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Venkatarama Sivan and Vs. the Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tanjore - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in50Ind.Cas.360
AppellantVenkatarama Sivan And; M. Sambasiva Aiyag
RespondentThe Secretary of State for India in Council Represented by the Collector of Tanjore
Cases ReferredVenkataratnammah v. Secretary of State
Excerpt:
inam, grant of - construction of document--village granted as sarvamaniyam 'besides poramboke', meaning of--cremation ground, whether vests in grantee--government, ownership of, over lands required for communal purposes. - - i, observed that 'it could never be supposed that the government, in making a grant as a reward for services rendered, included in the grant the property of private persons, or the communal property of the villagers such as temples, threshing floors, cattle stands, burning grounds, or the like, or public roads simply because they are included in the area of the village as shown in the village and survey accounts, and are not in terms excepted from the grant. but it could not have done so without a violation of its trust to the community to preserve the land for..........felling of trees standing upon the said land.2. the village of govindapuram, is a whole inam village granted in 1809 by pratap singh raja sahib, one of the former rulers of tanjore. the entire village was granted to the inamdars 'in free tenure, exempt entirely from payment of revenue or rent,' which is the meaning of sarvamaniyam. the original grant is not available, but we have the title deed (exhibit e) issued by the inam commissioner in 1865, wherein the grantees' title was acknowledged by the government to the sarvamaniyam village of govindaprnram claimed to be of 14-15 acres of dry land 216-15 acres of wet land and 54-29 acres of garden land besides poramboke. the portions alleged by the defendant to have been encroached upon by the plaintiffs are classed as sudda rudrabhumi.....
Judgment:

Spencer, J.

1. These second appeals are brought against the judgment of the Subordinate Judge of Kumbakonam confirming the judgment of the District Munsif of Valangiman dismissing two suits instituted against the Secretary of State for India in Council for the recovery of portions of poramboke land comprised in Survey No. 95/2 corresponding to Paimash No. 809 in the village of Govindapuram, from which the plaintiff were evicted by order of Government officers under the provisions of Act III of 1915, and for damages for the unlawful felling of trees standing upon the said land.

2. The village of Govindapuram, is a whole inam village granted in 1809 by Pratap Singh Raja Sahib, one of the former rulers of Tanjore. The entire village was granted to the inamdars 'in free tenure, exempt entirely from payment of revenue or rent,' which is the meaning of Sarvamaniyam. The original grant is not available, but we have the title deed (Exhibit E) issued by the Inam Commissioner in 1865, wherein the grantees' title was acknowledged by the Government to the Sarvamaniyam village of Govindaprnram claimed to be of 14-15 acres of dry land 216-15 acres of wet land and 54-29 acres of garden land besides poramboke. The portions alleged by the defendant to have been encroached upon by the plaintiffs are classed as sudda rudrabhumi or cremation ground, and the substantial question to be now decided is whether upon the construction of the grant, these portions passed to the grantees under the words 'besides poramboke.'

3. These words occurring in similar deeds of grant have been the subject of judicial interpretation and in Venkataratnammah v. Secretary of State 15 Ind. Cas. 594 (1912) M.W.N. 771. Benson and Sundara Aiyar, JJ., laid down that the effect to be given to them must depend on the evidence available in each case and the circumstances attending the grant. In the case that they were then considering, they held that, as the stream in question was not a large one and was not connected with any system of irrigation by Government and as the British Government had shown no intention at any time, to derogate from, the original grant, the channel must belong together with other poramboke to the inamdar. At the same time, the learned Judges cited the case of papala Narayanasawmy Naidu v. Secretary of State 14 Ind. Cas. 261, and expressed their concurrence with the view therein taken of the meaning of the words 'besides poramboke' that they should not be interpreted a an acknowledgment by the Government of India of the Inamdar's title to all kinds of poramboke in papala Narayanasawmy Naidu v. Secretary of State 14 Ind. Cas. 261: (1912) M.W.N. 496. Benson and Bakewell, J. I, observed that 'it could never be supposed that the Government, in making a grant as a reward for services rendered, included in the grant the property of private persons, or the communal property of the villagers such as temples, threshing floors, cattle stands, burning grounds, or the like, or public roads simply because they are included in the area of the village as shown in the village and survey accounts, and are not in terms excepted from the grant.' In the village of Govindapuram we find from reference to the Inam Register, Exhibit XX, that the entire area of the village being 441 acres 25 cents, 354 acres 99 cents consisted, at the time when the register was written up, of wet and dry fields, topes and gardens, leaving 86 acres 25 cents to be deducted for poramboke Below this there is a note that the poramboke consists of houses and backyards about 44 acres, 3 guntas and 5 annas in local measure, and pathways, roads, irrigation channels, tanks, river, sites of pagodas, burning grounds, etc. Now as regards public roads the Government has divested itself of its rights over them by directing them under Section 49 of the Local Board's Act (V of 1884) to be vested in the District Board, a statutory body constituted for the maintenance of roads and for other objects of public utility. As regards irrigation channels, rivers and tanks, the beds would, under the authority of Papala Narayanasawmy Naidu v. Secretary of State 14 Ind. Cas. 261: (1912) M.W.N. 496, ordinarily remain vested in the Government which under Act VII of 1865, has the control of irrigation in this Presidency. Lastly, as regards sites of pagodas, burning grounds, etc., which word ''etc.' must also include public threshing floors, cattle stands and unassigned house-sites and backyards, Government is the custodian of the rights of the public and could not be deemed to have permanently assigned over such property to individuals for their private use without a derogation from its trust. The legal title has all along been in the Government in respect of such communal land for the sake of convenience, and, therefore, the Government could, at the time of the grant, have assigned to the inamdars what rights it possessed in these sites; but it could not have done so without a violation of its trust to the community to preserve the land for communal use, and I think that we should not assume, without clear proof, that the Government intentionally committed a violation of trust, The lower Courts were, therefore, right in dismissing these suits and as the second appeals fail on the merits, without deciding the question of limitation, they must be dismissed with costs.

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

4. In Secretary of State for India v. Ragunatha Thathachariar 18 Ind. Cas. 41 : (1913) M.W.N. 261, I said at page 34: Pages of 24 M.L.J.--Ed. 'The word 'poramboke' is loosely used in many senses. Whatever land does not yield revenue to Government is usually known as poramboke though several kinds of lands may be included in it.' So far as Papala Narayanasawmy Naidu, Secretary of State 14 Ind. Cas. 261 : (1912) 24 M.L.J. 36, decided that burning and burial grounds, temple sites and public roads remain vested in Government in trust for communal purposes, notwithstanding the grant of a whole inam village including the poramboke, I concurred with that opinion respectfully in Secretary of State v. Ragunatha Thathachariar 18 Ind. Cas. 41 : (1913) M.W.N. 261, and I still adhere to that opinion. So far as Venkataratnammah v. Secretary of State 15 Ind. Cas. 594, decided that river porambokes and channel porambokes contained within the ambit of a Sarvamanyam whole inam village did not pass to the inamdar by the grant, that opinion must be deemed to have been overruled by the recent decision of the Privy Council in the Urlam Case. Se Kandukuri Balasurya Prasadha Row V. Secretary of State 41 Ind. Cas. 98--Ed. The present case, however, relates to burning ground poramboke and that, in my opinion, continued notwithstanding the inam grant of the village to vest in the Government as legal owner in trust for communal purposes. The legal ownership of Government as regards burial and burning ground porambokes and public road porambokes in inam villages is, no doubt,, of a different character from its legal ownership of caltivable waste lands in ryotwari villages (legal ownership over the latter involving much larger powers of grant, auction sale, ejectment, direct possession, subjection to various and indeterminate kinds of uses, etc., than their legal right of ownership of communal lands like burning grounds, etc., set apart for particular portions of the community), but both kinds of lands are the subject of the Government's legal ownership in the very real sense So far as trespassers are concerned. The contention of Mr. Rama chandra Aiyar, therefore, that the Sudra community is the legal owner even on the findings of the lower Courts and that the Government had no right to eject his clients while his clients were in lawful possession, the Government being not the legal owner, cannot be upheld. The members of the Sudra community may form the objects of the trust but the trustee and legal owner is the Government itself. I, therefore, agree that the second appeals must be dismissed with costs.


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