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Secy. of State Vs. Sree Rajah Parthasarathy Appa Rao Savayi Aswa Rao Bahadur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1932Mad697
AppellantSecy. of State
RespondentSree Rajah Parthasarathy Appa Rao Savayi Aswa Rao Bahadur and ors.
Excerpt:
- - this clearly cannot be considered as an order of the government and cannot therefore bind us. ' the plaintiff has given some evidence to show that the mohtad was rendering private services to the zamindar, but too much reliance cannot be placed on this evidence inasmuch as it is well-known that the village public servants also render private services to the zamindar. on the whole i am not satisfied that the government have succeeded in showing that mohtad's inams in these two second appeals are liable to be enfranchised under act 2 of 1894. i agree with the order passed by my learned brother with respect to these inams......of 44 acres 1 cent. the parties will bear their own costs throughout.3. now coming to mohtad's inams, 'mohtad' is not mentioned as such in section 2, madras act 2 of 1894. the government pleader claims that it falls under the third heading 'village watchmen or police officers.' the last clause of the section provides:in case of doubt whether a village officer in any estate falls under any of the above classes the government shall have power to decide whether such village officer comes under any of the above classes and if so under which of them.4. in this case if there is an order of the government holding that mohtad falls under the heading 'village watchmen or police officers' that would be binding upon us and we cannot go behind that order. there is no such order by the.....
Judgment:

Ramesam, J.

1. These second appeals arise out of suits to set aside enfranchisement of village service inams and are similar to S.A. No. 648 of 1927 batch. They relate to six village. The first village of Chanubanda is a separate estate now owned by Rajah Parthasarathi Appa Rao one of the sharers of Nidadavole estate. The next three villages Sobbala, Chennavaram and Arlapadu were parts of Komera estate and are now owned by separate owners. Vemagunta is a separate estate by itself and the last village Koduru was originally part of the Rajapetta estate. All these estates are mentioned in the notification at p. 176 of the Fort. St. George Gazette dated 8th February 1910, the same as the notification in S.A. No. 648 batch and probably formed part of the ancient zamindari of Jamulavayi Medurghat. The first village with which we are concerned is the village of Chanubanda. The first question that arises is the question of limitation. In para. 10 of the plaint the date of the cause of action is stated to be 27th April 1921 when the plaintiff caused notice to be sent to the defendants asking them to quit the suit lands, the reason for the notice being that defendants 2 to 9 gave up rendering service to the plaintiff and accepted the patta issued by defendant 1 and denied the reversionary rights of the plaintiff. But no date earlier than 27th April 1921 was mentioned as the date when the defendants gave up rendering service and denied the plaintiff's reversionary rights Similarly in para. 7 of the plaint there is an allegation that defendants 2 to 9 had given up rendering the said services and the plaintiff had to get them done by others. But there is no statement as to the data when all this happened. The Government did not take up the point in the written statement, para. 6, simply saying that the suit was barred by limitation. No issue was framed as to the date from which the services had not been rendered. The plaint therefore is in some respects similar to the plaints in the Telaprole batch and we cannot assume that the defendants refused to render services from a date more than six years prior to the date of the plaint which is 6th February 1922. We cannot hold that the suit is barred by limitation. The cases have therefore to be disposed of on the merits.

2. First I will take the vetti's inam. The Subordinate Judge finds that even according to the document prior to 1845 (Ex. 3) which according to him need not be rejected the extent of the inam was 2-k, 9-v and 8-p, or 44 acres 1 cent. Because the extent now enfranchised is 170 acres odd he says the whole enfranchisement is invalid. I do not see why the enfanchisement is invalid even as to 44 acres 1 cent. To this extent the second appeals must be allowed and the suits dismissed even on the findings of the Subordinate Judge. We have already held in S.A. No. 648 batch that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show that the suit lands were included in the assets at the time of the permanent settlement and that there was a subsequent grant by him. But by reason of Ex. 3, it may be said that the burden has been discharged for the extent in excess of 44 acres 1 cent. Therefore the second appeals relating to vettis should be allowed to the extent of 44 acres 1 cent. The parties will bear their own costs throughout.

3. Now coming to mohtad's inams, 'mohtad' is not mentioned as such in Section 2, Madras Act 2 of 1894. The Government Pleader claims that it falls under the third heading 'village watchmen or police officers.' The last clause of the section provides:

In case of doubt whether a village officer in any estate falls under any of the above classes the Government shall have power to decide whether such village officer comes under any of the above classes and if so under which of them.

4. In this case if there is an order of the Government holding that mohtad falls under the heading 'village watchmen or police officers' that would be binding upon us and we cannot go behind that order. There is no such order by the Government. The only order we have in the case is by the Inam Deputy Collector before proceeding to enfranchise. He declared that mohatad falls under the heading 'village watchmen or police officers.' But as this is not an order of the Government and as the Inam Deputy Collector is not qualified to decide the matter under the Act, we do not think this order binds us nor is it of much value in deciding the true nature of mohatad's inam as no reasons are given by the Inam Deputy Collector, Wilson's Glossary spells the word in two ways 'mohtadu' and 'motadu.' At p. 345 he defines it as 'a village messenger or peon employed on all occasions.' At p. 346 he defines it as 'an inferior revenue servant or peon whose duty it is to look after the crops.' These definitions are inconclusive. Brown's Dictionary (Edn. 1852) defines mohatad as 'a village watchman who watches the fields.' It cannot be said that the watchman of fields in a village is a village watchman. The duties of a village watchman cover the whole village and are not confined to the fields and a person who watches the fields only cannot be properly described as a village watchman. But Maclean's Glossary (Vol. 3 of Admn. p. 354 under Inam) gives 'for service of village revenue peon.' This suggests neither village watchman nor police officer. There is some evidence in second appeals 648 etc. batch giving the nature of the duties of a mohtad. I do not think that evidence is strictly relevant in this case. There is some evidence in this case for the plaintiff showing that these mohtads were rendering private services to the zamindar. But this circumstance is not conclusive. Many of the public servants in the village might also be rendering private services to the zamindar or other important citizens. That does not make them the less village servants. Oakes Register shows that there were mohtads at and even prior to the permanent settlement. Though the entries are not numerous there are a few entries showing mohtad's inams.

5. The zamindar has adduced no evidence to show (1) either a grant after the permanent settlement or (2) a grant before the permanent settlement, but on condition of rendering private service to the zamindar. In my opinion, the evidence on record on behalf of the Government is not sufficient to show that mohtads in this village fall under the description of ''village watchmen or police officers' in Act 2 of 1894. Therefore, I think the Government is not entitled to enfranchise these inams under the said Act. It may be that apart from the Act if the inams are public service inams granted prior to the settlement, the Government can still resume them. We had cases of that kind in the case of washerman in one of the second appeals which we disposed--Telaprole batch S.A. Nos. 974, etc. But in the present case there is no order of the Government purporting to resume mohtad's inams under general powers of resumption. They only purported to enfranchise tham under Act 2 of 1894; and if Act 2 of 1894 does not apply, the enfranchisement is not valid. But it does not follow from this conclusion that the land was included in the assets of the zamindari, or that the zamindar is entitled to resume the inams. All that we can say at present is that the enfranchisement under Act 2 of 1894 is not valid.

6. In the two second appeals relating to Mohtad's inam we give a declaration to that effect, leaving all other questions open. There will be an injunction restraining the Government from collecting quit rent under the enfranchisement of 1910 but this will not stand in the way of fresh resumption if they are so advised. Each party will bear their own costs throughout in the two second appeals relating to mohtads. Coming to the remaining villages, there is one common feature in the plaints relating to all these villages. In para. 5 it was alleged that these inams were enfranchised in fasli 1320 and quit rent collected. In para. 2 the cause of action was alleged to have arisen at the end of March, fasli 1320 when defendants other than defendant 1 accepted the pattas granted by defendant 1, ceased to render services to the plaintiff and denied the reversionary rights of the plaintiffs.

7. On the face of the plaints therefore the cause of action for the suits accrued on 31st March 1911 and on the view we have taken in S.A. No. 648 batch the suits are barred by limitation under Article 120, Lim. Act. Among others there is a prayer for injunction in the last paragraph of the plaint. All the second appeals from 367 onwards have therefore to be allowed on this ground. But apart from this it would be convenient to notice some points about the merits also. (The rest of the judgment is not material to this report).

Madhavan Nair, J.

8. I entirely agree. As regards the validity of the enfranchisement of mohtad's inam which is a new point arising for decision in two second appeals included in this batch (viz , 352 and 353/27) I have already expressed my opinion in S.A. No. 648 batch where the question was raised, but had not to be decided. In that connexion I pointed out the difficulties in applying Section 2, Madras Act 2 of 1894, to inams such as mohtad, kattubadi, etc. In the absence of an order from the Government that officers holding these inams fall under the class of one or other of the officers specified in the section, it is clear that the declaration for the enfranchising officer to that effect can have no validity. In the cases before us the enfranchising officer has declared that mohtad falls under the heading village watchmen or police officers. This clearly cannot be considered as an order of the Government and cannot therefore bind us. Having regard to the definitions of the term 'mohtad' as given in recognized books of authority, such as Wilson's Glossary, Brown's Dictionary, Maclean's Glossary (Vol. 3, Manual of Administration p. 354 under inam), it is difficult to say that a mohtad falls within the category of 'village watchmen or police officers.' The plaintiff has given some evidence to show that the mohtad was rendering private services to the zamindar, but too much reliance cannot be placed on this evidence inasmuch as it is well-known that the village public servants also render private services to the zamindar. It is true that there were mohtads even prior to the Permanent Settlement (See Oakes Register).

9. But this does not necessarily mean that their inams are liable to enfranchisement under Act 2 of 1894. If the mohtad's inam has been excluded from the assets of a zamindari at the time of the Permanent Settlement, it may be that the Government may resume them if the zamindar is not able to show that the inam was granted on condition of rendering private services to the zamindar. The question whether the Government can resume these inams does not arise in these cases. On the whole I am not satisfied that the Government have succeeded in showing that mohtad's inams in these two second appeals are liable to be enfranchised under Act 2 of 1894. I agree with the order passed by my learned brother with respect to these inams.


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