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K. Vellappa Gounder and Sons, by Partner, K. Vellappa Gounder and ors. Vs. K.S. Thirugnanasambandam Chettiar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1981)1MLJ192
AppellantK. Vellappa Gounder and Sons, by Partner, K. Vellappa Gounder and ors.
RespondentK.S. Thirugnanasambandam Chettiar and ors.
Cases ReferredSomasundaram Pillai v. Durairaj
Excerpt:
- - duraiswami nadar air1971mad474 held that the pro-visions will be attracted only to cases where the building as well as the site on which it stands belong to the same person on the date, of notification and it will not apply to a case where the building and the site are owned by different persons. the provisions of section 3(b) and section 13 of the minor inams act (sic) are similar to sections 3(b) and 18(4) and 18(5) of madras act xxvi of 1948. the ratio of the judgments is clearly applicable for the interpretation of sections 3(b) and 13 of the minor inams act......village, palladam taluk, coimbatore district, comprised in t.d. no. 174 was a devadayam minor inam land and it was granted to one mavalinga naicker, for performing 'ugranam service' in the temple of sri visweswaraswami and veeraraghava peru-mal at tiruppur. on a reading of the provisions of the inam fair register extract relating to this minor inam, the settlement tahsildar came to the conclusion that it is a personal inam burdened with service of the categories specified in section 8(5) of the tamil nadu minor inams (abolition and conversion into ryotwari) act (xxx of 1963) (hereinafter called the act). this finding that it is a personal inam burdened with service is not in dispute in this case. the grantee alienated the property by way of permanent lease sometime in 1864......
Judgment:
ORDER

V. Ramaswami, J.

1. The land in R. C. No. 209|1 in Tiruppur village, Palladam taluk, Coimbatore District, comprised in T.D. No. 174 was a Devadayam minor inam land and it was granted to one Mavalinga Naicker, for performing 'ugranam service' in the temple of Sri Visweswaraswami and Veeraraghava Peru-mal at Tiruppur. On a reading of the provisions of the Inam Fair Register Extract relating to this minor Inam, the Settlement Tahsildar came to the conclusion that it is a personal inam burdened with service of the categories specified in Section 8(5) of the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act (XXX of 1963) (hereinafter called the Act). This finding that it is a personal inam burdened with service is not in dispute in this case. The grantee alienated the property by way of permanent lease sometime in 1864. Subsequently, the grantee sold and released the right of reversion thus making the lessee an alienee of the grant itself. Though there was an attempt by the Government to resume the land on the ground of non-performance of service, that ultimately ended in a settlement accepting the alienation as valid. This minor inam was notified under the Act and taken over and the vesting date is 15th February, 1965. It appears that almost the entire area became house-sites and on the date when the minor inam was notified and taken over, there were buildings on the sites. These properties were divided into two schedules in the order of the Settlement Tahsildar. Schedule A related to cases where the buildings and sites were owned by a single individual. Schedule B related to cases where the superstructures were owned by different persons, but the sites were owned by the alienees from the grantees who will hereinafter be referred to as the 'land owners'. The Settlement Tahsildar, following a decision of this Court reported in Silambani Sri Chidambara Vinayagar Swami Devasthanam v. Duraiswami Nadar : AIR1971Mad474 held that the persons who owned the buildings and the sites would be entitled for a patta under Section 13 of the Act. In respect of these cases where the superstructures are owned by different persons and not by the owners of the sites a joint patta was directed to be issued in favour of the persons owning the superstructure and the landowner. Both the landowners and the owners of the buildings preferred appeals in respect of cases where there were directions for issue of joint pattas and claimed that each was entitled to separate patta under Section 13. The Tribunal held that unless a person owns both the building and the site, patta cannot be granted to the owner of the building alone and rejected the claim by the owner of superstructures. But the Tribunal directed the issue of patta to the landowners on the ground that they are the owners of the sites and that therefore, they must be deemed to be the owner of the buildings and accordingly patta has to be issued to them under Section 13. It is as against this judgment, these batches of cases are filed.

2. The finding that the appellants in all these cases are the owners of the superstructures concerned in these cases is a concurrent finding and there are no grounds also to interfere with the same. The finding of the Tribunal that the landowner owned the site is a legal inference made by the Tribunal and that is disputed in these cases. According to the learned Counsel for the appellants, in view of the decision of this Court, the landowner cannot claim a ryotwari patta under Section 8(1) in respect of the site alone nor can he claim a patta under Section 13 in respect of the building and the site as he did not own the superstructure on the site. On the other hand relying on the decision in Sri Kumara Kattalai Subramaniyaswamy Devastamam at Mayuram rep. by its hereditary trustee v. Sundaram Chettiar I.L.R.(1975)1Mad. 501 and an unreported judgment in Ramachandra Pillai v. Shanmugam Pillai S.A. No. 1 139 of 1969 by Ramanujam, J. the learned Counsel for the respondents (landowner) contended that in spite of the provisions in Section 3(b) if the Act the landowner continued to be in constructive possession of the site even after the notified date and that, therefore, both the legal title and possession are with the landholders and as such he will either be entitled to a ryotwari patta under Section 8(1) or for a patta under Section 13 itself as a person owning the site.

3. Before dealing with these rival contentions, I may refer to the relevant provision under Section 13, which reads as follows:

13(1). Every building situated within the limits of an inam land shall, with effect on and from the appointed day, vest in the person who owned it immediately before that day but the Government shall be entitled for each fasli year commencing with the fasli year in which the appointed day falls to levy the appropriate assessment thereon.

(2) In this section 'building' includes the site on which it stands and any adjacent premises occupied by an appurtenance thereto.

4. There was a similar provision in Madras Act XXVI of 1948 in Sections 18(4) and 18(5). On a construction of these provisions a Division Bench of this Court in Silambani Sri Chidamabara Vinayagar Swami Devasthanam v. Duraiswami Nadar : AIR1971Mad474 held that the pro-visions will be attracted only to cases where the building as well as the site on which it stands belong to the same person on the date, of notification and it will not apply to a case where the building and the site are owned by different persons.

5. A similar provision in Act XXVI of 1963 was considered by another Division Bench in Somasundaram Pillai v. Durairaj (1979) 1 M.L.J. 444 : 92 L.W. 366. It was held in that case that in a case where the superstructure is owned by a person other than the landholder the site over which the building stands will not vest in the landholder and that Section 3(b) will vest the site also in the Government. To hold that the, landholders continue to own the site over which the buildings have been built by the tenants notwithstanding the, notification, will be against the teeth of the general vesting contemplated in Section 3(b). He can avoid that vesting of the site only if he, had put up the building himself and not when someone else had put up a building thereon. The landholder cannot take advantage of the existence of the buildings put up by somebody else to claim that the site continues to vest in him. The Bench also held Section 3(b) contemplates the vesting of all lands including gramanatham. But, an exception has been made in Section 18 in respect of poromboke lands on which buildings had been erected, by treating such lands as part of the buildings and vesting them in the person owning the buildings.

6. In another Bench decision reported in Natarajan v. Rani Kannuthai alias Muthathal Nachiar 86 L.W. 577 : (1973) 2 M.L.J. 330, considering the scope of vesting under Section 3(b), and the provisions of section 18 of Madras Act XXVI of 1948, this Court held that the effect of Section 18(4) is to recognise the pre-existing owner of the building in the persons concerned and if the land and the building are not owned by the same individual, vesting under Section 3(b) will not be affected. The provisions of Section 3(b) and Section 13 of the Minor Inams Act (sic) are similar to Sections 3(b) and 18(4) and 18(5) of Madras Act XXVI of 1948. The ratio of the judgments is clearly applicable for the interpretation of Sections 3(b) and 13 of the Minor Inams Act. Therefore, unless a person owns both the building and the site, on which the building is situate, it will not vest in him so as to enable him to obtain a ground rent patta under Section 13. The decision in Ramachandra Pillai v. Shanmugha Pillai S.A. No. 1139 of 1969 S.A. No. 1139 of 1969 and Srikumara Kattalai Subramania-swami Devastanam, Mayuram rep. by its herenitary Trustees v. Sundaram Chettiur I.L.R. (1975) 1 Mad. 501 were rendered by Mr. Justice Ramanujam. Though there were certain stray observations which may lead to an argument that in the case of sites in which there are buildings, Section 3(b) would not be operative those decisions cannot be taken as authorities for that position in view of the Division Bench judgment in Somasundaram Pillai v. Durairaj (1979) 1 M.L.J. 444 to which the learned Judge was a party and in fact, the judgment was written by the same learned Judge. As already noted, in Somasundaram Pillai v. Durairaj (1979) 1 M.L.J. 444 the Bench held that in cases where the buildings have been built by parties other than the landholder, the vesting contemplated under Section 3(b) cannot be affected and the site is vested in the Government and not in the landholder.

7. It is, therefore, clear from the provisions of the Act and decided cases that in order to enable a person to get a ground rent patta under Section 13, he must be the owner of the site and the building, and if the owner of the building is anybody other than the landholder, the land will be vested in the Government under Section 3(by. Section 3 specifically saves only the express provisions in the Act.

8. It is now necessary to consider the other claim of the respondent-landholder under Section 8(1) of the Act. Under this provision, every person who is lawfully entitled to the kudiwaram in an 'inam land' immediately before the appointed day whether such person is an inamdar or not shall, with effect on and from the appointed day, be entitled to ryotwari patta in respect of 'that land'. 'Inam land' is defined in Section 2(7) as meaning any land comprised in a minor inam. The question for consideration is whether the word 'land' in these provisions will include the site on which a building is constructed. Under Section 8(1) and 8(2), ryotwari pattas are to be granted to the person who is entitled to the kudiwaram in the land or in the case of institutions owning both warams to the persons referred to in Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 provides that where no person is entitled to ryotwari patta under Section 8 and the land is vested in the Government, the persons specified therein shall be entitled to ryotwari patta. The condition referred to therein refers to personsal cultivation of such land.

9. Section 10 refers to lands in respect of which no ryotwari patta could be granted. They are forests, beds and bunds of tanks and of supply, drainage, surplus or irrigation channels, threshing floor, cattle-stands, village sites, cart tracks, roads, temple sites and such other lands situated in any minor inam as are set apart for the common use of the villagers, rivers, streams and other porombokes and also private tanks and ooranies. It may be possible to construe, as contended by the learned Counsel for the respondent that except in respect of lands mentioned in Sections 10 and 10-A. in respect of all other lands, Section 8 would apply. But even so, we are not convinced that the land in Section 8 would include the site on which a building is constructed. Though normally the 'land' in Section 8 construed in conjunction with Section 9 would bring within it only cultivable land, it is not necessary for the purpose of this case to give a final decision on that question except to state that it will not include the site on which a building is situate. With reference to Section 13, the notification in G.O. No. 401, Revenue, dated 15th February. 1965. designating the authorities and officers by whom the power shall be exercised under that provision, states that the power to decide the claim of any person for ground rent patta, is vested in Assistant Settlement Officer whereas with reference to the provisions in Section 8 or Section 9 it is stated that the power is 'to decide the claim of any person for ryotwari patta'. Thus, ryotwari pattas arc issued under Section 8 or 9 which would normally mean, with respect to cultivable lands in the inam estate, and ground rent patta is appropriate only to a case of non-cultivable lands such as house sites. The respondent-landholder would not, therefore, be entitled for any patta under Section 8(1) in respect of the site in which the building stands. The net result of the above discussion is, neither the landholder will be entitled for a patta either under Section 8(1) or Section 13, nor the appellants who are the owners of the superstructures alone would be entitled to a patta under Section 13. There is no provision similar to Section 19-A of Madras Act XXVI of 1948, where admission to non-ryotwari land by a landholder could be recognised by Government. But, all the same, the provisions of the Minor Inams Act or any other provisions do not prevent the Government considering the claims of the owners of the building for grant of patta outside the provisions of the Act. Therefore, it would be open to the persons who are owning the buildings to apply to the Government in whom the site is vested by virtue of Section 3(b), for grant of a pound rent patta outside the provisions of the Act. The orders of the Settlement Tahsildar and the Inam Tribunal in so far as the lands which are the subject-matters of these appeals are concerned, are therefore, set aside and the owners of the buildings are directed to approach the Government if they so choose. There will be no order as to costs.


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