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Sri Rajagopalaswami Temple Through Its Trustee, Rama Aiyangar Vs. Jagannatha Pandi Aiyar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in18Ind.Cas.719
AppellantSri Rajagopalaswami Temple Through Its Trustee, Rama Aiyangar
RespondentJagannatha Pandi Aiyar
Cases Referred and Kakarla Abbayya v. Raja Venkata Pappayya Rao
Excerpt:
landlord and tenant - occupancy holding--holding consisting of tope containing trees--landlord's right to trees--melvaramdar and kudivaramdar, relations between--inam grant of melvaram--right of authorities to define the relation. - - 430. the district judge held that, as melvaramdar, the plaintiff was not entitled to any portion of the value of the trees in the holding and that he also failed to establish any legal custom justifying his claim......the plaintiff claimed to be the melvaramdar of the tope and alleged that, both by virtue of his right as melvaramdar and according to the usage, he was entitled to half of the value of dead trees and trees cut by the ryot. the defendant pleaded that the plaintiff was entitled only to a sum of rs. 11-11 6 a year and the road-cess payable to government out of the produce of the tope and that he himself was the absolute proprietor subject to the liability to the payment of that amount. the district munsif and the learned district judge have both found that the melvaram right in the land belonged to the plaintiff and that his right is not that of one entitled only to a benefit to arise out of laud belonging to the defendant as proprietor. the munsif also held that the evidence showed that.....
Judgment:

1. The plaintiff, the trustee of a temple, instituted the suit on behalf of the temple, as the inamdar of a tope to recover half the value of the trees in the inam holding, cut and appropriated by the defendant, the occupancy ryot of the holding. The plaintiff claimed to be the melvaramdar of the tope and alleged that, both by virtue of his right as melvaramdar and according to the usage, he was entitled to half of the value of dead trees and trees cut by the ryot. The defendant pleaded that the plaintiff was entitled only to a sum of Rs. 11-11 6 a year and the road-cess payable to Government out of the produce of the tope and that he himself was the absolute proprietor subject to the liability to the payment of that amount. The District Munsif and the learned District Judge have both found that the melvaram right in the land belonged to the plaintiff and that his right is not that of one entitled only to a benefit to arise out of laud belonging to the defendant as proprietor. The Munsif also held that the evidence showed that the plaintiff's claim to half the value of the trees was supported by the evidence of usage adduced by the plaintiff, and gave him a decree for Rs. 430. The District Judge held that, as melvaramdar, the plaintiff was not entitled to any portion of the value of the trees in the holding and that he also failed to establish any legal custom justifying his claim. He accordingly dismissed the suit. Mr. Devadoss, for the respondent, has repeated before us the contention that the defendant is the absolute proprietor of the holding subject only to the liability to pay Rs. 11-11-6 a year and the road-cess to the plaintiff, but we agree with the lower Courts that the plaintiff is the melvaramdar of the holding. The inam register and the inam patta show that the plaintiff's title to the land as inamdar was recognised by the Government. The register, no doubt, mentions Rs. 11 11 6 as the tree-tax payable for the land and Rs. 16-4-9 as the wet assessment. The object of mentioning this was to fix the quit-rent payable to Government by the inamdar and subject to the payment of the quit rent the plaintiff was recognised as the melvaramdar. The relations between the melvaramdar and the kudivaramdar were governed by the law applicable to landlord and tenant, and it was not the intention of the Inam authorities, nor was it within the scope of their duties, to define those relations. The rights of the melvaramdar and the kudivaramdar must, therefore, be determined according to the provisions of the Rent Recovery Act and other rules of law applicable to them. There is probably some conflict of opinion in the decisions of this Court with respect to the melvaramdar's right to the trees in the land comprised in a ryot's holding. Cf. Bodda Goddeppa v. Maharaja of Vizianagaram 30 M.K 155; 17 M.L.J. 64; 2 M.L.T. 25; Rangayya Apparau v. Kadiyala Ratnam 13 M.K 249; Narayana Iyyangar v. Orr 26 M.K 252; 12 M.L.J. 449; Apparau v. Narasanna 15 M.K 47 and Kakarla Abbayya v. Raja Venkata Pappayya Rao 29 M.C 24; 16 M.L.J. 8. But all these decisions relate to cases where the holding consists of land occupied mainly by cultivating wet or dry crops, and the question for decision was whether the melvaramdar's right would extend, in any measure, to the trees in the holding in the occupancy, and under the cultivation of the ryot. But, in the present case, the holding was, at the time of the inam settlement, and has, subsequently, been, a tope consisting of trees. In such a case, there can be no doubt that the melvaramdar has a right to the trees and the ryot cannot be entitled to cat them down for his sole appropriation. The cases referred to above have, therefore, no application and the learned District Judge was, in our opinion, in error in extending them to this case. The plaintiff must be held to be entitled to a portion of the value of the trees cut by the defendant. The Judge held that the evidence as to usage was not sufficient to entitle the plaintiff to half the value on the basis of a customary right apart from his legal right as melvaramdar. He recorded no finding on the question whether in his view that the plaintiff is entitled to a portion of the value of the trees as melvaramdar, the evidence showed that he should receive half the value. For this purpose, it is not necessary for the plaintiff to establish the requisites of a customary right not otherwise sanctioned by law. It would be enough to adduce evidence sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to show that the claim in question was understood by the parties to be one of the incidents of the relationship between them. The District Munsif's finding in the affirmative is amply supported by the evidence set out in his judgment including the evidence of defence witness No. 2, the defendant's own kanakkan. We accept his finding on the question. In the result, we reverse the decree of the District Judge and restore that of the District Munsif with costs here and in the lower Appellate Court.


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