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Marneni Kondappa Naidu and anr. Vs. Pamidi Marri Mahalakshmamma and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1938)1MLJ206
AppellantMarneni Kondappa Naidu and anr.
RespondentPamidi Marri Mahalakshmamma and anr.
Excerpt:
- .....rao for the plaintiffs disputes this proposition. that the suit village is an inam under the amended definition, does not admit of question and indeed mr. raghava rao admits it. but his argument is, that the suit was in respect of an amount due for the years 1920-1922, that is, before the coming into force of the 1936 act. then he turns to the definition of landholder and urges that the expression means a person owning an estate or part thereof, and goes on to contend that his client did not own an estate when the amount claimed became due, for, the shrotriem, he says, became an estate, for the first time by reason of the 1936 act. in support of his argument he relies on explanation (2) newly added to section 6 which contains the words:in relation to an inam village which was not.....
Judgment:

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. The question raised is, how these Letters Patent Appeals that were stayed, are now to be disposed of. The suits were brought for the recovery of rent in respect of lands situated in a shrotriem and it was pleaded inter alia that the village was an estate within the meaning of Act I of 1908, and that the District MunsifFs Court where the suits were filed had no jurisdiction. Both the Courts have found that the shrotriem in question is not an estate as defined by Section 3(2)(d) of the Act mentioned and have accordingly passed a decree for a certain amount. This decision of the lower Courts was confirmed by Madhavan Nair, J., and it is his judgment that is attacked in these Letters Patent Appeals. An application was made, while they were pending, under Section 127 of Madras Act VIII of 1934 that they should be stayed, presumably upon the ground that the appeals were 'proceedings involving a decision whether or not the inamdar has the kudivaram right' in the suit lands [see Section 127(2)]. The Letters Patent Appeals were accordingly stayed and now that the Amending Act XVIII of 1936 has been passed, they are posted before us for disposal.

2. The appellants (defendants) urge that the plaints should be returned for presentation to the Revenue Court; that, it is contended, is the right order to make in the circumstances that have happened. Mr. Raghava Rao for the plaintiffs disputes this proposition. That the suit village is an inam under the amended definition, does not admit of question and indeed Mr. Raghava Rao admits it. But his argument is, that the suit was in respect of an amount due for the years 1920-1922, that is, before the coming into force of the 1936 Act. Then he turns to the definition of landholder and urges that the expression means a person owning an estate or part thereof, and goes on to contend that his client did not own an estate when the amount claimed became due, for, the shrotriem, he says, became an estate, for the first time by reason of the 1936 Act. In support of his argument he relies on Explanation (2) newly added to Section 6 which contains the words:

In relation to an inam village which was not an estate before the commencement of the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936, but became an estate by virtue of that Act.

3. On the strength of those words, he says that the legislature must be taken to have intended to enact that the extended definition was to come into effect only from the date of the Amending Act, in other words, the amended Section 3(2)(d) cannot be treated as declaratory or having a retrospective effect but that the newly added categories should be treated as estates only from the date of the Act. Having regard to the scope and policy of the Amending Act, we are not prepared to hold that that is the proper construction to put upon the amended section. To the categories that under the 1908 Act were estates, was added, as it were, another category, by the amendment of Section 3(2)(d), and the words should be read as if they were present throughout in the earlier and unamended Act. Section 13 of Act XVIII of 1936 provides that all proceedings stayed under Section 127 of the 1934 Act shall be disposed of, as if the Act of 1908 as amended by the 1934 and 1936 Acts, had been in force at the original institution of the said proceedings. True, says Mr. Raghava Rao:

In virtue of this section I should be treated as a landholder on the date of my suits. But at the time the cause of action arose, that is, 1920-1922, I was not a landholder because the village was not an estate on those dates.

4. This argument, as already shown, is wrong, as in our opinion by reason of the new definition of the word 'estate', the village must be deemed to have always and throughout been an estate.

5. Mr. Raghava Rao's contention raises a question of far-reaching importance. If his argument is correct a suit for rent, say for 1934-1935 would lie in a Civil Court, for, according to him that would be the competent Court to try the claim. Such a result, it seems to us, is not the one contemplated by the amendment.

6. The proper order therefore in our opinion is to direct the plaints to be returned for presentation to the proper Court, that is, the Revenue Court. In the Letters Patent Appeals we make no order as to costs.


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