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Tulabandu Basavayya Alias Chinna Basavayya Vs. Sri Satyabhigna theerthaswamulu Varu (Deceased) Trustee and Worshipper of Sri Ramachandraswami and Head of the Uttaradi Mutt by His Power-of-attorney Agent Markapuram Srinivasacharyulu and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Ptn. Nos. 1407, 1408 and 1622 of 1947
Judge
Reported in(1950)IIMLJ607
ActsTenancy Law; Madras Estates Land Act, 1908 - Sections 3(2) and 3(16); Madras Estates Land (Amendment) Act, 1945
AppellantTulabandu Basavayya Alias Chinna Basavayya
RespondentSri Satyabhigna theerthaswamulu Varu (Deceased) Trustee and Worshipper of Sri Ramachandraswami and H
Appellant AdvocateK. Kotayya and ;K. Ramamurthy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateB.V. Ramanarasu, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredSuryanarayana v. Venkatadu
Excerpt:
.....as village - held, petition dismissed. - - 5. the original grant as well as the inam title deed not being available to show whether the grant wag expressed to be of a named village we have to look to the other evidence to find out the nature and extent of the inam grant. in this case, the minor inam in question of the extent of 5 acres 6 cents was originally granted by the zamindar and it is probable that he reserved a right of resumption or a right of reverter on failure of the grantee's heirs......confirmed on recognised by the british government. it is a matter of common knowledge that whole inam-villagea or major inams as they wore called, were alone brought under the purview of the act but not grants of portions of a village styled as minor inams. in many cases it was found that though the grant was stated to be of a named village described by boundaries, small areas situated therein which had already been granted away on service or other tenure, were not included in the grant. in some cases poromboke lands set apart for the use of the village community were excluded from the inam grant of a village. inam : villages of this description were also regarded as 'estates' and the tenants of 'ryoti' lands in such villages ware considered to have acquired permanent tights of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Viswanatha Sastri, J.

1. These three civil revision petitions arise out of three suits instituted in the Court of the District Munsif of Tenali, by the head of the Uttaradi Mutt as trustee of a religious endowment, for the recovery of lands in the possession of the defendants in the respective suits. The averments in the pleadings, the issues raised and the evidence adduced ate common to the three suits which were tried together and decided by a common judgment, both original and appellate. The lands in suit are situate in Devarapalle agraharam. The plaintiff's case was that the defendants in each of the three suits were his lessees whose term had expired but who, nevertheless, continued in possession of the lands under an untenable claim of permanent occupancy rights. The defendant contended that the lands in the suit were 'ryoti' lands situated in an 'estate' and that they had therefore acquired occupancy rights therein under Section 6 (1), Madras Estates Land Act, hereinafter referred to as the Act. They also pleaded that the civil Court had no jurisdiction to try the suits. The learned District Munsif upheld the plea of the defendants and returned the plaints in the three suits for presentation to the revenue Court. On appeal the learned Subordinate Judge reversed that decision and directed the lower Court to proceed with the trial of the three suits holding that the lands in question were not ryoti lands and that the suits for the ejectment of the tenants of those lands were cognizable by the civil Court. The defendants in the three suits have preferred these civil revision petitions against the decision of tbe appellate Court.

2. The point involved in these civil revision petitions and on which the rights of the parties depend, is whether the lands in suit are 'ryott' lands as defined in Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act, and that question again depends upon whether the Devacappale agraharam granted in inam to the predecessor-in-title of the plaintiff is an 'estate' as defined in the Act. According to the plaintiff this point is concluded in his favour by the decision of a Bench of this Court in Ademma v. Satyadyana Thirtha Swamivaru : AIR1943Mad187 which dealt with other lands of the same character situated in the same village. The plaintiff was a party to that decision but not the defendants, and therefore there is no question of res judi-cata. According to the defendants, Madras Act II [2] of 1945 was enacted in order to supersede the decision in Ademma v. Satyadhyana Thirtha Swamivaru : AIR1943Mad187 and the matter is now res integra to be decided on the evidence in this case.

3. Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act declares that an inam gcant is an 'estate', if the grant was of a village and had been made, confirmed on recognised by the British Government. It is a matter of common knowledge that whole inam-villagea or major inams as they wore called, were alone brought under the purview of the Act but not grants of portions of a village styled as minor inams. In many cases it was found that though the grant was stated to be of a named village described by boundaries, small areas situated therein which had already been granted away on service or other tenure, were not included in the grant. In some cases poromboke lands set apart for the use of the village community were excluded from the inam grant of a village. Inam : villages of this description were also regarded as 'estates' and the tenants of 'ryoti' lands in such villages ware considered to have acquired permanent tights of occupancy under the Act. In Nara-yanaswami Naidu v. Subrahmanyam, 39 Mad. 683 : A. I. R. 1916 Mad. 263, the distinction between major and minor inams was brought out in these terms:

'The definition in Sub-section 2, Clause (d) (of Section 3), was obviously intended to exclude from the definition of 'estate' what ara known as minor inams, namely, particular extents of land in a particular village as contrasted with the grant of the whole village by its boundaries. The latter are known as 'whole inam villages'. The existence of 'minor inams' in whole inam villages is very common and if these inam villages do not come within the definition of 'estate' almost all the agraharam, shrotriem and molchasa, villages will be excluded. This certainly cannot have been the intention ol the Legislature. These minor inams are generally granted for services to be rendered to the village or to the owner.'

Besides the minor inams granted on service or other tenure referred to in the passage above cited, there might be communal porombokes such as streets, pathways, house sites, threshing floors, tanks, cremation grounds, etc., which might have been excluded from the inam grant of the village. Even if porombokes of this kind had been included in the grant, the inamdar would hold them only as trustee for the com-munity and not as his absolute property. There-fore the law was understood to be that the omission of these minor inams and communal porombokes from grants of an inam village, did not make tha grant any the less a grant of the village if the rest of the area of the village had been granted to the inamdar. The decisions in Ademma v. Satyadhyana Tirtha Swamivaru : AIR1943Mad187 and Soori Reddi v. Agnihotrudu : AIR1943Mad764 took the view, for the first time, that a grant of anything less than the entire area of a village, as for instance by the exclusion of minor inams or porombokes from the grant would make the inam a minor inam and therefore take it outside the purview of the Act. Evidently, the decision in Narayana-swami Naidu v. Subrahmanyam, 39 Mad. 683: A. I. R. 1916 Mad. 263 was not placed before the learned Judges of the Division Bench that decided the two later decisions above referred to. 4. The Legislature promptly superseded these two decisions by passing Act II [2] of 1945 which added Expl. (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act in these words:

'Where a grant as an inam is expressed to be of a named village, the area which forms the subject matter of the grant shall be deemed to be an estate notwithstanding that it did not include certain lands in the village of that name which have already been granted on service or other tenure or been reserved for communal purposes.'

It is the effect of the amending Act on this case that falls to be decided. Explanation (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) states that if an inam grant is expres-sed to be of a named village then, notwithstan-ding the non-inclusion of minor inams or communal porombokes in the grant, the inam would be an estate. The question whether an inam satisfies the terms of Expl. (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) must be decided primarily on a construction of the original grant, if it is forthcoming, or, from the title deed issued at the time of the inam settlement. If it is shown therefrom that the grant in terms was of a named village excluding minor inams and communal porombokes and not merely of an extent of lands situated in a village falling short of the remaining area of the village Expl. (1) would be attracted. Madras Act II [2] of 1945 had not the effect of converting minor into major inams but was merely intended to restore the conception of minor inams as it prevailed before the decisions in Ademma v. Satyadhyana Tirtha Smamivaru : AIR1943Mad187 and Soori Reddi v. Agnihotrudu : AIR1943Mad764 . Even after the Amending Act if it is shown that an inam grant did not comprise the entire area of a village other than lands granted on service or other tenure and communal poromobokes the inam would not be an estate within Section 3 (2) (d). If, for instance, in a pre-settlement inam grant by a zamindar (which is the present case) some lands, cultivated, uncultivated or waste, situated in a village had been retained by the zamindar for his own use or enjoyment and the entire remaining area had been granted in inam, the inam would not be an 'estate' within Section 3 (2) (d) as amended by Expl. (1). As pointed out in Venkanna v. Lakshmipathiraju 1946-1 M. L. J. 800: A. I. R. 1946 Mad. 409 from the use of the word Agraharam in a grant, it cannot be implied that the grant was of the whole village when there are 'other lands in the village' not included in such grant, The expression 'other lands in the village' meant lands other than minor inams and communal porom-bokes, which, however, wore not included in the grant. This decision was given after the enactment of Expl. (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act and it applies to the present case as I shall pre-sently show.

5. The original grant as well as the inam title deed not being available to show whether the grant wag expressed to be of a named village we have to look to the other evidence to find out the nature and extent of the inam grant. The evidence consists of an extract from Ram's register prepared some time about the year 1800, the inam statement and extract from the inam register of 1861 and two maps of 1892 and 1920 respectively. In Eam's register the village is described as Devarappalle agraharam and the year of the inam grant is stated to be fasli 1173. No further particulars are stated as regards the area of the village or the extent of the inam grant. There is no reference to any minor inam. This register was taken into consideration at the time of the inam settlement and formed part of the material on which the conclusion of the inam Commissioner waa based as would appear from the extract of the inam register filed in this case. The inam statement and the extract from the inam fair register, however, furnish valuable and authentic information about the nature and extent of the original grant and it is to these documents that I attach great importance. The inam settlement of this village took place in 1861. The original grant had been lost aven then. Neither the area nor the boundaries specified in the original grant could therefore be ascertained and the column appropriate to these particulars according to the original grant waa not filled up in the inam register. The gudikat (total extent) of the village was stated to be 6-6 kuchelas or 158 acres 22 cents out of which an extent of one kuchela or 25 acres 10 cents was savaram or sari land under Government i. e., ryotwari land, and extent of Order 4 kuchela or 5 acres 6 cents was a minor inam and the balance of 128 acres 6 cents was the extent of the inam granted to the predecessor of the plaintiff. It appears' from pp. 820 and 321 of the Krishna District Manual that the zamindar who made the inam grant fell into arrears of peishoush and the Government attached and sold his lands and purchased them in 1846. Among the lands so purchased by the Government must have been this extent of 1 kuchela or 25 acres 10 cents retained by the zamindar as his savaram or seri, that is to say, as his own private land in the village of Devarapalle agraharam. After the purchase by the Government it became a ryoti. wari land and it ia described in the inam state-ment as savaram land under the Government and in the inam register as seri. It follows that the inam grant in this case was of an area com-priaed in a village which was less than its total area (excluding minor inams) by 25 acres 10 cents representing the savaram or seri land. In other words, the grant was not of a village even under Expln. (1) to Rule 3 (2) (d) of the Act. Exhibits D-3 and D-4 are plans prepared in 1892 and 1920 to show blocks of zamindari lands or inam lands within zamindaries, which were under wet cultivation, locally known as mamool wet. Evi-dently these plans were prepared in order to fix the lauds which are entitled to a right of irrigation from existing sources before the Government undertook the construction of new irrigation works of the Krishna river system. These maps do not throw any light on the nature or extent of the original grant. There is no evidence that Devarapalle agraharam is desigrat-ed as a village in the revenue accounts or that there are separate revenue accounts for the village, maintained by a karnam. I therefore agree with the opinion of the learned Subordi-nate Judge that neither at the time of the original grant nor subsequently was the extent of 128 acres in Devarapalle agraharam granted to the plaintiff's predecessor treated aa a village.

6. In this view it is unnecessary to consider at length the other contentions raised by the learned advocate for the respondent, but I shall briefly advert to them.

7. Mr. Ramanarasu argued that the extent of 5 acres 6 cents shown as minor inam in the inam register extract was a personal inam and oould not be said to be lands held on 'service or other tenure' within the meaning of Expln. (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act. There is no authority on this point beyond a passing observation of Panchapagesa Sastri J. in Suryanarayana v. Venkatadu : (1949)1MLJ520 to the effect that personal inams might fall within the category of lands held on service or other tenure within the meaning of Expln. (1) to Section 3 (2) (d) of the Act. In this case, the minor inam in question of the extent of 5 acres 6 cents was originally granted by the zamindar and it is probable that he reserved a right of resumption or a right of reverter on failure of the grantee's heirs. Consequently, it might be said that there was some kind of tenure in respect of the original grant of the inam though not a service tenure. It is, however, unnecessary to express a final opinion on this point in view of my decision on the main question.

8. The last contention of Mr, Eamanarasu, the learned counsel for the respondent, was that the lands in question which were granted to the Uttaradi Mutt Swamigal for the Nitya Naivedya Deeparadhana of Sri Ramachandraswami and which were described as Devadayam lands and confirmed free of any quit rent at the time of the inam settlement, were lands held on service tenure and therefore taken out of the category of 'ryoti' lands under Section 3 (16) (c) of the Act. This contention is wholly untenable. The lands vest in the deity aa owner, the Uttaradi Mutt Swamigal being merely the manager for the time being. There was no grant to any person as remuneration for any designated service to be rendered by him and his successors, to the deity. The income of the lands is to be appropriated to the daily worship of the deity and both the income and the corpus belong to and vest in the deity as owner. The deity is a juristic person capable of holding property and the deity cannot be said to be rendering service to itself. The argument of the learned counsel has been con-sistently rejected in decisions of this Court, both reported and unreported, on which I am unable to lay my hands at the moment. I agree with the judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge and dismiss these civil revision petitions with costs.


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