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(Mempu) Ramayya and ors. Vs. Zamindar of Mandasa - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1926Mad760; 95Ind.Cas.963
Appellant(Mempu) Ramayya and ors.
RespondentZamindar of Mandasa
Cases ReferredSanka Rao v. Ryots
Excerpt:
- .....he argues that the revenue board was wrong in having excluded from computation of the ten years faslis 1329 and 1330. no doubt, the two faslis 1329 and 1330 were technically declared famine years, but, as the board points out extra ordinarily high prices prevailed in those faslis. in dealing with commutation the high court pointed out in sivanu pandia thevar v. zamindar of urkad [1918] 41 mad. 109 that :the avaraga of ten years is only to form one of the considerations for the fixing of commuted rent, that the court is at liberty to take other facts also into consideration where the circum-stances are peauliar (such as where some of the ten years are extraordinary years).10. in view of the high prices in faslis 1329 and 1330, we think the board cannot be said to have acted.....
Judgment:

1. These Revision Petitions relate to the settlement of rent in seven villages in the Mandasa Estate and have been filed against the order of the Ravenue Board which confirmed, with some alterations the order of the Settlement Officer, Ganjam.

2. The ryots put in an application for survey and settlement in fasli 1321. The order of the Settlement Officer was passed in fasli 1331. In determining the fair and equitable rent in respect of the lands, the Settlement Officer acted upon the principle embodied in Section 40, Sub-section 3 Clauses (a) and (b), as he was entitled to do, under Section 168(2) of the Madras Estates Land Act ; and in calculating the average rental value, he took into consideration the ten years ending with fasli 1331. He also excluded fasli 1328 from his calculation as that had been declared to be a famine year by the Government. The Board of Revenue ordered that faslies 1329 and 1330 also should be left out of account in making the calculation.

3. The learned Advocate General, on behalf of the ryots who are the petitioners herein argued before us three points : (I) That faslies 1328,1329 and 1330 having been excluded, the Court below has in its final order taken only a seven-year average instead of a ten-year average and that, therefore, it should have taken into consideration the average rental value of of faslis 1319, 1320 and 1321 also to make the ten years required under Section 40 Sub-section (3) Clause (a) ; (2) that the method of calculating the rent payable for each field adopted by the Revenue Officer and accepted by the Revenue Board is not correct ; and (3) that in determining the fair and equitable rent, the Revenue Officer has not paid sufficient attention to the rent paid by the occupancy ryots of the neighbouring lands.

4. Point No, 1. In settling a fair and equitable rent Section 162(2) states that the officer * * * shall have regard to the provisions of this Act for determining the rates of rent payable by a ryot. This entitled the officer to rely upon the provisions of Section 40(3) dealing with the commutation by suit of rent payable in kind, and under Clause (a) the officer shall take into consideration :

the average value of the rent actually accrued due to the landholder during the preceding tea years other than the years which the Local Government may notify to be or to have been famine years in respect of any local area.

5. In Sivanu Pandia Thevar v. Zamindar of Urkad [1918] 41 Mad. 109 it was decided that the 'preceding ten years' in this clause mean3 the ten years preceding the year in which the Collector determines the amount of the commuted rent and not the ten years preceding the year in which the suit is instituted. The argument in the lower Courts was that in calculating the average rental value the ten years previous to the date of the application for settlement of rents should have bean taken into consideration by the Collector. This argument was rightly overruled in view of the aforesaid decision. The present argument that the three faslis 1328, 1329 and 1330, having bean excluded, in order to make up the ten years mentioned in Section 40(3) Clause (a) the three faslis, 1319, 1320 and 1321, immediately preceding fasli 1322, should have been considered was not put forward either before the Settlement Officer or before the Board of Revenue. The argument is ingenious but is not warranted by the wording of Clause (a) of Section 40(3) which refers to the preceding ten years other than the years which the Local Government may notify to be or to have been famine years, thus excluding from the ten years any year which may have been so notified. The exclusion of any year or years from the ten years period does not mean that the statutory term is thereby extended. No authority is cited in support of the present contention. This argument is therefore overruled.

6. Point No. 2. The method adopted by the Revenue Officer was this: He calculated for each village the average annual value of the rent based on the value of rent which accrued due in kind for each of the ten years ending with fasli 1331, excepting fasli 1328, and then he divided this rent amongst the various fields by considering the nature of the soil, the irrigation facilities, etc , of these fields. The learned Advocate-General contends that instead of following this method, he should have first of all found out the rent for each field separately with reference to the condition of the land, the nature of the soil, etc. On the presentation of their appeals, the Revenue Board referred this matter to the Special Settlement Officer and he submitted a very careful and detailed explanation as to the method adopted by him which appears at page 85 of the printed papers. Section 168 lays down that a fair and equitable rent should be settled having due regard to the other provisions of the Act. Notwithstanding this limitation, Section 168 leaves a large discretion to the Settlement Officer as regards the actual method to be adopted by him in settling the question of fair and equitable rent on any holding or village. Neither Section 168 nor Section 40 prohibits the method adopted by the Settlement Officer in this case in fixing the rate of cash rent of each holding If the method suggested by the Advocate-General has been followed, the result would have been, as pointed out by the Settlement Officer, only a reduplication of work without the ultimate result being affected in any appreciable way. In following the method that he adopted, the Settlement Officer was mainly guided by considerations such as the condition of the land, the nature of the soil, the irrigation facilities, distance in the village of the various fields. We agree with the Board's opinion that the method followed by him was the best that could have been adopted in the circumstances of the case.

7. Point No. 3: We do not think that there is any substance in this argument. The Revenue Officer has given sufficient consideration to the rents of the neighbouring lands. No doubt, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Mandasa Estate the rents are rather low in certain villages, but the Revenue Officer has...considered this point and has given reasons for not adopting these low rates. As stated in paragraph 10 of his order, taking various circumstances into consideration he has adopted a method which he considers fair to both parties, and this has been accepted by the Revenue Board as well. We see no reason to interfere with the Board's decision on this point.

8. These Revision Petitions must, therefore, be dismissed with costs.

9. Mr. Srinivasa Iyengar on behalf of the zamindar has filed a memorandum of cross-objections in each of these revision petitions. He argues that the Revenue Board was wrong in having excluded from computation of the ten years faslis 1329 and 1330. No doubt, the two faslis 1329 and 1330 were technically declared famine years, but, as the Board points out extra ordinarily high prices prevailed in those faslis. In dealing with commutation the High Court pointed out in Sivanu Pandia Thevar v. Zamindar of Urkad [1918] 41 Mad. 109 that :

the avaraga of ten years is only to form one of the considerations for the fixing of commuted rent, that the Court is at liberty to take other facts also into consideration where the circum-stances are peauliar (such as where some of the ten years are extraordinary years).

10. In view of the high prices in faslis 1329 and 1330, we think the Board cannot be said to have acted wrongly in excluding these two faslis from the period of ten years endings with fasli 1331.

11. The other points raised, such as that the Mandasa prices and not the Sompeta prices should have been considered, etc., are minor questions of fact which cannot be urged in revision.

12. We may add that Mr. Srinivasa Iyengar on behalf of the respondent took a preliminary objection that the High Court has no revisional jurisdiction over the orders of the Board of Revenue passed under Chapter XI of the Madras Estates Land Act. It was recently held in Sanka Rao v. Ryots, Kalagampudi A.I.R. 1926 Mad. 480 to which one of us was a party that revision petitions under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure would lie to the High Court against such orders. Mr. Srinivasa Iyengar argues that the Revenue Board is not a civil Court subordinate to the High Court, that Section 192 of the Estates Land Act does not apply to proceedings contemplated by this Chapter, that these proceedings did not fall within parts A and B of the schedules to the Estates Land Act, that orders passed under this Chapter are in the nature of proceedings passed by Revenue Officers purely in their capacity as Revenue Officers and as such their decisions are not decisions of any civil Court. It is contended that these considerations which specially apply to orders passed under Chapter XI of the Madras Estates Land Act were not brought to their Lordships's notice in the above decision. As we have decided to dismiss these revision petitions and the memoranda of objections we do not think it is necessary to discuss the validity of these objections.

13. We dismiss the Memoranda of Objections also with costs.


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