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Karumbayiram Pillai Annadhana Dharma Charities Nachiarkoil by Its Trustees Srinivasa Pillai and ors. Vs. Chinnaswami Padayachi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 208 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Mad805; (1954)IMLJ277
ActsTenacny Law; Madras Tanjore Tenants and Pannaiyals Protection Act, 1952 - Sections 2
AppellantKarumbayiram Pillai Annadhana Dharma Charities Nachiarkoil by Its Trustees Srinivasa Pillai and ors.
RespondentChinnaswami Padayachi and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.S. Desikan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader and ;S.R. Sadagopan, Adv. for ;R. Gopalaswami Aiyangar, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredBorough Municipality of Ahmedabad v. Government of Province of Bombay
Excerpt:
- - a road may be said, with perfect propriety, to belong to a man who has the right to use it as of right, although the soil does not belong to him. that part of the section would have been like this; 5. this being the only point that has been raised here, i am of opinion that the order of the revenue court is perfectly right and it is not in excess of jurisdiction, or erroneous, or unjust on the face of the record......be a 'cultivating tenant' or a 'tenant', firstly he should not be the owner of land and secondly he should hold the land under a tenancy agreement express or implied. it is not absolutely necessary for the application of the section that the tenancy agreement, express or implied, should be directly with the owner of the land. it may be that the tenancy agreement might be with some one who claims under the owner and that is made clear by the definition of the word 'landowner' given in section 2 (g). a person who is in possession of land on 1-12-1951 without a tenancy agreement, express or implied, but is a trespasser would certainly not come under the definition 'cultivating tenant' or 'tenant'. therefore, it seems to me that the argument that the tenancy agreement, express or implied,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Govinda Menon, J.

1. The petitioner is Sri Karumbaylram Pillai Annadhana Dharma Charities, Nachiarkoil, by its trustees and the petition is for issuing a writ of certiorari calling for the records and quashing the order dated 7-2-1953 in R. C. A. No. 100 of 1952 on the file of the Revenue Court, Tanjore, by which that court dismissed an appeal preferred to it from the decision of the Conciliation Officer, Kumbakonam, holding that the first respondent is a 'cultivating tenant' as defined in the Madras Act 14 of 1952 and had been in possession of the properties on 1-12-1951, and, as such, entitled to be let into possession hereafter for a period of five years.

It is unnecessary to discuss the various questions that had been raised in the courts below. We have to take it as a fact that a receiver appointed to manage these charities leased out the lands to one Sambandamurthi Odayar from whom the first respondent took a sub-lease and that the first respondent was in possession on 1-12-1951. It is, therefore, the finding of the Revenue Court that the first respondent came within the definition of 'cultivating tenant' and he had a tenancy agreement with Sambandamurthi Odayar who had derived all rights of land-owner from the receiver.

2. Mr. K. S. Desikan appearing for the petitioner contends that the order of the Revenue Court is without jurisdiction inasmuch as it has thoroughly misunderstood the meaning of the term 'cultivating tenant' in Section 2(d) of the Act and the term 'land-owner' in Section 2(g). The definition of the word 'cultivating tenant' in Section 2(d) is as follows :

' 'Cultivating tenant' or 'tenant' means a person who contributes his own physical labour or that of the members of his family in the cultivation of any land belonging to another, under a tenancy agreement, express or implied and includes the heirs of such person but shall not include a mere intermediary or his heirs;'

'Land-owner' is defined in Section 2(g) in the following manner :

' 'Land-owner' means the owner or other person deriving rights under him, who lets land or cultivates by a tenant, and includes the assignees, heirs or other legal representatives of such owner or person deriving rights under him'.

The argument of the learned counsel is that, in order that a person should be a tenant or a cultivating tenant, he must be in possession of the land under a tenancy agreement and that tenancy agreement should be from the person to whom the land belonged. The clause 'any land belonging to another, under a tenancy agreement, express or implied' should be construed as meaning that the tenant should take it directly from the owner of the land and not be in possession as a sublessee, as in the present case.

3. The question therefore depends upon the meaning of the word 'belonging to another'. The word 'belonging' is defined in Ramanatha Aiyar's 'The Law Lexicon' at page 128, among other things, in the following way :

'The word 'belonging' may and very often does mean 'ownership' but it may also mean that which is connected with a principal or greater thing; an appendage; an appurtenance; and this is its use in the Charter of a seminary exempting from taxation property belonging of appertaining to it.'

In Stroud's 'Judicial Dictionary' (3rd Edn.) Vol. I, at page 280 the word 'belonging' is defined as follows :

'Property 'belonging' to a person, has two general meanings: (1) ownership, (2) the absolute right of user. A road may be said, with perfect propriety, to belong to a man who has the right to use it as of right, although the soil does not belong to him.' (per -- 'Martin B. Att-Gen. v. Oxford & Co. Railway', (1862) 31 LJ Ex 218 (A).

4. In -- 'Borough Municipality of Ahmedabad v. Government of Province of Bombay', : AIR1943Bom183 (B), Beaumont C. J. says that, when the word 'belong' is used in a statute, it connotes ownership. From these different meanings given to the word 'belong' Mr. Desikan contends that what is contemplated in Section 2 (d) is that the land must be owned by one person and that if another is to be a 'cultivating tenant' or a 'tenant' entitled to the benefits of the Act, he must take it under a tenancy agreement directly from that person. The argument is plausible, but, in my opinion, that is not the proper construction to be put upon the section.

Granting that the earlier expression 'land belonging to another' connotes ownership in another, it does not necessarily mean that the other expression 'under a tenancy agreement, express or implied' must relate to the person from whom the lease is taken. If that is so, the comma between the words 'another' and 'under' would have been absent. That part of the section would have been like this; 'of any land belonging to another under a tenancy agreement, etc.' In view of the existence of a comma, between the words 'another' and 'under', I am inclined to hold that the intention of the Legislature is that, in order that a person should be a 'cultivating tenant' or a 'tenant', firstly he should not be the owner of land and secondly he should hold the land under a tenancy agreement express or implied. It is not absolutely necessary for the application of the section that the tenancy agreement, express or implied, should be directly with the owner of the land. It may be that the tenancy agreement might be with some one who claims under the owner and that is made clear by the definition of the word 'landowner' given in Section 2 (g). A person who is in possession of land on 1-12-1951 without a tenancy agreement, express or implied, but is a trespasser would certainly not come under the definition 'cultivating tenant' or 'tenant'. Therefore, it seems to me that the argument that the tenancy agreement, express or implied, must be with the person who owns lands is untenable.

5. This being the only point that has been raised here, I am of opinion that the order of the Revenue court is perfectly right and it is not in excess of jurisdiction, or erroneous, or unjust on the face of the record.

6. This writ petition is, therefore, dismissed.


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