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The Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tanjore Vs. Sami Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1918)35MLJ410
AppellantThe Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tanjore
RespondentSami Chettiar
Cases ReferredGangama Naidu v. The Secretary of State
Excerpt:
- - it is not denied that the suit must fail, if the rule applies......by the proceedings as he was not a party, to them and therefore he cannot be looked upon as a person aggrieved by them. i do not think this argument is sound in the present case. we have here to deal with eviction proceedings and in such a case though a man may not be a party, to the proceedings resulting in the order for eviction and therefore not affected by it his rights may be subsequently invaded by the actual eviction itself and thereby he may become a person aggrieved. that is the position in the present case. it will ba noticed that the section does not say that the persons suing should be aggrieved by any proceedings 'against them.' these words ' against them' are not in the section and we cannot read them into it.7. the result therefore is that plaintiff in the present.....
Judgment:

S

Krishnan, J.

1. In this case plaintiff sues to recover from the defendant, the Secretary of State for India in Council, a small plot of land in the village of Thuhili with Rs. 35 as damages for the demolition of a cattle shed on it. In his plaint he alleges that the land in question belongs to him, that in any event he has acquired a title to it by adverse possession for over 60 years, that he hid leased it out to his tenant one Appaswami Chetty, and that while it was in the latter's possession, the Collector of Tanjore issued notice to his tenant under Madras Act III of 1905 and evicted him. wrongly treating the land as Government property and that the Defendant's Revenue Inspector demolished the cattle shed on it which also belonged to plaintiff. He asserts that these poceed ngs are not valid and binding on him and seeks to recover possession of the land with damages as above stated. He puts his cause of action as arising in June 1914 on the date of eviction and states that even if the period of limitation prescribed by Section 14 of Act III of 1905 be held applicable, his suit is saved by the fact that the final orders on his petition to the Collector were only passed in July 1915, the suit being within six months of that date. The defendant, among other pleas, raised the plea that the suit was barred by limitation. The District Munsif upheld.this plea and dismissed the suit without a trial'on the merits as under Section 14, the cause of action arises on the date of eviction, the final orders of the Collector not affecting the question. On appeal however, the Subordinate Judge reversed that decision holding that the general law of limitation applied to the case and not the rule laid down in Section 14, and remanded the case for trial on the merits. It is against that order that the defendant has appealed to us. The Government Pleader contends for him that the six months' rule in Section 14 applies and that the suit should be dismissed as barred by limitation. It is not denied that the suit must fail, if the rule applies. -The question for decision therefore is whether the special rule in Section 14 of Act III of 1905 or the general law of limitation applies to this case,

2. Section 14 provides that nothing in that Act should be held to prevent persons deeming themselves aggrieved by proceedings under the Act, except as provided before in it, from applying to the Civil Courts for redress. The act thus preserves the right of such persons under the general law of the country to sue in the ordinary Civil Courts to enforce their rights which have been invaded by such proceedings. But under the second part of the section such suits are subjected to the limitation of 6 months from the date of cause of action and this term is explained, in the case of eviction to.be the date of eviction. The effect of this section is thus to substitute a period of 6 months for the various periods provided in the Limitation Act for all suits which come within the provisions of the 1st part of it.

3. From a perusal of the allegations in the plaint there can be no doubt that the plaintiff's case is that the eviction proceedings and the demolition of his shed were wrongs done to him under the Act and he asks for redress of these wrongs by possession of the property being returned to him and by compensation being paid to him for the destroyed building. The case therefore seems to fall exactly within the scope of the section.

4. The Subordinate Judge has taken the view that though plaintiff may be a person actually aggrieved by the proceedings under the Act, he should still not be considered to be a nerson 'deeming himself so aggrieved,' those being the words of the section, because in his opinion plaintiff has nowhere expressly admitted it in his plaint ha holds that the present suit is one 'brought to vindicate plaintiff's general title.' I am quite unable to accept this view. It is not necessary that plaintiff should say in so many words in his plaint that he has been aggrieved but if the effect of the allegations he makes shows that he considers himself aggrieved by the action of the Collector he is the person who will come within the words 'a person deeming himself aggrieved.'

5. His allegations show that the eviction proceedings were an invasion of his rights in the property, as it must be, as the eviction is carried out under an assertion of title in the Government and a consequent denial of the title,and right to possession in every one else. To show that the eviction proceedings were illegal and were a grievance to him, it was quite necessary for him to aver title in himself and therefore that averment cannot be taken as necessarily showing that his suit was only one for vindicating his general title. It is not necessary to consider if plaintiff could have framed his suit omitting all reference to the eviction proceedings, in such a manner as to avoid the applicability of Section 14. It is sufficient to say that the present suit is not such a suit.

6. It is next argued that so far as the claim for possession based on plaintiff's title is concerned it should be treated as outside the scope of Section 14 and not necessarily a redress for the wrong done by eviction. This question was considered in the case of Kolla, Gangama Naidu v. The Secretary of State for India in Council (1916) 2 M.W N. 82 : 3 L.W. 315 and both the learned. Judges there held that the wording of Section 14 is wide enough to include claim for recovery of possession. It cannot be denied that re-delivery of possession is one of the ways of redressing a person who has been wrongfully evicted. The only difference between that case and the present one is that where as in that case the person evicted was the plaintiff himself, the man evicted here is the plaintiff's tenant as he was in occupation of the land at the time. I do not think this makes any difference as to the applicability of Section 14 to the present suit. Under Section 6 of the Act eviction proceedings have to be taken against the person occupying the land and against none else. The validity of the proceeding in the present case is not therefore affected in any way by notice not having been served on the plaintiff. In fact plaintiff himself applied to the Sub-Collector against the notice and subsequently sent a lawyer's notice to the Collector against it, all before the eviction. He was aware of the proceedings and treated them, as affecting his rights, and it is not alleged that the proceedings were vitiated by any irregularity. It is suggested that he is not bound by the proceedings as he was not a party, to them and therefore he cannot be looked upon as a person aggrieved by them. I do not think this argument is sound in the present case. We have here to deal with eviction proceedings and in such a case though a man may not be a party, to the proceedings resulting in the order for eviction and therefore not affected by it his rights may be subsequently invaded by the actual eviction itself and thereby he may become a person aggrieved. That is the position in the present case. It will ba noticed that the section does not say that the persons suing should be aggrieved by any proceedings 'against them.' These words ' against them' are not in the section and we cannot read them into it.

7. The result therefore is that plaintiff in the present suit is a person deeming himself aggrieved by proceedings under Madras Act III of 1905, seeking redress in the Civil Court and the 6 months' rule applies to the suit. The decree of the Subordinate Judge must therefore be reversed and that of the District Munsif restored with costs here and in the lower Court.

Spencer, J.

8. I agree that the appeal must be allowed and the decree passed by the District Munsif restored with costs throughout. The prayer in the plaint is plainly for redress for the proceedings taken by the Revenue authorities under Act III of 1905. The rest of the plaint and the conduct of the plaintiff in petitioning those authorities and in giving a notice of suit to the Collector make it impossible for him to deny that he is a person ' deeming himself to be aggrieved ' by proceedings under that Act.


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