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The Panchayat Board, Akumella by Its President, Chilakala Peddu Anki Reddi Vs. Dubba Venkata Reddi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1945Mad506; (1945)2MLJ176
AppellantThe Panchayat Board, Akumella by Its President, Chilakala Peddu Anki Reddi
RespondentDubba Venkata Reddi and anr.
Cases ReferredIn Ismail Ariff v. Mohamed Ghous
Excerpt:
- .....c.j.1. the appellant is the panchayat board of akumella. within the jurisdiction of the board is a public latrine used by the women of the village. in 1939 the board decided to carry out repairs to this and other latrines within its jurisdiction; but as regards the latrine with which the suit is concerned, the board was obstructed by the respondents, who claimed that the latrine had been erected on land forming part of their private cattle yard and was used merely by their own women folk. the result was that the board filed a suit in the court of the district munsiff of nandyal for a declaration that the latrine was vested in the board and for an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the work of the repair. the district munsiff held that the defendants' case was.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. The appellant is the Panchayat Board of Akumella. Within the jurisdiction of the Board is a public latrine used by the women of the village. In 1939 the Board decided to carry out repairs to this and other latrines within its jurisdiction; but as regards the latrine with which the suit is concerned, the Board was obstructed by the respondents, who claimed that the latrine had been erected on land forming part of their private cattle yard and was used merely by their own women folk. The result was that the Board filed a suit in the Court of the District Munsiff of Nandyal for a declaration that the latrine was vested in the Board and for an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with the work of the repair. The District Munsiff held that the defendants' case was entirely untrue, that the latrine was a public latrine used by the women of the Chinna Bazaar, that the Board had been in possession of the site within the statutory period and that the latrine was vested in the Board. On this basis the declaration and injunction asked for were granted. The District Munsiff's findings were concurred in by the Subordinate Judge of Kurnool, except that he did not consider the question of the vesting of the latrine in the Board. The defendants appealed to this Court. Their appeal was heard by Byers, J., and he allowed it on the ground that the suit did not lie because the Board had been unable to show that the property had vested in it either by statute or by some grant or acquisition. The present appeal is from the judgment of the learned Judge.

2. We consider that Byers, J., erred in interfering with the decree of the Subordinate Judge. 'The finding that the latrine was a public latrine used by the women of the village was binding on the learned Judge. It was not necessary for the purpose of granting relief against the defendants for the Court to hold that the site had legally vested in the Board. The Panchayat Board was in control of the latrine and had properly decided to repair it. The action of the defendants in interfering with this work was the action of trespassers; and the Board, being in possession, even without a legal title, was entitled to an injunction restraining trespassers from interfering with its possession. In Ismail Ariff v. Mohamed Ghous , the Privy Council held that lawful possession of land was sufficient evidence of right as owner as against a person who was merely a trespasser and that the former could obtain a declaratory decree and an injunction restraining the wrongdoer. The Panchayat Board was not entitled to a declaration of ownership, but it was entitled to a declaration that it was in possession and to an injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with its possession. The defendants had no rights whatever in the property. The Board was carrying out a public duty in looking after this public latrine, and it is entitled to the assistance of the Court. The appeal from the judgment of Byers, J., is allowed and the decree of the Subordinate Judge restored with costs here and in the second appeal.


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