1. This revision proceeding raises an interesting point under Section 4-B of Act XXV of 1955 as amended by Act XIV of 1956. The facts are very simple. The revision petitioner is a lessee for a period of one year in respect of a cashewrmt jjlantation. The landlord refused to execute a lease-deed as required by Section 4-B of Act XXV of 1955, though the revision petitioner was admittedly not in arrears, and has actually deposited the advance amount due. The case of the landlord was not that the revision petitioner was in arrears and was therefore liable to be evicted, but that the revision petitioner was not a ' tenant' as defined under the Act, because the land was not taken on lease for the use of the land for the purpose of agriculture or horticulture as defined in Section 2 (b). The argument here is that the revision petitioner took the land on lease for enjoyment of the usufruct in respect of the cashewnut plantation, and that this would not bring him within the definition of 'cultivating tenant' (Section 2 (a) of the Act), which depends in its turn upon the definition of cultivation ' under Section 2 (b) of the Act. The learned Officer presiding over the Revenue Court, Tanjore, thought that this argument had substance, and hence dismissed the application as not maintainable.
2. I think that very little is needed to show that the view adopted by the Revenue Officer is erroneous. The matter has been fully dealt with by Ramaswami, J., in Chacko, In re1. The learned Judge observes as follows:
Irrespective of the nature of the produce or product of the land, whatever is grown aided by human labour and effort, whatever does not grow spontaneously on the soil without human labour or effort, would be an agrictultural product, and the process of producing it would be agriculture within the meaning of that expression.
After this, the learned Judge has collected the authorities holding, inter alia, betel leaves, cardamom and mango to be agricultural products so defined. It logically follows that lessees in respect of such plantations would certainly be persons engaged in ' cultivation ' within the meaning of Section 2 (b) of Madras Act XXV of l955 What is now urged before me by the learned Counsel for the respondent is that the revision petitioner was a lessee only in respect of the usufruct, so that there is no evidence to indicate that he was engaged in actual manual labour of any kind on the land, with regard to the plantation. But I take it that the test would be the same whether with reference to a usufructuary mortgage or a lease, so long as there is a cashewnut plantation, and it is the subject of the lease. The lessee will necessarily have to provide the minimum care for the plantation, and so long as we may take judicial notice of this fact, he would certainly be a person engaged in 'cultivation ' within the meaning of the Act. Otherwise, the result would be the patently fallacious and absurd one, that, in every case, the application of the definition would depend upon oral evidence as to the kind of manual labour employed by the lessee. It is not pretended that cashew trees, being organic growth, can subsist by themselves without the necessary minimum care, such as watering, etc. In the case of a lease, it is obviously the lessee in occupation who will be providing this minimum care. I have no hesitation in holding that the cultivation of cashew trees in that sense, under a lease of the usufruct, comes within the definition of agricultural use, and that the present revision petitioner is, therefore, a ' cultivating tenant' as specified in the Act.
3. The revision proceeding is accordingly allowed, and the order of the Revenue Officer is set aside. The application is itself remitted to the Court below for further disposal in the light of these observations. There will be no order as to costs.