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Thillaivazh Andanar Annam Palippu Nidhi Represented by Trustee, His Holiness Sri La Sri Kasivasi Muthukumaraswami Thambiran Swamigal Avargal Head of Sri Kasi Mutt Thirupanandal Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu Represented by Collector of Thanjavur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1981)1MLJ405
AppellantThillaivazh Andanar Annam Palippu Nidhi Represented by Trustee, His Holiness Sri La Sri Kasivasi Mut
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu Represented by Collector of Thanjavur and ors.
Excerpt:
.....submits that under section 78(1) of the act, the respondent should have preferred an appeal to the land tribunal on or before 15th january 1977 or at least before 15th february, 1977 with an application to condone the delay and that not having been so done, the appeal filed by the respondent on 30th april, 1977, before the land tribunal was clearly out of time the learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, would however accept the correctness of the date of the order of the authorised officer as well as the date of receipt of that order by the respondent, but contends that an application in i. 2. the land tribunal may admit an appeal presented after the expiration of the period mentioned in sub-section (1), out not exceeding thirty days if it is satisfied that the party..........is the petitioner in this civil revision petition, which is directed against the order of the land tribunal (district revenue officer), thanjavur, holding that the trust in question is entitled to hold only 5 standard acres under section 5(1) (d) (ii) of the tamil nadu land reforms (fixation of ceiling on land) act, lviii of 1961 as amended by act xxxvii of 1972(hereinafter referred to as the act). the trust in question had been created by the head of thiruppannandal mute sri-la-sri kasivasi muthukumarasami thambiran, under a deed of trust, dated 16th july, 1954 and the trust held agricultural lands of as extent of 1933 ordinary acres equivalent to 185 21 standard acres as on 1st march, 1972 in ukkadai village, kumbakonan taluk. the head of the muit has been constituted the trustee.....
Judgment:

V. Ratnam, J.

1. Thillaivazh Andanar Annam Palippu Nidhi, a trust represented by its trustee, is the petitioner in this Civil Revision Petition, which is directed against the order of the Land Tribunal (District Revenue Officer), Thanjavur, holding that the trust in question is entitled to hold only 5 standard acres under Section 5(1) (d) (ii) of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, LVIII of 1961 as amended by Act XXXVII of 1972(hereinafter referred to as the Act). The trust in question had been created by the Head of Thiruppannandal Mute Sri-la-Sri Kasivasi Muthukumarasami Thambiran, under a deed of trust, dated 16th July, 1954 and the trust held agricultural lands of as extent of 1933 ordinary acres equivalent to 185 21 standard acres as on 1st March, 1972 in Ukkadai Village, Kumbakonan taluk. The Head of the Muit has been constituted the trustee of this trust. Proceedings under the Act were initiated against the trust by the Authorised Officer (Land Reforms). In response to a notice in Form 4, the manager of the Mutt representing the trustee filed a statement of objections on 6th November, 1976, and it had been stated therein that though the trust is known as Thillaivazh Andanar Annam Pilippu Trust, its purposes are both reason as well as charitable and as the lands held by the trust are controlled by the Kasi Mutt of Thiruppanandal, such trust lands are also exempt under Section 2(3)(b) of the Act as amended by Act XXXVII of 1972 on the ground that the lands owned by the Muit are exempt from the provisions of the Act. The Authorised Officer (Land Reforms), Thanjavur, on a consideration the terms of the trust deed in the light of the provisions of the Act, held that the trust was formed for religious and charitable purposes and that it is a public trust which was in existence on the due of the commencement Act XXXVII of 1972, that is, on 1st March, 1972 and the trust is a religious trust of a public nature as well it was also further held by the Authorised Officer that though the lands stand registered in the name of the trust, they are held and administered by the Head of Thiruppanandal Mutt and, therefore, in view of the finding that the trust is a religious trust of a public nature, further proceedings should be dropped. Aggrieved by this, the respondent herein preferred an appeal in L. T. C. M. No. 36 of 1976 before the Land Tribunal (District Revenue Officer), Thanjavur. The Land Tribunal held that the lands in question are held by Thillaivazh Andanar Annam Palippu Trust and not by the Kasi Mutt and that the primary indention of the founders of he trust is only to set apart properties for charitable purpose and hence the trust cannot be treated as a trust for public purpose of a religious nature. In this view, the Land Tribunal concluded that the trust is entitled to hold only 5 standard acres and allowed the appeal. It is the correctness of this, order of the Land Tribunal that is questioned by the trust in this Civil Revision Petition.

2. The learned Counsel for the petitioner raised two contentions. The first is, that the appeal in L. T. C. M. A. No. 36 of 1979 preferred by the respondent before the Land Tribunal, Thanjavur, was barred by limitation and, therefore, the Land Tribunal was in error in proceeding to entertain the appeal and dispose of the same. According to the learned Counsel for the petitioner, the Authorised Officer (Land Reforms), Thanjavur, passed an order on 9th November, 19/6 and this order was communicated to the respondent on 5th December, 1976. Relying upon these dates, the learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that under Section 78(1) of the Act, the respondent should have preferred an appeal to the Land Tribunal on or before 15th January 1977 or at least before 15th February, 1977 with an application to condone the delay and that not having been so done, the appeal filed by the respondent on 30th April, 1977, before the Land Tribunal was clearly out of time The learned Counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, would however accept the correctness of the date of the order of the Authorised Officer as well as the date of receipt of that order by the respondent, but contends that an application in I. A. No. 759 of 1978 to condone the delay had been made and ordered and, therefore, the petitioner cannot claim that the appeal before the Land Tribunal preferred by the respondent was out of time. Before proceeding to consider these contentions. It is necessary to note certain statutory provisions. It is not in dispute that the Authorised Officer in the present case passed an order under Section 9(2)(b) of the Act.

3. Section 78 of the Act provides thus:

Appeal to Land Tribunal--(1) Against any decision of the Authorised Officer under Sections (2) (b), 10(3), (4), (5), 16(3) (a) (iii), 20, 22, 50. (4), 51(1), (2), 52, 61(3) (b) or 102(2) (b) the Government may within thirty days from the days of the decision and any person aggrieved by such decision may within sixty days from the date of such decision, appeal to the Land Tribunal.

2. The Land Tribunal may admit an appeal presented after the expiration of the period mentioned in Sub-section (1), out not exceeding thirty days if it is satisfied that the party concerned had sufficient cause for not presenting within the said period.

3. On receipt of an appeal under subsection (1), the Land Tribunal, after giving the parties a reasonable opportunity of being heard, shall-

(a) determine a case finally;

(b) remand a case;

(c) take additional evidence or require such evidence to be taken by the Authorised Officer.

Section 80 of the Act runs thus:Limitation Act to apply to appeal under Section 78 or 79--The provisions of Section, 4 and of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 12 of the Indian Limitation Act, l;08(Central Act IX of 1908), shall as far as may be apply to any appeal under Section 78 or 79.

4. The order in the present case had been passed by the Authorised Officer on 9th November, 1976 and communicated to the respondent herein on 15th December, 19 6, and according to Section 78(1) read with Section 80 of the Act, the appeal before the Land Tribunal should have been presented by the respondent on or before 15th January, 1977. Section 78(2) of the Act provides for a limited application and exercise of powers analogous to Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act, in that the Tribunal is empowered to admit an appeal presented after the period of thirty days provided the delay does not exceed thirty days and the Land Tribunal is satisfied that the party concerned had sufficient cause for not presenting the appeal within the period of thirty days. Presumably, because of this very limited application of the principle of Section 5 of Indian Limitation Act under Section 78(2) of the Act, no reference to Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act has been made under Section 80 of the Act.

5. In the present case, it is not in dispute that the appeal should have been filed on 15th January, 1977, and that even making provision for the extended period of limitation by the application of Section 78(2) of the Act, the appeal ought to have been filed on or before 15th February, 1977. But the appeal had been presented before the Land Tribunal only on 30th April, 1977. It is thus obvious that even alter invoking Section 78(2) of the Act and exercising the powers thereunder in favour of the respondent, the Land Tribunal did not have the power at all to condone the delay, as even after the exercise of such power, the delay upto 15th February, 1977, alone could have been condoned and not the further delay upto 30th April, 19/7. In this view it must be held that the Land Tribunal by reason of Section 78(2) of the Act, did not have the power at all to condone the delay beyond 15th February, 1977, and therefore, the order in I. A No. 709 of 1978 purporting to condone the delay upto 30th April, 1977 cannot be taken advantage of by the respondent to say that the appeal was filed in time. This position when pointed out to the learned Counsel for the respondent, was not disputed by him and indeed, the learned Counsel for the respondent fairly conceded that the Land Tribunal did not have the power to condone the delay beyond 15th February, 1977, and that the order in I. A. No. 759 of 1978 purporting to condone the delay upto 30th April, 1977, is of no avail. In view of this, since the appeal had been preferred by the respondent before the Land Tribunal only on 30th April, 1977, and even after the exercise of the powers under Section 78(2) of the Act the delay beyond 15th February, 1977, could not be condoned and this position is also not disputed by the learned Counsel for the respondent it must be held that the appeal preferred by the respondent in L. T. C. M. A. No. 36 of 1979 before the Land Tribunal (District Revenue Officer), Thanjavur was barred. The Land Tribunal therefore, could not have dealt with this appeal at all as one having been preferred within time. The first contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner has, therefore to be upheld.

6. The learned Counsel for the petitioner next contended that the Land Tribunal erred in its construction of the terms of the trust deed and in arriving at the conclusion that the trust constituted thereunder is a charitable trust In view of the acceptance of the first contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the appeal before the Land Tribunal was out of time and could not therefore, be dealt with by the Land Tribunal, it is unnecessary to go into this question The order of the Land Tribunal passed in an appeal presented to it after the period prescribed for such an appeal had expired and even beyond the period of the permitted or excusable delay cannot, therefore, be sustained. Consequently, the order of the Land Tribunal is set aside and that of the Authorised Officer (Land Reforms) restored. The civil revision petition is allowed. No costs.


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