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Muniyandi Vs. Rajangam Iyer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported inAIR1976Mad287; (1976)1MLJ344
AppellantMuniyandi
RespondentRajangam Iyer
Excerpt:
- - the inclusive part of the definition takes in certain other tenures as well, with which we are not concerned at the moment. a further provision is made by section 8 for amendment of approved record of tenancy rights to give effect to the orders under section 6 or section 7. there are then the provisions providing for obligation to furnish information, penalty for failure to furnish information as also for furnishing false information. it is perfectly clear and has nothing to do with the question of jurisdiction......intermediary or the tenant having interest in such land shall make an application to the record officer for inclusion of particulars relating to such land in the approved record of tenancy rights, and may have the land included in the approved record of tenancy. if any modification in the record of tenancy rights is required of entries mentioned in. section 5, that is permitted by following the procedure provided therein. against orders under sub-section (8) of section 3, sub-section (3) of section 4 or sub-section (3) of section 5 appeals are provided with a period of limitation fixed for filing. a further remedy by way of revision also is provided. these are to be found in. sections 6 and 7 of the act. a further provision is made by section 8 for amendment of approved record.....
Judgment:

K. Veeraswami, C.J.

1. The question in this case is whether the civil Court has jurisdiction to decide whether a particular person is a cultivating tenant or not under Madras Act X of 1969. A suit was instituted for deciding that question, which was dismissed on the ground that Section 16-A barred the civil Court's jurisdiction to decide that matter. But any appeal against that order succeeded with a direction that the matter should be disposed of afresh. The present appeal is against the order of remand by the lower appellate Court. When the matter came before N. S. Ramaswami, J., in the first instance, he felt that the question as to how far the provisions of Madras Act X of 1969 oust the jurisdiction of the civil Court to decide the question whether a particular party is a cultivating tenant or not, was an important one which would arise in several litigations. On that view, he gave notice to the Advocates' Association., and Bar Association and desired that the matter should be decided by a Division Bench, and that is how it comes before us. Madras Act X of 1969 provides for the preparation and maintenance of record of tenancy rights in respect of agricultural lands in the State of Tamil Nadu. While the Act extends to the whole State, it has a definition section. A tenant in relation to any land, to which the Madras Cultivating Tenants Protection. Act, 1955, applies, means a cultivating tenant as defined in Clause (aa) of Section 2 of that Act. The inclusive part of the definition takes in certain other tenures as well, with which we are not concerned at the moment. We have then the provision for preparation of record of tenancy rights. That is done by the Government by a notification directing the preparation of a record of tenancy rights for any specified village. Such record shall be prepared, maintained and revised in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder. That record should contain the survey number or sub-division number, extent and local name, if any, of the land, the name and address of the landowner, the name and address of the intermediary, if any, the name and address of the tenant cultivating the land and such other particulars as may be prescribed. Then a procedure is prescribed for modification of this record. Where, subsequent to the publication of the approved record of tenancy rights, any land has been let for cultivation, the landowner, intermediary or the tenant having interest in such land shall make an application to the record officer for inclusion of particulars relating to such land in the approved record of tenancy rights, and may have the land included in the approved record of tenancy. If any modification in the record of tenancy rights is required of entries mentioned in. Section 5, that is permitted by following the procedure provided therein. Against orders under Sub-section (8) of Section 3, Sub-section (3) of Section 4 or Sub-section (3) of Section 5 appeals are provided with a period of limitation fixed for filing. A further remedy by way of revision also is provided. These are to be found in. Sections 6 and 7 of the Act. A further provision is made by Section 8 for amendment of approved record of tenancy rights to give effect to the orders under Section 6 or Section 7. There are then the provisions providing for obligation to furnish information, penalty for failure to furnish information as also for furnishing false information. Section 13 provides for certain cognizable offences. Section 15 lays down a rule of presumption, which says that any entry in the approved record of tenancy rights shall be presumed to be true and correct until the contrary is proved or a new entry is lawfully substituted therefor. As the Act stood originally before Act XXXIV of 1972, there was no specific bar of the civil Court's jurisdiction to decide any matter which the Record Officer or the District Collector or other officer or authority empowered by or under the Act has to decide. We need not stop to consider whether, having regard to the scheme of the Act indicating, matters to be decided, the officers who have the authority to decide and further remedies by way of appeal and revision the civil Court's jurisdiction, by necessary implication., would stand excluded in respect of matters which those officers have to decide.

2. But Section 16-A, introduced by Tamil Nadu Act XXXIV of 1972, introduces such a bar, which reads:

16-A. Bar of jurisdiction of civil Courts.--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.

The section admits of no doubt that a civil Court has no jurisdiction to decide any matter which the Record Officer, District Collector or other officer or authority empowered by or under the Act should determine. The Court is also forbidden from granting injunction in respect of any action taken or to be taken by such officer or authority in pursuance of any power conferred by or under the Act. We are told that what led N.S. Ramaswami, J., to make the reference to a Division Bench was a consideration of the latter part of Section 15. Apparently he thought if an entry in the approved record of tenancy rights should be presumed to be true and correct until the contrary was proved or a new entry was lawfully substituted therefor, to that extent the civil Court's jurisdiction should not be taken to have been excluded. In other words, evidently his impression was that a certain area of civil Court's jurisdiction was still available and the ambit of Section 16-A should be read accordingly. We are of opinion that Section 15 is not jurisdiction section. It only provides for a rule of evidence, namely, presumption of correctness of entries in the approved record of tenancy rights. This presumption cannot, of course, be rebutted until the contrary is proved or a new entry is lawfully substituted therefor. The words 'until the contrary is proved' and the words 'or a new entry is lawfully substituted therefor' are to be read with reference to the provisions of the Act. This is not indicative of an area of jurisdiction still left with the Court to decide any matter which is entirely within the jurisdiction of the officers who are empowered by or under the Act to decide. As a matter of fact, Section 5, as we have already Indicated, provides for modification of entries in the approved record of tenancy rights and if a decision of the Record Officer is taken up in appeal and a direction is given for modification, Section 8 provides for amendment to be made in the record of tenancy rights according to the appellate decision. Same thing applies also to a revision order. The Act, therefore, indicates and provides for the remedy to correct the record by following the procedure laid down. Until the contrary is proved or a new entry is lawfully substituted therefor, the entry shall be presumed to be correct. It is perfectly clear and has nothing to do with the question of jurisdiction.

3. The language of Section 16-A, as indicated by us, admits of no doubt that the civil Court's jurisdiction is expressly excluded in respect of any matter which the Record Officer, District Collector or other officer empowered by or under the Act has to determine.

4. The order of the Munsif in this case dismissing the suit is restored and the appeal is allowed. No costs.


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