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Venkatadri Apparao Bahadur Vs. Adivicolany Chakrapani Rao and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1933Mad521
AppellantVenkatadri Apparao Bahadur
RespondentAdivicolany Chakrapani Rao and ors.
Excerpt:
- - it is perfectly clear that if the date on which the occupation itself commenced should be taken to be the starting point of limitation, this application is out of time. the remedy under section 45 would be resorted to in the case of unauthorized occupation by squatting on the land for purposes of agriculture in a particular fasli and quitting the land after reaping the crops, and squatting on it again in another revenue year in order to enjoy the crops raised......can be only one application under section 45 for the re-recovery of the sum as damages for the year of occupation or a portion thereof. a similar application under section 45 for the next revenue year would be barred by limitation, if the starting point be taken as the date of the first occupation. it is therefore argued that such a result would not have been contemplated in section 45.2. as observed by the learned district judge the object of the legislature in enacting section 45 is only to enable the landholder to resort to a speedy and summary remedy. if he wants to avail himself of that remedy, he must apply to the revenue court within one year and get this amount of damages fixed. suppose the unauthorized occupation continues for two years and more without any break, is it open.....
Judgment:

Sundaram Chetty, J.

1. In this second appeal, the main point for consideration is whether the application under Section 45, Madras Estates Land Act, put in by the appellant is not barred by limitation under Article 7, Part B, Sch. B to that Act. That article provides for an application for determining the sum payable by a person occupying land otherwise than by inheritance or legal transfer, one year's time from the date of the occupation. Section 45 itself states that

a person who without the consent of the land-holder occupies for agricultural purposes raiyati land which he has not acquired by inheritance or legal transfer shall be liable to pay for each revenue year or portion thereof

a sum fixed as damages for such unauthorized occupation. The first Court held that this application was barred by limitation, inasmuch as it was not filed within one year from the data of the occupation of the land by the respondents. It is perfectly clear that if the date on which the occupation itself commenced should be taken to be the starting point of limitation, this application is out of time. The possession of the respondents appears to have commenced several years before the date of this application and continued down to the date on which this application was filed. In order to get over the Bar of limitation, it is argued by the learned Counsel for the appellant that Article 7 referred to above should be construed in the light of the wording of Section 45, Madras Estates Land Act. The section deals with a liability to pay for each revenue year or a portion thereof. If the starting point of limitation should be taken to be the date on which the unauthorized occupation commenced, there can be only one application under Section 45 for the re-recovery of the sum as damages for the year of occupation or a portion thereof. A similar application under Section 45 for the next revenue year would be barred by limitation, if the starting point be taken as the date of the first occupation. It is therefore argued that such a result would not have been contemplated in Section 45.

2. As observed by the learned District Judge the object of the legislature in enacting Section 45 is only to enable the landholder to resort to a speedy and summary remedy. If he wants to avail himself of that remedy, he must apply to the Revenue Court within one year and get this amount of damages fixed. Suppose the unauthorized occupation continues for two years and more without any break, is it open to the landholder to put in an application under Section 45 in each of those years and get an award of compensation in respect of that year? If the interpretation contended for by the appellant is accepted, the result would be that in each revenue year during the whole period of occupation the occupant must be deemed to have occupied the land for the first time. The remedy under Section 45 would be resorted to in the case of unauthorized occupation by squatting on the land for purposes of agriculture in a particular fasli and quitting the land after reaping the crops, and squatting on it again in another revenue year in order to enjoy the crops raised. If it is shown that the occupation of the land began in any particular year, the application under Section 45 can be made within one year of such occupation.

3. The only limitation for the number of such applications is what is provided for in the explanation to Section 6, Clause (2) of the Act. According to that explanation, if the landholder has received or recovered any payment under Section 45, he shall be deemed to have admitted the occupant to possession, unless within two years from the date of the receipt or recovery of the payment or first of such payments, if more than one, he files a suit before the Collector for ejecting such person. By reason of this explanation, it is clear that resort to Section 45 can only be had twice and not more than that. That being so the remedy under Section 45 is a special and temporary one. It does not contemplate the recovery of compensation by the landholder in respect of every year of occupation, though such occupation continues for a number of years falling short of 12 years' enjoyment which would debar the landholder even from filing a suit in ejectment. The date of occupation mentioned in Article 7, Sch. B to the Act seems to my mind to be the date on which the unauthorized occupation began. If in a particular case the unauthorized occupation began morel than a year before the date of the application, the bar of limitation under Article 7 cannot be got over unless a fiction is introduced to the effect that the land-holder can choose any date during the period of occupation within one year prior to his application as the starting point for limitation. Such a construction would be doing violence to the language of Article 7 and if such an interpretation be accepted, there would be nothing wrong in treating the date of the admission to the land mentioned in Article 4 in respect of an application under Section 25 of the Act as any date during the period of occupation on admission to the land. It is rightly conceded by the learned advocate for the appellant, that with respect to Article 4 the date of admission to the land means the date on which the tenant was admitted to possession.

4. There can be no hardship if effect is given to the plain meaning of the expression 'the date of occupation' according to the scheme of the Act. If an application under Section 45 is not promptly made within one year from the date of the first occupation, this particular remedy cannot be had by the landholder land he has only to sue the occupant under Section 163 for possession of the land treating him as a trespasser.

5. In order to interpret Article 7, Part B in the schedule to the Act, Section 23, Lim. Act, cannot be invoked in aid. If regard be had to Section 29, Lim. Act, it would appear that where any special or local law prescribes for any application a special period of limitation, some of the provisions of the Limitation Act would not apply and Section 23 of the Act is one of such provisions. But it is argued with reference to Section 211, Estates Land Act, that Section 23, Lim. Act, is not one of the sections expressly excluded. Under Section 211 some specific sections of the Limitation Act are declared to be not applicable to the suits and applications mentioned in Section 210. The other provisions of the Limitation Act would apply subject to the provisions of Ch. 16, Estates Land Act. Section 211, Estates Land Act, is not quite consistent with Section 29, Lim. Act, for we find Section 9, Lim. Act, not applicable to suits and applications under the Estates Land Act, whereas under Section 29, Lim. Act, it is one of the sections made applicable even to special Acts. But we must take Section 211 to override the general provisions of the Limitation Act in Section 29. It may be possible in a suitable case to apply the principle of Section 23, Lim. Act, but in this case when the date of occupation mentioned in Article 7 has to be understood only as the date on which the occupation was begun, I should hold that Section 23, Lim. Act, could be of no avail. When the legislature has expressly chosen to fix a particular point of time as the starting point, there is no use in stretching the operation of that article beyond its scope. I therefore agree with the view taken by the lower appellate Court that this application under Section 45 is barred by limitation. The result therefore is that this second appeal is dismissed with costs.


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