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M. Krishna Aiyar Vs. the Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tinnevelly - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1910)20MLJ71
AppellantM. Krishna Aiyar
RespondentThe Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tinnevelly
Cases Referred and Haidar Khan v. The Secretary of State
Excerpt:
- - the defendant, who is the secretary of state for india in council, has failed to establish his title to the land, or any possession within 60 years before suit. it may be regarded as settled law that in circumstances like the present the possession of plaintiff throws upon the defendant the burden of proving that he has a subsisting title--vide the secretary of state for india v. 287; and this he has failed to do. the plaintiff is clearly entitled to some relief. in the present case the plaintiff's own possession of item 1 extends to 20 years, and of item 2 to 40 years, and such length of possession is sufficient to make out a title against any one including the secretary of state, the latter having failed to prove a title or possession within sixty years......years, and of item 2 to 40 years, and such length of possession is sufficient to make out a title against any one including the secretary of state, the latter having failed to prove a title or possession within sixty years. it is not contended that in order to prove his title against the secretary of state the plaintiff is bound to prove 60 years' possession, and such a contention would be untenable--vide the secretary of state for india v. kota bapanamma i.l.r. (1895) m. 165 and haidar khan v. the secretary of state for india in council i.l.r. (1908) c. 1. the plaintiff will therefore have the declaration prayed for as to items 1 and 2 with costs throughout, and the decree of the lower courts will be modified accordingly.
Judgment:

1. It is found that the plaintiff has proved possession of item 1 in himself and his vendor for 30 years and of item 2 in himself for 40 years. The defendant, who is the Secretary of State for India in Council, has failed to establish his title to the land, or any possession within 60 years before suit. The only circumstance put forward to show a title in the defendant is the fact that at the settlement in 1874 the Revenue authorities classed the items as Nattam Poramboke. This at the utmost was an assertion of title, and is not by itself sufficient to prove the title of the defendant. The judgment of this Court reported in Kattai Mahammad Meera Mohideen v. The Secretary of State for India in Council (1908) 18 M.L.J. 269 has been entirely misunderstood by the Subordinate Judge. That judgment does not lay down that the mere classification by Government of the lands as Nattam Poramboke has any legal effect whatever except in so far as it may be regarded as an assertion of title. It may be regarded as settled law that in circumstances like the present the possession of plaintiff throws upon the defendant the burden of proving that he has a subsisting title--vide The Secretary of State for India v. Kota Bapanamma Garu I.L.R. (1896) M. 165; Mutthayya Chetti v. The Secretary of State for India I.L.R. (1898) M. 100; Gangaram Chinna Patel v. The Secretary of State for India in Council I.L.R. (1995) B 798; Hanumanta Rao v. The Secretary of State for India I.L.R. (1900) B. 287; and this he has failed to do. The plaintiff is clearly entitled to some relief. It is contended that the only declaration that the plaintiff can, in the circumstances of this case, have, is that he is lawfully entitled to possession of the land. It is pointed out that this is the declaration that was given in Ganga Ram Chinna Patel v. The Secretary of State for India in Council I.L.R. (1995) B. 798 and Hanumanta Rao v. The Secretary of State I.L.R. (1900) B. 287. In the former case the plaintiff had only proved possession for 10 years which was insufficient to give him a title against any one who might be the true owner, and on the ground that he had not proved his title a declaration of title was refused. The declaration that he was lawfully entitled to possession was given because there was, as there is in the present case, a prayer in the plaint for any other relief to which the plaintiff might be entitled because the facts brought the case within the ruling of their Lordships in the Privy Council case in Ismail Ariff v. Mahomad Ghouse I.L.R. (1895) C 834 In that case the possession proved was for less than 12 years and apparently on that ground the words 'lawfully entitled to possession ' were substituted for the words 'sole and absolute owner ' which appeared in the decree of the High Court. In Hanumanta Rao v. The Secretary of State for India', also the plaintiff's possession only extended to 10 years. In the present case the plaintiff's own possession of item 1 extends to 20 years, and of item 2 to 40 years, and such length of possession is sufficient to make out a title against any one including the Secretary of State, the latter having failed to prove a title or possession within sixty years. It is not contended that in order to prove his title against the Secretary of State the plaintiff is bound to prove 60 years' possession, and such a contention would be untenable--vide The Secretary of State for India v. Kota Bapanamma I.L.R. (1895) M. 165 and Haidar Khan v. The Secretary of State for India in Council I.L.R. (1908) C. 1. The plaintiff will therefore have the declaration prayed for as to items 1 and 2 with costs throughout, and the decree of the lower Courts will be modified accordingly.


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