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Jaddu Veeraswami Vs. the Sub-collector, Narasapur, W.G. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 3569 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1975AP158
ActsAndhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Tenancy Act, 1956 - Sections 6, 8, 10, 13 and 16(1)
AppellantJaddu Veeraswami
RespondentThe Sub-collector, Narasapur, W.G. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateM. Jagannadha Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG. Prabhakara Rao, Adv.
DispositionPetition partly allowed
Excerpt:
(i) tenancy - power of tenancy tehsildar - sections 6, 8 ,10, 13 and 16 (1) of andhra pradesh (andhra area) tenancy act, 1956 - whether tenancy tahsildar had authority to decide existence of relationship of landlord and tenant - tahsildar had power to enquire case on facts and on its basis grant declaration of existence of landlord and tenant relationship to decide their dispute under section 16 (1). (ii) declaration of cultivating tenant - sections 16 (1) and 2 (c) of andhra pradesh (andhra area) tenancy act, 1956 - tenancy tahsildar had authority to decide issue of cultivating tenant by declaring who was cultivating tenant - held, tahsildar can pass order protecting interest of cultivating tenant. - - 6. the appeal preferred by thewrit petitioner to the sub-collector, narasapur,.....orderkondaiah, j.1. this application by the petitioner, under article 226 of the constitution of india, gives rise to a short question of law, viz., whether the tenancy tahsildar is empowered under section 16 of the andhra pradesh (andhra area) tenancy act, 1956 (hereinafter called the act) to grant declaration that a certain person is a cultivating tenant and is entitled to continue in possession of an agricultural land, and to restrain the rival party and the landlord from interfering with his possession.2. in order to appreciate the scope of the question, it is necessary to briefly refer to the material facts leading to this application. the 3rd respondent, the wife and the 4th respondent, the son of late peethala venkanna, who were in possession of two items of wet land admeasuring.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Kondaiah, J.

1. This application by the petitioner, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, gives rise to a short question of law, viz., whether the Tenancy Tahsildar is empowered under Section 16 of the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Tenancy Act, 1956 (hereinafter called the Act) to grant declaration that a certain person is a cultivating tenant and is entitled to continue in possession of an agricultural land, and to restrain the rival party and the landlord from interfering with his possession.

2. In order to appreciate the scope of the question, it is necessary to briefly refer to the material facts leading to this application. The 3rd respondent, the wife and the 4th respondent, the son of late Peethala Venkanna, who were in possession of two items of wet land admeasuring Ac. 1-80 cents situate in Gumparru village, Narasapur taluk in the district of West Godavari, filed an application in the year 1968 before the Tenancy Tahsildar, Narsapur under Section 16 (1) of the Act for a declaration that they are the cultivating tenants in respect of the aforesaid two items of land and for an injunction restraining the writ petitioner herein, the respondents 5 and 6 the landlady and another, from Interfering with their possession and enjoyment. The basis for their claim is that Venkanna was the original cultivating tenant and after his death, they are the cultivating tenants who are entitled to continue to be in possession and enjoyment of the land in question on payment of the makta agreed upon in view of the provisions of the Act,

3. The writ petitioner contended that he was the cultivating tenant inducted into posession of the land by the landlady, the 5th respondent herein. Thelandlody supported the claim of the writ petitioner contending inter alia that respondents 3 and 4 herein have surrendered the land to her under Ex. B-l dated 19-4-1965 and thereafter the Writ petitioner was inducted into possession as a cultivating tenant. A plea relating to the jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tahsildar to go into the question was also raised as according to them, a part of the land in question is a coconut garden and hence it would come within the definition of orchard.

4. Respondents 3 and 4 filed Exs. A-1 to A-7 to prove that they paid makta and taxes during the relevant period for the land in question and also let in oral evidence. The contesting writ petitioner and the landlady filed Ex. B-l which is a lease hold right delivery letter said to have been executed on 19-4-1965 and Ex. B-3 and Eksal lease deed in favour of the writ petitioner dated 1-5-1968 and also adduced oral evidence.

5. The Tenancy Tahsildar, on aconsideration of the entire evidence oral and documentary held that the respondents 3 and 4 did not surrender the land in question to the landlady, the 5th respondent, in the year 1965 as evidenced by Ext. B-1 and that Exs. B-l and B-3 are fictitious documents which were brought into existence for the purpose of the case by the writ petitioner and the landlady and the documents Exs. A-1 to A-7 clinchingly prove the possession and enjoyment of the land in question by the respondents 3 and 4 as cultivating tenants and accepted their case that they are the cultivating tenants. He, therefore, declared them to be the cultivating tenants in respect of the land in question and also granted a permanent injunction restraining the writ petitioner and the respondents 5 and 6 from interfering with their possession and enjoyment of the land.

6. The appeal preferred by thewrit petitioner to the Sub-Collector, Narasapur, was without success. The Appellate Authority, by its order dated July 1972, affirmed the findings of the Tenancy Tahsildar and dismissed the appeal. Hence this writ petition.

7. The principal contention of Mr. M. Jagannadha Rao, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, is that the Tenancy Tahsildar has no jurisdiction to declare that the respondents 3 and 4 are cultivating tenants and are entitled to continue to be in possession and enjoyment of the land and to grant a permanent injunction restraining the writ petitioner, the landlady and another from interfering with their possession when the relationship of landlady and tenant itself is not admitted but is in dispute. According to him, it is the Civil Court that is competent to grantthe declaration as well as the injunction prayed for by the respondents 3 and 4 herein. This claim of the petitioner is resisted by Mr. G. Prabhakara Rao, the learned Counsel for the respondents 3 and 4. contending inter alia that Section 16 (1) of the Act empowers the Tenancy Tahsildar to grant the reliefs sought for by his clients and there is no merit in this writ petition.

8. The answer to the question largely depends upon the provisions of Section 16 (1) of the Act. In order to appreciate the scope of Section 16 (1), it is necessary to briefly refer to the intend-ment of the Act and its material provisions. The Act was enacted to provide for the payment, of fair rent by cultivating tenants and for fixing the minimum period of agricultural leases in the State of Andhra. Section 2 defines 'agricultural year' 'Commercial Crops', 'cultivating tenant', 'landlord' and other terms used in the Act. Section 3 provides for the maximum rent payable by cultivating tenants expressed in terms of proportion of gross produce. Section 4 says the landlord and his cultivating tenant to come to an agreement in regard to the form of tenancy and the method and manner of the payment of rent. The rent may be paid either in the form of a share in the produce, or in the form of a fixed rent in kind or cash. Section 5 enables the cultivating tenant and the landlord to agree with regard to the quantum of rent payable for holding. The agreed rent must be subject to the maximum rent indicated in Section 3. Further the rent so agreed shall be subject to the provisions of Section 6 whereunder the Tahsildar is empowered to fix fair rent for the holding on the application of either the landlord or the cultivating tenant notwithstanding any agreement between them for the payment of an agreed rent. The Tahsildar is competent under Section 8 to grant remission of rent where there has been a total or partial failure of crops in any year due to widespread calamities such as cyclone, draught or flood. Section 10 fixes a minimum period of 6 years for every lease entered into between a landlord and his cultivating tenant on or after the commencement of the Act Section 13 prohibits a landlord from terminating the tenancy and evicting his cultivating tenant during the currency of a lease except by an application made in that behalf to the Tahsildar on any one or more of the grounds specified in clauses (a) to (f) thereof. Under Section 14 (1) a cultivating tenant may terminate his tenancy and surrender his holding at the end of any agricultural year during the currency of a lease. Section 15 prescribes the time limit not later than one month before the commencement of the agricul-tural year for the cultivating tenant to vacate his holding and deliver possession thereof to his landlord.

9. I shall now turn to Section 16, Sub-section (1) to Section 16, which is material and relevant, reads as follows:--

'Any dispute arising under this Act between a landlord and a cultivating tenant including any question relating to the determination of fair rent or the eviction of a cultivating tenant shall, on application by the landlord or the cultivating tenant, as the case may be, be decided by the Tahsildar after making an inquiry in the manner prescribed,

10. This provision enables the landlord or the cultivating tenant, as the case may be, to file an application before the Tahsildar for determination of any dispute arising under the Act between them. The disputes must be not only arising under the Act but must be between a landlord and a cultivating tenant. The basic factors empowering the Tahsildar to decide any dispute are (i) It must arise under the act and (ii) It must be between a landlord and a cultivating tenant. In other words, the Tahsildar is not authorised or competent to determine any dispute that arises outside the Act and which is not between a landlord and cultivating tenant. The Tahsildar also has to make an enquiry in the manner prescribed under the rules before deciding the dispute under the Act between a landlord and a cultivating tenant. The expression 'any dispute' is wide enough to take in a civil dispute that can or may arise under the Act between a landlord and a cultivating tenant. It is of wide import. The only limitations are that the dispute should be one arising under the Act and that the relationship of landlord and tenant must be subsisting. The use of the expression 'including any question' in Section 16 (1) makes it abundantly clear that questions relating to the determination of fair rent and the eviction of a cultivating tenant indicated therein are only illustrative but not exhaustive. They have been specifically indicated so as to put them beyond the sphere of controversy in view of Sections 6 and 13 referred to earlier. The power vested in the Tahsildar to adiudi-cate the disputes contemplated under Section 16 (1) can be exercised only during the subsistence of the relationship of landlord and tenant. Where, on an investigation of facts, it is found that no relationship of landlord and tenant is existing between the parties the tenancy Tahsildar cannot clutch at the jurisdiction under Section 16 (1) to determine any dispute arising under the Act,

11. The pertinent question that arises for decision is whether the Tenancy Tahsildar is competent to investigate intojurisdictional facts and decide whether a particular applicant is a cultivating tenant and there is relationship of landlord and tenant between him and the landlord in respect of a particular holding if the landlord denies the same.

12. I shall first advert to the law relating to the competency of a Tenancy Tahsildar to investigate into the facts relating to the exercise of his jurisdiction when it is disputed by one of the parties. It is well settled that a tribunal can investigate into the facts relating to the exercise of its jurisdiction when that ju-disdictional fact itself is in dispute. Where a tribunal is invested with the jurisdiction to determine a particular question it is competent to determine the existence of the facts collateral to the actual matter which the tribunal has to try. The power to decide collateral facts is the foundation for the exercise of its jurisdiction. The legal position in this regard has been very succinctly enunciated in the following passage at page 59 in Hals-bury's Laws of England Third Edition Vol. 11.

'The jurisdiction of an inferior tribunal may depend upon the fulfilment of some condition precedent (such as notice) or upon the existence of some particular fact. Such a fact is collateral to the actual matter which the inferior tribunal has tp try, and the determination whether it exists or not is logically and temporarily prior to the determination of the actual question which the inferior tribunal has to try. The inferior tribunal must itself decide as to the collateral fact; when, at the inception of any inquiry by a tribunal of limited jurisdiction a challenge is made to its iurisdiction the tribunal has to make up its mind whether it will act or not and for that purpose to arrive at some decision on whether it has jurisdiction or not.'

See also Rex v. Nat Bell Liquors Ltd.. (1922) 2 AC 128 at p. 151 and Ebrahim Abubaker v. The Custodian of Evacuee Property, : [1952]1SCR696 . In Rex v. The City of London Etc. Rent Tribunal, (1951) 1 All ER 195 at pp. 196 and 197 the question that fell for consideration was whether the Rent Tribunal could enquire into the question as to whether the tenancy had been lawfully determined to enable them to decide whether or not they had jurisdiction to hear the application. The learned Chief Justice Goddard, while considering the question observed thus:--

'Unless the Tribunal could first decide on the question of the existence of a tenancy they could only proceed in a case where both parties agreed that a contract was in existence and it would always be open to the landlord to dispute the existence of the tenancy. xxxxxThe principles on which such Tribunals as these can act seem to me to be well established by decided cases. First, one has to consider whether the Tribunal must, to enable itself to obtain jurisdiction find that a certain state of affairs collateral to the main question exists. The question whether or not there is a contract seems to me clearly to be collateral to the main question which the Tribunal has to decide, viz., what is a reasonable rent under the contract of tenancy ?''

The aforesaid decision is an authority for the proposition that the tribunal must first decide on the question of existence of tenancy and it must, to enable itself to obtain jurisdiction, find that a certain state of affairs collateral to the main question exists.

13. Having regard to the scheme and intendment of the Act and the specific provisions contained in Sections 6, 8, 10 and 13 of the Act, it admits of no doubt that the only authority to determine the question of fair rent under Section 6, remission of rent under Section 8, and eviction of a tenant under Section 13 read with Section 16 (1) is the Tenancy Tahsil-dar initially. It is pertinent to notice that the Tenancy Tahsildar is not expressly invested with the jurisdiction to decide the questions as to whether or not there is a subsisting tenancy and whether or not a person is a cultivating tenant. However, it must be noted that the Tenancy Tahsildar would not be able to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him effectively and properly for the determination of the questions relating to fair rent, minimum period of tenancy, remission of rent and eviction in appropriate cases if he is not competent to decide the question regarding the subsistency or otherwise of the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant and the question whether a tenant in a given case is a cultivating tenant or not as incidental or preliminary to the exercise of his jurisdiction. The tenancy Tahsildar or any other inferior tribunal or authority can exercise his or its statutory power only if a certain state of facts specified in the statute or a statutory rule exists. In my considered opinion, the jurisdiction conferred on the Tenancy Tahsildar under Sections 6, 8, 10 and 13 read with Section 16 (1) of the Act to determine any dispute arising under the Act between a landlord and a cultivating tenant includes the jurisdiction to determine the collateral facts which serve as the foundation for the exercise of that jurisdiction. In other words, the Tenancy Tahsildar must be held to have the jurisdiction to investigate into the preliminary state of facts necessary to exercise his jurisdiction as incidental to the exercise of the admitted statutory power vested in him. To put itdifferently, the Tenancy Tahsildar must be deemed to be competent to investigate into the jurisdictional facts and decide whether the relationship of landlord and tenant at the material time subsists or not. The plea advanced on behalf of the petitioner that the jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tahsildar can be invoked only in cases where tenancy is admitted and not in cases where the jural relationship between the parties is in dispute, cannot be acceded to. If the petitioner's contention is accepted, it would lead to an anomaly which would result in grave injustice. Any clever party can oust the jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tahsildar by making an allegation that the petitioner is not a cultivating tenant and the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant does not exist on that day even though such an allegation was false to his knowledge. If the Tenancy Tahsildar is construed to be not competent to determine the facts relating to jural relationship between the parties in dispute, he has to invariably refuse to consider and determine the questions under Section 16 (1). Hence, such construction or interpretation is not permissible, I am of the firm view that the Tenancy Tahsildar can certainly go into the facts and determine firstly whether the petitioner is a cultivating tenant and whether the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant exists or not. Where, on an investigation of the facts and circumstances, the Tenancy Tahsildar arrives at a conclusion that there was no subsisting relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant on the relevant and material date, the application has to be rejected on the sole ground that he has no jurisdiction to determine the dispute under Section 16 (1) of the Act. If, on the other hand, he finds that the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant subsists, he can go into the merits of the case relating to the dispute and determine the same in accordance with law and after affording a reasonable opportunity to all the concerned parties.

14. This view of mine is supported by decided cases to which I shall presently refer. In Venkata Ramanadham v. Venkataratnam, (1959) 1 Andh WR 7 at pp. 10 and 11, this court, in an application under Section 6 of the Act, had to decide whether the tenancy Tahsildar has jurisdiction to decide ancillary questions whether there was subsisting relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant between the parties, whether the applicant was or was not a cultivating tenant and whether he was a person protected by the Andhra Ordinance 1 of 1956. The learned Judge, Seshachalanathi, J., on a consideration of the provision of the Act and its intendment, held that the only authority to determine the question of fair rent being the Tahsildar initially, he has thepower and jurisdiction to decide those questions as incidental or preliminary to the exercise of his jurisdiction. The learned Judge observed thus:

'There is preponderance of judicial authority for the position that where a Tribunal or authority is invested with the power and jurisdiction to decide a particular question, as ancillary to that jurisdiction, it has also the power to decide the collateral facts which serve as the foundation for the exercise of that jurisdiction. The determination of such collateral matters is independent of the merits of the case which the Tribunal or authority has to determine. But the decision is necessary for the exercise of the jurisdiction which in terms is confined to the Tribunal or the authority.'

The learned Judge was fully conscious of the position that the decision of the Tenancy Tahsildar on the existence or otherwise of the jurisdictional facts is not final and proceeded to state thus:--

'It may be that the decision on the preliminary collateral facts or what may be called the jurisdictional facts by the inferior Tribunal or authority is not final and may be subject to an appeal or revision. But that will not take away the right or perhaps even the necessity for the inferior Tribunal to decide such collateral or jurisdictional facts.'

The decision in Ramaniah v. Avula Bujji Reddy, (1962) 2 Andh WR 416 at p. 420 is directly on the point with which we are concerned. Therein, just as in the case on hand, two rival parties contended that each of them was the true cultivating tenant. One of the contending parties was indeed supported by the landlady. The question that fell for decision wag whether the Tenancy Courts are competent to determine the dispute as to who the cultivating tenant is within the meaning of Section 2 (c) of the Act and declare him to be the cultivating tenant entitled to be in possession of the land in question. The learned Judge, Seshachalapathi, J., reiterating the view taken by him in (1959) 1 Andh WR 7 observed thus:

'..... the question whether or nota person who claims the benefit of the Act is a cultivating tenant and whether his tenancy still subsists is a question that is ancillary to the exercise of the jurisdiction of the tenancy courts under Section 16 (1) of the Act.

X X X X X If the petitioner is a cultivating tenant, he certainly is entitled to be in possession of the demised land till the end of the Fasli 1369, or such other period as may by law be determined. It cannot, therefore, be said that the tenancy courts are precluded from determining whether the petitioner in A. T. P. No. 14 of 1958 was a cultivating tenant who was entitl-ed to continue in possession for the statutory period.'

In R. Papi Naidu v. M Sivudu Naidu, (1962) 2 Andh WR 180 at p. 182 a Division Bench of this court consisting of Seshachalapathi and Venkatesam, JJ., held that the Tahsildar is empowered under Section 16 (1) of the Act to decide whether supplemental parties can be added as provided under Order 1, Rule 10 (2) C. P. C. and while exercising such power, the Tahsildar is functioning under the provisions of the Act and therefore, such orders are appealable under Section 16 (2) of the Act. The learned Judge, Seshachalapathi, J., speaking for the Bench, stated thus:--

'It is elementary that apart from the provisions of the Act neither the Tahsildar nor the Revenue Divisional Officer can exercise any functions in respect of the adjudication of disputes between the landlord and the tenant Under Section 16 (1) of the Act all questions between the landlord and cultivating tenant under the provisions of the Act have to be decided by the Tahsildar. One of such questions is certainly whether supplemental parties can be added as provided for under Order 1, Rule 10 (2), Civil Procedure Code. In directing the adding of supplemental parties or refusing to add such supplemental parties, the Tahsildar is certainly functioning under the provisions of the Andhra Tenancy Act.'

The view taken by Seshachalapathi. J., in (1959) 1 Andh WR 7 and (1962) 2 Andh WR 416 is consistent with the view expressed by a Division Bench of this Court consisting of Kumaravya, C. J. and Srira-mulu, J., in Writ Appeal No. 625 of 1970, dated 23-10-1970 (Andh Pra). Therein, the learned Chief Justice, speaking for the Court, ruled thus:--

'The question whether the relationship of a tenant continues to exist or not is indisputably within the jurisdiction of the Tahsildar to decide. .... In casein determining the same, some questions which are purely of civil nature arise on account of which the Tahsildar may be inclined to refer the parties to a Civil remedy, that may be a different matter. It is for the Tahsildar to come to his own conclusion. When the Tahsildar is competent in law to decide for himself whether tenancy as between the parties exists or not, we do not think that a writ of prohibition can lie to this Court. Certainly the Tahsildar has at any rate got jurisdiction even to decide whether he has got jurisdiction or not.'

15. I may now refer to the view expressed by a Full Bench of our High Court in D. Venkata Reddy v. B. Bushi-reddy, : AIR1971AP87 in this regard. Therein it was held that there is nothing in the Act to postu-late that merely because the tenancy in regard to the part of the land in dispute is admitted that relationship of landlord and tenant exists in regard to the remaining part of the disputed land also. The decision of the Tahsildar relating to the existence or otherwise of the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant is not final and the Civil Court also has jurisdiction to decide the same. The Full Bench ruled thus:

'A reading of the aforesaid decisions clearly shows that whether a Tribunal has been given the exclusive jurisdiction to decide a particular circumstance depends upon the language of the Act and aims and objects for which the Act has been enacted. If a given Act postulates that on the existence of certain state of facts the Tribunal will have jurisdiction to decide the matters entrusted to it under the Act, the Tribunal will no doubt be competent to decide whether that state of facts exists but the existence of such state of facts being a jurisdictional factor it cannot give to itself jurisdiction by a wrong decision as to the existence of such state of facts. Such a decision would be in regard to a collateral fact and can be questioned in a Civil Court and the jurisdiction of the Civil Court is not barred in such cases. Whereas in cases where the Tribunal has been given exclusive jurisdiction to decide the existence of facts on the basis of which it would proceed to pass certain orders, the decision of those facts would also be final and conclusive and cannot be questioned in a Civil Court.'

The decision of the Full Bench does not support the view canvassed by the counsel for the writ petitioner. In fact the contrary view taken by a Division Bench of this Court in G. Buchayya v. Swami Naidu, (1962) 1 Andh WR 10 to the effect that the Tenancy Tahsildar in a petition to evict the petitioners therein has no jurisdiction to decide whether the respondent therein was really the landlord or whether the petitioners themselves had perfected their title to the lands in question by virtue of having bought the lands from someone else, has been overruled by the Full Bench. The Full Bench proceeded on the assumption that the Tenancy Tahsildar is empowered to determine the question of title while deciding the existence or otherwise of relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant as a jurisdictional fact or as a collateral fact and any opinion expressed contra was stated to be no longer good law. This can be noticed from the following passage in the judgment of the Full Bench while examining the scope and content of the decision of the Division Bench in (1962) 1 Andh WR 10.

'The point considered by the learned Judges was whether the Tahsildar hadjurisdiction to decide as to who has title to the lands in question, and it was held that in a petition for eviction the Tehsil-dar could not decide whether the respondent was really the landlord or whether the petitioners themselves had title to these lands by purchase from someone else. If the Judges by that decision intended to lay down that the Tahsildar could not decide a question of title for determining the existence or otherwise of relationship of landlord and tenant as a jurisdictional fact or as a collateral fact, this decision cannot be considered to be good law in view of the various decisions of the Supreme Court referred to by us earlier in this judgment. The Supreme Court in various decisions has laid down that a Tribunal with a limited jurisdiction is competent to decide whether the state of facts on the existence of which the jurisdiction depends exists or does not exist. But, such a decision is not conclusive and final and can always be agitated in a Civil Court. It therefore follows that the decision of the Division Bench so far as it lays down an absolute bar to the Tahsildar entering into the question of title in deciding the relationship of landlord and a cultivating tenant is no longer good law.'

16. I shall now advert to the decision of this Court in G. Srinivasa Rao v. Deputy Tahsildar. (1974) 2 Andh Pra LJ 27 and the decision of the Supreme Court in Magiti Sasamal v. Pandab Bissoi, : [1962]3SCR673 on which strong reliance has been placed by the Writ petitioner in support of his contention that the Tenancy Tahsildar is not competent to determine the status of a party to be that of a tenant or landlord and to determine the jural relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant where it is disputed. True, as submitted by the counsel for the petitioner, the decision of the learned Single Judge in (1974) 2 Andh Pra LJ 27, support his contention. Therein it was held that the Tahsildar has no jurisdiction to grant a declaration under Section 10 (2) of the Act that the petitioner therein had tenancy rights in the lands in dispute and to grant an injunction restraining the respondents from interfering with his peaceful possession. The learned Judge relied upon the decision of this Court in Naganna v. Venkamma, (1964) 2 Andh WR 465 at p. 467, and that of the Supreme Court in Magiti Sasamal v. Pandeb Bissoi, : [1962]3SCR673 . In (1964) 2 Andh WR 465 at p. 467, the learned Judge, Gopal Rao Ekbote, J. (as he then was) expressed the view that Section 16 (1) of the Act authorising the Tenancy Tahsildar to decide all questions under the Act in regard to the relationship of landlord and tenant does not oust the jurisdiction of the civil Court even in matters relating to thegrant of injunction. 'It cannot be in doubt.' observed the learned Judge 'that the tribunal cannot grant the relief of issue of a permanent injunction which is granted by the Civil Courts under the provision of the Specific Relief Act. That power does not vest under any provisions of the Andhra Tenancy Act in the Tenancy tribunal.' It may be noticed that in (1964) 2 Andh WR 465 at P. 467. It was not held that the Tahsildar has no jurisdiction under Section 16 (1) to decide the question of title and the question whether a particular person is a cultivating tenant or landlord and whether the relationship of landlord and tenant exists or not. Hence, that decision is distinguishable and is not in any way contrary to the view expressed by me. The decision of the Supreme Court in : [1962]3SCR673 arose under Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Tenants Protection Act, 1948 which is different from Section 16 (11 of the Act (Andhra Tenancy Act). Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Tenants Protection Act, 1948 enumerates only 5 categories of cases specified in clauses (a) to (e) thereof which could be decided by the Collector on the application of either of the parties. In the case on hand, Section 16 (1) of the Act empowers the Tenancy Tahsildar to decide any dispute between a landlord end a cultivating tenant arising under the Act, The scope of the provisions of Section 16 (1) is wider than that of Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Act. In view of the specific language employed in Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Act, the Supreme Court held that the Collector was not competent to decide a dispute as regards the existence of relationship of landlord and tenant. This can be noticed from the following passage (at p. 550).

'The disputes which are the subject-matter of Section 7 (1) must be in regard to the five categories. That is the plain and obvious construction of the words 'any dispute as regards'. On this construction it would be unreasonable to hold that a dispute about the status of the tenant also falls within the purview of the said section. The scheme of Section 7 (1) is unambiguous and clear. It refers to the tenant and landlord as such and it contemplates disputes of the specified character arising between them. Therefore, in cur opinion even on a liberal construction of Section 7 (1) it would be difficult to uphold the argument that a dispute as regards the existence of the relationship of landlord and tenant falls to be determined by the Collector under Section 7 (1).'

I am, therefore, of the opinion that the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1962]3SCR673 is distinguishable on facts and it does not assist the writ petitioner in any way. I may add that this decisionwas distinguished by Seshachelapathi, J., in (1962) 2 Andh WR 416 at p. 419 thus:--

'In my opinion this decision (Magiti Sasamal's case) may not have any direct application to the facts of the instant case. The language of Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Tenants Protection Act and Section 16 (1) of the Andhra Tenancy Act are manifestly different. Section 7 (1) of the Orissa Tenants Protection Act deals only with the different situations contemplated in clauses (a) to (e) of that Act, but Section 16 (1) of the Andhra Tenancy Act is differently worded.'

17. Reverting back to the decision in (1974) 2 Andh Pra LJ 27, the following passage on which strong reliance has been placed may be extracted:

'there is no provision under the Act to determine the status of a particular person to be that of a tenant or to determine the jural relationship of landlord and tenant where it is disputed. That being so, as laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case referred to above with reference to a somewhat similar provision, the Tahsildar cannot be said to have jurisdiction to entertain a petition to grant the relief of declaration of tenancy and permanent injunction restraining the landlord from interfering with the possession said to be vesting with the tenant.'

With great respect to my learned brother, Madhava Reddy. J., I am not persuaded to agree with him. In fact, the aforesaid observations are contrary to the view expressed by Seshachelapathi, J., in the cases referred to above and Full Bench decision of this Court in : AIR1971AP87 and the unreported decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Writ Appeal No. 625 of 1970, dated 23-10-1970 (Andh Pra). I may add that the aforesaid decisions have not been apparently brought to the notice to my learned brother, Madhava Reddy, J.

18. For all the reasons stated, I must hold that the Tenancy Tahsildar has ample power and jurisdiction to investigate into the facts and circumstances for the purpose of determining whether the relationship of landlord and cultivating tenant exists on the material date, to enable him to decide the dispute under Section 16 (1) of the Act.

19. In the present case, respondents 3 and 4 were found on facts by both the Tribunals to be cultivating tenants entitled to be in possession of the land in question. It was also found that the alleged surrender of the land by them in the year 1965 as evidenced by Ex. B-1 was not true, Unless these facts are determined, the Tenancy Tahsildar cannot exercise the powers vested in him underSection 16 (1) of the Act. In the circumstances, it cannot be said that the declaration granted by the Tribunals is ille-gal or without jurisdiction.

20. It has been represented to me by Mr. Jagannadha Rao that it is the writ petitioner but not the respondents 3 and 4, that is in actual possession and enjoyment of the land in question since three or four years. In that premise, the relief of permanent injunction granted by the Tribunals cannot be sustained. The counsel for the respondents 3 and 4 also admits that his clients are not in actual possession of the land at the present time but, however, prayed for a direction that they should be put in possession. There is no writ petition of an application by the respondents 3 and 4 to grant such a direction. It is only the writ petitioner that has approached the court questioning the validity of the declaration that respondents 3 and 4 are the real cultivating tenants of the land in question and that they are entitled to continue to be in possession and also to the grant of a permanent injunction. In the circumstances, the orders of the Tribunals to the extent of declaring the respondents 3 and 4 as the true cultivating tenants of the land in dispute and their right to continue to be in possession of the same from the date of their forcible eviction are affirmed. However, the further relief relating to permanent injunction cannot be sustained as the basic fact for the grant of an injunction, viz., that respondents 3 and 4 must be in possession of the land, is not found. Hence, to that extent, the orders, are set aside.

21. In the result, the Writ petition is partly allowed and dismissed in other respects. As the writ petitioner failed on the main contention, he shall pay the costs of respondents 3 and 4. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.


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