G.K. Govinda Bhat, C.J.
1. This appeal arises out of the proceedings initiated under Chapter III of the Karnataka Land 'Reforms Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the Act), for grant of occupancy right in respect of two lands comprised in Block Nos. 253 and 455 of Mogta village of Ankola taluk in the District of North Kanara.
2. The first respondent-Venkatavamana Thimntanna Naik is a land-holder in respect of Block No. 253 measuring 15 guntas. He was also the tenant of the land comprised in Block No. 455 measuring 17 guntas. The appellant Nagappa Devanna Naik alleging that he has been the tenant of both these lands under the first respondent immediately prior to 1-3-1974, prayed for grant of occupancy right under Section 48-A of the Act. The first respondent who was the main tenant of Block No. 455, filed an application for grant of occupancy right in respect of the said land in his favour under Section 48-A. On both the applications, the Tribunal issued notice to the interested parties in Form No. 9 and the matters were taken up for hearing. The parties were examined and the Tribunal rejected the application of the appellant and granted the application of the first respondent. The ground stated by the Tribunal for rejection of the appellant's application is that in his statement before the Tribunal lie has stated that he had no objection to grant occupancy right in respect of Block Nos. 253 and 455 in favour of the first respondent. This is what the Tribunal has stated in its order.
'The applicant admits that S. Nos. 253 and 455 were under cultivation and enjoyment by Shri Venkataramana Thirnmanna Naik (Respondent) and he has no objection in respect of S. Nos. 253 and 455 in favour of Shri Venkatraman Timmana Naik.....'
3. It is relevant to observe that when the first respondent-Venkataramana Thimanua Naik is admittedly a landlord, there is no question of grant of any occupancy right in his favour so far as Block No. 2.53 is concerned. The question the Tribunal is called upon to adjudicate is whether the land comprised in Block No. 253 was a tenanted land immediately prior to 1-3-1974.
4. So far as the land comprised in Block No. 455 is concerned, there is no dispute that the said land has vested in the Slate Government under Section 44 of the Act, as it is a common ground that it was a tenanted land. With respect to Block No. 455, the case is one of rival tenancy between the appellant on the one hand and the first respondent on the other.
5. The appellant has challenged the orders of the Tribunal rejecting his application for grant of occupancy right and the grant of occupancy right in respect of Block No. 455 in favour of the first respondent in Writ Petn. No. 10554 of .1976 (Kant), which came up for preliminary hearing before Nesargi, J., who rejected the same at that stage itself. The learned single Judge has based his order on the admission contained in the statement of the appellant made before the Tribunal to the effect that since two years prior to his deposing, respondent-1 was cultivating the land personally. This order is challenged before us in this appeal.
6. Sri B. V. Acharya, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the order of the Tribunal is based wholly on the erroneous assumption made by it that the appellant had no objection to the grant of the lands to tha first respondent, and, further that even assuming, but without admitting, that the statement of the appellant was correctly recorded by the Tribunal, the admission that the first respondent has been cultivating the lands for the two years prior to the date ot making the deposition will not be a valid ground for rejecting his application and granting occupancy right in favour of the first respondent.
7. Both grounds urged by the learned counsel, in our opinion, are well-founded. We have perused the statement stated to have been made by the appellant before the Tribunal. Nowhere he has stated that he has no objection to the grant of the lands in favour of the first respondent. What he has stated is that he was cultivating the land but during two years immediately prior to making his statement, the first respondent was cultivating. The statement of the first respondent was recorded on 10-8-1976, which means that the first respondent was cultivating the land during the agricultural years 1974-75 and 75-76. But, prior to the commencement of the agricultural year 1974-75, the appellant was cultivating.
8. The appellant has challenged the statement recorded by the Tribunal alleging that it has not been correctly recorded. It is not necessary for the purpose of this appeal to decide that question, since the matter can be disposed of without deciding that question on the assumption that the statement was correctly recorded.
9. The Tribunal as also the learned single Judge have not bestowed their attention to the provisions of Sections 44 and 45 of the Act. S. 44 provides for vesting all tenanted lands in tge possession of tenants immediately prior to the date of commencement of the Amendment Act. The Amendment Act was brought into force on 1-3-1974 So, what is relevant for the purpose of the Aet and determination by the Tribunal is whether the lands in res-peek of which proceedings are taken under Chapter III. were tenanted lands being cultivated personally by the alleged tenants immediately prior to 1-3-1974. If the land or lands were tenanted lands, to which Section 44 is attracted, such lands vest in the state Government on 1-3-1974. Section 45 provides that the land or lands which have vested in the State Government under Section 44 shall be registered in the name of the tenant as occupant of the land provided that person was cultivating the land personally immediately prior to the date of vesting viz., 1-3-1974. If there was any dispossession after 1-3-1974 by the landlord or by the main tenant or a subtenant, it is wholly immaterial and will not affect the right of the tenant personally cultivating the laud immediately prior to 1-3-1974, Therefore, even assuming that the statement of the appellant was correctly recorded by the Tribunal, his application could not have been rejected on the ground that he had ceased to cultivate the land immediately prior to 10-8-1974.
10. The Tribunal as also the learned single Judge have failed to notice the relevant provisions of the Act, viz., Sections 44 and 45 and that has vitiated the adjudication by the Tribunal as also the decision by the learned Single judge.
11. It was contended by the learned counsel for the first respondent that the sublease alleged to have been granted in respect of the lands comprised in Block Nos. 253 and 455 was subsequent to 2-10-1985 and therefore void in law and cannot be relied upon. We are not called upon to decide that question as that is not the ground on which the Tribunal or the learned single Judge have dismissed the application and the writ petition respectively of the appellant, That question is left open for adjudication afresh when the matter goes back to the Tribunal.
12. For the reasons stated, above, we allow this appeal and reversing the order of the learned single Judge, we quash the impugned orders of the Land Tribunal dated 10-12-1975 in No. KLR-SR-40/20/3491 (Ext- 'A') and 10-8-1976 in No. KLK-SR-46/ 39/5123 (Ext. 'B), so far as Block Nos. 253 and 455 are concerned, and the matter is remitted to the Tribunal with a direction to dispose of both the applications afresh and in the light of this order after affording all interested parties reasonable opportunity of leading further evidence and of being heard. The order of the Tribunal, so far as the other lands are concerned, is left undisturbed, Parties are directed to bear their own costs.
13. Ordered accordingly.
14. Appeal allowed.