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Secretary of State Vs. A. Veerayya Vandayar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1940Mad451
AppellantSecretary of State
RespondentA. Veerayya Vandayar
Excerpt:
- - this court cannot help the respondent, but he certainly has a strong moral claim to a refund......he possessed the kudiwaram rights. during the pendency of the suits, the legislature amended the estates land act, 1908, and the amendment had the effect of making the respondent's inam an estate within the meaning of the act, which meant that the amendment took away the right of the civil court to grant a decree for ejectment. the only course left to the respondent was to apply to the revenue court for an order for compensation for loss of the kudiwaram rights, if he possessed them. certain of the suits were tried before the amendment of the act and decrees were obtained. in respect of the suits which were undecided at the time of the amendment the district munsif returned the plaints to the respondent, whereupon the respondent applied for refund of the court-fees. the district munsif.....
Judgment:

Leach, C.J.

1. The respondent is an inamdar and in 1934 filed a number of suits in the Court of the District Munsif of Tanjore for the ejectment of tenants. He claimed that he was the owner of the kudiwaram rights and that the defendants had refused to surrender to him possession of the lands which they were cultivating. At the time the suits were filed the respondent was entitled in law to institute the suits in the District Munsif's Court and there to substantiate his claim that he possessed the kudiwaram rights. During the pendency of the suits, the Legislature amended the Estates Land Act, 1908, and the amendment had the effect of making the respondent's inam an estate within the meaning of the Act, which meant that the amendment took away the right of the Civil Court to grant a decree for ejectment. The only course left to the respondent was to apply to the Revenue Court for an order for compensation for loss of the kudiwaram rights, if he possessed them. Certain of the suits were tried before the amendment of the Act and decrees were obtained. In respect of the suits which were undecided at the time of the amendment the District Munsif returned the plaints to the respondent, whereupon the respondent applied for refund of the court-fees. The District Munsif held that he had inherent power to grant a certificate for the purpose of enabling the respondent to obtain a refund from the Collector and accordingly issued a certificate. The Government has filed the petition now before us for revision of the District Munsif's order. It is said that the District Munsif should have refused to grant the certificate as his proper course was to dismiss the suits. The Legislature had not said the suits could not be filed but had merely taken away the right of the Court to grant decrees. Unfortunately for the respondent this argument must prevail.

2. By the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936, the definition of the word 'estate' was extended and the extension included an inam village. Therefore the respondent's inam became an estate within the meaning of the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908. Section 9 says that no landholder shall as such be entitled to eject a ryot from his holding or any part thereof otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The only provisions dealing with ejectment are contained in Sections 151 and 185-B. Section 151 permits a landholder to institute a suit before a Collector to eject a ryot from his holding on the ground that the ryot has materially impaired the value of the holding for agricultural purposes and rendered it substantially unfit for such purposes. Before referring to Section 185-B it is necessary to state what is provided in Section 185-A. In the case of an inam village which was not an estate before the commencement of the Madras Estates Land (Third Amendment) Act, 1936, but became an estate by virtue of that Act, Section 185-A provides that in respect of any land which does not fall within specified categories (with which the present case is not concerned) the landholder may within two years of the date of the commencement of the Amending Act (31st October 1936) lodge an application for a declaration by a special tribunal constituted under the Act that the kudiwaram in such land was vested in him on 1st November 1933 and that he has retained it ever since.

3. The declaration by the special tribunal or by a majority of the members is final and is not liable to be questioned in a Court of law. Section 185-B then provides for the payment to the landholder by the tenant of compensation for the kudiwaram right declared by the tribunal and if the compensation is not paid the ryot may be ejected. Therefore unless the tenant commits waste or refuses to pay the compensation fixed by the special tribunal for the loss to the landholder of the kudiwaram right, he cannot be ejected from the land. Section 189 gives the Collector power to try suits of the character described in Parts A and B of the Schedule to the Act and states that no Civil Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall take cognizance of such matters. The only suit for ejectment which the Collector is empowered to try is a suit for ejectment under Section 151 of the Act. Therefore, the position is that the Act does not take away the jurisdiction of the Civil Court to receive plaints of the nature of those filed by the respondent but as the result of the amendment the relief sought cannot be granted. The suits having been properly filed in the Civil Court but in the meantime the Legislature having taken away the right to the relief claimed, the proper course for the District Munsif to adopt was to dismiss the suits. In these circumstances the Court cannot invoke its inherent powers to order the refund of the court-fees or to grant a certificate under the Court-fees Act.

4. At the same time, it is difficult to understand the motive which has prompted this application for revision. The respondent having paid the court-fees required for the hearing of his suits is denied relief. It is to be observed that by the Madras Estates Land (Amendment) Act, 1934, the hearing of the suits was stayed and it was by the later Act of 1936 that the right to relief was taken away. One would have thought that in fairness the Act of 1936 would have provided for the refund of the court-fees paid in pending suits. This Court cannot help the respondent, but he certainly has a strong moral claim to a refund. The petition will be granted but' there will be no order as to costs.


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