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Chockalinga Chetty and ors. Vs. Kolagiri Munigan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Mad569
AppellantChockalinga Chetty and ors.
RespondentKolagiri Munigan and ors.
Cases ReferredSam v. Somalinga Mudaliar
Excerpt:
.....'manual of administration' and the definitions given in these authoritie on that finding, the appeals must..........their lordships remark:it is clear therefore, that, unless it can be shown that he (namely the district judge) has misdirected himself in point of law in dealing with this question of fact upon this evidence there is no ground for appealing from his decision upon the question of fact.and again:the suggestion is that it can be made to appear clearly from the construction of the documents prior to the ruffinama, that the present tenure can be dated earlier than the 6th march 1884. that appears to their lordships to be nothing but a contention that a different conclusion of fact might have been drawn from those documents,2. in the present case, the district judge has considered the various documents beginning from the year 1761 and has come to the conclusion that the suit land is a.....
Judgment:

Phillips, J.

1. In these second appeals, it is contended that the finding of the lower Courts that the suit lands constituted a jagir is incorrect. This would appear to be primarily a finding of fact but it has very frequently been contended in this Court that when a finding of fact is based upon the construction of documents, that necessarily implies a further question of law. I am not saying that in this present case the argument has been put forward in that broad form but it has been so put forward before me very frequently. That it is thoroughly untenable is clear from the judgment of the Privy Council in Midnapur Zamindari Co. Ltd v. Umacharan Mandal A.I.R. 1923 P.C. 187, where a finding which was based on documentary evidence alone was held to be a decision upon a question of fact, with which the Court could not interfere in second appeal. Their Lordships remark:

It is clear therefore, that, unless it can be shown that he (namely the District Judge) has misdirected himself in point of law in dealing with this question of fact upon this evidence there is no ground for appealing from his decision upon the question of fact.

and again:

The suggestion is that it can be made to appear clearly from the construction of the documents prior to the ruffinama, that the present tenure can be dated earlier than the 6th March 1884. That appears to their Lordships to be nothing but a contention that a different conclusion of fact might have been drawn from those documents,

2. In the present case, the District Judge has considered the various documents beginning from the year 1761 and has come to the conclusion that the suit land is a jagir and therefore that it comes within the provisions of Section 3(2)(c), Estates Land Act which relates to unsettled palaiyams or jagirs, There is no definition of the term 'jagir' in the Estates Land Act or, so far as I know, in any other legislative enactment and therefore we are thrown back upon what are looked upon as authorities on the subject such as Willson's Glossary, Baden Powell's Land Tenures' and Maclean's 'Manual of Administration' and the definitions given in these authorities have been considered by a Bench of this Court in Sam v. Somalinga Mudaliar [1917] 40 Mad. 664 and the definition of 'jagir' has been there laid down. The District Judge has considered all these definitions and has considered whether the facts in the present case bring the suit estate within the definition of jagir.'

3. It is argued that the word 'jagir' in Section 3 (2)(c) must be interpreted as referring only to one class of jagirs and not to another class of jagirs. I can see no ground whatever for saying that there are two classes of jagirs. The Act deals with jagirs and jagirs alone. It is possible that lands may be called jagirs at times which are not really jagirs but we have to see what the word means. The District Judge has accepted the interpretation of the word by this Court and, after a consideration of the documents, has come to the conclusion that the suit estate comes within the definition.

4. It is argued that the nature of the grant in this case, which dated back to the 18th century, has not been definitely proved. It is true that there is no direct evidence of the term of the grant, for the grantees themselves have been unable to put forward such evidence, and therefore, one must look to the circumstantial evidence for coming to a conclusion as to the nature of the tenure. The point has to be decided and must be decided on what evidence is available. There is the evidence of history and there is the evidence of fact that this estate has been styled a jagir at least from the year 1840 and that, although the Inam Commissioner at one time was inclined to consider it as a devadayam inam,' he finally decided that it was a grant which was outside the province of his department, and this apparently was the decision of this Court in a suit in 1866. It is therefore impossible to say that, in considering the evidence, the Judge misdirected himself in point of law; and consequently his finding is a finding of fact which is binding upon us here in second appeal and that finding must be accepted. On that finding, the appeals must fail.

5. It, however, appears that by some mistake the lower Court's decree has not been drafted in accordance with the judgment and the plaintiffs' suit was dismissed instead of an order being passed that the plaint should be returned for presentation to the proper Court, This modification must be made in the decree and subject to that, the appeals are dismissed with costs. The Civil Revision Petitions are also dismissed with costs. The Civil Misc. Appeal Nos. 456 to 462 of 1926 are not pressed and are dismissed with costs.

Pandalai, J.

6. I also agree that there was material before the learned District Judge from which he could have come to the conclusion that Mafooskhanpet was a jagir within the meaning of Section 3(2)(c), Estates Land Act. Mafooskhan was the brother of the then Nawab. He bought the kudivaram rights in a portion of the Nayar village in 1761. It is known that two years later this portion of the Nayar village was not handed over to the East India, Company along with the remainder of the Chingleput jagir and it is also admitted that at no subsequent time had this property been subjected to taxation. From that time onwards, both the melwaram and kudivaram rights have been joined in one hand. Then about 1840 we see that in the paimash account the property was described as 'Mafooskhanpet jagir and the owner as 'jagirdar.' In 1866 at the time of the Inam Commission the property was described as 'Mafooskhanpet jagir,' Therefore, in addition to the admitted fact that Mafooskhan the brother of the then Nawab, was the grantee of the melvaram right and that he had previously bought the kudivaram right, there was also the fact established in evidence that for a period of nearly 90 years before the suit, the property had been regarded in Government accounts and by private parties as a jagir, The idea that it was an inam in the proper sense, that is, an endowment to a charity, seems to have been at one time suggested but it was negatived so early as 1867 when this Court found that it was not an endowment for the mosque. Mafooskhan seems to have perpetuated his name by founding that subsequently came to be known as Mafooskhanpet in the area which he acquired. He seems to have also built a mosque there with the same object. I do not see why a gift by the Nawab to his near relation for the purpose of perpetuating his name or of his winning his goodwill should not come within the definition of the word 'jagir' as adopted by this Court in the decision referred to by Mr. Varadachariar. At any rate, all that the District Judge did was from these available materials to draw the inference that the gift to Mafooskhan was of such a character as to fall within the definition of the word 'jagir.' I am not prepared to say that he was not entitled to do so in the circumstances. This is sufficient to dispose of the second appeals.

7. I agree to the orders proposed by my learned brother.


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