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V. Arumugham Pillai Vs. N.R.M. Tulasi Konar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1960)2MLJ145
AppellantV. Arumugham Pillai
RespondentN.R.M. Tulasi Konar and ors.
Cases ReferredKunchitapadam Pillai v. Ranganatha Pillai
Excerpt:
- .....land into another, e.g., arable land into weed, or meadow into arable, are instances of voluntary waste in lands.fawcett's law of landlord and tenant, third edition, at page 349:further it is technically waste to change the nature of the thing demised.... but although the above acts are technically waste, they do not as a rule constitute actionable waste, unless they in fact cause injury to the reversion.... the test of actionable waste is whether the alterations complained of constitute an injury to the inheritance.5. bearing these principles in mind, if we examine the facts of this case, we find that first of all, the appellant who has coverted the land demised for stocking groundnut husk into a cultivable land, cannot by reason of that unilateral alteration and without the permission.....
Judgment:

1. This Second Appeal is sought to be preferred against the decree and judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge of Tiruchirapalli in A.S. No. 98 of 1959, confirming the decree and judgment of the learned District Munsif of Karur in O.S. No. 211 of 1957.

2. The facts are : The suit property admittedly belonged to P.W. 3 Venkatesalu Naidu. It was leased out to the defendant as per lease deed Exhibit A-5, dated 19th June, 1943) for a period of one year. The defendant has been subsequently holding over. It was specifically leased out for the purpose of storing Kadalai Pottu or husk of groundnut, by the adjoining mill-owner, viz., the lessee. This plot of land has come to be known as Pottu Medu or elevation for storing husk. The rent was fixed at Rs. 6-4-0 per month. Subsequently, when the lessor had given notice determining the tenancy and for evicting the lessee, the latter seeks to resist the former on the ground that he has been cultivating a portion of the land demised with cholam, etc., and that therefore the tenancy has become a tenancy of agricultural land and that he (lessee) has become a protected tenant under the Madras Cultivating Tenants' Protection Act.

3. Both the Courts below held that the defendant is not a cultivating tenant and ordered his eviction. Hence this Second Appeal by the defeated defendant.

4. The Madras Cultivating Tenants' Protection Act states in its Long Title that it is an Act for the protection from eviction of cultivating tenants and the Preamble to the Act states that the Act was enacted as it was necessary to protect cultivating tenants. Section 2 (a) defines a cultivating tenant, as meaning a person who carries on personal cultivation on land under a tenancy agreement, express or implied. It has been held in Kunchitapadam Pillai v. Ranganatha Pillai (1958) 71 L.W. 231, that a cultivating tenant need not do physical labour in respect of the cultivation work and that even a person who assumed the risk of cultivation and is not the paid agent of another person and who directly supervises the work of cultivation will be a cultivating tenant. But as pointed out in a recent commentary on the Act by Sri Varadarajan and Sri Venkatasubramanian, this interpretation is not in accordance with clause (ee) of Section 2 which runs as follows:

A person is said to carry on personal cultivation on a land when he contributes his own physical labour or that of the members of his family in the cultivation of that land.

In fact the Act seems to be designed to protect from eviction only the actual tillers of the soil and not intermediaries who are in no better position than the landlord. The word 'cultivation' has been defined as meaning the use of lands for the purpose of agriculture or horticulture. It is now well-settled that a tenant cannot convert one kind of land into another and assume for himself a new character, for example, cultivating tenant. On the other hand, such an act would constitute a waste and the reverse of which is provided for in Clauses (b) and (c) of Section 3(2). Woodfall on Landlord and Tenant, 25th Edition, at page 800, states:

An act which alters the nature of the thing demised is wate.... If the tenant converts arable land into weed, or conversely, or meadow into arable, it is waste; for it changes not only the course of husbandry, but creates a difficulty in the proof of title....

Foa's General Landlord and Tenant, Eighth Edition, at page 285:. coverting one kind of land into another, e.g., arable land into weed, or meadow into arable, are instances of voluntary waste in lands.

Fawcett's Law of Landlord and Tenant, Third Edition, at page 349:

Further it is technically waste to change the nature of the thing demised.... But although the above acts are technically waste, they do not as a rule constitute actionable waste, unless they in fact cause injury to the reversion.... The test of actionable waste is whether the alterations complained of constitute an injury to the inheritance.

5. Bearing these principles in mind, if we examine the facts of this case, we find that first of all, the appellant who has coverted the land demised for stocking groundnut husk into a cultivable land, cannot by reason of that unilateral alteration and without the permission of the landlord, give himself the character which he cannot acquire, viz., as a cultivating tenant. Secondly, the very fact that he has made such an alteration to the detriment of the reversion would constitute an act of waste entitling the landlord to determine the tenancy. The land in question is valuable, because it is a raised portion which can be made use of for stocking husk and will be in demand by the adjoining mill-owners. But if it is converted into a third rate land for sowing ragi it will lose its special value to the lessor and would certainly be injurious to the inheritance.

6. Therefore, looked at from either point of view, the Courts below rightly found in favour of the plaintiff and decreed the suit. This Second Appeal is dismissed.


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