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Prasanna Chidambara Reddiar and anr. Vs. Nagammal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Mad710
AppellantPrasanna Chidambara Reddiar and anr.
RespondentNagammal
Excerpt:
- .....in which i am unable to concur, but the real question appears to be whether the order of the inam commissioner is binding on the defendant.5. as i read paras. 3 and 4, the learned judge evidently felt himself unable to concur with the finding of the first court on the question of fact that arises in the case, but that for the reasons mentioned by him in para. 4, which i shall at once advert to, he thought that he wa9 relieved from the necessity of discussing the evidence or recording a definite finding thereon.6. the real ground on which the learned district judge disposed of the case appears to be the following:the order of the inam deputy collector and of the inam commissioner is not prima facie illegal or ultra vires and if the defendant or his predecessor-in title wished to.....
Judgment:

Anantakrishna Ayyar, J.

1. This second appeal arises out of a suit instituted by the plaintiff, Nagammal, for a declaration that the defendant had no right to bring the holding known as Palamaram Punja to sale for arrears of rent and for a permanent injunction restraining the defendant from bringing the suit property to sale. Her main allegation was that the holding in question was an enfranchised Thandal Manyam, that the plaintiff had to pay quit rent to Government for it as such and that the mittadar had no right to collect rent from her. The plea of the mittadar defendant was that the land was really ryoti land and not Government inam. The first Court dismissed the suit. On appeal the learned District Judge, as I read his judgment, has not recorded any definite finding on the real question that arises in the case.

2. Paragraph 3 of his judgment begins as follows:

The bulk of the lower Court's judgment deals with the question whether the suit land was originally granted to the plaintiffs' predecessor-in-title as inam for Tandal service. I do not propose to go into this question at any length.

3. Later on, he observes in the same paragraph:

In the result, the lower Court came to the rather curious conclusion that, although the defendant had not discharged the burden cast on him of proving that the suit land was included in the estate at the time when it was permanently settled by Government on his predecessor, yet, on the strength of the chittas produced by the defendant to show that the plaintiff and her predecessor-in-title had paid rent to the mittadar, it must be held that the land was ryoti land and not Government inam.

4. He observes earlier in the same paragraph that the lower Court would have been batter advised to grant any time that might have been required for the production of some other documents relevant to the case. After making this observation in para. 3, the learned Judge in para. 4 remarks:

This is a finding in which I am unable to concur, but the real question appears to be whether the order of the Inam Commissioner is binding on the defendant.

5. As I read paras. 3 and 4, the learned Judge evidently felt himself unable to concur with the finding of the first Court on the question of fact that arises in the case, but that for the reasons mentioned by him in para. 4, which I shall at once advert to, he thought that he wa9 relieved from the necessity of discussing the evidence or recording a definite finding thereon.

6. The real ground on which the learned District Judge disposed of the case appears to be the following:

The order of the Inam Deputy Collector and of the Inam Commissioner is not prima facie illegal or ultra vires and if the defendant or his predecessor-in title wished to dispute that order, their remedy was by a suit, and such a suit should, under Article 14, Lim. Act, have been filed within one year of the date of the latter order.

7. Then the learned District Judge noted that the date of the order passed by the Inam Commissioner was 3rd September 1909, and that the title-deed was granted on 30th June 1910, whereas the plaint was filed only on 28th February 1921. Later on he was pressed evidently with the argument on behalf of the defence, that, though a person's right to file a suit as plaintiff might have become barred by a limitation, yet as a defendant, he was entitled to forward his right. To that the learned Judge answered in the last portion of that para. 4 as follows:

It is not open to him (the defendant) to raise now, by way of defence, pleas which he could and should have put forward in a suit for the cancellation of those proceedings. I therefore allow the appeal and give the appellant the declaration and injunction prayed for.

8. As I understand the judgment of the learned District Judge, he was under the idea that the defendant was under an obligation to set aside the order of the Inam Commissioner in a suit filed within one year under Article 14, Lim. Act, and that the fact that he was a defendant in the present suit did not matter, and the defendant's right to impugn the correctness or validity of the Inam Commissioner's order being therefore barred by limitation, the plaintiff is entitled to succeed since a title deed has been granted in her favour by the Inam Commissioner. I think the argument of the learned District Judge is not sound, and the question whether an order passed by the Inam Commissioner in such circumstances should be set aside or not, and whether Article 14, Lim. Act, would apply to suits in which reliefs inconsistent with such order are claimed, was recently discussed by a Bench of this Court consisting of Wallace and Thiruvenkatachariar, JJ., in Appeal Suit No. 355 of 1922. I wish to quote one sentence from that printed judgment at p. 10 where the net result of the authorities is mentioned as follows:

The net result of this discussion on limitation is that in any case in which it is shown that the order of enfranchisement was intra vires i.e., that the inam was granted or continued by Government, the suit is barred under Article 14 and in any case in which it is shown that the enfranchisement was ultra vires, i.e., that the inam was not granted, or continued by Government, then the suit is within time under Article 142 or Article 144.

9. Thus, the main question to be considered in such a case is whether the inam was or was not granted or continued by the Government. That is the question that has to be decided in this case before any question of limitation under Article 14 is sought to be raised. I am therefore clear that the learned District Judge was not right in holding that the defendant's right to claim any relief inconsistent with the order of the Inam Commissioner was barred by limitation because that order was not set aside in a suit brought within one year under Article 14, Lim. Act, without recording a finding on the point whether the inam was granted or continued by Government or not.

10. The learned advocate for the respondent, however, fought to support the judgment of the learned District Judge on the ground that paras 3 and 4 properly read do contain the learned Judge's finding on the real question that arises in the case. I am unable to agree with the learned advocate on this point. As I read para. 3 and especially the sentence

I do not propose to go into this question at any length,

it appears to me that learned Judge thought that the decision of this question was unnecessary in the view that he took of the other question in the case. I am strengthened in this opinion by his remark in para 4:

This is a finding in which I am unable to concur, but the real question appears to be whether the order of the Inam Commissioner is binding on the defendant.

11. I think the learned advocate for the respondent is not right in stating that there is a discussion by the learned District Judge of the points that arise in this case. He has not discussed the evidence nor recorded any definite findings thereon. Obviously he did not purport to do so because he thought that the case could properly be disposed of on the question of limitation.

12. Having come to the conclusion that the view of the learned District Judge about the obligation of the defendant to file a suit to set to aside the Inam Commissioner's order within one year is not sustainable in the absence of proper findings on the merits, I must reverse the decision of the learned District Judge and remand the appeal for fresh disposal according to law. Costs will abide the result. Stamp on the appeal memorandum will be refunded on application.


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