1. Each of these petitions raises a question as to the effect of proviso (D) to Section 3(ii) of Madras Act IV of 1938. The applicant whose case is dealt with in C.R.P. No. 1638 of 1939 is a jenmi who paid as jenmi just over Rs. 400 land revenue. But he also paid a similar sum as a kanomdar under contracts whereby the obligation to pay land revenue was undertaken by him. It does not appear that there had been any registration under Section 14 of the Malabar Land Registration Act so as to make this obligation to pay the land revenue statutory in respect of the kanom land.
2. The applicant in the case covered by C.R.P. No. 1835 of 1939 is a jenmi who paid as a jenmi Rs. 430 but also was liable to ryotwari assessment amounting to about Rs. 300.
3. The question is whether in proviso (D) the words:
is a jenmi under the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929 who pays any sum exceeding Rs. 500 as land revenue
should be taken to refer only to the land revenue paid by the jenmi on his jenmam land and not to include land revenue paid by the jenmi in respect of other lands held on other tenures. So far as C.R.P. No. 1835 is concerned, the matter is covered by a decision of King, J., in Nalupurapatti Mammad v. Narayana Pattar : (1940)2MLJ934 where the learned Judge held that for the purpose of proviso (D) the total payments of land revenue paid by the jenmi not only in respect of his jenmam land but also in respect of ryotwari land must be taken into consideration.
4. The position in C.R.P. No. 1638 is rather different, for the lands in respect of which the appellant pays land revenue under the kanom contract are lands in respect of which some other jenmi is under a liability to the Government to pay land revenue, and it would follow if the same principle is to be applied that the land revenue payable by the kanomdar who happens also to be a jenmi might disqualify both him and his own jenmi from the benefits of the Act. But there is no particular reason why if the criterion laid down in the Act is based purely on the amount of land revenue paid, two persons each liable for the same land revenue should not be equally disqualified by the payment of that land revenue to enjoy the benefits of the Act. It is true that in respect of the kanom lands the tenant, in the absence of registration, is not under a statutory liability to pay the land revenue to the Government. But when he makes the payment he does so by virtue of the contract not merely as an agent of his mortgagor but under his contractual obligations and to protect his own interests as well as that of the mortgagor. It cannot be held that one who pays land revenue under a kanom deed does not pay land revenue for himself merely because the payment enures for the benefit of his jenmi. Turning to the words of proviso (D) we find with reference to the jenmi no such qualifying words as are found with reference to the other classes of landholders enumerated. The clause does not restrict the disqualification of a jenmi by saying that a person who pays as a jenmi Rs. 500 is disqualified, or a person who pays in respect of his jenmam land Rs. 500 is disqualified. The plain words of the proviso apply to any jenmi who pays more than Rs. 500 as land revenue. I do not think we are entitled to speculate as to the possible intention of the Legislature to make the criterion not payment of land revenue, but payment of land revenue in the capacity of a jenmi. The words as they stand are plain, and even if there were ah ambiguity, on the principle that ambiguities in this measure are to be solved in favour of the person expropriated and not in favour of the expropriator, the decision would have to be such as to give the widest range to the exception contained in that proviso.
5. I am therefore of opinion that the decision of King, J., is correct and that the same principle covers also the case of the jenmi who pays land revenue exceeding Rs. 500 partly in respect of his jenmam land and partly in respect of land held under kanom. Both the revision petitions are allowed with costs in both Courts and the orders of the Courts below are set aside.