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S.R. Srinivasa Thathachariar Vs. Pitchai Muthu Moopan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1972CriLJ287; (1971)IIMLJ424
AppellantS.R. Srinivasa Thathachariar
RespondentPitchai Muthu Moopan and ors.
Cases ReferredNrittagopal Singh v. Chandi Charan Singh
Excerpt:
- .....by the petitioners.2. exs. a. 1 to a. 10. a. 24 to to a. 34 and a. 45 to a. 50 series are the cooly chits executed by the members of the b party in favour of the petitioners. the chit opens with the following words:details of the pannai servants in the lands of raehunatha thatham'. further details regarding the survey number, extent, names of the pannavals etc. are given. the duration for which they should do nannai work is mentioned as from the 26th of adi to the 1st of pan-gunj of that year. column 7 enumerates the items of the work which he should do in the pannai as a pannai servant. the owner should give the seeds, manure and the cooly for labourers. the land should be ploughed five times. weeds should be removed thrice. harvest should be done under the orders of the landlord......
Judgment:
ORDER

Somasundaram, J.

1. These two revisions arise out of the orders passed by the learned Sub Divisional Magistrate of Arivalur. in proceedings under Section 145 Criminal Procedure Code, in M. C. Nos. 56 and 62 of 1971 on his file. The dispute related to the possession of certain lands situated in Muthirivar, a village in Lalgudi taluk. The revision petitioners are the owners of these lands : there is no dispute about it. The respondents claimed tenancy rights in June 1970. In November 1970. the petitioners moved for action under Section 145 Criminal Procedure Code. On the report of the Police, the Executive First Class Magistrate, Musiri, issued the preliminary order under Section 145 (1) Criminal P. C. on 25-11-1970. He attached the property and appointed the village Headman as the Receiver. The parties filed their written statements. The proceedings were then transferred to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate for disposal. Documents. Ex, A. 1 to A. 9 series, were filed by the petitioners for substantiating their contention that the respondents were only pannavals doing work in the lands for wages. Exs. B. 1. receipt for electricity charges, and Ex. B. 2 another letter issued by the President of the Agricultural Cooperative Society for sanction of a loan of Rs. 1540/- to one Marudamuthu for raising plantain crops were filed. On a consideration of the documents thus filed, the learned Sub Divisional Magistrate declared possession of the lands with the respondents. The correctness of this order is now canvassed by the petitioners.

2. Exs. A. 1 to A. 10. A. 24 to to A. 34 and A. 45 to A. 50 series are the cooly chits executed by the members of the B party in favour of the petitioners. The chit opens with the following words:

Details of the pannai servants in the lands of Raehunatha Thatham'. Further details regarding the survey number, extent, names of the pannavals etc. are given. The duration for which they should do nannai work is mentioned as from the 26th of Adi to the 1st of Pan-gunj of that year. Column 7 enumerates the items of the work which he should do in the pannai as a pannai servant. The owner should give the seeds, manure and the cooly for labourers. The land should be ploughed five times. Weeds should be removed thrice. Harvest should be done under the orders of the landlord. The landlord would take the amount due to him. The pannaval would receive the cooly as per the payment orders of the landlord. The value of the crops is estimated and the amount is mentioned in column 9. These pannavals are given different plots each year.

3. Ex. A. 14 is an affidavit filed by the village headman of the place. Ex. A. 15 is the affidavit filed by the karnam. Both these persons have sworn that the lands are in the pannai cultivation of the present petitioners, that the members of the B party have no independent rights in the lands and that they have been doing work in the lands allotted only as pannavals without any rights in the lands or in the crops. Exs. A. 16 to A. 21 are similar affidavits filed by other persons in the village.

4. These cooly chits are taken on a printed form, apparently standardized by the petitioners. Ex. facie, the document is an agreement for engaging the servants as a parmayal. The person named therein is described as a pannayal. The period during which he should serve as a pannayal also is specifically given. True, these cooly chits provide for the payment of specified quantities of the produce in the land to the owner : but this itself may not be conclusive of the question whether the relationship created by these chits is that of lessor and lessee, that is, of landlord and the tenant. The executant has executed this document, describing himself as a pannaval. These cooly chits have come into existence after the tenancy legislations and certainly this would have a bearing on the question as to whether it could have been the intention of the contracting parties to brine about a tenancy agreement for the year in question, limiting it to one year when the tenancy legislation secured the immunity from eviction despite the contract to the contrary. The intention of the parties has to be gathered from the terms of the agreement, and I am unable to find anything in these cooly chits to indicate that the parties intended them to be agreements of lease and not what they purported to be agreements to provide for the engagement of the servants of these persons to work as pannavals, under the petitioners. Taking the cooly chits as a whole, it seems clear that they were not intended to be leases under which the members of the B party could claim the status of a lessee or a tenant. As pointed out in Krishnaswami lyengar v. Rangaraju 1960 Mad WN 826 an agreement for encasing a person as a pannaval. Providing for payment of specific quantities of the produce to the land-owner and the remuneration of the pannaval to be the balance of the produce, does not create any interest in the land in the pannaval, because he is not a tenant entitled to the benefits of the Cultivating Tenants Protection Act.

5. Ex. A. 12 is the certified copy of the pannai account maintained by the petitioners. Details of the several payments made by the petitioners for removing the cut sugarcane plants, the shrubs, for irrigating water, for raising cotton for planting plantains, for manuring these items, for purchasing insecticides and so on, are found in these accounts for the year commencing from 2nd February 1970. The last column contains remarks about the presence and absence of the nannaval during particular periods. Thus, Ex. A. 12 also establishes that the petitioners have been cultivating the lands, keeping them under their pannai.

6. Ex. A. 22 is the certified copy of the adangal for fasli 1379. The survey numbers are given in column 2 and the names of the cultivators are mentioned in column 6. We have the names of the petitioners in this column. Ex. A. 37 shows that the petitioners have sold cotton to one Natesa Chettiar during the year 1970 for about Rs. 6483.75.

7. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural Lands (Records of Tenancy Rights}. Act 1969 (Act X of 19.69} came into force on 17th December 1969. The petitioners applied, to the Special Tahsildar and Record Officer under Section 3 of the said Act, for registering their names. The tenants also gave intimation to him. Notice was given both to the members of the A party and the B party. The Tahsildar after enquiry declared that the lands are in the pannai cultivation of the petitioners, and that the members of the B party are only pannai coolies. With this finding he rejected their intimations and refused to register names in the register as requested by them. This was on 24-2-1971 : vide the orders in Exs. A.39 to A.44. The result is that all these lands are now registered in the Record of Rights as the lands under the self cultivation of the petitioners. Under Section 13 of the Act, an 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.

8. Thus the cooly chits executed by the members of the B party prima facie establish that they are doing only pannaval work in the lands, as per the terms contained in the chits executed by them. The affidavits filed by the village officers and the other ryots in the village also establish that the lands are in the pannai cultivation of the petitioners. The account. Ex. A. 12, also does show that the petitioners had made payments for the cotton seeds, plantains and other miscellaneous items for the pannai cultivation. They had sold cotton, as will be evident from the receipt Ex. A. 37. More than that, in the Record of Rights, these lands are registered as lands under the pannai cultivation of these petitioners. The presumption is that these entries are true and correct till the contrary is proved. Thus the petitioners have proved prima facie with reference to these documents that they are in possession of the plots in dispute.

9. The learned Magistrate observes that even granting that the parties of the B party are the farm servants of the petitioners, since they are in actual uninterrupted possession of the lands for a period of ten months, their possession should be protected. Mr. V. T. Ramaswami Ivengar. learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners, rightly argues that the pannai servants cannot claim independent possession because this possession is only that of their master. The possession of an agent or a servant which is permissive, cannot give him a locus standi as against his principal or master. The possession that can be pleaded in a proceeding under Section 145. Criminal Procedure Code must be possession based on a claim of right to possession; vide Baji Rao v. Mt. Dadibai AIR 1926 Nag 286. As pointed out in Balakdas v. Bhagwandas : AIR1960Pat60 . the agent's possession is the possession of the principal. See also Nrittagopal Singh v. Chandi Charan Singh (1906) 4 Cri LJ 215.

10. The learned Magistrate has not considered the material evidence afforded by the documents, Exs. A. 12, A. 22, A. 37. A. 14 and A. 15. He has also not considered the scope of the entry in the Record of Rights. The materials on record prima facie establish that the lands have been in the exclusive possession of the petitioners under their pannai cultivation and that the members of the B party have no independent possession in their own right.

11. The orders passed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate are reversed. Instead I declare that the petitioners were in the possession on the relevant date and I direct the Receiver to deliver possession of the plots to them. The members of the B party are prohibited' from creating any disturbance in the enjoyment and possession of the lands by the petitioners.

12. Both the revisions are allowed.


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