Skip to content


C.S. Balarama Iyer and anr. Vs. Krishnan Kunchandi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R.P. No. 291 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1968Ker240
ActsTenancy Law; Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1964 - Sections 102; Kerala Civil Courts Act, 1957 - Sections 6; General Clause Act, 1897 - Sections 13(2); T.C. Interpretation and General Clauses Act, 1125 - Sections 12(2)
AppellantC.S. Balarama Iyer and anr.
RespondentKrishnan Kunchandi
Appellant Advocate T.S. Venkiteswara Iyer and; R.C. Plappilly, Advs.
Respondent Advocate K. Kuttikrishna menon and; A.P. Chandrasekharan, Advs.
Cases ReferredDhandhania K. & Co. v. Commr. of Income Tax
Excerpt:
- .....and general clauses act, 1125, provides that, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, words in the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa. the words 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context' preclude the application of the provision to section 102 of the act. if the words 'the subordinate judges' are substituted for the words, 'the subordinate judge' in the section, a result that is absurd will follow. sub-section (1) will then read as follows:--'any person aggrieved by the orders of the land tribunal under . . .section 31 ...... may appeal against such order within such time as may be prescribed to the subordinate judges having jurisdiction over the area in which the holding or part thereof is situate. they shall hear the appeal as.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This C. R. P. is directed against the judgment of the Additional Subordinate Judge of Palghat in C. M. A. No. 47 of 1965. The petitioners in the C. R. P. werp the respondents in the C. M. A.

2. The C. M. A. was filed by the respondent before us. It challenged the correctness of the fixation of fair rent by the Lard Tribunal. Palghat, under Section 31 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 The fixation was in pursuance of his application. O. A. No. 813 of 1962, which had been renumbered as Application No. 307 of 1964.

3. The C. M. A. was filed under Section 102 of the Act. Sub-section (1) of that section, in so far as it is material for the purpose of this case, reads as follows : --

'Any person aggrieved by the ordersof the Land Tribunal under . . . Section 81 . . .may appeal against such orderwithin such time as may be prescribed tothe Subordinate Judge having jurisdictionover the area in which the holding or partthereof is situate. He shall hear the appealas a persona designate and his decision thereon shall be final, subject to the provisions of Section 103.'

Section 103, subject to which finality is conferred on the decision in appeal, is the section which provides for revision by the High Court, and under which this petition has been filed.

4. The first contention of the petitioners is that an Additional Subordinate Judge is not entitled to deal with an appeal under Section 102 of the Act. The contention is supported by the decisions of this Court in C. R. P. No. 33 of 1966 (Ker) and in C. R. P. No. 290 of 1966 (Ker). As we are in agreement with those decisions the other contentions in the case do not arise for consideration and are not considered in this order.

5. Section 102 makes it clear that the appellate jurisdiction is conferred not on any court but on a persona designate. A persona designata, as the phrase implies, is a person pointed out or described as an individual, as opposed to a person ascertained as a member of a class, or as filling a particular character. But this does not mean that a persona designata cannot be designated in terms of his office. A person can be described in many ways, and it is not uncommon in Indian legislation to designate a person in terms of the office he occupies.

6. Section 12(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act, 1125, provides that, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, words in the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa. The words 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context' preclude the application of the provision to Section 102 of the Act. If the words 'the Subordinate Judges' are substituted for the words, 'the Subordinate Judge' in the section, a result that is absurd will follow. Sub-section (1) will then read as follows:--

'Any person aggrieved by the orders of the Land Tribunal under . . .Section 31 ...... may appeal against such order within such time as may be prescribed to the Subordinate Judges having jurisdiction over the area in which the holding or part thereof is situate. They shall hear the appeal as persona designata and their decision thereon shall be final, subject to the provisions of Section 103.'

This will mean that every appeal under Section 102 will have to be heard and decided by all the judges of the court concerned. Such a procedure could not possibly have been intended by any legislature.

7. Section 12(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act. 1125, corresponds to Section 13{2) of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (Central Act 10 of 1897). A case in which the plural was excluded by the words 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context' is Dhandhania K. & Co. v. Commr. of Income Tax, AIR 1959 SC 219. The Supreme Court said:

'It was argued that under Section 13(2) of the General Clauses Act, 1897, words in the singular should be read as including the plural and that, therefore, the definition of previous year' in Section 2(11) of the Indian Income-tax Act. 1922, could be read as meaning 'previous years'. But Section 13 only enacts a rule of construction which is to apply 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,' and to read a 'previous year' as 'previous years' in Section 2(11) would be to nullify the very definition of a 'previous year' enacted therein, and such a construction must therefore be rejected as repugnant to the context.'

8. The words used in Section 102 are 'the Subordinate Judge having jurisdiction over the area in which the holding or part thereof is situate' and not 'a Subordinate Judge having jurisdiction over the area in which the holding or part thereof is situate.' Section 270 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, uses the words 'a District Judge'. So does Section 273 of that Act. The use of the words 'a District Judge' instead of the words 'the District Judge' was emphasised In Ganpat v Mahadeo, AIR 1949 Nag 408. The Court said.

'It is relevant to observe that section 270 speaks of probate, etc., being granted by a District Judge and not by the District Judge. Section 273(b) is even clearer in this respect. The proviso speaks of probates and letters of administration granted

'by a District Judge, where the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode situate within the jurisdiction of such Judge', etc.

Now If only one Judge was contemplated one would have expected the definite article 'the' to have been used in that particular context'

6. Subordinate Courts are established and Subordinate Judges are appointed under the Kerala Civil Courts Act, 1957. Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of that Act provides that the Government may, in consultation with the High Court, establish in each district such number of Subordinate Judge's Courts as they deem necessary. And subsection (2) of that section provides that the Government may, in consultation with the High Court, fix, and from time to time vary, by notification in the Gazette, the number of Subordinate Judges to be appointed for a Subordinate Judge's Court.

10. If plurality is out as regards theexpression 'the Subordinate Judge' in Section 102 of the Act, the question still remains as to who is the Subordinate Judgecontemplated by that provision when thereare more than one Subordinate Judge attached to a Subordinate Judge's Court. Toresolve that question we think we mustpostulate the occupant of an office in whichplurality is impossible.

11. Section 6 of the Kerala Civil Courts Act, 1957, provides that when more than one Subordinate Judge is appointed to a Subordinate Judge's Court, one of the Subordinate Judges shall be appointed tht Principal Subordinate Judge and the others Additional Subordinate Judges. In the case, of the Principal Subordinate Judge multiplicity is impossible; and we think we should hold that the expression 'the Subordinate Judge' in section 102 of the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963, means the Subordinate Judge when there is only one Judge attached to a Subordinate Judge's Court and the Principal Subordinate Judge when there are more than one Judge attached to such a Court.

12. In the light of what is stated abovethe decision of the Additional SubordinateJudge of Palghat in C. M. A. No. 47 of 1965has to be set aside and the case remanded tothe Principal Subordinate Judge of Palghatfor a fresh hearing and disposal in accordance with the law. We de so; but in the circumstances of the case without any orderas to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //