1. The appellant which is the Idol of Sri Ranganathaswami Devasthanam, Srirangam, represented by its Executive Officer, claims patta under Section 5(2) (it) of Act XXX of 1963 The respondents numbering six claim patta under Section 8(i) of the said Act. Respondents are represented by Mr. Kumar, the learned Counsel. The lands involved in this case are situated in Easamakorai Village, Lalgudi Taluk, Tiruchirapalli District They measure 2 88 acres in survey field S. No 74/1971 and 1.16 acres in survey field S. No. 74/2. Even though the respondents claim patta under Section 8(1), during enquiry by the Settlement Tahsildar, they contended that the land has been lawfully transferred in their favour and as such they are entitled to patta under Section 8(2) (ii). The Settlement Tahsildar, Tiruchirapalli granted patta to the respondents herein under Section 8(2) (i) (b). Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant herein preferred C.M.A. No. 48 of 1975 before the Minor Inams Abolition Tribunal. Tiruchirapalli, while the respondents herein independently preferred appeals in C.M.A. No. 117 to 121 and 131 of 1975 contending that the patta ought to have been issued under Section 8(1) of the Act and not under Section 8(2) (i) (b). The Tribunal dismissed all the appeals confirming the grant of patta by the Settlement Tahsildar in favour of the respondent under Section 8(2) (i) (b). As against this order of the Tribunal, the appellant alone has preferred the above appeal.
2. Mr. M. Srinivasan, the learned Counsel for the appellant, after reading Section 8 of the Act submitted that there is absolutely no proof of the lawful transfer of the land in favour of the respondents herein by the temple and as such the respondents are not entitled to patta. The learned Counsel further submits that the appellant should be granted patta under Section 8(2) (ii) of Act XXX of 1963. Mr. Kumar, the learned Counsel appearing for the respondents finding the difficulty to sustain the the grant of patta under Section 8(2) (i) (b) submitted that patta must be granted to the respondents herein under Section 8(1) inasmuch as the respondents have (sic) perfected their kudivaram right even before the appointed day.
3. We have been taken through the orders of the authorities below and also the evidence on record. The Inams Abolition Tribunal, for coming to the conclusion that the lands. have been lawfully transferred in favour of the respondents observed-
At first blush, it appears to have some force, but when probed it is possible to conclude that at some distant past the temple itself might have parted with the kudivaram by way of sale.
We are unable to understand as to on what basis the Tribunal has come to such a conclusion. To entitle a person to have patta under Section 8(2) (i) (b), it has to be proved that the transfer was on behalf of the institution and that the transferee is in possession of the lands in question for a continuous period of 12 years immediately before the 1st day of April, 1960. There is absolutely no evidence on record to prove that the transfers in favour of the respondents were by the institution or by those who were lawfully entitled to transfer on behalf of the institution. In the absence of such a positive proof the Tribunal has committed a gross mistake in presuming that the transfer of kudiwaram was by the temple itself. Apart from the fact that both warams ought to have been transferred, the presumption made by the Tribunal cannot be supported by any evidence on record. Hence, it is clear that the ingredients necessary to grant patta under Section 8(2)(1) (b) have not been proved in this case and as such the grant of patta under that provision of law is not sustainable.
4. A reading of the Inam Fair Register and the other relevant documents clearly establish that the grant is in favour of the temple. Section 44 makes it clear that such a grant has to be pesumed as iruvaram grant. Since both counsel appearing for the respective parties in this case have accepted that the grant is in favour of the temple and such a grant is of both the warams, they have not adverted to this aspect in detail even though there is enough evidence to establish this fact.
5. The argument of Mr. Kumar that even before the appointed day, the respondents have perfected their title by adverse possession and as such the patta ought to have been granted under Section 8(1) of the Act, has to be considered, Section 8(1) starts by stating 'subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 8 'Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1)'. Apart from this provision in Section 8(2) there is a specific direction in Section 8(2) to the following effect-
The following provisions shall apply in the case of lands in an Iruvaram minor inam granted in support of maintenance of religious institution or for the performance of a charity or service connected therewith or of any other religious charity.
We have already held that it is an Iruvaram Inam grant in favour of the temple. If that be so, there is absolutely no difficulty in eschewing Section 8(1) and the matter has to be considered only under Section 8(2) of the Act on the facts and circumstances of the present case. In Karivaradaraja Perumal Temple, Pollachi v. K.S.J. Raju Chettiar (1978) 91 L.W. 142, a Bench of our High Court has held:
It is clear that the temple is not in a position to produce its original grant. Nor are the terms of the grant clear from the extract from the Inam fair register. All the same, the temple is entitled in such a situation, to rely on the statutory presumption under Section 44 of the Act. In view of this position, and on the materials on record, we must hold that the respondents have not succeeded in dislodging that presumption. It follows from this that for the purpose of considering the issue of grant of patta in respect the lands in question, the temple must be held to be the owner of both the warams. This at once renders Section 8(2) applicable. By same token, Section 8(1) is ruled out from consideration. This is because Section 8(1), in terms would have operation only 'subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2).
6. As regards the contention of Mr. Kumar that the respondents have perfected their claim to kudiwaram interest by adverse possession even before the appointed date, the very same Bench has held that all the rights including that of adverse possession will vest with the Government under Section 3 of the Act, and that the Legislative intention was not to recognise for the purpose of the Act any claim to ryotwari patta on the basis merely of adverse possession. In view of the interpretation we have made on the sections and on the strength of the Bench decision we have referred to above, we do not find any substance in the contention raised by Mr. Kumar on the question of adverse possession. Thus looking from any point of view, the respondents are not entitled to the grant of patta. On the other hand, it is clear from the admitted facts of this case that the grant is in favour of the temple and that it is an iruvaram grant. If that be so, there is absolutely no difficulty in directing the issue of patta in favour of the appellant herein under Section 8(2) (ii) of Act XXX of 1963.
7. For all the reasons we have stated above, the appeal is allowed, with the result the grant of patta in favour of the respondent is set aside and we direct the grant of patta under Section 8(2) (ii) of the Act in favour of the appellant herein. There will be no order as to costs.