitted as unnecessary).'

Section 4 reads:

'4. Persons to be deemed tenants.- A person lawfully cultivating any land belonging to another person shall be deemed to be a tenant if such land is not cultivated personally by the owner and if such person is not-

(a) a member of the owner's family, or

(b) a servant or a hired laborer on wages payable in cash or kind but not in crop share cultivating the land under the personal supervision of the owner or any member of the owner's family, or

(c) a mortgagee in possession:

Provided that if upon an application made by the owner within one year from the appointed day (i) the Tribunal declares that such person is not a tenant and its decision is not reversed on appeal, or.

1977 the Karnataka Protection from permanent tenant protected from Karnataka/10 IX G-27;

(ii) the Tribunal refuses to make such declaration but its decision is reversed on appeal, such person shall not be deemed to be a tenant.'

A person who unlawfully enters on the land of another and cultivates the same cannot claim the status of a 'deemed tenant' under S. 4. Ordinarily, the concept of tenancy requires proof of grant of a lease by a landlord to the person claiming to be tenant; in such a case the tenant is put in possession of the land leased in consideration of payment o rent. Section 4, by fiction of law, extends the meaning of 'tenant' to a person lawfully cultivating any land belonging to another person. Section 4 of the Act is in pari materia with S. 4 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. Section 4 of the Bombay Act came Up for interpretation before Courts. In Jasvantrai Tricumlal Vyas v. Bai Jiwi, : AIR1957Bom195 (FB) the object of S. 4 of the Bombay Act was explained thus by Chagla, C. J.:

'The one idea that runs through the Tenancy Act is that the actual tiller on the land should not be evicted provided the title of the actual tiller is derived from some lea gal incident and is not the result of an unlawful act xx xx xx.'

In Dabya Lala v. Rasul Mahommed Abdul Rahim. : [1963]3SCR1 where the question was whether a tenant inducted by a mortgagee in possession could be regarded as a 'deemed tenant' entitled to protection under the Bombay Tenancy Act after the mortgage had been redeemed by the mortgagor, it was held that though under the general law a tenant inducted by a mortgagee in possession cannot be regarded as a tenant after redemption, such a person comes within the term 'deemed tenant'. In the course of the judgment, Shah, J. (as he then was), stated:

'The Act of 1948, it is undisputed, seeks to encompass within its beneficent provisions not only tenants who held land for purpose of cultivation under contracts from the land owners but persons who are deemed to be tenants also. The point in controversy is whether a person claiming the status of a deemed tenant must have been cultivating land with the consent or under the authority of the owner. Counsel for the appellants submits that tenancy postulates a relation based on contract between the owner of land, and the person in occupation of the land, and there can be no tenancy without the consent or authority of the owner to the occupation of that land. But the Act has by S. 2(18) devised a special definition of tenant and included therein persons who are not contractual tenants. It would therefore be difficult to assume in construing S. 4 that the person who claims the status of a deemed tenant must be cultivating land with the consent or authority of the owner. The -relevant condition imposed by the statute is only that the person claiming the status of a deemed tenant must be cultivating land 'lawfully': it is not the condition that he must cultivate. Land with the consent of or under authority derived directly from the owner. To import such a condition it is to re-write the section, and destroys its practical utility. A person who derives his right to cultivate land from the owners would normally be a contractual tenant and he will obviously not be a 'deemed tenant'. Persons such as licensees from the owner may certainly be regarded as falling with in the class of persons lawfully cultivating land belonging to others, but it cannot be assumed there form that they are the only persons who are covered by the section. The Act affords protection to all persons who hold agricultural land as contractual tenants and subject to the exceptions specified all persons law fully cultivating lands belonging to others, and it would be unduly restricting the in tent ion of the Legislature to limit the benefit of its provisions to persons who derive their authority from the owner, either under a contract of tenancy, or otherwise. In our view, all persons other than those mentioned in Cls. (a), (b) and (c) of S. 4 who lawfully cultivate lands belonging to other persons whether or not their authority is derived directly from the owner of the land must be deemed tenants of the lands.' (Underlining is ours.)

In M. C. Chockalingam v. V. Manick vasagam, : [1974]2SCR143 the Supreme Court explained, though in a different context, the import of the idea of 'lawful possession' thus:

'Lawful possession cannot be established without the concomitant existence of a lawful relationship between the landlord and the tenant. This relationship cannot be established against the consent of the landlord unless, however, in view of a special law, his consent becomes irrelevant. Lawful possession is not litigious possession and must have some foundation in a legal right to possess the property which cannot be equated with a temporary right to enforce recovery of the Property in a case a person is wrongfully or forcibly dispossessed from it. This Court in Lallu Yeshwant Singh's case : [1968]2SCR203 had not to consider whether judicial possession in that case was also lawful possession.'

'We are clearly of opinion that judicial possession is possession protected by law against wrongful dispossession but cannot per se always be equated with lawful possession.'

28. It is unnecessary for the purpose of disposal of this appeal, to lay down as to whom are the persons entitled to the status of 'deemed tenant'. Relying on the observation of the Supreme Court in Dahva Lola'-- case : [1963]3SCR1 Sri Narayana Rau, earned counsel for the appellant, contended that a licensee comes within the class of 'deemed tenants' and that his case is that the appellant is a lecen ee We asked Sri Narayana Rau whether the appellant claims to be a contractual tenant; Sri Narayana Rau submitted 'at it is not the case of the appellant that he was cultivating the lands in question under any contract subsequent to the grant of occupancy to the father of respondents 1 and 2 under the In am Abolition Act. If the appellant was cultivating the lands subsequent to 1958 on crop share basis, then he would be a contractual tenant. Sri Rau gave up before this Court any case of contractual tenancy and made it clear that his client was a licensee under the respondents since 1958.

29. Sri B. P. Holla, learned counsel for the contesting respondents, contended that the observation in Dahya Lala's case : [1963]3SCR1 that a licensee may come within the class of 'deemed tenants' is a mere obiter as that question did not arise for determination in that case, and that in his submission, a licensee cannot claim the status of a tenant Assuming, with out deciding, that a Token comes within the class of 'deeme Sri Holla submitted that in iew of the statement made by the appellant in this Court in response to the three questions put to him, the appellant cannot even claim to be a Ycensee. Sr; Holla pointed out that the appellant, in to Query No. 3. has clearly stated that his claim is not based on any grant made by the land lord subsequent to 1958 and since licence can only be the result of a grant by one person to another, there cannot be a licence without any grant. Vide S. 52 of the Easements Act.

30. When the appellant had made clear before this Court that fie does not claim the status of a contractual tenant or any grant made by the landlord subsequent to 19-4-1958, he cannot come within the definition of 'tenant' under the Act even assuming that he was personally cultivating the lands immediately prior to 1-3-1974. In order to hold that the lands were held by the appellant as a tenant immediately prior to Yst March 1974, it has to be pleaded and shown that he was in possession of the lands either under a contract of lease or at least that he was originally inducted under a contract of lease or licence granted by the landlord and that his possession continued thereafter undisturbed. In the instant case, there- is no such plea pleaded by the appellant. Therefore, in our Judgment, there is no case to go before the Tribunal for adjudication. If the appellant has been unauthorized cultivating the lands and has perfected his title by prescription, then his remedy is to have that right decided in a competent Civil Court and not by making an application to the Land Tribunal. We would have remitted the matter to the Land Tribunal for adjudication if the appellant had pleaded at least before this Court that 'he was inducted as a tenant or licensee after 1958 either by Muniswamappa or his successors and that he was cultivating the lands under a contract of crop-sharing; but that is not his case asserted before us.

31. In our opinion, the dispute between he parties is not one arising out of agrarian relations. The scope of the Act is limited to questions arising out of agrarian relations. A person, whose possession of agricultural lands does not rest on agrarian relations, cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Land Tribunal under S. 45 of the Land Reforms Act. Since the appellant, on the basis of his own Pleadings before this Court, does not base his rights founded on agrarian relations. There is, in our judgment, no case to go before the Tribunal for adjudication. Bhimiah, J. would have been right in allowing the Writ Petition and refusing to remand the matter to the Tribunal on the ground that on the admitted pleadings of the appellant there is no case of agrarian relations for adjudication to go before the Tribunal. We do not express any opinion on the question whether the appellant or the respondents are in actual possession of the disputed lands which question has necessarily to be decided by a competent Civil Court,

32. For the reasons stated above, we dismiss the appeal, though for reasons different from those given by Bhimiah, J. In the circumstances, parties are directed to bear their own costs.

33. Appeal dismissed.


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