1. This revision under Section 103 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, Act I of 1964 as amended by Act 35 of 1969, for short the Act, has been placed before us on a reference by a learned single Judge as it 'raised a question of some general importance,'
The first revision petitioner is the husband of the second revision petitioner. Respondents I to II are kudikidappukars, four of them under the first revision petitioner, and the rest under the second revision petitioner; each one of them on applications filed under Section 80-B of the Act has been allowed by the Special Tahsildar (Land Reforms) to purchase ownership of ten cents of land belonging to the revision petitioners, and that order has been confirmed by the Appellate Authority.
2. The Special Tahsildar found that the revision petitioners together held an extent of 5.03 acres of land; the correctness of this finding was disputed by the revision petitioners in their appeal before the Appellate Authority; that authority, on a reappraisal of the evidence on records found that the total extent held by the revision petitioners came to 5.1714 acres. Though there is slight variation in regard to the extent of land held by the revision petitioners between the findings of the Special Tahsildar and the Appellate Authority, both the findings are that the revision petitioners together held more than 5 acres In extent, we do not propose to examine the correctness of the finding recorded by the Appellate Authority on a question of fact.
3. Proceeding to his next contention, which appears to have given rise to the reference to the Division Bench, the counsel for the revision petitioners submitted that the order of the Special Tahsildar, as confirmed by the Appellate Authority, deserves to be set aside to the extent, and in so far as, it enabled each of the seven respondents (kudikidappukars) under the second revision petitioner to purchase 10 cents of land, as it was vitiated by a basic error in the matter of approach. According to him the Special Tahsildar acted against the spirit of the relevant provisions of the Act in disposing jointly of the four applications for purchase against the first revision petitioner and the seven applications against the second revision petitioner, and in fixing the extent of land each of them was entitled to purchase taking into account the aggregate extent of land held by the revision petitioners, as though what they held was an integrated holding of one person. It is his argument that the Special Tahsildar ought to have fixed the extent of land each of the four respondents (kudikidappukars) under the first revision petitioner was entitled to purchase, and so also fixed the extent each of the seven respondents (kudikidappukars) under the second revision petitioner could have been entitled to, without clubbing together the land held by the revision petitioners treating them as one entity. In effect, he adds, it would have made no difference in regard to the extent of land each of the four respondents (kudikidappukars) under the first revision petitioner would have been entitled to as they together would have been entitled to purchase 40 cents of land by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 80-A (4) (d) of the Act, and that would work out at 10 cents per head, which is equal to what the Special Tahsildar has allowed each of the respondents to purchase. In the case of the seven respondents (kudikidappukars) under the second revision petitioner the position would have been, it is pointed out, far different, inasmuch as, if Clause (c) of Sub-section (4) of Section 80-A, instead of Sub-section (5) of Section 80-A, is applied to the facts of the case, taking the individual holding of the second revision petitioner separately without tagging it on to that of the first revision petitioner, the second revision petitioner, who held land more than two acres, but less than three acres, in extent would have been liable to part with only an extent of thirty cents, which when shared equally among the seven respondents (kudikidappukars) would have given each of them a right to purchase only 4-2/7 cents, as against 10 cents allowed in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (5) of the said section. For the purpose of Section 80-A the extent of the land held by a person who is a member of a family has to be understood subject to the provisions of Sub-section (12) of that section; and Clause (b) of that sub-section lays down as follows:--
'In calculating the extent of land held by a person who is a member of a family and the number of kudikidappukars in the lands held by such person, the extent of the land held individually by any member of his family or jointly by some or all of the members of such family, and the number of kudikidappukars thereon shall also be taken into consideration.'
As defined in Section 2 (14) of the Act, 'family' means husband, wife and their unmarried minor children or such of them as exist. Counsel for the revision petitioner would contend that the term 'family' occurring in Sub-section (12) means 'joint family', as distinguished from 'family' as defined in Section 2 (14). What the sub-section contemplates, according to him, is the adding up of the share of the joint family property of the person to his individual property. This interpretation sought to be given by the revision petitioners is not only far fetched and imaginary, quite unwarranted by the plain words employed in the subsection, but also is the result of overlooking the definition of the term 'person' contained in Section 2 (43) of the Act. We have no hesitation to hold that the term 'family' used in Section 80-A (12) of the Act, in the absence of any contrary intention, express or implied, carries no other shade of meaning, except the plain meaning contained in the definition clause, Section 2 (14) of the Act. In this view, we are at a loss as to where lies the material irregularity or basic error in the approach made by the Special Tahsildar or the Appellate Authority, who having found that the revision petitioners-together held land in excess of more than five acres, allowed each of respondents I to II to purchase 10 cents as provided under Section 80-A (5) read with Section 80-A (12) (b) of the Act.
The revision is without merit, and is dismissed, however, without any order as to costs.