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Pavadai Pathan and anr. Vs. Ramaswami Chetty and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1922Mad351; (1922)43MLJ191
AppellantPavadai Pathan and anr.
RespondentRamaswami Chetty and ors.
Cases ReferredIn Devaraja Nayakar v. Ammani Ammal
Excerpt:
- - , though the decisions may be perfectly sound so far as they excluded pasture lands from 'ryoti land' for the purpose of the madras estates land act, the learned judge's definition would exclude sugarcane, indigo, tea, flower, tobacco and betal cultivation from agriculture......judge was right in treating a lease of lands for growing casuarina trees to be used for fuel as a lease for agricultural purposes within the meaning of section 117 of the transfer of property act.2. with due deference while accepting that the case was rightly decided, i am unable to follow the opinion of bhashyam aiyangar j. in murugesa chetti v. chinnathambi goundan i.l.r. (1901) mad. 421 that the word 'agricultural' in its more general sense comprehends the raising of vegetables, fruits and other garden products as food for man and beast, if the learned judge intended thereby to limit it to the raising of food products. for to so restrict the word would be to exclude flower, indigo, cotton, jute, flax, tobacco and other such cultivation. for the purpose of that particular case, which.....
Judgment:

Spencer, J.

1. I feel no doubt that the Subordinate Judge was right in treating a lease of lands for growing casuarina trees to be used for fuel as a lease for agricultural purposes within the meaning of Section 117 of the Transfer of Property Act.

2. With due deference while accepting that the case was rightly decided, I am unable to follow the opinion of Bhashyam Aiyangar J. in Murugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan I.L.R. (1901) Mad. 421 that the word 'agricultural' in its more general sense comprehends the raising of vegetables, fruits and other garden products as food for man and beast, if the learned Judge intended thereby to limit it to the raising of food products. For to so restrict the word would be to exclude flower, indigo, cotton, jute, flax, tobacco and other such cultivation. For the purpose of that particular case, which related to a lease of betel gardens, considering the policy of favouring agriculture, upon finding that they produced a form of food, the connection between agriculture and the production of food may have seemed important, but such a limitation is not supported by the definition of agriculture in the Oxford Dictionary which is 'the science and art of cultivating the soil, tillage, husbandry, farming (in the widest sense)'. This dictionary notes that a meaning restricted to tillage is rare. In Bouvier's Law Dictionary 'agriculture' is the cultivation of soil for food products or any other useful or valuable growths of the field or gardlen.

3. Anderson's Dictionary of Law quoted by the learned Judge is not available, for verifying whether the growing of other than food crops was intended by the author to be excluded.

4. Shephard J, who sat with Bhashyam Aiyangar J, conceded that the earlier decision in Kunhayen Hazi v. Mayan I.L.R. (1894) Mad. 98 to which he was a party, which decided that the lease of a coffee garden was not an agricultural lease, was wrong.

5. I am equally unable with respect to agree with the narrow definition of Sadasiva Aiyar J. in Seshttyya v. Rajah of Pittapur I.L.R. (1913) Mad. 73 : 25 M.L.J. 578, and Rajah of Veukatagiri v. Avyappa Reddi : (1916)31MLJ214 , that agriculture means the raising of annual or periodical grain crops through the operation of ploughing, sowing, etc., though the decisions may be perfectly sound so far as they excluded pasture lands from 'ryoti land' for the purpose of the Madras Estates Land Act, The learned judge's definition would exclude sugarcane, indigo, tea, flower, tobacco and betal cultivation from agriculture.

6. In my opinion agriculture connotes the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour; and thus it will include horticulture, arboriculture and selviculture in all cases where the growth of trees is effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operations as those of ploughing, sowing, planting, pruning, manuring watering, protecting, etc.,

7. The Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is dismissed with costs.

Ramesam, J.

8. In Murugesa Chetty v. Chinnathambi Gouudan 3, It was held that a I lease of a land for growing a betel nut garden was for an agricultural purpose. In the course of the judgment it was observed by Bhashyam Iyengar J, that the term 'agriculture' was used in its more general sense as comprehending the raising of vegetable, fruits and other garden product, as food for man and beast'. The learned judge's observations were intended to bring the betel garden under the term 'agriculture' and not to exclude something which was not food for man or beast. The definitions in Webster's Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary show that the term has a still more general sense than the general sense he referred to but it was unnecessary for his purpose to consider them. In Bouvier's Law Dictionary the term is defined as 'the cultivation of soil for food products or any other useful or valuable growths of the field or garden, etc.' Wharton's Law Laxicon adopts the definition of agriculture in 8 Edw. VII C. 36 as including 'horticulture, forestry and the use of land for any purpose of husbandry etc.' In 10 Edward VII C, 8. Section 41 it was defined so as to include the use of land as meadow or pasture land or orchard or osier or Woodland, or for market gardens, nursery grounds or allotments etc. 'In 57 and 58 Vict C. 30, Section 22, the term agricultural property was defined so as to include agricultural land, pasture and woodland etc.' In Jagadish Chunder Sanyal v. Lal Mohan Poddar (1910) 13 C.L.J. 318 , the definition of Webster was approved and two American cases were also mentioned as having followed that definition, though it is not clear for what purpose. To give a narrower interpretation to the term and to confine it to the raising of products vised as food fori man or beast will exclude all cultivation of fibrous plants such as cotton, jute and linen and all plants used for dying purposes, such as indigo etc., and all timber trees and flowering plants. I do not think this is the intention of the act. The rearing of casuarina plantation requires some preparation of the ground and subsequent care by watering the plants. The cases in the Estates Land Act, Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Ayyapp a Reddi 25 M.L.J. 578 , Seshayya v. Rajah of Pittapur : (1916)31MLJ214 , turn on the special policy of the Act - See Section 6(4) and cannot help us here. In Devaraja Nayakar v. Ammani Ammal (1915) 3 L.W. 319, the point was not argued, being conceded by the learned Vakil and with great deference I think that the learned Judges misconstrued the judgment of Shephard J in 24 Mad. 421. I am there-fore of opinion that a lease for seven years for casuarina plantation is an agricultural lease within the meaning of Section 117 of the Transfer of Property Act and is therefore not governed by Section 107 of the Act. The appeal therefore fails and is dismissed with costs.


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