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Mosim Ali and ors. Vs. Ganga Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 488 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1966All356
ActsTenancy Law; Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 20
AppellantMosim Ali and ors.
RespondentGanga Prasad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateB.K. Dhaon, ;M.K. Seth and ;M.L. Trivedi, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateR.N. Shukla, ;B.L. Shukla and ;M.M. Krishna, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
tenancy - interpretation - section 20(b) of u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - 'recorded as occupants' - entry of person's name as occupant in khasra or khatauni of 1956 fasli - no proof of actual possession in the year 1356 fasli - entry in column 6 - person is adhivasi - held, proof of actual possession not necessary. - - for the purposes of explanation ii an entry shall be deemed to have been corrected before the date of vesting if an order or decree of a competent court requiring any correction in records bad been made before the said date and had become final even though the correction may not have been incorporated, in the records. babu sukhu ram air1964all498 where the earlier view in 1955 all lj 408 (supra) was endorsed......the khasra records possession and enjoyment, the word 'occupant' must mean a person holding the land in possession or actual enjoyment. the khasra, however, may mention the proprietor, the tenant, the sub-tenant and other person in actual possession, as the case may be. if by occupant is meant the person in actual possession, then according to this case, it is clear that between a proprietor and a tenant the tenant, and between a tenant and the sub-tenant the latter and between him and a person recorded in the remarks column as 'dawedar qabiz' the 'dawedar qabiz', are the occupants. this was found to be the onlylogical way to interpret the section which did away with all intermediaries. if rights are not to be determined except in the manner laid down by the section the entiles must.....
Judgment:

G.D. Sahgal, J.

1. This second civil appeal has come up before this Bench for disposal. The learned single Judge before whom it came up referred it to a Full Bench in view of the conflict between two Division Bench cases of this Court, viz. Hub Lal v. Mst. Dulara, 1954 All LJ 762 and Durgapal Singhv. Kunwar Jahan Singh, (8) 1957 All 257 as according to him, the result or the appeal depends on whether one or the other of the two decisions was correct.

2. The dispute relates to plots Nos. 558/1, 558/2, 565/1, 566/1, 566/2 & 567/2. The plaintiffs-respondents Nos. 1 to 5 filed a suit against the defendants-appellants with respect, among others, to these plots for possession and damages. They claimed that they were the sirdars of these plots and were in possession having obtained the same on the 19th of October, 1947, in execution of a decree in a suit for ejectment against the appellants filed in the year 1946. They claim to have been dispossessed thereafter in the year 1955 as a result of which this suit was filed. The claim of the defendants-appellants, however, was that they were the subtenants of these plots and had continued to be so all along without ever being dispossessed and as such they had become adhivasis under Section 20(a)(i) of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act and subsequently became sirdars. This plea of theirs has been negatived by the learned Civil Judge in the first appeal who held that they had been elected in the year 1947 and had not been in possession till they dispossessed the plaintiffs in the year 1955 when the latter had to file the suit giving rise to this appeal. Their case, in the alternative, however, was that by virtue of being recorded as occupants in the Khasra and Khatauni of 1356 Fasli they had acquired the status or adhivasis under Section 20(b) of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. Their names had in fact continued to be recorded in column No. 6 of the Khasra even though they had been ejected, and were so recorded in the year 1356 Fasli.

3. As there is a finding of fact which cannot be challenged in second appeal, to the effect that the appellants had been ejected in the year 1947 and had not been in possession since then till the year 1955 when they dispossessed the plaintiffs they were no longer sub-tenants. On behalf of the appellants, therefore, it has not been urged that they had become sirdars under Section 20(a) of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. The only plea that lias been pressed before us is that by virtue of the entry as occupant in the year 1356 Fasli in their favour they were adhivasis and in view of the provisions of Chapter IX-A Section 240B of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act they had become sirdars. This plea was repelled by the lower appellate Court on the ground that the plaintiffs-respondents having obtained a decree for possession from a competent Court against the appellants and having actually taken possession over the plots in execution of their decree in the year 1947 and the decree having become final before the date of vesting. Explanation III of Section 20 of the Act applied with the result that the appellants would be debarred from claiming adhivasi rights under Section 20(b). This view of the first appellate court was challenged by the learned counsel for the appellants on the ground firstly that Explanation III had to be read along with Explanation II which in express terms confineditself to a correction made under or in accordance with the provisions of the U. P. LaudRevenue Act and as such it could apply only in a case where there had been an order for correction in a proceeding under the Land Revenue Act. The second ground urged by him was that the decree of the Civil Court relied upon by the first appellate Court being without jurisdiction, was a nullity and should not have been relied upon in order to attract the application of Explanation III.

4. The learned Single Judge rejected the first contention. Explanation III of Section 20 reads as follows:

'For the purposes of Explanation II an entry shall be deemed to have been corrected before the date of vesting if an order or decree of a competent Court requiring any correction in records bad been made before the said date and had become final even though the correction may not have been incorporated, in the records.'

According to him the expression 'order or decree of a competent Court' and the expression 'requiring any correction in records' occurring in Explanation III one after the other were significant. There would be no occasion for there being a decree of a competent Court if Explanation III were to be confined only to proceedings under the Land Revenue Act, According to him a distinction had to be made between the expression 'an order or decree of a competent Court directing correction in records' and the expression 'an order or decree of a competent Court requiring any correction in records'. In the case of the former there would be no occasion for correction unless the order or the decree specifically directs correction whereas in the case of the latter expression an occasion for correction would arise if it is found necessary in consequence of the order or decree passed by a competent Court to do so. In his oninion the words actually used in Explanation III were not to be confined only to a case where the order of decree specifically directed correction but were wide enough even to cover a case where correction was necessitated as a consequence of the order or decree passed in the case. He was of the view that the order or decree passed by the Civil Court in the year 1946 which was executed in the year 1947 and as a result of which the plaintiffs-respondents obtained possession over the plots against the defendants-appellants necessitated the correction of the records in which the names of the dcfandants-appellants stood recorded in column 1. Explanation III, therefore, was attracted if this was a decree of a competent Court.

5. He then proceeded to determine whether it was a decree of a competent Court and he was faced with a conflict of opinion in the two cases above referred to. The suit in which the decree was obtained in the year 1946 being by a tenant against a trespasser could, in view of a ruling of the Chief Court of Oudh in Ori Lal v. Ganeshi Lal, AIR 1947 Oudh 104 (FB), be maintained in a Civil Court The suit was accordingly filed in the Civil Court. During the pendency of the suit, however, the U. P. Tenancy Act was amended by U. P. Act No. X of 1947 on the 14th of June, 1947 as a result of which an amendment was added to Section 180 of the U. P. Tenancy Act which made it possible even for a tenant to bring a suit for possession against a trespasser in a revenue Court within the ambit of Section 80. The contention put forward before him on behalf of the appellants was that the amendment having come into force during the pendency of the suit, the Civil Court ceased to have jurisdiction over the matter under Section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act and if it still passed a decree, it would be without jurisdiction and so a nullity. He was referred to the case of 1954 All LJ 762 (supra) and also to the case of : AIR1957All257 (supra). In the 1954 case the view was against the stand takea by the learned counsel for the appellant but the view of the 1957 case supported him. It was in this state of affairs that he thought it fit not only to refer the point decided in these two cases to a Full Bench to set the controversy at rest but referred the whole case for disposal.

6. We have carefully considered the matter and are of the opinion that it is not necessary to set at rest the conflict of authority arising out of the two cases. In our view the point does not arise in the case at all. The decree was one for possession in favour of the plaintiffs-respondents against the defendants-appellants. A decree for possession does not require any correction of records. An entry in the records is made on the basis of possession itself. The plaintiffs claimed possession and they were granted possession. Mere passing of a decree did not amount to saying that the possession had been changed and so any entry as to possession in the revenue records was not required to be changed as a result of the decree. Explanation III, therefore, did not apply as the decree, whether it was of a competent Court or not, did not by itself require any correction of records interpreting the word 'require' in the broader sense in which it has been interpreted by the learned Single Judge. The only point for our consideration, therefore, is as to now far the entries in the year 1356 Fasli support the contention of the defendants-appellants that they had become adhivasis of the plots in question and had under Chapter IX-A of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act now acquired rights as sirdars.

7. Section 20 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act in so far as it is relevant reads as follows:

'Every person who-

.....

(b) was recorded as occupant,--

(i) of any land....in the Khasra orKhatauni of 1356 Fasli, prepared under 8s. 28 and 33 respectively of the U. P. Land Revenue Act, 1901..... shall, unless he has becomea bhumidhar of the land under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 or an asami under Clause (h) of Section 21 be called adhivasi of the land and shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be entitled to take or retain possession thereof.'

It is not contended on behalf of the appellants that they had become bhumidhars of the land under Sub-section (2) of Section 18 nor is it the contention of the plaintiffs that they are asamis under Clause (h) of Section 21. What has to be considered, therefore, is as to whether the appellants have been 'recorded as occupants' of the land in dispute in the Khasra or Khatauni of 1356 Fasli prepared under Sections 28 and 33 of the U. P. Land Revenue Act, 1901. This provision of law has been the subject-matter of interpretation in a recent decision of the Supreme Court, viz. Amba Prasad v. Mahboob Ali Shah : [1964]7SCR800 . It has been explained therein that the section, generally speaking, says that certain persons 'recorded' as 'occupants' of lands shall be known as adhivasis and shall be entitled to retain or regain possession of them after the date of vesting which was July 1, 1952. Such persons do not include intermediaries. This comes out from Explanation IV of the section which provides that for the purpose of this section 'occupant' as respects any land does not include a person who was entitled as an intermediary to the land in the year 1356 Fasli. Such person must be recorded as occupant in the Khasra or Khatauni for 1356 Fasli, i.e. 1-7-1948 to 30-6-1949. If such a person is in possession he continues in possession. If he is evicted after June 30, 1948, he is to be put back in possession notwithstanding anything in any order or decree. By fiction such persons are deemed to be entitled to regain possession. Emphasis has been laid on the record of the Khasra or Khatauni of 1356 Fasli and June 30, 1948, is the datum line. The importance of an entry in these two documents is further apparent from Explanations II and III. Under the former, if the entry is corrected before the date of vesting (i.e. 1-7-1952) the corrected entry is to prevail and under the latter the entry is deemed to be corrected (even though not actually corrected) if an order or decree of a competent Court ordering the correction had been made before the date of vesting and the order or decree had become final. There are thus two date lines. They are lime 30, 1948 and July 1, 1952 and the title to possession as Adhivasi depends on the entries in the Khasra or Khatauni for the year 1356 Fasli.

8. Their Lordships then proceed to con-sider the meaning of the terms 'occupant' and 'recorded' and observe that the word occupant is not defined in the Act. Since the Khasra records possession and enjoyment, the word 'occupant' must mean a person holding the land in possession or actual enjoyment. The Khasra, however, may mention the proprietor, the tenant, the sub-tenant and other person in actual possession, as the case may be. If by occupant is meant the person in actual possession, then according to this case, it is clear that between a proprietor and a tenant the tenant, and between a tenant and the sub-tenant the latter and between him and a person recorded in the remarks column as 'Dawedar qabiz' the 'dawedar qabiz', are the occupants. This was found to be the onlylogical way to interpret the section which did away with all intermediaries. If rights are not to be determined except in the manner laid down by the section the entiles must be con-strued as explained by the four Explanations, Once, we find out the right person in the light of the explanations, that person continues as an adhivasi after July 1, 1952, provided he is in possession on or was evicted after June 30, 1946. If he was evicted after June 30, 1948, he is entitled to regain possession in spite of any order or decree to the contrary. The word 'occupant', it was further observed, thus signified 'occupancy and enjoyment'. Mediate possession, (except where the immediate possessor holds on behalf of the mediate possessor) is of no consequence. The section eliminates inquiries into disputed possession by accepting the records in the Khasra or the Khatauni of 1356 Fasli or its correction before July 1, 1952. It was, if is pointed out, perhaps thought that all such disputes would have solved themselves in the four years between June 30 1948 and June 30, 1952. The judgment then proceeds to decide whether possession in the year 1356 Fasli should be proved. It was then pointed out that there used to be some difference of opinion between the High Court and the Board of Revenue on this point. However, it was pointed out that Section 20 came up for consideration before the Supreme Court in Upper Ganges Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Khalil-ul-Rehman : [1961]1SCR564 where the correctness of Nanak Chand v. Board of Revenue, U. P., 1955 All LJ 408 was challenged on the ground that it had held that a mere entry in 1356 Fasli without possession in that year was sufficient. The Court, however, did not decide the question in that case and left it open. Reference is then made to several decisions of this Court including the Full Bench decision in Ram Dular Singh v. Babu Sukhu Ram : AIR1964All498 where the earlier view in 1955 All LJ 408 (supra) was endorsed. The expression of approval of the following passage from Nanakchand's case in Bhal Singh v. Bhop, 1963 All LJ 288 was also noted with approval:

'It seems to us that Clauses (b)(i) and (b) (iii) of Section 20 do not require the proof of actual possession in the year 1356 Fasli. What they require merely is the entry of a person's name as an occupant in the Khasra or Khatauni of 1356 Fasli. The words of the section are clear.

(Every person who was recorded as occupant in the Khasra or Khatauni in 1356 Fasli etc.)

The words are not 'every person who was an occupant in 1356 Fasli' nor are the words 'every person who was recorded as an occupant in the year 1356 Fasli and who was also in possession in that year. There is no warrant tor introducing words in the section which are not there. This conclusion is reinforced by what is stated in Explanation II.'

The same view Which has been adopted in Sugriva v. Mukhi, 1963 All LJ (Rev) 17 was also noted and it was observed that in view of the long established line of cases their Lordships saw no justification for reopening the question.

9. It would thus appear that what has been laid down in the case is that though the term 'occupant' means a person in possession or actual enjoyment, enquiries are not to be made as to disputed possession. The person who is to be found in the year 1356 Fasli 'recorded as occupant' has to be treated as one in actual enjoyment. The adhivasi rights were created as from the coming into force of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act which came into force from July 1, 1952 or 1360 Fasli. Those dissatisfied with the entries in 1356 Fasli, it was thought, would get them corrected during the period of four years. Thus what we have to determine in the case is whether the entry in favour of the appellants is an entry of occupation or not, i.e. whether the appellants can be said to be 'recorded us occupants'. For this we have to look to the Land Records Manual under which the entries are made to find out as to whether the entry in this case is an entry of occupation or not. The entry in this case is to be found in column 6. Under the Land Records Manual, Paragraph 87(1) as it stood in the year 1356 Fasli, entries were made of persons of the following description in this column:

(a) Tenants under permanent tenure-holders in Agra;

(b) Tenants of sir, tenants of khudkasht of 1333-34. Fasli admitted in 1335 Fasli or subsequently and tenants of khudkasht of not less than 12 years' standing in 1309 Fasli and still so recorded.

(c) Tenants under rent-free grantees and grantees at a favourable rate of rent.

(d) Sub-tenants.

(e) Occupiers of land without consent of the person whose name is entered in column 5 of the Khasra.

Column No. 6, therefore, though it is generally described as a sub-tenant's column does not contain entries relating only to sub-tenants; there may be entries in this column of occupiers of land without consent of the person whose name is entered in column 5 of the Khasra. The person whose name is entered in column No. 5 is the cultivator, i.e. the tenant of the land or the proprietor if the land is his sir or khudkasht. The entry in column 5 is not necessarily an entry of occupation; the person may be a cultivator but he may not be in actual occupation. Similarly in column No. 6, if the entry is that of a sub-tenant it may not necessarily be an entry of occupation but if it relates to a person under paragraph 87(i)(e) as occupier of land without consent of the person whose name is entered in column 5, it is certainly an entry of occupation. As we know there was a decree obtained against the appellants who claimed themselves to be sub-tenants of the plaintiffs-respondents in the suit filed in the year 1946 which decree was even executed in the year 1947. The defendants did not actually come in possession thereafter till the year 1955 when they ousted the plaintiffs-respondents making it necessary for them to file the suitwhich is the subject-matter of this appeal. Even then if the defendants continued to be entered in column No. 6, the entry cannot be an entry as sub-tenants. It will be an entry as occupiers only. The entry may be wrong inasmuch as the appellants may not actually have been in possession in the year 1356 Fasli but under Section 20 we have only to look to the entry if it is of occupation and not whether it is correct or not. It is necessary to find out as to whether the person who is entered as an occupant, is actually in occupation or not. The law raises a presumption that he is in occupation. The particular entry in column No. 6 in this case is an entry of occupation in the circumstances stated above. It cannot be an entry as a sub-tenant, for after the appellants who claim themselves to be sub-tenants, had been ejected in the year 1947 and if they are shown to have come in possession thereafter they cannot so come except under category (e) of paragraph 87(i) of the Land Records Manual, i.e. as persons occupying land without consent of the person entered in column 5. This is thus an entry of occupation. The appellants, therefore, must be held, even though they may not have been in actual possession in that year 1356 Fasli, to have been 'recorded as occupants' with the result that they were adhivasis and have now become sirdars. The suit, therefore, could not be decreed against them and the appeal has to be allowed.

10. The appeal is accordingly allowed andthe suit dismissed. In the circumstances of thecase the parties shall bear their own coststhroughout.


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