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Mardala Samigadu and ors. Vs. Paida Sreenivasalu Reddy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in57Ind.Cas.708
AppellantMardala Samigadu and ors.
RespondentPaida Sreenivasalu Reddy
Excerpt:
madras estates land act (i mad. of 1908), section 40(a), (b) scope of - rent in kind, commutation of, into money rent, principles of. - - he also held, as regards the complaint of the tenants that the irrigation sources were not in good order, that they were in a fairly good condition and that water was being supplied through outs or vagus made in the bund. but in oases where rent in kind is paid, the highest money rent of a taluk is not a safe guide;.....regards sub-clause (b), here again it is clear that what the estates land act contemplates is the money rent payable by occupancy ryots in an estate. if there was evidence about other lands belonging to the estate adjoining the village in question and if the money rents had been paid by the ryots of those lands, then under clause (b) the collector ought to have taken into account these rates. we have been informed by the learned advocate-general, and the evidence supports him that the village of sathambedu with which we are concerned is surrounded on all sides by government villages. mr. srinivasa aiyangar stated that within a radius of 8 miles there are villages belonging to the estate. but as we read sub-clause (b), we are not prepared to hold that the rates in other villages which do.....
Judgment:

1. These are suits by tenants against the landlord to settle the terras of a pattah and also in case the Court should come to the conclusion that the rent payable is, in kind, to settle, under Section 40 of the Estates Land Act, the commutation rate in money. In the first instance the Deputy Collector came to the conclusion that the rent is payable in kind and not in money. He further held that out of 20 tooms the landlord's share was 9 1/2 tooms. He also held, as regards the complaint of the tenants that the irrigation sources were not in good order, that they were in a fairly good condition and that water was being supplied through outs or vagus made in the bund. Upon that conclusion he proceeded to determine the commutation rate under Section 40 of the Estates Land Act. He fixed the yield at 12 puttiet of grain for the whole village, and fixed the value of each putti at Rs. 50 for purpose of commutation and directed that in respect of each of the holdings this amount be apportioned. The District Judge confirmed that judgment. In appeal Mr. Srinivasa Aiyangar contended that both the lower Courts have ignored the principles which should guide them under Section 40 of the Estates Land Act. The learned Vakil did not argue that these Rules are inflexible and are conclusive. What he argued was that it was the duty of the Courts below to have taken into amount the principles enunciated in subclasses (a) and (b) of Section 40 in arriving at a conclusion regarding the commutation rate. There can be no doubt that if those clauses are applicable and if the lower Courts had ignored them, that should be regarded as an irregularity in procedure which would entitle this Court to sat aside the whole judgment. We think, however, that these clauses sire not applicable to the present ease and that the lower Courts did not misdirect themselves. As was pointed out by the learned Advocate General, Clause (a) contemplates the existence of grain rent paid for a series of years by the tenant, and the finding of the value of that payment in kind by the process indicated. The evidence in this case is that for over 30 years there has been a consolidated payment in money varying from Rs. 200 to Rs. 260. This is not a matter which the Courts have to lake note of under Clause (a). It is said that one of the villagers on behalf of the rest took a lease of the rent payable to the landlord and apportioned its payment among the rest of the villagers. Apparently the lower Courts were not inclined to accept this view. There is evidence to show that the renter did keep accounts. These accounts have not been produced. The evidence which under Clause (a) will be material is what each of the tenants paid to the landlord. Even that is not available. In these circumstances we think the sub-Clause (b) is not applicable.

2. As regards Sub-clause (b), here again it is clear that what the Estates Land Act contemplates is the money rent payable by occupancy ryots in an estate. If there was evidence about other lands belonging to the estate adjoining the village in question and if the money rents had been paid by the ryots of those lands, then under Clause (b) the Collector ought to have taken into account these rates. We have been informed by the learned Advocate-General, and the evidence supports him that the village of Sathambedu with which we are concerned is surrounded on all sides by Government villages. Mr. Srinivasa Aiyangar stated that within a radius of 8 miles there are villages belonging to the estate. But as we read sub-Clause (b), we are not prepared to hold that the rates in other villages which do not adjoin the suit village but are separated from it by a long distance can afford any criterion for settling the rate of rent. We must, therefore, hold that the loner Courts have not lost sight of the guidande which Sub-clauses (a) and (b) of Section 40 are expected to give them in determining the commutation rate.

3. The Deputy Collector in a very carefully written judgment refers to ether evidence, Exhibits IX, XX and XVIII are accounts relating to the years 1885, 1908 and 1894. The conclusion which the Deputy Collector came to was that the total yield of the village was 10 putties of grain. He added 2 putties as a rough estimate of increase in the yield. The District Judge, on the same materials, has fixed the annual yield of the village as 12 putties; the reason that he gives is that there must have been some extension of cultivation. There is no legal evidence upon which this finding can be based. The mere fact that at one time the wet land was measured to be 33 and odd acres, and at the date of the suit it was measured and found to be 50 acres in extent does not indicate that there has been any extension of cultivation at all. We do not know what the basis of measurement as regards the original 33 acres was; it is notorious that in these estates there has been considerable variation in regard to the measurement of lands. In our opinion, there is no evidence upon which the District Judge could come to the conclusion that there has been any extension of cultivation. The result is that there is no legal basis upon which the yield of the land can be increased from 10 to 12 putties. We must hold that the yield of the land is only 10 putties.

4. The next question is what should be the commutation rate for each putti. Notwithstanding the mistake committed by the learned District Judge in saying that Rs. 50 was proved by a particular witness as the average for the last 10 years, we are of opinion that he is right in holding that the price of each rutti should on an average be fixed at Rs. 50. The only evidence that we have before us is that given by a witness for the defendant, who says that for the last 5 years the rate has varied from Rs. 55 to 60. We think that, on the whole, the proper conclusion to come to is that a putti should be regarded as equivalent to Rs. 50. Mr. Srinivasa Aiyangar drew cur attention to the fact that, according to the report of the Court of Wards, the highest rate of money rent payable in the Taluk in respect of each acre is not more than Rs. 15. No doubt where the rent is paid in money, that would be regarded as the rate that should not be exceeded. But in oases where rent in kind is paid, the highest money rent of a Taluk is not a safe guide; nor is a reference to the enfranchisement of rents where the full assessment has been paid of much assistance in settling the rate of rent in this village. On the whole we have come to the conclusion that we must fix Rs. 500 as the rent payable in respect of the whole village. And this amount will be apportioned in respect of each of the holdings as has been done in the lower Courts. We make no order as to costs.


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