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M.T. Viswanathan Chettiar by Power of Agent, Balasubramania Iyer Vs. Munian Samban and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1958)1MLJ414
AppellantM.T. Viswanathan Chettiar by Power of Agent, Balasubramania Iyer
RespondentMunian Samban and ors.
Excerpt:
- - one may also presume, unless it appears that there have been exceptional circumstances, that a given year was a normal year......paddy so fixed. 2. before the rent court the petitioner stated that he did not want fixation of fair rent under the act and that what he wanted was only a division of the produce in the ratio of 40 : 60 which is the ratio fixed by statute. the rent court took the view that the petitioner was not entitled to an order directing that he should be given 40 per cent. of the produce of that particular year. according to the rent court section 7 of the act would come into operation only after the fair rent had been fixed under the act and not before. since the petitioner had stated that he did not want fixation of fair rent the rent court dismissed the petitions.3. on appeal the learned district musnif took the view that so far as the tenants are concerned the agreements they had entered.....
Judgment:

Balakrishna Ayyar, J.

1. It is convenient to deal with all these four Civil Revision Petitions together. The petitioner is a landlord and the respondents are his tenants. In February, 1953, they executed waram chits in his favour undertaking to pay rent at 60 per cent. of the gross produce. Year after year the crop was being divided on the ground at this rate. After Madras Act XXIV of 1956 came into force the respondents repudiated the provisions of the waram agreements they had entered into and wanted to convert their engagements into leases. They sent to the petitioner draft lease-deeds unilaterally fixing the rent at a certain rate. Not unntuarally the petitioner refused to accept their proposals. Subsequently in 1957 the respondents harvested the crops and, according to the petitioner, removed them without notifying him. There is no doubt that they did not share the crop on the thrashing floor. The petitioner thereupon filed four petitions before the Rent Court under Section 6 of Madras Act XXIV of 1956. He asked for three reliefs. One was for division of the produce between himself and the respondents. The other was for assessing and fixing the amount of paddy due to him. And the third was for directing the respondents to deliver the paddy so fixed.

2. Before the Rent Court the petitioner stated that he did not want fixation of fair rent under the Act and that what he wanted was only a division of the produce in the ratio of 40 : 60 which is the ratio fixed by statute. The Rent Court took the view that the petitioner was not entitled to an order directing that he should be given 40 per cent. of the produce of that particular year. According to the Rent Court Section 7 of the Act would come into operation only after the fair rent had been fixed under the Act and not before. Since the petitioner had stated that he did not want fixation of fair rent the Rent Court dismissed the petitions.

3. On appeal the learned District Musnif took the view that so far as the tenants are concerned the agreements they had entered into, became totally unenforceable. He also considered that the petitioner could not ask for 40 per cent. of the gross produce without asking the Court to ascertain the fair rent. In he result, he dismissed the appeals. The petitioner has come to this Court.

4. In certain respects Act XXIV of 1956 is hard to understand. Ideas have been incorporated in it which have not been fully thought out and the consequences thereof provided for. The rent Court took the view that Section 7 would come into operation only after the fair rent had been fixed. There is something to be said for that point of view, but, if it were correct it would mean that till the fair rent is fixed--and the process might take considerable time--the tenants could remove the entire crop and the landlord would be without any visible remedy. Such a result should, if it is possible to do so, be avoided. It is noticed that though Section 7 prohibits a tenant from removing any portion of the produce in such a manner as to prevent the due division thereof no penalty appears to be attached for disregard of this provision.

5. I do not share the view of the learned District Munsif that so far as the tenants are concerned the agreements which they had entered into with the petitioner in 1953 became wholly unenforceable. As I read the Act only those portions of the agreement which are repugnant to the Act would be superseded by it; in other respects the agreements would prevail, which means that the petitioner in the case would be entitled to have his rent paid in kind.

6. The question that really arises is what is to be done pending the fixation of fair rent under the Act. Normally one may start on the basis that a contract that the parties have voluntarily entered into is a fair and reasonable one. In this particular case the proportion in favour of the landlord was originally fixed at 60 per cent. By reason of Section 4 of the Act that 60 per cent. has to be altered to 40 per cent. One may also presume, unless it appears that there have been exceptional circumstances, that a given year was a normal year. The crop obtained in 1957 may therefore be presumed to be a normal crop and the petitioner is entitled to 40 per cent. of a normal crop.

7. In the circumstances I would set aside the decision of the courts below and remit the matter back to the Rent Court for determining what the gross produce was which each of the respondents realised from the land in 1957. The respondents were bound to deliver to the petitioner 40 per cent. of the grain in kind. But, owing to lapse of time it is impossible to require them to deliver the grain in kind. All that they can be now required to do is to pay the price of that grain. In determining the date as on which the price of the grain is to be determined it is difficult to avoid a certain amount of arbitrariness, but some: date has nevertheless to be fixed. The Rent Court will fix the price as on 1st October, 1956 and 1st February, 1957. The respondents will naturally get credit for the deliveries of grain they have made. The value of the grain so delivered will be as on the date on which the deliveries were made. If the respondents-have made any over-payment they will naturally get a refund. The petitioner will get his costs in this Court.


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