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Sri Jaya Shri Devi Rajkumari of Vizianagaram Vs. Shri Lalita Kumari Devi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.T. Appeal Nos. 3 to 11, 22 and 23 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1965AP315
ActsMadras Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 - Sections 4, 44, 45, 50 and 50A
AppellantSri Jaya Shri Devi Rajkumari of Vizianagaram
RespondentShri Lalita Kumari Devi and anr.
Advocates:K. Ramachandra Rao, ;D.V. Reddi Pantulu and ;D.V. Sastry, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....4, 44, 45, 49, 50 and 50a of madras estate (abolition and conversion into ryotwari) act, 1948 - interim compensation for abolition of 'zamindari' deposited with estate abolition tribunal by government - maintenance holders of estate claimed respective shares out of interim compensation - claim challenged on ground that right in interim compensation lapsed with death of owner of estate - contention not tenable - section 49 entitles maintenance holder to get shares in compensation - compensation includes interim compensation - held, interim compensation to apportioned among maintenance holders as per section 44. - - (5) in support of these appeals, it is urged by sri ramachandra rao, learned counsel for the appellants, who are the other maintenance holders, that the right which one..........her properties to certain charities, was entitled to receive the amount payable to her out of the interim payments deposited by the government for fasil 1367.(2) after the abolition of the zamindari of vizianagaram the government deposited the advance compensation in our about the year 1950. as the final compensation was not paid, they were depositing the interim payments from year to year before the estates abolition tribunal. vizianagaram. the subject-matter of these appeals relates to such a payment for f. 1367.(3) all the maintenance holders of the estate filed petitions for payment to them of their respective shares out of this deposit. the above mentioned executors also instituted an application for payment to them of the share of the late rani vidyavathi devi. this application.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddy, C.J.

(1) These appeals are presented against the order of the Estates Abolition Tribunal, Visakhapatnam, holding that the executors of the estate of Rani Vidyavathi Devi, mother of Rajah of Vizianagaram, who died in March 1957 leaving behind her a will bequeathing all her properties to certain charities, was entitled to receive the amount payable to her out of the interim payments deposited by the Government for Fasil 1367.

(2) After the abolition of the Zamindari of Vizianagaram the Government deposited the advance compensation in our about the year 1950. As the final compensation was not paid, they were depositing the interim payments from year to year before the Estates Abolition Tribunal. Vizianagaram. The subject-matter of these appeals relates to such a payment for F. 1367.

(3) All the maintenance holders of the estate filed petitions for payment to them of their respective shares out of this deposit. The above mentioned executors also instituted an application for payment to them of the share of the late Rani Vidyavathi Devi. This application was resisted by the other maintenance holders on the plea that the rights of Vidyavathi Devi in this behalf lapse on her death and they do not survive to her heirs or assigns.

(4) Over-ruling these objections, the Tribunal directed the payment of that share out of the amount set apart for the maintenance holders to the appellants, on the ground that the right was capable of being transmitted to the executors under the will. It is this conclusion of the Tribunal that is assailed before us.

(5) In support of these appeals, it is urged by Sri Ramachandra Rao, learned counsel for the appellants, who are the other maintenance holders, that the right which one of the maintenance holders has in these payments does devolve on their heirs and assigns, it could be enjoyed only during their lifetime. It is urged by the learned counsel for the appellants that these payments still retain the character of maintenance allowance and as such they could not be claimed by the successors in interest of the maintenance holders. If the estates were not abolished, these persons would have been entitled only to receive maintenance allowances during their lifetime and could not pass it on to their heirs and successors. That being so, the abolition of the estates and the conversion thereof into money could not and the conversion thereof into money could not clothe them with higher rights. The character of these allowances is imprinted even on the share of each of the maintenance holders in the aggregate of the amounts set aside for the maintenance holders in the aggregate of the amounts set aside for the maintenance holders, proceeds the argument of the learned counsel for the appellants.

(6) It is said that the interest which the maintenance holders have in these payments is not heritable and could be enjoyed only during their lifetime.

(7) As substantiating his argument, the learned counsel draws our attention to S. 50, which, according to him, establishes clearly that the character of allowance is not changed and that the right does not extend beyond the lifetime of the maintenance holders.

(8) Section 50, in so far as it is of immediate relevancy, recites :-

1. The provisions of this section shall apply in every case not governed by S. 38.

2. After the notified date and before the compensations has been finally determined and paid in pursuance of this Act, interim payments shall be made by the Govt. every fasli year, to the principal landholder and to the other person referred to in S. 44, sub-s, (1), as follows:-

3. In respect of he fasli year in which the estate is notified, they shall together be entitled to such amount as the Govt. may, on a rough calculation determine to be the basic annual sum referred to in S. 26, if the deposit in pursuance of S. 54-A has not been already made, and to an amount equal to one-half of the basic annual sum as so calculated, if the deposit aforesaid has been already made:

* * * * * * * * * 5. The Government shall deposit all such amounts in the office of the Tribunal and the Tribunal shall, after such inquiry, if any, as it thinks fit, apportion the amounts among the principal landholder and the other persons referred to in sub-s. (2), as far as possible in accordance with the value of their respective interests.

8. No interim payment made under this section shall be deemed to constitute any part of the compensation which the Government are liable to deposit under S. 41, sub-s. (1), or to any extend to be in lieu of such compensation.

We fail to see what assistance this section renders to the appellants. On the other hand, sub-s. (3) gives an indication as to the character of the interim payments with which we will deal in the appropriate context. S. 50 does not denote that the share allotted to the maintenance holders out of the total interim payments partake of the character of maintenance. It only lays down the procedure for the deposit of these interim payments, and the distribution thereof amongst the principal landholder and the maintenance holders.

(9) Nor is Gopala Krishna Yachendra v. Krishna Yachendra, AIR 1963 SC 842, helpful to the appellants in this behalf. What was inter alia laid down in that case was that the arrears of maintenance to the maintenance holders did not constitute a debt, and it still was in the nature of maintenance allowance. Their Lordships observed:

'The amount cannot be a debt so long as it was payable to a male member and a maintenance when payable to a female member'.

That pronouncement, therefore, does not hold any analogy here.

(10) It is true that this right to a share in the compensation and in the interim payments has its origin in the maintenance. But what a maintenance holder receives in this behalf is not as part of the maintenance. If we bear in mind the fact that the interim payments are made only so long as the final compensation is not deposited and will be discontinued the moment the totality of the compensation is deposited before the Tribunal the problem does not present much of a difficulty. S. 50-A clearly postulates that these interim payments will be made only so long as the final compensation is not deposited. S. 50-A runs as follows:-

'50-A. In case the principal landholders or any other person referred to in sub-s. (1) of S. 44 has received in the form or bonds deposited by the Government in the office of the Tribunal under S. 54-AA his share in the remaining half of the amount of compensation estimated under sub-s. (1) be payable to such principal landholder or any other person from the Fasli year in which the bonds are deposited by the Government in the Office of the Tribunal :

Provided that if the amount deposited in bonds in pursuance of sub-s. (1) of S. 54-AA falls short of the remaining half of the amount of compensation estimated under sub-s. (1) of S. 54-A, an interim payment equal to a sum which bears the same proportion to the basic annual sum as the amount still remaining unpaid out of the total compensation estimated under S. 54-A bears to such total estimated compensation, shall be payable from the Fasli year aforesaid.'

These provisions are a pointer to the character of and the reason for these interim payments. They indicate that if these interim payments are to be made only till the final compensation is paid, they should be regarded as recompense for the loss of income derivable from the compensation, the deposit of which is deferred. What is got by the maintenance-holders from these payments partake of the same character as the estate, namely, to receive compensation after the notification thereof.

(11) After the notification of the estate, the rights which the maintenance holders have in the estate are extinct by reason of S. 3 (b) of the Act, which clearly lays down that the entire estate stands transferred to the Govt. free of all encumbrances. Incontestably, maintenance is one of such encumbrances.

(12) Section 3 (e) has relevancy in this regard. It reads :

'(e) the principal or any other landholder and any other person whose rights stand transferred under clause (b) or ceased and determined under clause (c) shall be entitled only to compensation from the Government as provided in this Act.'

It is thus clear that the maintenance holders can only claim a share of the compensation as provided in the Act.

(13) Section 44 prescribes the mode of apportionment amongst the various categories of persons entitled to the compensation. S. 45 (4) lays down that the portion of the aggregate compensation payable to the maintenance holders shall not exceed 1/5th of remainder referred in sub-s. (3) which lays down that it is after meeting the liabilities of the estate that the compensation can be apportioned amongst the landholders and other persons interested in the compensation and the surplus could be distributed in the manner prescribed by that section. In this situation, we are unable to assent to the argument that notwithstanding the right of the landholder and the maintenance holders is only to receive compensation, the right of the maintenance holders should still be regarded as retaining the character of maintenance.

(14) Having regard to the scheme of the Act, there can be little doubt that the maintenance holders are entitled to a lump sum amount out of the aggregate of the compensation and when once this amount is received, they have no further rights therein. Their right of maintenance is crystallised into a share in the compensation and also in the interim payments. We have already described the reasons for and the nature of these payments.

(15) There can be little doubt that the rights of the parties including the maintenance holders are to be determined with reference to the date of the notification by virtue of which the estate is statutorily transferred to the Government. As a consequence of it, the maintenance holders became entitled to a portion of the aggregate compensation as soon as the estate was abolished. That being a vested right, it is capable of being passed on to their heirs, successors and assignee. It is by virtue of a right to a share in the compensation they get a share in the interim payments in the same ratio.

(16) If we have to accept the contention of the counsel for the appellants, namely, that the maintenance character of these payments is not lost by reason of the abolition, the maintenance holders should be entitled to these amounts throughout their lifetime despite the final compensation as well. But such a right cannot be deduced from the provisions of the Act. Nor is such a contention put forward on behalf of any of the appellants. As already remarked, the interim payments will be discontinued the moment the final compensation is deposited. Having regard to the nature of these interim payments and of the rights acquired by the maintenance holders therein, we are unable to uphold the argument of the learned counsel for the appellants that the right of a share in the interim payments lapsed on the death of the maintenance holder.

(17) Further, if this contention is valid, the same result should apply to the share of the maintenance holder in the compensation itself. If the compensation is not deposited during the lifetime of the maintenance holder, his or her heirs will not be entitled to any portion of it. The appellants do not contend for such an extreme position. What applies too this should equally apply to the interim payments also, since it is only a person who can claim a share in the compensation that would be entitled to a share in these interim payments. That this is so, appears from S. 50 (5) and S. 44 (1). We have already extracted the provisions of sub-section (5) of section 50, which provides for the apportionment of the amounts amongst the principal land-holder and other persons referred to in sub-section (2), which again lays down that these interim payments should be made for the benefit of the principal landholders and other persons referred to in section 44, sub-section (1), which includes persons entitled to be maintained from the Estate.

(18) Coming now to the argument founded upon a comparison of the provisions of sections 49 and 50, we are unable to discover anything which lends colour to the submission that this right does not survive to the executors of the estate of the late Rani in this behalf. It is true, that S. 49 provides for the devolution of interest in compensation by saying:

'Where it is alleged that the interest of any person entitled to receive payment of any portion of the compensation has devolved on any other person or persons, whether by act of parties or by operation of law, the Tribunal shall determine whether there has been any devolution of the interest, and if so, on whom it has devolved.'

Such a provision is absent in section 50, which deals alone with interim payments. It is the absence of such a provision in S. 50 that has impelled the learned counsel for the appellants to put forward the argument that the interim payments do not ensure to the benefit of the heirs and successors of the maintenance holders. We do not think that this omission can lead to such a result. It is to be remembered that S. 50 does not lay down any independent procedure for the apportionment of these interim payments. The apportionment should be in the same ratio and proportion as in respect of the compensation. S. 44 clearly says that the compensation will be distributed in accordance with the value of their respective interests in the estate. By reason of s. 50 (2) which makes a reference to S. 44 the latter section has to be read into it. So, whatever incidence attaches to compensation attaches to the interim payments also. Having regard to the fact that this right to interim payments has accrued to the maintenance holders as incidental to a right to participate in the compensation and not in their capacity as maintenance holders, it will certainly descend to their heirs and assigns.

(19) In these circumstances, we are not persuaded that the executors of the estate of the late Rani Vidyavathi Devi are disentitled to the share in the interim payments that belong to her. For these reasons we feel that the order under appeal does not call for interference.

(20) In the result, these appeals stand dismissed. There will be no order as to costs of these appeals.

Appeals dismissed.


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