Balakrishna Eradi, J.
1. In these two revision petitions a common question of law is raised, namely, whether in the case of a kanom transaction the 'contract rent' for the holding is the michavarom specified in the document or whether it is the figure mentioned in the document as the estimated profits or pattom' derivable from the property with reference to which the michavarom is fixed after providing for deduction of interest on the kanarthom and the revenue, if any, stipulated to be paid by the kanomdar. In Vasudevan Narnboodiripad v. Muhammed Kutty, 1975 Ker LT 727, a Division Bench of this court has taken the view that the contract rent in respect of a kanom transaction has to be taken as the total annual rent specified in the deed of demise without deducting from it land revenue, land cess and interest on the kanarthom. The correctness of that decision was doubted by another Division Bench before which these revision petitions originally came up for hearing and the revision petitions were, therefore, referred to a Full Bench. That is how the matter has coma up before us. C. R. P. No. 2388 of 1976
2. The revision petitioners who were holding certain lands on kanom right under the respondent as per a demise dated 26-6-1909 filed O. A. No. 1153 of 1972 before the Land Tribunal, Manjeri under Section 72B of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 (hereinafter called the Act) for assignment in their favour of the landlord's rights over the property comprised in the kanom deed. As per the terms of the kanom deed, out of the total profits derivable from the property estimated at 90 paras of paddy only 10 paras of paddy and 25 paise was payable to the landlord as michavarom after deducting the revenue and the interest on the kanom amount. It would appear that the revision petitioners are in possession of only some of the items comprised in the kanom deed and in respect of those items the proportionate michavarom had been fixed at 4 paras of paddy and 6 paise. The Land Tribunal held that the 'contract rent' for the holding was the stipulated michavarom of 4 paras of paddy and Re. 0-06 per year and since the petitioners had opted for fixation of the fair rent at 50% of the contract rent, the fair rent would be only 2 paras of paddy and Re. 0.03 per year. The purchase price payable by the tenants was accordingly fixed by the Land Tribunal at Rs. 132.96 being sixteen times the fair rent calculating the price of paddy at Rs. 4.14 per para. The respondent herein filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority (Land Reforms), Trichur -- A. A. No. 367 of 1975. The main contention urged in the said appeal was that the total 'pattom' (profits) of 90 paras specified in the kanom deed as derivable from the property ought to have been treated as 'the contract rent' and that the Land Tribunal had acted illegally and erroneously regarding the michavarom payable under the document as the contract rent. This contention found favour with the Appellate Authority which held that the contract rent in respect of the portion of the property in the possession of the respondents was 36 paras of paddy and Rs. 2.40, being the proportionate share of the said portion out of the total 'pattom' of 90 paras of paddy and Rs. 10 specified in the documents. Accordingly the fair rent of the property was fixed at 18 paras of paddy and the purchase price payable for the landlord's rights in the land was fixed at Rs. 1212.62. The legality and correctness of the said decision of the Appellate Authority are under challenge in this revision petition.
C. R. P. No. 1611 of 1977
3. The petitioner herein is the cultivating tenant in respect of an extent of 1.08 acres in R. S. No. 51/1 and 2 of Manoor Village, The property was being held by him under a kanom deed of 1934 which took in certain other lands also besides the lands under the cultivation of the revision petitioner. As per the recitals contained in that document the total pattom of the properties demised thereunder was specified as 106 paras of paddy and 8 annas and after deducting the interest from the kanom amount, 53 paras of paddy and 8 annas in cash was payable by the kanom tenant to the landlord as michavarom. The Land Tribunal took the view that the contract rent in respect of the holding is not the michavarom payable under the kanom document but the total pattom of the properties mentioned therein and that for the purpose of calculation of the purchase price payable by the petitioner for the lands under his cultivation the proportionate share of the total pattom had to be adopted as the basis for calculation. The result was that even though the michavarom actually payable to the landlord by the petitioner was only 231/2 paras of paddy per year the Land Tribunal fixed the purchase price at Rupees 3395.70 by treating the fair rent of the property as 55 paras of paddy. The said decision of the Land Tribunal was confirmed by the Appellate Authority (Land Reforms), Kozhikode on A. A. No. 1161 of 1974. The petitioner has approached this court with this civil revision petition filed under Section 103 of the Act praying that the orders of the Appellate Authority and the Land Tribunal should be set aside and that the Land Tribunal should be directed to fix the purchase price afresh by treating the michavarom payable under the kanom deed as the contract rent for the purposes of the calculation of the fair rent of the holding and for determination of the purchase price payable under Section 72D of the Act.
4. Section 72 of the Act provides that on the date to be notified by the Government in this behalf in the gazette, all right, title and interest of the landowners and intermediaries in respect of holdings held by cultivating tenants entitled to fixity of tenure under Section 13 shall, subject to the provisions of the Section, vest in the Government free from all encumbrances. Section 72B lays down that the cultivating tenant of any holding or part of a holding, the right, title and interest in respect of which have vested in the Government under Sub-section (1) of Section 72 shall be entitled to assignment of such right, title and interest subject to the conditions specified in the proviso to the said Sub-section. Sub-section (3) of Section 72B states that any cultivating tenant entitled to assignment of the right, title and interest in respect of a holding or part of a holding under Sub-section (1) may apply to the Land Tribunal within whose jurisdiction such holding or part is situate within two years from the date of vesting of such right, title, and interest in the Government under Section 72 or such further time as may be allowed by the Government in this behalf. Section 72D which lays down the mode of computation of the purchase price payable by the cultivating tenant, is important for our present purpose and we shall, therefore, extract its provisions in full :
'72D. Purchase price:-- (1) The cultivating tenant shall be liable to pay purchase price to the Government on the assignment to him of the right, title and interest of the landowner and the intermediaries, if any.
(2) The purchase price referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be the aggregate of-
(a) sixteen times the fair rent of the holding or part thereof, the right, title and interest in respect of which have been assigned to the cultivating tenant;
(b) the value of structures, wells and embankments of a permanent nature which belonged to the landowner and the intermediaries, if any at the time of vesting in the Government:
(c) one-half of the value of timber trees which belonged to the landowner and the intermediaries, if any at the time of vesting in the Government;
Provided that where the aggregate of the value of structures, wells and embankments and one-half of the value of timber trees referred to in Clauses (b) and (c) exceeds sixteen times the fair rent in respect of the holding or part thereof, as the ,case may be, such aggregate value shall, for the purpose of calculating the purchase price under this sub-section, be limited to sixteen times such fair rent.
Explanation:-- For the purposes of this section, where the rent is payable in kind, the money value of the rent shall be commuted at the average of the prices of the commodity for the six years immediately preceding the year in which the right, title and interest of the landowner and intermediaries have vested in the Government, and in calculating the average of the prices, the prices, if any, published under Section 43 may also be taken into account'.
5. The principal component of the purchase price is mentioned in clause (a) of Sub-section (2) of Section 72D as 'sixteen times the fair rent of the holding or part thereof'. What is the 'fair rent' in respect of a kanom holding? The expression 'fair rent' has been defined as follows in Section 2 (13):
' 'fair rent' means the rent payable by a cultivating tenant under Section 27 or section 33.' Section 27 is in the following terms :
'27. Fair rent. -- (1) The fair rent in respect of a holding shall be the rent payable by the cultivating tenant to his landlord.
(2) The fair rent shall be -
(a) in the case of nilams, 50 per cent of the contract rent, or 75 per cent of the fair rent determined under any law in force immediately before the 21st January, 1961, or the rent calculated at the rates specified in Schedule III applicable to the class of lands comprised in the holding, whichever is less ;
(b) in the case of other lands, 75 per cent of the contract rent, or the fair rent determined under any law in force immediately before the 21st January, 1961, or the rent calculated at the rates specified in Schedule III, applicable to the class of lands comprised hi the holding, whichever is less.
***** Section 33 merely provides that it shall be competent for the landlord and the tenant to agree as to what shall be the fair rent payable in respect of the holding and, where such an agreement signed by the landlord and the tenant is filed with the Land Tribunal, the Land Tribunal shall pass orders determining such agreed rent as the fair rent in respect of the holding. It is stipulated in the proviso to the Section that such agreed rent shall not exceed the fair rent under Section 27 in respect of the holding and that where there are intermediaries or other persons having an interest in the holding all of them should also be parties to such an agreement.
6. The expression 'rent' has been defined in Section 2 (49) in these terms:
' 'rent' means whatever is lawfully payable in money or in kind or in both by a person permitted to have the use and occupation of any land to the person so permitting, and includes michavarom, but does not include customary dues.' .
Section 2 (36) defines 'michavaram' thus:
''michavaram' means the money or produce or both specified as michavaram in the document evidencing the transfer by a person of an interest in specific immovable property to another person, and includes the balance of money or produce or both payable periodically under the document evidencing such transfer after deducting from the money or produce or both due to the transferor, the interest due on the amount advanced to the transferor, but does not include customary dues.'
7. The base for the fixation of the main component of the purchase price is the 'fair rent' of the holding. Except in cases where an agreement has been entered into between the landlord and the tenant and filed before the concerned Land Tribunal under Section 33 of the Act, the fair rent of a holding has to be computed with reference to the provisions contained in Section 27 of the Act. Under that Section, in cases where the fair rent has not been already determined under any law that was in force before 21st January, 1961, the fair rent of a holding shall be 50% of the 'contract rent' or the rent calculated at the rate specified in Schedule III applicable to the class of lands comprised in the holding whichever is less. The question for our consideration is what is the 'contract rent' in a kanom transaction? Is it the michavaram stipulated in the kanom deed as payable to the landlord or is it the 'pattom' or profits specified in the document for the purposes of calculation of the michavaram?
8. The expression 'contract rent' has not been defined in the Act and in the absence of a statutory definition we have to interpret the expression in accordance with the ordinary and plain meaning. So construed, it can only denote the rent stipulated in the contract of tenancy. Turning to the definition of expression 'rent' in Section 2 (49), which we have extracted above, it will take in only whatever is lawfully payable by the tenant to the landlord. Special care has also been taken by the legislature to specify therein that 'rent' will include michavaram'. In the case of a kanom transaction what is payable by the kanomtenant to the landlord is only the michavaram and not the gross pattom or profits as estimated in the document. The definition of michavaram contained in Section 2 (36) has also laid stress on the aspect that only the balance of money or produce payable to the landlord periodically under the terms of the document of transfer will constitute michavaram. We entertain no doubt that in respect of a kanom holding, the contract rent can only be the michavaram stipulated in the kanom deed as payable by the kanom tenant to his landlord. Further, the effect of the inclusive definition of the expression 'rent' contained in Section 2 (49) is to lay down that for the purposes of the Act, in respect of kanom transactions the michavaram payable by the kanom tenant shall be regarded as 'rent'. For this reason also, it must be held that the contract rent in respect of a kanom tenant is the michavaram payable under terms of the kanom deed.
9. In Ravi Brahmadathan Namboodi-ripad v. Devassy, 1958 Ker LT 654, a Full Bench of this court has held that the michavaram payable under a kanom demise is 'rent' and that hence a suit for recovery of arrears of michavaram had to be stayed under Section 4 of the Kerala Stay of Eviction Proceedings Act, 1957 (Act 1 of 1957). Shortly thereafter, in Kelappan Nair v. Payingaten, 1961 Ker LT 527, a Division Bench of this court had occasion to consider the question whether a rent court constituted under Section 15 of the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1939 had jurisdiction to fix the fair rent of a kanom holding prior to the Mala-bar Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1956 (Act 22 of 1956). As in the case of the Act, in the Malabar Tenancy Act also there were separate definitions for the expressions 'rent' and 'michavaram'. It was contended in that case that since the two expressions had been separately defined the michavarom payable under the kanom transaction could not be regarded as rent. Repelling the said contention, the Division Bench observed:
'Michavarom, no doubt, has a separate definition in Section 3 (21) of the Act. That definition says:
'Michavaram means whatever is agreed by a kanamdar in a kanam deed to be paid periodically, in money or in kind or in both, to or on behalf of the jenmi'. The fact that there is a separate definition of the expression michavaram does not, however, mean that michavaram cannot be taken in by the definition of the expression rent. The word 'michavaram' occurs in many sections of the Act and a separate definition of the expression only means that the Legislature thought that such a definition was necessary in the interest of simpler draftsmanship. All that a definition clause in an enactment does is to provide a little dictionary of its own for the purposes of the Act.
The existence of a separate definition of the expression 'Michavaram' seems to be the foundation for the conclusion reached by Ansari, C. J., as will be clear from the following extract from the judgment in C. R. P. No. 135 of 1960 (Ker);
'The petitioners' learned advocate argues that the insertion of the words was due to unnecessary caution on the part of the legislature, the word rent in the Act being wide enough to cover what be due from the kanamdar, and the objection to any fair rent being fixed for the kanamdar was not tenable even under the Act as it stood before the amendment. In other words he has urged that the jurisdiction to fix the fair rent covered the kanamdar's claims for fixation of such rent even before the amendment.
The aforesaid argument, however overlooks that the Act calls what be payable by the kanamdar (is) 'michavaram' and not rent. The former word has been defined separately by Section 3 (21) to be whatever is agreed by a kanamdar in a kanam deed to be paid periodically in money or in kind or in both or on behalf of the jenmi. The Act therefore does not treat the word to be synonym of rent, which is defined separately by Section 3 (25). It is true that the liability to pay money is included in both, but a debtor's liability is also to pay money and in part of Malabar kanam tenure was once treated to be a form of mortgage. It follows that vesting a court under Section 16 with the jurisdiction to fix fair rent would not be wide enough to confer it with authority to vary the liability to pay the michavaram as well, and such a court would be without the statutory jurisdiction to interfere were a kanamdar to pray the variation of his liability. The inevitable consequence is that the fixation of the fair rent under Section 16 prior to the amendment would be beyond the statutory jurisdiction, and the decree would be treated as nullity were the court with ordinary jurisdiction asked to allow the contract rent'. It is true that the expressions 'michavaram' and 'rent' as defined in the Act are not synonymous as stated in the judgment. What we are saying is that the former is included in the latter, and the existence of separate definitions do not preclude such a result.
* * * In the light of what is stated above we hold that a Rent Court constituted under Section 15 of the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929, had jurisdiction to fix the fair rent of a kanom holding even prior to the amendment effected by Act 22 of 1956, and that this petition should be allowed. We do so, though in the circumstances of the case without any order as to costs.'
Unfortunately the Full Bench decision in Ravi Brahmadathan Namboodiripad v. Devassy, 1958 Ker LT 654, does not appear to have brought to the notice of the Division Bench which decided Vasudevan Namboodiripad v. Muhammed Rutty, 1975 Ker LT 727. That case arose out of a kanom tenant's application for assignment of the right, title and interest of the landowner. Under the kanom deed the michavarom payable was only 25 odd paras of paddy, but, for the purposes of calculation of the michavarom, the 'total annual rent' had been mentioned as 200 paras of paddy. The Land Tribunal had fixed the purchase price by treating the michavarom of 25 odd paras of paddy as the contract rent and the said decisionwas confirmed by the Appellate Authority (Land Reforms), Trichur. The landowner preferred a revision petition before the High Court contending that the total 'pattern' of 200 paras of paddy mentioned in the document should have been regarded as the contract rent. Upholding the said contention of the landowner the Division Bench allowed the revision petition citing with approval the decision of a learned single Judge of this Court in Subhadra Thampatty v. Muhamad, 1972 Ker LT 459, as lending support to the said view. Dealing with the contention advanced before it on the side of the kanom tenant that under the very definition of the expression 'rent' contained in Section 2 (49) michavarom was to be regarded as rent, the Division Bench observed that the said definition only showed that while customary dues were intended to be excluded michavarom was not intended to be so excluded in calculating rent and the definition does not mean that 'michavarom' was synonymous with 'rent'. With respect, we are unable to agree with this view. Relying on the circumstance that the two expressions 'michavarom' and 'rent' have been separately defined in the Act the Division Bench observed as follows :
'That the two expressions, 'michavarom' and 'rent' are not synonymous can be seen from the very definitions of those expressions also. While 'rent' is defined to mean 'whatever is lawfully payable' 'michavarom' is defined to include 'the balance of money or produce--payable periodically under the document--after deducting from the money or produce--due to the transferor, the interest due on the amount advanced to the transferor. That shows that but for the interest on the amount advanced to the transferor what is due to the transferor is something more than michavarom. The decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Kelappan Nair v. Payingaten, 1961 Ker LT 527, a case arising under the Malabar Tenancy Act, is also to the same effect.'
With respect we have to point out that the Division Bench was wrong in assuming that the decision in Kelappan Nair v. Payingaten, 1961 Ker LT 527, lent support to its view that michavarom is not rent. The ratio of the decision in Kelappan Nair's case, 1961 Ker LT 527, is that though the expressions 'michavarom' and 'rent' are not synonymous, the former is included in the latter and the existence of separate definitions did not preclude such a result. As already noticed, the question raised in that case was whether a rent court has jurisdiction to fix the fair rent of a kanom holding prior to the Malabar Tenancy (Amendment) Act, 1956 treating michavarom as the contract rent and this court answered it in the affirmative.
10. In Subhadra Thampatty v. Kunjan Haji, 1972 Ker LT 459, (which ruling has been cited with approval and followed by the Division Bench in Vasudevan Namboodiripad v. Muhammed Kutty 1975 Ker LT 727), the question raised was whether for the purpose of fixation of fair rent under Section 27 of the Act the contract rent in respect of lease with munpattom was to be taken as the total rent stipulated for the land or only the residual rent payable after deducting the interest on the munpattom. Bhaskaran, J. held that the fair rent had to be fixed on the basis of the gross contract rent without deducting therefrom the interest' on munpat-tom. This ruling is not a direct authority on the question as to what is the contract rent in the case of a kanom transaction -- whether it is the michavarom payable by the kanom tenant or wheher it is the gross pattom or profits mentioned in the document as derivable from the property on the basis of which the michavarom has been calculated.
11. In the unreported judgment in C. R. P. Nos. 475 of 1973 and 1043 of 1974 another Division Bench of this court has to deal with a dispute between an intermediary and a landowner concerning the apportionment of the compensation payable under Section 72A of the Act in respect of right, title and interest of the landowner and the intermediary which had become vested in the State Government under Section 72 of the Act. Sub-section (2) of Section 72G lays down that the amount of sixteen times the fair rent of the holding or part, the right, title and interest in respect of which have vested in the Government, shall be apportioned among the landowner and the intermediary or intermediaries in proportion to the profits derived by them from the holding or part. There is an Explanation to the Section which states that the expression 'profits derived from the holding' shall mean in the case of the landowner, the rent to which he is entitled and, in the case of an intermediary, the difference between the rent due to him from his tenant and the rent for which the intermediary is liable to his landlord. Though the transactions concerned in the two cases before the Division Bench were styled as mortgages it was conceded that they created tenancies under the Act. The mortgages concerned were the intermediaries since the lands comprised in the mortgages had been Sub-leased by them. The mortgage deeds stipulated for payment of purapad by the mortgagees and while setting out details of the mode of calculation by which the purapad had been arrived at, mention was made in the documents about the gross pattom or profits derivable annually from the property, the interest payable on the mortgage amount, the revenue due in respect of the land etc. One of the questions raised before the Division Bench was whether 'for determination of the quantum of the profits derivable from the holding' by the landowner the rent to which he was entitled was to be taken as the gross pattom mentioned in the mortgage deed or only the actual purapad stipulated in the documents as payable by the mortgagees. Dealing with this point, the Division Bench observed as follows:--
'And, were we asked as to what 'profits' were 'derived by them from the holding' we would have no hesitation to answer that the landlord (or the landowner as the case may be) was getting as profits, not the sum total of consideration stipulated or agreed upon as rent but only the residual rent he was receiving after appropriation by the tenant as per the terms and conditions of the contract of tenancy, and that the intermediary was collecting as profits what he was actually receiving from his tenant as per the terms and conditions agreed upon between the intermediary and his tenant. Would it make any difference, and would the answer be in any manner different that the question is posed after the right, title and interest of both the landowner and the intermediary have been blotted out by legislation and their respective right, title and interest in the holding have come to be represented by the compensation amount calculated in accordance with the provisions contained in Section 72A of the Act. We do not think so..... The above conclusion reached by us is also supported to a certain extent by the inclusive definition of 'rent' in Section 2 (49) of the Act, according to which 'rent' means whatever is lawfully payable in money or in kind or in both by a person permitted to have the use and occupation of any land to the person so permitting, and includes michavaram, but does not include customary dues.'
The above observations of the Division Bench, though made while dealing with the case of a mortgage, are quite apposite in the present context and, in our opinion, the legal position has been correctly stated therein. This unreported decision had been brought to the notice of the Division Bench which decided Vasu-devan Namboodiripad v. Muhammed Kutty, 1975 Ker LT 727, but the Division Bench was of the view that the scope of the aforesaid observations had to be understood as limited to cases of apportionment between the landowner, intermediary and cultivating tenant under the provisions of Section 72G of the Act and that they cannot govern cases relating to fixation of the purchase price on the basis of 'fair rent' and 'contract rent' for a kanom holding. With respect, we consider that the ground of distinction mentioned in the decision in Vasudevan Namboodiripad's case, 1975 Ker LT 727, is not correct or sustainable. The question directly considered in the judgment in C. R. P. Nos. 475 of 1973 and 1043 of 1974 was what was the rent payable by the mortgagees in those cases, whether it was the gross pattom mentioned in the mortgage deeds or only annual purapad provided for in the documents. As already indicated by us, the expression 'contract rent' has to be understood as the 'rent' payable under the contract. The mortgage documents in those cases had been found to be transactions creating the relationship of landlord and tenant. Hence the court was called upon to consider the question as to what was the 'rent' payable by the tenant under the terms of the documents evidencing the contract of tenancy, that is, what was the 'contract rent' payable by the tenant. That question was answered by this court by holding that only the annual purapad payable under the mortgage deeds and not gross Pattom mentioned therein could be regarded as the 'rent' payable to the land owner (mortgagor). In our opinion, this represents the correct legal position and the contrary view taken in Vasudevan Namboodiripad v. Muhammed Kutty, 1975 Ker LT 727, and Subhadra Thampatty v. Kunjan Haji, 1972 Ker LT 459, cannot be accepted as correct.
12. As tersely observed by Madhavan Nair, J. in Balakrishnan v. Parameswaran Namboodiri, 1968 Ker LT 128, in the context in which the word 'pattom' is used in documents of kanom and mortgage it can only mean the rental estimate of the property that had been made the basis for fixation of the annual michavarom or the residual profit that the mortgagee has to pay to the mortgagor year after year and it does not denote the rent payable (by) the kanomdar or the mortgagee.
13. To sum up, we hold that in the case of kanom transactions the 'contract rent' can only be the michavarom payable by the kanom tenant to the landlord under the terms of the demise and not the gross pattom mentioned in the document as the basis for calculation of the michavarom.
14. In the light of the foregoing conclusion we allow C. R. P. No. 2388 of 1976, set aside the orders of the Appellate Authority (Land Reforms), Trichur and the Land Tribunal, Manjeri and remit O. A. No. 1153 of 1972 to the Land Tribunal, Manjeri for fresh disposal in accordance with law and in the light of the principles laid down in this order.
15. C. R. P. No. 1611 of 1977 is also allowed. We set aside the order of the Appellate Authority (Land Reforms), Kozhikode and the order of the Land Tribunal, Beypore in S. M. C. No. 993 of 1973 will stand restored. The parties will bear their respective costs in both the civil revision petitions.