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Pavadi Pathan and anr. Vs. Ramaswami Chetty and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in70Ind.Cas.657
AppellantPavadi Pathan and anr.
RespondentRamaswami Chetty and ors.
Cases ReferredMurugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan
Excerpt:
transfer of property act (iv of 1882), section 117 - lease for growing casuarina trees, whether for agricultural purposes--'agriculture,' meaning of. - - , though the decisions may be perfectly sound so far as they excluded pasture lands from 'raiyati land' for the purposes of the madras estates laud act......as food for man and beasts, if the learned judge intended thereby to limit it to the raising of food products. for to so restrict the word would be to exclude flower, indigo, cotton, jute, flax, tobacco and other such cultivation. for the purpose of that particular case, which related to a lease of betel gardens, considering the policy of favouring agriculture, upon finding that they produced a form of food, the connection between agriculture and the production of food may have seemed important, but such a limitation is not supported by the definition of agriculture in the oxford dictionary which is, 'the science and art of cultivating the soil, tillage, husbandry, farming (in the widest sense).' that dictionary notes that a meaning restricted to tillage is rare. in bouvier's aw.....
Judgment:

Spencer, J.

1. I feel no doubt that the Subordinate Judge was right in treating a lease of lands for growing casuarina trees to be used for fuel as a lease for agricultural purposes within the meaning of Section 117 of the Transfer of Property Act. With due deference, while accepting that the case was rightly decided, I am unable to follow the opinion of Bhashyam Iyenga J. in Murugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan 24 M. 421 that the word 'agriculture' in its more general sense comprehends the raising of vegetables, fruits and other garden products as food for man and beasts, if the learned Judge intended thereby to limit it to the raising of food products. For to so restrict the word would be to exclude flower, indigo, cotton, jute, flax, tobacco and other such cultivation. For the purpose of that particular case, which related to a lease of betel gardens, considering the policy of favouring agriculture, upon finding that they produced a form of food, the connection between agriculture and the production of food may have seemed important, but such a limitation is not supported by the definition of agriculture in the Oxford Dictionary which is, 'the science and art of cultivating the soil, tillage, husbandry, farming (in the widest sense).' That dictionary notes that a meaning restricted to tillage is rare. In Bouvier's aw Dictionary 'agriculture' is the cultivation of soil for food products or any other useful or valuable growths of the field or garden.

2. Anderson's Dictionary of Law quoted by the learned Judge is not available for verifying whether the growing other than food crops was intended by the author to be excluded.

3. Shepherd, J., who sat with Bhashyam Iyengar, J., conceded that the earlier decision in Kunhayen Haji v. Mayan 6 Ind. Dec. 68 to which he was a party, which decided that the lease of a coffee garden was not an agricultural lease was wrong.

4. I am equally unable, with respect, to agree with the narrow definition of Sadasiva Iyer, J., in Ravu Seshayya Garu v. Rajah of Pittapur 34 Ind. Cas. 730 and Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Ayappa Reddy 21 Ind. Cas. 532 that agriculture means the raising of annual or periodical grain crops through the operation of ploughing, sowing, etc., though the decisions may be perfectly sound so far as they excluded pasture lands from 'raiyati land' for the purposes of the Madras Estates Laud Act.

5. The learned Judge's definition would exclude sugar-cane, indigo, tea, flower, tobacco and betel cultivation from agriculture.

6. In my opinion 'agriculture' connotes the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour; and thus it will include horticulture, arboriculture and silviculture in all cases were the growth of trees is effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operations, as those of ploughing, sowing, planting, manuring, watering, protecting,' etc.

7. The civil miscellaneous appeal is dismissed with costs.

Ramesam, J.

8. In Murugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan 24 M. 421 it was held that a lease of land for growing a betel nut garden was for an agricultural purpose. In the course of the judgment it was observed by Bhashyam Iyengar, J., that the term 'agriculture' was used in its more general sense as comprehending the raising of vegetables, fruits and other garden products, as food for men and beat. The learned Judge's observations were intended to bring the betel garden under the term 'agriculture' and not to exclude something winch was food for man or beast. The definition in Webster's Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary show that the term has a still more general sense than the general sense he referred to, but it was unnecessary for his purpose to consider them. In Bouvier's law Dictionary the term is defined 'as the cultivation of soil for food products and other useful or valuable growths of the field or garden, etc.' Wharton's Law lexicon adopts the definition of agriculture in 8 Edw. VII, C. 36 as including 'horticulture, forestry and the use of land for any purpose, of husbandry, etc.,' in 10 Edw. VII, C. 8, Section 41 it was defined so as to include the use of land as meadow or pasture land, or orchard or osier or wood land, or for market gardens, nursery grounds or allotments, etc.,' In 57 and 58 Vic, C. 30, Section 22, the term agricultural property was defined so as to include agricultural land, pasture land, and woodland, etc. In Jagadish Chandra Sanyal v. Lal Mohan Paddar 7 Ind. Cas. 864 the definition of Webster was approved and two American cases were also mentioned as having followed that definition, though it is not clear for what purpose. To give a narrow interpretation to the term and to confine it to the raising of products used as food for man or beast will exclude all cultivation of fibrous plants such as cotton, jute and linen and all plants used for dyeing purposes, such as indigo, etc., and all timber trees and Howering plants. I do not think this is the intention of the Act. The rearing of casuarina plantation requires some preparation of the ground and subsequent care by watering the plants. The cases in the Estates Land Act Rajah of Venkatagiri v. Ayappa Reddy 21 Ind. Cas. 532 : 25 M.L.J. 578 Ravu Seshaya Garu v. Rajah of Pittapur 34 Ind. Cas. 730 turn on the special policy of the Act [(see Section 6 (4),] and cannot help us here. In Devaraja Naicken v. Ammani Ammal 34 Ind. Cas. 539 the point was not argued, being connected by the learned Vakil, and with great deference I think that the learned Judge misconstrued the judgment of Shepherd, J., in Murugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan 24 M. 421. I am, therefore, of opinion that a lease for seven years for casuarina plantation is an agricultural lease within the meaning of Section 117 of Transfer of Property Act and is, therefore, not governed by Section 107 of the Act. The appeal, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs.


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