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Thathamangalam Parakat Samu Menon and anr. Vs. Vengannat Swaroopam Raja Vasudeva Ravi Varma Styled Valia Nambidi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in44Ind.Cas.242
AppellantThathamangalam Parakat Samu Menon and anr.
RespondentVengannat Swaroopam Raja Vasudeva Ravi Varma Styled Valia Nambidi and ors.
Cases ReferredNarayani Amma v. Kunchukutti Amma
Excerpt:
.....improvements act (i mad. of 1900), sections 4, 9 to 12 - conversion of forest into paddy fields--tanks and channels dug by tenant, claim for value of--method of valuation--absence of specific provision in contract, effect of--scope of section 9--trees of spontaneous growth on plot reserved for landlord, whether 'improvements.' - - kutti krishna menon and after giving my best consideration to sections 9 to 12 of madras act i of 1900, i am not sure that my decision is quite correct. you cannot have first a valuation under the contract and a further valuation invoking the aid of section 9. that, to my mind, is a good answer to mr. it is admitted that the improvements paid for under the contract cannot be used for the purpose of comparison under section 9, clause 2, and the tenant..........constructing the channels. he is entitled further under section 9 of the act to have the tanks and channels valued by the process mentioned in section 9. i am unable to agree with the learned vakil, though i have come to the conclusion against him with some hesitation. on the face of it, section 9 seems to deal with cases where, at the time of demise, the land was of some value and an additional value was imparted to it by the labour of the tenant.3. that is the plain reading of the section. when the land was let under the demise exhibit a and under the previous demises, it was of no value to the landlord as paddy fields. therefore, prima facie, section 9 has no application. moreover, section 9, as i understand it, is intended to apply to cases where the court has to fix the entire.....
Judgment:

Seshagiri Aiyar, J.

1. The case has occupied more time than the importance of the points to be decided in the appeal demands. The reason is that we have to construe an Act which does not err on the side of being very clear or explicit. After listening to the arguments of Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon and after giving my best consideration to Sections 9 to 12 of Madras Act I of 1900, I am not sure that my decision is quite correct. It may be attributable to obtuseness, but one cannot help feeling that the Act is calculated to confuse even clearer minds than mine.

2. I shall proceed to deal with the points which have been argued. First of all, I shall take Mr. Anantha Krishna Aiyar's memorandum of objections. After the decision in Kunhallor Puthia Veettil Rayarappa v. Parkum Punnisseri Kelappa 39 Ind. Cas. 741 : 32 M.L.J. 110 : 5 L.W. 617 in all matters which are provided for by the contract, the parties are governed by it: consequently, in respect of Vettukanom for the reclaimed lands, the tenant is not entitled to anything more than what has been given in Exhibit A. By reclamation the forest has been converted into nilams or paddy fields. Till that stage is reached, the tenant is not entitled as compensation to more than Rs. 7 per plot of one para (seed) area. Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon contended that as there is nothing in the contract regarding tanks and channels, Exhibit A is not conclusive as regards his client's right to them. Mr. Anantha Krishna Aiyar did not seriously dispute this position under Section 4 of the Malabar Compensation for Tenants' Improvements Act. Tanks and channels are improvements, and when it is found that the tenant has expended labour in digging those tanks and making those channels, he is entitled to be paid compensation for that labour. The further point raised by Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon, so far as I am able to understand him, is, this: Under the contract the tenant is entitled to Rs. 7 for reclamation. Under the Act, he is entitled to the value of the labour spent by him in digging the tanks and constructing the channels. He is entitled further under Section 9 of the Act to have the tanks and channels valued by the process mentioned in Section 9. I am unable to agree with the learned Vakil, though I have come to the conclusion against him with some hesitation. On the face of it, Section 9 seems to deal with cases where, at the time of demise, the land was of some value and an additional value was imparted to it by the labour of the tenant.

3. That is the plain reading of the section. When the land was let under the demise Exhibit A and under the previous demises, it was of no Value to the landlord as paddy fields. Therefore, prima facie, Section 9 has no application. Moreover, Section 9, as I understand it, is intended to apply to cases where the Court has to fix the entire valuation under the Act ignoring the contract, if any, between the parties. You cannot have first a valuation under the contract and a further valuation invoking the aid of Section 9. That, to my mind, is a good answer to Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon's contention. As I have said, this conclusion is by no means free from doubt. However, that is my present impression.

4. The next question is whether the tenant is entitled to the valuation of the timber utilised by him for building farm houses and granaries. Here again, the contract makes, it clear that if any timber is to be used by the tenant from the forest of the landlord, he is not entitled to the value of that timber. From a common sense point of view, it seems to me impossible to uphold the view that you can take the landlord's property and compel him to pay for what you have taken from him. Therefore, in fixing valuation for the farm houses, the value of the timber should be excluded. That disposes of Mr. Anantha Krishna Aiyar's memorandum of objections.

5. On the appeal itself, Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon contended that his client is entitled to the value of the improvements in respect of the trees of spontaneous growth standing on the demised land. He has drawn our attention to the case of Narayani Amma v. Kunchukutti Amma, 40 Ind. Cas. 247 in which it was held that the Act has nothing to do with the ownership of trees but that it has regard only to the value of improvements to be paid at the time of eviction. But that question of law does not arise in the present case, for this simple reason. Under the, contract, a certain portion of the demised land is reserved for the landlord's use and he is entitled to have the trees thereon cut by himself and removed: only when the forest thus reserved is denuded of trees the tenant is given liberty to enter upon it and to make it cultivable laud. He has no other right in respect of this reserved plot of land. So far as we are able to see, these trees of spontaneous growth in respect of which improvements were claimed are to be found in the reserved plot. Mr. Kutti Krishna Menon wanted to argue that some of the trees were outside of that area, but this question was not raised in the lower Courts and we cannot allow it to be argued now. As, under the contract, the plot is reserved solely for the use of the landlord, the tenant is not entitled, on eviction, to the value of the trees of spontaneous growth standing thereon. For these reasons I would dismiss the second appeal with costs and allow the memorandum of objections. The learned Vakils state that on the principles stated by us, they will be in a position to fix the valuation in this Court. Therefore, it is not necessary to Bend the case down.:

6. The decree of the lower Appellate Court will be modified and the amount agreed to by the learned Vakils in pursuance of the principles enunciated in our judgment will be entered in the place of the amount decreed by the Courts below. Parties to pay and receive proportionate costs throughout.

Napier, J.

7. I wish to add a few words on the points argued on Section 9. It is urged by Mr. Anantha Krishna Aiyar that, after the tenant has been given under the terms of the contract compensation for reclamation at 7 rupees per plot, he cannot for the purpose of valuing the improvement made by construction of tanks and channels import the increase in the value of the annual net produce as a factor in ascertaining the value. In my opinion this contention must prevail. The section gives the tenant compensation based on the increased outturn if that works out at higher value than the costs of the improvements. It is admitted that the improvements paid for under the contract cannot be used for the purpose of comparison under Section 9, Clause 2, and the tenant wishes, of course, to exclude it, but as I am satisfied that part of this net increase has already been compensated for under the contract, he cannot use this increase at all and Section 9 does not apply. The compensation for construction of tanks and channels must be ascertained under Section 11. In other respects I agree with the judgment of my learned brother.


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