1. This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against an order under Section 248 (1) of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1959, for the eviction of the petitioner from 199 Bighas 11 Biswas of Muafi lands on the ground that he is in unauthorised occupation thereof.
2. The material facts, shortly stated, are as follows:
There is a temple of Shri Ramji and Shri Hanumanji situate in Gangabai-ka-Bagicha in Dholpur on the Gwalior-Agra road. During the mutiny of 1857, Maharaja Jayajirao Scindia of Gwalior halted at Dholpur while on his way to Agra and was pleased to endow 300 Bighas of lands in muafi for the upkeep of the temple by a Sanad. The muafi grant was resumed in the year 1939, by the Gwalior Darbar, and the former Pujari, Mahant Dwarkadas, was granted a Parwana under Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran, in respect of 199 Bighas 11 Biswas of Muafi lands. On 15-6-1949, Thakur Murlidharsingh, the father of the petitioner, obtained the lands on a sub-lease, on a premium of Rs. 230/- per annum, from the former Pujari, Mahant Dwarkadas. Mahant Dwarkadas having died in the year 1954-55, the non-petitioner No. 1, Mahant Ramkishandas, who succeeded to the office of Mahant, started proceedings for mutation of his name. On 6-4-1957, Thakur Murlidhar Singh also died and thereupon the petitioner got into possession of the lands. By order dated 30-8-1961, the Collector, Gwalior, ordered mutation in favour of the non-petitioner No. I, Mahant Ramkishandas, who thereafter applied under Section 248 (1) of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1959, for ejectment of the petitioner from the Maufi lands on the ground that he was in unauthorised occupation of the same.
3. The Naib-Tahsildar, by order dated 30-7-1964, ordered that the petitioner be ejected from the maufi lands and asked to pay a penalty of Rs. 4,441.58 for being in unauthorised occupation. On appeal, the Sub-Divisional Officer, Dabra, by order dated 23-11-1964, upheld the order of ejectment but remitted the penalty. On further appeal, the Additional Commissioner affirmed the order of ejectment under Section 248 (1). Their decisions were affirmed by the Board of Revenue by its order dated 6-10-1969. The Sub-Divisional Officer was of the view that the lands were recorded as Milkiyat Sarkar under the Aukaf Department and were meant for the upkeep and Puja of the temple and that the Pujari was appointed to look after them. That view of his was affirmed by the Additional Commissioner who held that the lands belonged to the Government and were under the management of the Aukaf Department. The Board of Revenue held that the lands were Government lands set apart for specific purpose, i.e., for the maintenance of the Dcvasthan, that the status of the Pujari was merely that of a Manager appointed by the Aukaf Department, on the terms and conditions of the Parwana, and that he held no tenancy rights under the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act.
4. The short question for consideration is, whether the proceedings under Section 248 (1) of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1959, were maintainable. It is urged that the former Pujari, by virtue of the grant in his favour, under Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran, acquired the status of a Mourusi Kashtakar or a Government lessee or an ordinary tenant and, therefore, the Maufi lands were not 'unoccupied lands' within the meaning of Section 248 (1), and consequently the remedy of the non-petitioner was by way of a civil suit and not by an application uud'r Section 248 (1) of the Code.
5. Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran reads as follows:
- tc nsoLFkkuh ekQh vkjkth rgdhdkr ls ;koDr nkf[ky [kkfjt ukfdl lun ij ecuh ikbZ tk;s rks og uksb;r ekQh ls [kkfjt dhtkdj okLrs bfUrtke nsoLFkku egDes vkSdkQ ds lqiqnZ dh tk;sxh vkSj dkxtkr iVokjhesa ,slh vkjkth dk bUnjkt orjhd tsy fd;k tk;sxk %&
^^feyfd;r ljdkj otgreke egdek vkSdkQ eqrvfYydnsoLFkku**
ekQhnkj crkSj iqtkjh ;k eqtkoj nsoLFkkueqrlfCcj fd;k tkosxk vkSj mls ,slh vkjkth esa fcy,sot ,slh f[knekr ds gd dk'rdkjekS:lh gkfly gksxk ftldk fcyk yxkuh iV~Vk feu&tkfur; egdesa vkSdkQ mls fn;ktk;sxk] exj 'krZ ;g gS fd iqtkjh ;k eqtkcj dh f[kner Bhd rkSj ij vnk u gksus dhlwjr esa egdes vkSdkQ dks ;g bf[r;kj gksxk fd ,sls dk'rdkj ekS:lh dks vkjkth lscsn[ky djds mlds ctk; nwljk iqtkjh ;k eqtkoj eqdjZj djs vkSj mls ,slh vkjkth dkiV~Vk ns**
6. The parwana was in the printed form in the following terms:--
vt egdes vkSdkQ fj;klr Xokfy;j
tks fd fdrkvt vkjkth eqUntsZ iq'r tks lkfcd esabl nsoLFkku ds iwtu cxSjk ds okLrs crkSj eqvkQh dk;e Fkh og eqrkfcd nQk dokvn eqvkQhA jftLVj eqvkQh ls [kkfjt gksdj egdes gktk ds fliqnZ gqbZ gSA vcegDes gktk ls ;g vkjkth nsoLFkku ds iwtu cxSjk ds fy;s fcy ,ot f[knekr nsoLFkkurqedks fcyk yxkuh vrk dh tkdj o vgreke esgdek vkSdkQ rqEgkjs j[kh tkrh gSArqedks pkfg;s fd rqe
bldh vkenuh ls [kqn dk'r djds ;k fdlh nhxj lsdk'r djkdj nsoLFkku dh gkyr o iwtu cxSjk dk bUrtke Bhd j[kks vkSj tc rd rqe orqEgkjs okjlku bUrtke nsoLFkku Bhd j[ksaxs mlh oDr rd og blls eqLrQhdn gksldsaxsA vxj rqEgkjs ;k rqEgkjs tku'khu dh tkfuc ls fdlh fdLe dh [kjkch ;kcnbUrtkeh nsoLFkku ds iwtu oxSjk esa ikbZ tkosxh rks QkSju vYgsnxh dh dk;Zokghdh tkdj mlds ctk;s nhxj 'k[l vxj okfjlku esa ls dksbZ dkfcy o yk;d iwtu ik;ktkosxk rks ogA oukZ nhxj dksbZ yk;d 'k[l nsoLFkku ds okLrs eqdjZj fd;k tkdj mldsdCts esa ;g vkjkth nh tkosxh] D;ksafd ;g vkjkth eqvkQh ls [kkjht gks tkus lscrkSj eqvkQhnkj vc bl ij rqEgkjk dksbZ gd ugha jgk vkSj vc bl vkjkth dk bUnzktjftLVj o dkxtkr iVokjh esa feyfd;r ljdkj otgreke egdek vkSdkQ okLrs bUrtkensoLFkku lnj gqvk djsxkA**
6A. The words of a statute are to be interpreted as bearing natural meaning. And if this is plain, there is no scope for rules of construction. The words of Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran are plain and unambiguous. Section 5 (4) of the Kawaid Maufidaran defines a Devasthani Maufi as a grant made for the upkeep of a temple. Under Section 13, the Maufidar was treated as a Pujari and the grant lapsed with the death or removal of the Pujari. The Parwana must be read in the context of Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran. The deed must be read as a whole in order to ascertain the true meaning of its several clauses. Strict legal language having been used in the Parwana, it must receive its legal meaning. Under the terms of the Parwana, the former Pujari had no other status than that of a manager. He could get the lands cultivated either himself or through servants, but he had no right to alienate the same in any manner. It cast a duty upon him to keep the lands under cultivation so that the income derived therefrom could be applied towards the Puja and the upkeep of the temple- He was under the direct control of the Aukaf Department. The Parwana expressly stated that the grant shall be resumed for breach of any of the conditions or upon the death of the former Pujari. The Maufi lands all the while belonged to the Government. The former Pujari was, therefore, not a Kashtakar Mourusi or a Government lessee or an ordinary tenant of the maufi lands, but was merely holding them on behalf of the Aukaf Department for purposes of management.
7. A similar question arose before the Board of Revenue in Mahant Ramcharan Das v. Mishri, (1969 M. P. Revenue Nirnaya 550). A Division Bench of the Board of Revenue, while interpreting a Parwana in similar terms, stated as follows:
^^'kklu ds vkdkQk egdesa dh vksj ls mlus blHkwfe dks izkIr fd;k gSA dok;n ekQhnkjku dh /kkjk vkSj mfYyf[kr ijokus lsLi'V gS fd Hkwfe feYd;r ljdkjsa otgSreke lhxk vkSdkQ djkj nh tkdj vkosnd dsdCts esa ^[kqn dk'r djkdj ds ;k fdlh nhxj ls dk'r djkdj* mldh vkenuh ls nsoLFkkuds iwtu cxSjk dk izcU/k j[kus dks nh xbZ Fkh vkSj iwtu cxSj esa [kkeh ;kcnbUrtkeh gksus ij dCtk gVk;k tk;xkA mijksDr 'krksZ ij 'kkldh; Hkwfe ij dCtkvkosnd dks fn;s tkus esa ;g vFkZ ugha fudyrk fd Hkwfe ij mls fdlh 'kd ;k[kkrsnkj ds vf/kdkj fn;s x;s Fks cfYd Hkwfe ij dCtk mls bl fo'ks'k iz;kstuds fy;s fn;k x;k Fkk fd Hkwfe ij f'k djkus ls tks izkfIr gks mlls og lsokvpkZ rFkk nsoLFkku dk leqfpr izcU/k djds viuk fuokZg djsA nwljs 'kCnksa esvkosnd dsoy 'kklu dh vksj ls fu;qDr izcU/kd FkkA**
We are of the same view.
7A. The construction of ours proceeds on Section 13 of the Kawaid Maufidaran, Section 2 (29), 2nd Proviso to Section 265 of the Qanoon Mal, Gwalior, Circular No. 4 of Samvat 1991, Section 110 of the Land Records Manual, Riyasat Gwalior and Section 54 (vii) of the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950.
Section 2 (29) of the Qanoon Mal defines Mourushi Kashtakar as follows:
^^dkLrdkj ekS:lh mls dgrs gSa ftldk gDdk dk&fcyfojklr; gksdj mls ekyxqtkj fcyk gqDe vnkyr csn[ky ugha dj ldrk vkSj u fcykjtkcUnh mlds ;k fcyk gqDe vnkyr ds ml ij yxku batkQk dj ldrk gSA
exj 'krZ ;g gS fd ftl iqtkjh ;k eqtkoj dksdok;n ekQhnkjku tqTos vkjkth ouDnh fj;klr Xokfy;j] laor .'] dh nQk dh : ls gDd ekS:lh gkfly gks mldh tkfuc ls f[kner eUlch Bhd rksj ij vnk u gksusij egDes vkSdkQ dks fcyk gqDe vnkyr csn[ky djus dk bf[r;kj gksxkA**
On a plain reading, the definition excludes a Pujari. The former Pujari was, therefore, not a Kashtakar Mourushi of the maufi land, but was merely holding them on behalf of Aukaf Department for purposes of management. Under the 2nd Proviso to Section 365 of the Qanoon Mal, Gwalior, he had no right of transfer. It reads as follows:
^^nQk 2''] gDdk n[khydkjh o t;sZ c; ;k jgutekcUnh 'kjk;r ckc gktk dkfcy bUrdky gksxkA
'krZ ethn ;g gS fd ,sls iqtkjh ;k eqtkfoj dkgDd n[khydkjh tks mls dcktn ekQhnkjku tqTos vkjkth o uDnhA fj;klr Xokfy;jA laor..] nQk dh : ls gkfly gks] jgu ;k o; ugha fd;k tk ldsxkA**
Section 110 of the Land Records Manual, Riyasat Gwalior, Provided that a Pujari should be recorded as a Kashtakar Dakhilkar Bila Lagani, i.e., with no right or interest. Such a person could not, therefore, be recorded as a 'Mourushi Kashtakar' or as an ordinary tenant.
Circular No. 4 of Samvat 1991 reads as follows:
'The entry of such land in the Jamabandi should be made in the Patti of Milkiyat Sarkar under the management of the Aukaf Department in the column of 'owner' and the Pujari or Mujavir should be entered in ziman 4 as Mourusi Bila Lagani.'
Admittedly, the former Pujari was never recorded as such Kashtakar Mourusi- On the contrary, he was throughout recorded as Kashtakar Dakhilkar Bila Lagani. He could never become a pacca tenant under Section 54 (vii) of the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950. The expression 'pacca tenant', as defined in that section, means a person who had been 'lawfully recorded' as a tenant. The maufi lands were always recorded as 'Milkiyat Sarkar' under the Aukaf Department.
8. We are, therefore, of the view that the former Pujari had no other status than that of a manager of the lands on behalf of the Aukaf Department. While it is accepted before us that the former Pujari had no right of transfer by mortgage or sale, it is urged that there was no restriction on sub-letting. It is also urged that the terms 'Mourushi Kashtakar' and 'Dakhilkar Kashtakar Bila Lagani' were synonymous and that, as every Mourushi Kashtakar had the right to sub-let, it necessarily follows that a Dakhilkar Kashtakar Bila Lagani had also a similar right. We are unable to agree with this line of reasoning. It would be repugnant to the nature of the grant itself to clothe such a person with a right of transfer of any kind. The whole purpose of the grant, which was for the upkeep of the temple, would be frustrated if the maufi lands were allowed to be sub-let by the Pujari and new rights created in favour of a stranger.
9. Where a grant of land is made in consideration for service to be rendered by a grantee, in lieu of wages, it is an implied condition of the grant that if the services are not performed or are not required, the grant can be resumed. The Parwana expressly stated that the grant in favour of the former Pujari was resumable for breach of any of the conditions set out therein, or upon his death or removal. The death of the former Pujari was, in the instant case, the terminal point. That being so, the grant lapsed with his death. As the grant created no interest in favour of the former Pujari, whatever rights the petitioner's father, Thakur Murlidharsingh had, also lapsed and he became a rank trespasser.
10. There can be no dispute that the maufi lands were 'unoccupied lands' as defined in Section 2 (z-3), and were also 'set apart for a special purpose' within the meaning of Section 237 (1) (j). The petitioner was, therefore, liable to be evicted from the lands under' Section 248 (1) of the M. P. Land Revenue Code, 1959, being in unauthorised occupation of the same, at the instance of the present Pujari, Mahant Ramkishandas, the non-petitioner No. 1. On merits, the order of eviction cannot, therefore, be assailed. Apart from this, no interference is called for for another reason. Under Section 248 (3) of the Code, the petitioner had the alternative legal remedy of a suit for the establishment of his rights, if any. That remedy he has not availed of.
11. In the result, the petition fails and is dismissed with costs. Hearing fee Rs. 100/- for each set of respondents. After payment of costs, the remaining security amount shall bs refunded to the petitioner.