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Krishnamoorthy Thondaman Vs. D. Ramanathan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies;Civil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1982)2MLJ57
AppellantKrishnamoorthy Thondaman
RespondentD. Ramanathan
Cases ReferredPeriathambi Goundan v. The District Revenue Officer
Excerpt:
- - in other words both the civil court as well as the statutory authorities could go into the question as to whether a person is a cultivating tenant......is the trustee of sri subramania swamy, temple and its nandavanam kattalai, needamangalam. the suit lands, which belongs to the said temple, were leased out to one raghurama thondaman, brother of the defendant. as he fell in arrears of rent, the plaintiff instituted eviction proceedings against raghurama. during the pendency of that petition, raghurama and the plaintiff were said to have entered into a compromise, as a result of which, raghurama surrendered possession of the lands. according to the plaintiff, he has been carrying on personal cultivation of the suit lands thereafter. as there was some threat of interference in the cultivation of the lands by the plaintiff, the plaintiff has come forward with the suit. according to the plaintiff, raghurama has set up the defendant, his.....
Judgment:

V. Sethuraman, J.

1. The second appeal has been filed by the defendant in O.S. No. 395 of 1973 in the Court of the District. Munsif, Mannargudi. The plaintiff is the trustee of Sri Subramania Swamy, Temple and its Nandavanam Kattalai, Needamangalam. The suit lands, which belongs to the said temple, were leased out to one Raghurama Thondaman, brother of the defendant. As he fell in arrears of rent, the plaintiff instituted eviction proceedings against Raghurama. During the pendency of that petition, Raghurama and the plaintiff were said to have entered into a compromise, as a result of which, Raghurama surrendered possession of the lands. According to the plaintiff, he has been carrying on personal cultivation of the suit lands thereafter. As there was some threat of interference in the cultivation of the lands by the plaintiff, the plaintiff has come forward with the suit. According to the plaintiff, Raghurama has set up the defendant, his brother, to give trouble to the plaintiff.

2. The averments in the plaint were denied in the written statement filed by the defendant. The jurisdiction of the civil Court to go into the question of tenancy was also challenged.

3. The learned District Munsif found that the suit filed was maintainable and that the plaintiff was entitled to an order of injunction. There was an appeal by the defendant and the learned Subordinate Judge found that from the date of surrender of the suit properties by Raghurama in favour of the plaintiff, the plaintiff was in possession of the properties and so he was entitled to the order of injunction prayed for. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed. As against the said judgment, this second appeal has been preferred.

4. The learned Counsel for the appellant contended that the jurisdiction of the civil Court is barred by Section 16-A of the Tamil Nadu Act (X of 1969), introduced by the amending Act (XXXIV of 1972). This amending provision came in for consideration by a Full Bench of this Court in the case in Periathambi Goundan v. The District Revenue Officer : AIR1980Mad180 . The Full Bench observed that the controversy as to whether a particular piece of land has been let out for cultivation or not is one constituting a jurisdictional issue, which the Record Officer had to decide before he could determine any other matter under the Act. Such controversy is not however within the exclusive jurisdiction of the statutory authorities, because to hold so, would enable the statutory authorities to assume jurisdiction by erroneously deciding such an issue. The learned Judges describe the, jurisdiction and the powers of the Court in the following words:

Our conclusion as to what are the matters which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the authorities constituted under the Act and with reference to which the bar imposed by Section 16-A comes into operation gains confirmation from the provisions of Section 14(1) as already indicated. The various enactments enumerated in Section 14(1) are all enactments dealing with the rights and liabilities of land-owners and the tenants to whom land has been let for cultivation....

It is further observed therein that the requirements of Section 3(2) of the Act would assume importance and the preparation of the approved record under the Act will constitute a preliminary determination of the matters necessary for invoking the jurisdiction of the authorities functioning under the Acts enumerated in Section 14(1). It would thus be clear that the matters, which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the authorities constituted under the Act are limited by the provisions contained in Section 3(2) of the Act, because those were the particulars, which are directed to be included in the approved record to be prepared under the Act.

5. From the above, it can be seen that the determination of the question as to whether the lands were let out to the tenant, so that he got the protection of the provisions of the Act, is not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the statutory authorities and the jurisdiction of the civil Court to determine such a matter has not been ousted. In other words both the civil Court as well as the statutory authorities could go into the question as to whether a person is a cultivating tenant. If it is determined that he was a cultivating tenant, then the civil Court will lose its jurisdiction and the matter will have to be considered only by the statutory authorities. In the light of this decision, it has to be held that in the present case, the civil Court had jurisdiction to go into the question of tenancy. The second appeal accordingly fails and is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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