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Veeramalai Muthiriar Vs. Srinivasa Muthiriyar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1984)2MLJ269
AppellantVeeramalai Muthiriar
RespondentSrinivasa Muthiriyar and anr.
Cases ReferredIn Ramachandra Sastrigal v. Kuppusami Vannian
Excerpt:
- .....injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from interfering with his possession of the suit property, which is 0.80 cents in survey no. 46/7 in perugamani village. the suit property which originally belonged to one periyanachi muthiriar was settled in favour of one thangaiyan son of the plaintiff/appellant on 27th december, 1957. thangaiyan died. the plaintiff, as the only legal heir of thangaiyan, is entitled to the suit property. the first defendant, claiming to be a cultivating tenant, claimed possession with him and the plaintiff has to, therefore, file this suit.2. the second defendant, one manickathammal, remained ex parte.3. the trial court, on the basis of certain documents came to the conclusion that the plaintiff is in possession and granted a decree. the appellate.....
Judgment:

G. Maheswaran, J.

1. The suit, out of which the second appeal arises, was filed by the plaintiff/appellant for a permanent injunction restraining the defendants/respondents from interfering with his possession of the suit property, which is 0.80 cents in Survey No. 46/7 in Perugamani Village. The suit property which originally belonged to one Periyanachi Muthiriar was settled in favour of one Thangaiyan son of the plaintiff/appellant on 27th December, 1957. Thangaiyan died. The plaintiff, as the only legal heir of Thangaiyan, is entitled to the suit property. The first defendant, claiming to be a cultivating tenant, claimed possession with him and the plaintiff has to, therefore, file this suit.

2. The second defendant, one Manickathammal, remained ex parte.

3. The trial Court, on the basis of certain documents came to the conclusion that the plaintiff is in possession and granted a decree. The appellate Judge reversed that finding and dismissed the suit. The plaintiff has filed this second appeal.

4. A learned Judge of this Court, while admitting the second appeal, formulated the following substantial question of law:

Whether on the facts and circumstances of this case, the finding of the lower appellate court on the question whether the respondent is a cultivating tenant or not is sustainable especially in view of Section 16(A) of the Tamil Nadu Record of Tenancy Act?

5. Section 16-A of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Lands Record of Tenancy Rights Act, 1969 (X of 1969), hereinafter referred to as the Act, runs thus:

No civil court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any matter which the Record Officer, the District Collector or other officer or authority empowered by or under this Act has to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court in respect of any action taken or to be taken by such officer or authority in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.

This suit was filed on 1st November, 1971. Section 16-A of the Act was introduced by the Tamil Nadu Act 34 of 1972. A reading of this Section 16-A would show that the Civil Court's jurisdiction is excluded in respect of any matter which the Record Officer, the District Collector or other officer or authority empowered by or under the Act has to determine. The question as formulated by this Court does not really arise for consideration, because there is no finding by the lower appellate court that the first defendant/first respondent is a cultivating tenant. Further the question whether the suit is competent in view of Section 16-A need not detain us any longer in view of the Full Bench decision of this Court in Periathambi Goundan v. The Dist. Revenue Officer : AIR1980Mad180 (F.B.). The Full Bench observed thus:

Once a suit is competently instituted in a Civil Court, that suit must terminate in one of the methods known to law, namely, either it is dismissed or it is decreed, and cannot be left in the air. If it was the intention of the legislature that the moment Section 16-A came into force, even pending suits in respect of matters covered by Section 16-A should not be proceeded with, the Legislature would have provided for the abatement of those suits or the dismissal of those suits or transfer of the matter covered by those suits to the appropriate authority under the Act. The Legislature not having made any such provision, it is indisputably clear that Section 16-A was not introduced to and could not affect any suit instituted prior to its introduction even when the suit was in respect of a matter covered by Section 16-A.

As earlier pointed out the suit was instituted earlier to the introduction of Section 16-A of the Act, in the year 1972.

6. The next question for consideration is whether the plaintiff is entitled to the injunction prayed for. This again, is answered by the Full Bench. It observes:

In Ramachandra Sastrigal v. Kuppusami Vannian (1961)1 M.L.J. 335 : 74 L.W. 167, while dealing with the scope of Section 16-A of the Tamil Nadu Act 25 of 1955, a Division Bench had expressed the view that in a simple suit for an injunction laid in a Civil Court, for restraining the defendant from interfering with the plaintiff's possession, the defendant, even i(sic) he were to be a cultivating tenant entitled to the benefits of the Act, cannot gain anything by merely having the forum of adjudication being shifted from the Civil Court to the Revenue Court as it is obvious that a Revenue Court cannot grant any injunction.

It is therefore, clear that a Civil Court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit for injunction cannot be said to have been taken away under Section 16-A of the Act.

7. Having found that the court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit for injunction, we may advert to the question whether plaintiff is in possession on the date of suit. The trial Court, relying upon the three documents, Exhibits A. 1, A. 44 and A. 45, came to the conclusion that the plaintiff is in possession. Exhibit A. 1 is the ledger maintained by the Cooperative Society, Thirupparaithurai.At page 172 an entry is found showing a short term loan granted to one Srinivasan, son of Nagan Pandithan, who was said to be in possession of the suit property in the year 1970. The entry does not refer to the Survey No and the land in which Srinivasa Pandithan was in possession. From this document one cannot conclude that Srinivasa Pandithan was in possession of the suit property in the year 1970. So also Exhibit A. 44, the loan application form by Srinivasa Pandithan. Here again, we do not find any Survey No. of the suit property. It has not been shown that Srinivasa Pandithan is cultivating any other land, other than the suit property Exhibit A. 45 is the cultivation account in the name of Srinivasan given by the Karnam. The Karnam has not been examined. The Karnam has not indicated as to when he gave the certificate, though the suit Survey No. is mentioned in it. This document also shows that the lease amount is Rs. 450/-. This document also will not advance the case of the plaintiff. On the other hand, the first defendant has filed certain cultivation accounts as Exhibits B. 5, B. 6, B. 13 and B. 14.Exhibits B. 5 and B. 6 would show that the first defendant was cultivating the suit property for faslis 1380 and 1381. Exhibit B. 14 shows that the first defendant was cultivating the suit property for fasli 1379 also. There is some correction in Exhibit B. 13 which is the adangal extract for fasli 1370.

Since there is some correction, no reliance can be placed on it. These documents would show that the land was in possession of the defendant. The trial Court was. of the view that the Karnam, with the collusion of the first defendant, has manipulated the adangal. But P.W. 5, son of the plaintiff, has admitted that he came to know about the adangal accounts only after the filing of the suit and that he did not take any steps to correct them. In view of the fact that the first defendant has produced the adangal extracts to show possession with him, the lower appellate court came to the conclusion that the plaintiff has not established his possession on the date of the suit and reversed the judgment and decree of the trial Court, allowed the appeal and dismissed the suit with costs. I do not find any reason to interfere with this finding. The second appeal fails and is dismissed, but in the circumstances without costs.


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