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Janaki Bai Ammal, Zamindarini of Melmandai Vs. N. Chinniah Nadar (Dead) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1943Mad367; (1943)1MLJ88
AppellantJanaki Bai Ammal, Zamindarini of Melmandai
RespondentN. Chinniah Nadar (Dead) and ors.
Excerpt:
- - the word 'rent' is defined by the madras act iv of 1938 as rent as defined by the madras estates land act or rent or michavaram as defined by the malabar tenancy act, 1929, or quit rent, jodi, kattubadi, poruppu or the like. if the sum payable by the lessee to use a colourless expression--was rent under the estates land act, there would be a discharge of all arrears up to fasli 1345. the learned judge had therefore to consider the question whether the sums payable by the lessees, under similar engagements satisfied the definition of the term 'rent......as said already, the word 'ryot' means :-....a person who holds for the purpose of agriculture ryot land in an estate.and rent means 'what is payable by a ryot.' therefore if it is not payable in respect of ryoti land in an estate the sum cannot be termed rent as defined under section (11) in this case if the trees are separately taxed and there is a separate engagement in respect of the trees, it is clear that in respect of those engagements it is not in respect of any ryoti land in an estate that the sum is made payable but it is a payment which has no reference to any ryoti land in an estate and it is not payable by a ryot. then as regards clause (a) it may be it is not a local tax cess or fee. but it is contended that it is a sum lawfully payable to a landholder by a ryot as such.....
Judgment:

Somayya, J.

1. This is a batch of Second Appeals in which the same questions arise for determination. In all the suits the ryots of the estate of Melmandai Zamindari in Tinnevelly District were the plaintiffs and the defendant was the Zamindarini. In each suit the plaintiff-ryot objected to the sale of his holding. The proprietrix (landholder) was attempting to bring them to sale under Section 111 of the Estates Land Act and the suits were filed under Section 112 for a declaration that they are not saleable under Section 111. The chief question is whether the amounts for which the holdings of the plaintiffs in the various suits were sought to be brought to sale come within the definition of the word ' rent' as defined under the Estates Land Act. Under Section 111 where an arrear is not paid within the revenue year in which it accrued due, it shall be lawful for the landholder to sell the holding or any part thereof in the manner thereinafter provided, in satisfaction of the arrear and of interest thereon and of costs, if any, of the sale. Under Section 112

Where the landholder to whom an arrear is due intends to avail himself of the powers given by the last preceding section, he shall serve on the defaulter through the Collector a written notice stating the amount due for arrears, interest and costs...informing him that if he does not pay the amount or file a suit before the Collector contesting the right of sale within thirty days from the date of service of the notice, the said holding or any part thereof specified in the said notice will be sold.

The arrear spoken of in sections m and 112 is the arrear of rent. The word ' holding ' which is sought to be sold under sections m and 112 is the holding as defined by Section 3, Clause (3). It runs thus:

'Holding' means a parcel or parcels of land held under a single patta or engagement in a single village:

Provided that if the landholder and ryot so agree in writing any portion of a holding as above defined shall be treated as a separate holding.

Sections 111 and 112 are therefore obviously applicable only to ryots in respect of the arrear of rent which is due in respect of their holding.

The word ' rent' is defined in Section 3 as meaning:

Whatever is lawfully payable in money or in kind or in both to a landholder for the use occupation of land in his estate for the purpose of agriculture....

The word ' ryot' means

a person who holds for the purpose of agriculture ryoti land in an estate on condition of paying to the landholder the rent which is legally due upon it.

There is a large number of palmyra trees in this estate and these trees are leased out on certain terms which it is not necessary here to set out in detail. Generally no rent is payable for some years and then certain sums are payable according to the ' classifications mentioned in the engagements with the exact details of which we are not now concerned. Whatever sum is payable under the agreements was sought . to be recovered by the appellant (the landholder) by resort to summary procedure under Section 111 of the Estates Land Act. The ryots brought these suits contesting the landholder's right of sale and their chief point is that the sums that are payable by them under the various engagements are not ' rent' within the meaning of the Estates Land Act and that therefore resort to summary procedure under Section 111 of the Act is not open to the landholder. If it is ' rent' as denned in the Estates Land Act, then the landholder can undoubtedly proceed under section in. Therefore we have to turn to the definition of the word ' rent.' Its definition has been set out already. Then there is another clause in Clause (11) (of Section 3) which runs thus:

For the purpose of sections...59 to 72, 77 to 131 . . . . 145 to 148,165,210 and-211 and the Schedule rent includes also

(a) any local tax cess, fee or sum lawfully payable by a ryot as such in addition to the rent due in respect of land according to law or usage having the force of law and also money recoverable under any enactment for the time being in force as if it was rent; and

(b) sums lawfully payable to a landholder by a ryot as such on account of pasturage fees and fishery rents.

Does the sum payable under these agreements in respect of these trees satisfy the definition of rent contained in Section 3, Clause (11) or at any rate does it come under the additional Clause (a). As regards the body of the section it can, I think, be hardly contended that the sum in question is payable by a ryot for the use or occupation of ryoti land for the purpose of agriculture If the trees alone are Wanted separately from the land or if the sums payable in respect of the trees are separately fixed from what is payable for the land on which they stand there is no sum payable for the use of ryoti land in an estate. As said already, the word 'ryot' means :-....

a person who holds for the purpose of agriculture ryot land in an estate.

and rent means 'what is payable by a ryot.' Therefore if it is not payable in respect of ryoti land in an estate the sum cannot be termed rent as defined under section (11) In this case if the trees are separately taxed and there is a separate engagement in respect of the trees, it is clear that in respect of those engagements it is not in respect of any ryoti land in an estate that the sum is made payable but it is a payment which has no reference to any ryoti land in an estate and it is not payable by a ryot. Then as regards Clause (a) it may be it is not a local tax cess or fee. But it is contended that it is a sum lawfully payable to a landholder by a ryot as such Addition to the rent due according to law or usage having the force of law Here again the difficulty is that it must be payable ' by a ryot as such.' As analysed by he Courts below the trees which are the subject of the various engagements may be divided into three classes : those that do not stand on ryoti land in the estate, .i.e. those that stand on porombokes or forest lands; (a) those that stand on the ' ryoti holdings of persons other than the persons to whom the trees are assigned; e.g. the trees which stand on the holdings of A, B and C who are all ryots in the estate may be leased not to those persons but to a third person altogether who may or may not be a ryot holding a ryoti land in an estate. If he is not a ryot holding a ryoti land in an estate, then it can hardly be said that he is paying the sum fixed under the agreement as a ryot or in his capacity as a ryot. Even if he is a person who holds agricultural land in the estate and is therefore a ryot in respect of the trees that stand on the holdings of A, B and C it can hardly be said that it is 'payable by a ryot as such; (3) then as regards the trees in the holdings of the very Person to whom the land is assigned on ryoti tenure, i.e. if the trees stand on he holdings of the very person to whom the trees are assigned, even then the question would be whether as regards the trees he makes any payment as a ryot. Can it be said of the sum payable that' it is payable by a ryot as such in addition to the rent due according to law or usage.' This question was considered by Krishnaswami Ayyangar, J., in C.R.P. No. 2121 of 1939 which arose in the same zamindari between the proprietrix and the ryots under Section 15 of Madras Act IV of 1938, in respect of the sums payable for palmyra trees. Under Section 15 of that Act, if a ryot paid up all arrears of rent accrued due in respect of any holding for faslis 1346 and 1347, the arrears of rent for fasli 1345 and prior faslis which may be outstanding on the date of the Act shall be deemed to have been discharged. The word ' rent' is defined by the Madras Act IV of 1938 as

rent as defined by the Madras Estates Land Act or rent or michavaram as defined by the Malabar Tenancy Act, 1929, or quit rent, jodi, kattubadi, poruppu or the like...

We are not concerned with the other expressions. We are only concerned with this definition. .' Rent means rent as defined by the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908.' In the cases which came up before my learned brother, the persons to whom the trees were assigned on engagements similar to the ones with which I am now concerned paid up the arrears of faslis 1346 and 1347 and claimed that in respect of the arrears of fasli 1345 and prior faslis, there was a complete discharge. If the sum payable by the lessee to use a colourless expression--was rent under the Estates Land Act, there would be a discharge of all arrears up to fasli 1345. The learned Judge had therefore to consider the question whether the sums payable by the lessees, under similar engagements satisfied the definition of the term ' rent.' The learned Judge went into the question exhaustively, considered all the aspects of the question and pointed that a lessee such as the present can hardly be described as holding any ryoti land in an estate in respect of the trees and that it is so even in a case where the trees stand in his holding for which there is a rent separately fixed. I have very little to add to the reasoning of the learned Judge and I respectfully follow that decision. As both the lower courts have pointed out on a prior occasion when the zamindarini filed a suit for the establishment of her rights to the trees, the question arose as to what exactly was the tenure in cases of such leases. The trial Court and the appellate Court held that the trees were being leased out distinct from the land, that they were taken out of the purview of Section 12 of the Estates Land Act and that the ryots were not entitled to. the ownership of the trees. I therefore hold that the sum payable by the lessee to the proprietor is not ' rent.' as defined under the Estates Land Act and that therefore resort to Section 111 is not permissible.

2. The second appeals are dismissed. The respondents will have all the other expenses and a sum of Rs. 150 as Advocate's fee for all the second appeals together.

3. There is nothing in the memorandum of objections and it is dismissed; no costs.

4. Leave to appeal refused.


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