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Venkata Subbaraya Iyer Alias Papier and ors. Vs. State of Madras Represented by the Collector of Salem and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1957)2MLJ162
AppellantVenkata Subbaraya Iyer Alias Papier and ors.
RespondentState of Madras Represented by the Collector of Salem and anr.
Excerpt:
- - he pointed out that in the pattas issued by the mittadar prior to the notification the amount payable by the agraharamdars was determined only after allowing for thif deduction, 5. i am clearly of the opinion that learned counsel is not right in this submission as regards the proper construction of the words 'the rent which would have been payable to the landholder......order of the collector of salem directing the attach-ment of the petitioners' land for payment of land revenue stated to be owing by the petitioners is the subject matter of the application under article 226 of the constitution seeking the issue of a direction to quash the order of attachment.2. there is not much dispute about the facts of the case and i will state them very briefly. the petitioners claim to be the descendants of a grantee of an agraharam inam in the village of papanaickanpatti in the district of salem. the date of the original grant is stated to be as early as 17th century but nothing turns upon its exact date or its precise terms. in or about 1864 at the time of the inam settlement the quit rent payable on the property was fixed and the thrishavekam which was the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Rajagopala Ayyangar, J.

1. The legality of an order of the Collector of Salem directing the attach-ment of the petitioners' land for payment of land revenue stated to be owing by the petitioners is the subject matter of the application under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking the issue of a direction to quash the order of attachment.

2. There is not much dispute about the facts of the case and I will state them very briefly. The petitioners claim to be the descendants of a grantee of an agraharam inam in the village of Papanaickanpatti in the district of Salem. The date of the original grant is stated to be as early as 17th Century but nothing turns upon its exact date or its precise terms. In or about 1864 at the time of the Inam Settlement the quit rent payable on the property was fixed and the Thrishavekam which was the grant in favour of the petitioners was determined at 1/6th of the beriz of the lands. The petitioners held the lands now attached Under a patta under which they were bound to pay rent to the mittadar and by an arrangment between the mittadar and the agraharamdars the Thrishavekam was agreed to be deducted from this payment and the balance alone being paid to the landlolder. The village in question which was part of the mitta was taken over by the Government under the Madras Estates Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari Act (XXVI of 1948). It is now common ground that prior to the abolition of the estate and the taking over by the Government the petitioners and their co-sharers were paying to the landholder the rent normally payable less this deduction in regard to Thrishvekam right. On the notification and the taking over of this estate, the entire lands comprised in the estate became the property of the Government under Section 3 of the Estates Abolition Act. The petitioners continued to hold the lands cultivated by them on patta even after the Government took over this estate. The point that arises for consideration in this writ petition relates to the amount of the land revenue payable in regard to these patta lands.

3. Section 22 of the Estate Abolition Act provides for a settlement taking place in accordance with a notification designed for that purpose which shall embody the principles upon which the ryotwari settlement shall take place. This has not yet been done. Section 23 of the Act is the provision under which the land revenue payable to the Government till the ryotwari settlement contemplated by Section 22 is effected is to be determined. This section runs (to quote only the relevant words)

23. The land revenue payable to the Government with effect on and from the notified dates (in the present case it is 12th January, 1951) shall, until a ryotwari settlement effected in pursuance of Section 22 has been brought into force in the estate, be calculated as follows:

(a) In respect of any land held for the purpose of agriculture, not being private land (this is not such) the land revenue shall be

(i) where the rent payable to the landholder immediately before the notified date has been determined under the Madras Estates (Land Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947, the rent so determined or

(ii) where the rent has not been so determined the rent which would have been payable to the landholder in respect of the fasli year in which the estate is notified.

The other Sub-sections are not material and are therefore omitted. The officers of the Government took the view that the rent, which wou'd have been payable to the landholder in respect of the fasli year in which the estate was notified was the full rental without the' deduction for the Thrishavekam which the petitioners were entitled to deduct when payments were made to the mittadar prior to the abolition and made their demand for the payment of land revenue on this basis. The petitioners however contended that it was the rent actually paid by them i.e. after deduction that was the rent payable to the landholder or on this basis they made payments for land revenue demanded sums which did not include the Thirshavekam. The amount in arrear and for which the attachment now impugned in this petition was effected related only to this Thrishavekam deduction.

4. Mr. Chandrasekhara Ayyar learned Counsel for the petitioners contended that the rent payable to the landholder in Section 23(c)(ii) which I have extracted above would have to be only the actual amount paid and that the Government had no right to go back upon the arrangement under which the Agraharan dars or the inamdars were entitled to deduct the Thrishavekam amount from the rent. He pointed out that in the pattas issued by the mittadar prior to the notification the amount payable by the Agraharamdars was determined only after allowing for thif deduction,

5. I am clearly of the opinion that learned Counsel is not right in this submission as regards the proper construction of the words ' the rent which would have been payable to the landholder.' The meaning of the expression 'rent' here is rent for the use of the land held for the purpose of agriculture. If by reason of contract between the landholder and the pattadar the latter is entitled to deduct from this amount other sums which have no relationship to the use of the land for agricultural purposes, the deduction cannot be claimed as against the Government. The legal basis for the deduction when the mittadar was the owner is contract, a contract not connected with the use of the land for the purpose of agriculture but unrelated to it. This construction of Section 23 is in line with an earlier decision of mine in C.M.P. Nos. 5156 and 5163 of 1951 dated 8th March, 1954 to the facts of which however it is unnecessary to refer.

6. Taking the present case the Thirishavekam took the form of beriz deduction. It therefore became an amount payable by the mittadar to the Inamdars. If the discharge of that obligation took the form of a direct payament by the mittadar to the Agraharamdars it could not be contended that anything less than the land revenue now claimed by the Government, would be payable by the petitioners and other Agraharamdars. It was only by reason of a specific contractual arrangement that the mittadar effected the payment by allowing so to speak a set-off from the rent due. What I desire to point out is that the machinery employed for discharging this Thrishavekam liability ought not to cloud the issue as to its real nature. Under Section 3(a) of the Act

with effect on and from the notified date and save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act (and there is no saving in regard to the present right) all rights and interests created in or over the estate before the notified date by the principal or any other landholder, shall as against the Government cease and determine.

It is not as if the persons whose interests stem from contracts of the landholder are without remedies for under Section 3(e) any person whose rights cease and determine under Clause (c) became entitled make a claim from and out of the compensation deposited by the Government as provided in this Act. In other words those whose interests are determined under Section 3(c) have resort to the compensation deposited under Section 41 for relief (vide Section 42). In this view the order of attachment was validly made and the writ petition fails and is dismissed. The rule nisi issued will be discharged. There will however be no order as to costs.


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