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Sri Rajah Vyricherla Narayana Gajapati Raju Bahadur Vs. Konathala Jaggayya and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1941Mad600; (1941)1MLJ523
AppellantSri Rajah Vyricherla Narayana Gajapati Raju Bahadur
RespondentKonathala Jaggayya and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 700 by spending another rs, 50. 2. taking this view of the law he gave leave, to the defendants to erect pucca granaries on the suit land for the sole purpose of storing agricultural produce like grains, gingelly and other oil seeds, onions, cotton, jaggery, etc. the defendants can therefore if they like, build a superstructure on the 4 1/4 cents and use it for the purposes of storing the crops raised on the holding but if they use it for any other purposes they will be liable to be evicted and it is open to the landlord (plaintiff -appellant) to institute proceedings under section 151 of the act......reconstruction in construing a statutory provision. the object of section 151 is that the value of land as agricultural land should be strictly maintained and that any attempt made by the tenant to divert the land for non-agricultural purposes should be prohibited. he is only allowed to make such improvements as are necessary for the beneficial enjoyment of the holding. the tenant cannot be allowed to take the law into his own hands and plead nor should the court take the view that it is enough that the landlord is given compensation. i do not know what the learned judge means when he says that the landlord is not hurt. in my opinion the landlord is really hurt within the meaning of the statute when the land is diverted for non-agricultural purposes. of course the court is given a.....
Judgment:

Venkataramana Rao, J.

1. This second appeal arises out of a suit in ejectment filed by the plaintiff who is the proprietor of the Anakapalli Estate against the defendants who are his tenants in possession of the suit land covered by Patta No. 223 of Anakapalli village on the ground that they have diverted a portion of the holding for non-agricultural purposes by digging up the land and laying foundations for constructing a superstructure thereon and also by enclosing another portion of the holding with a compound wall the result of which according to the plaintiff was that 14 cents of land would become unfit for use for agricultural purposes. The defendants pleaded that their intention was to erect a farm house for storing the grain harvested on the holding and for other agricultural purposes. The learned Deputy Collector was of the opinion that the intention of the defendants was not to store the grain raised ,on the land but to store articles in respect whereof they were carrying on a business. He was however of the opinion that the compound wall was raised on a portion of the land which was formerly covered by a koradi and which was never under cultivation before and that the said wall was in aline and served as a protection from the trespass of the cattle passing along the adjoining road. He came to the conclusion that the defendants laid the foundation and built the compound wall without the permission of the landlord and they were not bona fide in doing so. He however thought in the circumstances of the case that compensation would be an adequate relief to the plaintiff and awarded Rs. 109-6-0 as damages. On appeal the learned District Judge thought that as the defendants had laid foundations at a cost of Rs. 700 and there was only 'a breach of a technical provision of law' the plaintiff could be compensated in money for his damages. This is how he remarks in the judgment:

It is unreasonable not to make a liberal use of the provisions of Section 152 of the Estates Land Act and of the general rules of equity when no injury is caused to the landlord. In these days of rural reconstruction, especially every facility possible under the law should be given to ryots to improve the storing of their agricultural produce or even the agricultural produce bought from others and for preventing them from the senseless waste involved by destroying foundations worth Rs. 700 by spending another Rs, 50.

2. Taking this view of the law he gave leave, to the defendants to erect pucca granaries on the suit land for the sole purpose of storing agricultural produce like grains, gingelly and other oil seeds, onions, cotton, jaggery, etc., whether grown on the suit land or other holdings of theirs or even bought by them from other ryots. He further directed the defendants to keep the compound wall intact and also the 14 cents enclosed within the compound wall without any cultivation. I think the learned District Judge's view of Sections 151 and 152 of the Estates Land Act is not correct. The Courts have nothing to do with the policy of rural reconstruction in construing a statutory provision. The object of Section 151 is that the value of land as agricultural land should be strictly maintained and that any attempt made by the tenant to divert the land for non-agricultural purposes should be prohibited. He is only allowed to make such improvements as are necessary for the beneficial enjoyment of the holding. The tenant cannot be allowed to take the law into his own hands and plead nor should the Court take the view that it is enough that the landlord is given compensation. I do not know what the learned Judge means when he says that the landlord is not hurt. In my opinion the landlord is really hurt within the meaning of the statute when the land is diverted for non-agricultural purposes. Of course the Court is given a certain amount of discretion under Section 151 even in cases where the tenant is found liable to ejectment to award compensation and the relief to be given will have to be moulded according to the circumstances of each case. The question in this case is whether the discretion exercised by the lower Court in awarding compensation is proper and should be interfered with. So far as the erection of the compound wall is concerned it seems to me that it cannot be said that the use of the land for that purpose was a diversion for non-agricultural purposes. P. W. 1 in his evidence states that the compound wall occupies the place where previously there were trees and fence and that the fence was necessary to prevent cattle from trespassing into the field and destroying the crop raised. He also says that there is a vacant space of 10 cents between the foundation and the compound wall which can be cultivated. Thus the compound wall will be an improvement within the meaning of Section 3 (4) (d) of the Act because it is necessary for the convenient enjoyment of the holding by preventing the trespass of cattle into the field: So far therefore as the compound wall is concerned, the erection of the same cannot be made a ground of complaint by the plaintiff landlord for maintaining an action under Section 151.

3. The next question is whether the laying of foundations on 41/4 cents of land by the defendants would entitle the plaintiff to have them evicted or whether compensation would not be an adequate relief. The entire extent of land is 64 cents. Having regard to the extent of land on which the foundations were laid, if restrictions were placed on the defendants in regard to the kind of superstructure that they should build thereon and the use that should be made of it, I think that compensation would be an adequate relief. It seems to me that the defendants can be given leave to erect a structure on this piece of land for the purpose of storing crops which are raised on the holding and not for the purpose of storing grain purchased from others or for using the same for any business which is being carried on by them. The defendants can therefore if they like, build a superstructure on the 4 1/4 cents and use it for the purposes of storing the crops raised on the holding but if they use it for any other purposes they will be liable to be evicted and it is open to the landlord (plaintiff -appellant) to institute proceedings under Section 151 of the Act. Of course if the defendants at any time want to build a farm house, there could be no objection at all because they are entitled to do so. The order of the learned District Judge giving the defendants leave to erect a pucca building on the holding for the purposes mentioned by him in his judgment ought to be vacated. The order requiring the defendants to keep the area enclosed within the compound wall without any cultivation must also be vacated. As I have found that the compound wall is necessary for the beneficial enjoyment of the holding and as I have vacated the order of the learned District Judge giving the defendants leave to construct a pucca building for the purposes mentioned by him I think the compensation awarded by the lower appellate Court should be reduced, and it is accordingly reduced to Rs. 125. Irrespective of the use the defendants are going to make of the land on which foundations are laid, they must continue to pay rent for the entire holding. In the circumstances I direct each party to bear his own costs in the second appeal.

4. Leave to appeal is refused.


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