Skip to content


(B. Rajarajeswara Sethupathi) Rajah of Ramnad and anr. Vs. Chona Ramanatha Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931Mad609
Appellant(B. Rajarajeswara Sethupathi) Rajah of Ramnad and anr.
RespondentChona Ramanatha Pillai
Cases ReferredNarayanaswamy v. Venkataramana
Excerpt:
- .....this, when it is worth the while of the zamindar to do so, he may demand the rent according to the tree-tax method of assessment, that is, at so much per tree. naturally, this method will only be adopted when the resulting rent would be more than the 'sarasari' rent. the respondent's complaint in this case was that it was open to the appellant to claim the one or the other but not both. on 3rd october 1922 the appellant caused a notice to be affixed which was then unknown to the respondent, that unless payment of both the 'sarasari' and the tree-tax was made the holding would be put up for sale. the respondent on coming to know of this, deposited the amount claimed, rs. 23 and odd on 7th march 1923 under protest and brought this suit for damages on 6th april 1923.2. both the lower courts.....
Judgment:

Pandalai, J.

1. The defendant appeals from a decree by which the lower Court has ordered him to pay damages to the extent of Rs. 14-11-3 to the respondent. The suit was brought under Section 213, Estates Land Act, for damages for recovery, by compulsion of legal process, of arrears of rent which were not due. The facts are not disputed. The respondent is the present ryot in possession of a piece of land, No. 63, Annadhana Maniam in the appellant's zamindari, which is registered as 'fysal nanja' or ancient wet, but which has subsequently been planted with fruit trees, palmyrah, etc., According to the custom of the appellant's zamindari, where wet land is allowed to remain uncultivated or where it is used for the cultivation of less remunerative crops, such as dry crops or plantain, or fruit trees, it is open to the zamindar to claim what is known as 'sarasari,' namely rent calculated on the average yield of wet lands in the village. In short he is not bound to suffer by the use to which the ryot puts his holding. As a consequence of this, when it is worth the while of the zamindar to do so, he may demand the rent according to the tree-tax method of assessment, that is, at so much per tree. Naturally, this method will only be adopted when the resulting rent would be more than the 'sarasari' rent. The respondent's complaint in this case was that it was open to the appellant to claim the one or the other but not both. On 3rd October 1922 the appellant caused a notice to be affixed which was then unknown to the respondent, that unless payment of both the 'sarasari' and the tree-tax was made the holding would be put up for sale. The respondent on coming to know of this, deposited the amount claimed, Rs. 23 and odd on 7th March 1923 under protest and brought this suit for damages on 6th April 1923.

2. Both the lower Courts have held that the appellant was entitled to choose in the circumstances which method of calculating rent he would elect to adopt but that he was not entitled to use both. The Special Deputy Collector found that the appellant had elected to adopt the tree-tax method and awarded the respondent the difference between the amount paid and the rent that would be payable on that basis. In appeal the learned District Judge held that, though the appellant had given receipts mentioning the amount paid as tree-tax, it could not be said that he irrevocably adopted the method of tree-tax assessment and allowed him to adopt the 'sarasari' method of arriving at the rent. On this footing the amount due to the respondent became reduced to Rs. 14-11-3. In this second appeal by the zamindar three points have been urged.

3. The first point is that the land was planted up with trees only at the edges and that the middle portion was vacant and cultivable with wet crops and therefore the zamindar was entitled to levy both tree-tax and 'sarasari.' There is no indication of any such point being made in the lower Courts. On the other hand the Special Deputy Collector speaks of the land as having been uncultivable and of its being fully planted up. This point therefore does not arise.

4. The second point is that the suit was barred by limitation because it was brought more than three months after the affixture of the notice under Section 112, Estates Land Act. The argument is that the cause of action accrued when the land was notified to be sold and the three months prescribed by Article 21, Part. A of the Schedule to the Estates Land Act, must be computed from that date. I cannot agree with this contention. The notice of sale was not the cause of action on which the suit was brought. In an appropriate case it may or may not be that such a notice can constitute a cause of action. It certainly was not the cause of action in this case, because the respondent, as he was entitled to do, deposited the money under Section 114 under protest to avoid the sale of property. That was the cause of action, namely the deprivation by process of law of money which the respondent was not bound to pay but was compelled to pay to avoid wrongful sale of property. The decision in Venkataramier v. Vaithilinga Thambiran [1915]38 Mad.655 which was cited in support of the argument is not applicable, because that suit was for damages for wrongful distraint and it was held that the cause of action arose on the date of the distraint. Here the cause of action was the payment of money under the compulsion of law and the cause of action accrued only on the date of payment.

5. The third and the last argument is that a suit for the return of money paid under compulsion of process for recovery of rent is not a suit for damages. No authority for this proposition has been cited. The decisions which were referred to have no bearing on this case. On the other hand, the decision in Narayanaswamy v. Venkataramana [1916] 39 Mad.239 goes far to show that the intention of the legislature was to provide a cheap and swift remedy for recovery of damages arising from improper use of the facilities provided by the Act, and that Section 189 bars the jurisdiction of civil Courts in cases in which resort to Section 213 is possible. I see no ground to say that a suit for recovery of excessive amount of money collected by the use of the procedure laid down for recovery of rent in the Estates Land Act, but which amount was really not due to the landholder as rent, should not be included in the category of suits for damages falling under Section 213. The second appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. The memorandum of objections is not pressed and is dismissed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //