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Annamalai Chetty Vs. Raja Srimathu Muthu Vijaya Raghunatha Doraisingam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935Mad718; 160Ind.Cas.680
AppellantAnnamalai Chetty
RespondentRaja Srimathu Muthu Vijaya Raghunatha Doraisingam
Cases ReferredPandia Thevar v. Sankaramoorthi Naidu
Excerpt:
- .....now confirmed to you.2. the first contention urged for the defence is that the non-mention of the cess in question in the inam title-deed relieves the defendants from the liability to pay the cess even granting that previous to the enfranchisement such liability existed. this contention, as has been held in venkatanarasimharayudu v. venkata rangayya appa rao 1914 mad. 285, is untenable. in that case, as in the present, the right to the cess was asserted by a zamindar as against the inamdar. it was there held that the inam proceeding, to which the zamindar was not a party, could not prejudicially affect his pre-existing rights. the lower court, though it has not considered the legal basis of the zamindar's claim, has held that he is entitled to the cess and its decision is right. from a.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. The question is whether the claim of the plaintiff, the Zamindar of Sivaganga, to the cess known as kulavettu is well founded. The lands in Question were manibam inams, enfranchised in favour of the defendant's ancestor. The Government abolished the manibam services and issued an inam title deed, imposing a quit rent. It is recited in the deed that the quit rent is payable to the Government in addition to the jodi to which the zamindar is entitled. The relevant portion runs thus:

This inam being held for ambalam (headman) service, now otherwise provided for, shall now be deemed free of such service, but shall henceforth be subject to the payment of an annual quit rent of Rs. 8-2-0, exclusive of Rs. 7-2-3 already payable as jodi to the proprietor, which quit rent is hereby imposed upon the inam in commutation both of the said service and of the reversionary interest possessed by the Government in the inam. The inam is now confirmed to you.

2. The first contention urged for the defence is that the non-mention of the cess in question in the inam title-deed relieves the defendants from the liability to pay the cess even granting that previous to the enfranchisement such liability existed. This contention, as has been held in Venkatanarasimharayudu v. Venkata Rangayya Appa Rao 1914 Mad. 285, is untenable. In that case, as in the present, the right to the cess was asserted by a zamindar as against the inamdar. It was there held that the inam proceeding, to which the zamindar was not a party, could not prejudicially affect his pre-existing rights. The lower Court, though it has not considered the legal basis of the zamindar's claim, has held that he is entitled to the cess and its decision is right. From a long-continued course of payment on which the lower Court bases its conclusion, a lawful origin can be presumed, that is to say an agreement to pay as well as consideration for it the two essentials of a valid contract : see Periakaruppa Mukkandan v. Rajeswara Sethupati 1919 Mad. 444 and Arumugam Chetti v. Jaga Veera Rama Venkateswara (1905) 28 Mad. 444, cited therein. The next question that arises is whether kulavettu is a legal cess and can be recovered. In pandia Thevar v. Sankaramoorthi Naidu 1919 Mad. 535 it has been held that kulavettu being a cess for keeping the tanks in proper repair, there is no reason why it should be disallowed. The same view was again taken in, Venkatachelam Chetty v. Ayyam Ferumal Thevan 1919 Mad. 236 which has recently been followed by Jackson, J., in a batch of Second Appeals-(Nos. 414 to 416, etc., of 1927). These cases arose under the Estates Land Act as between a zamindar and his ryot, but the principle of these decisions applies. But there are two cases which have a more direct bearing on the question. In Venkatanarasimharayudu v. Venkata Rangayya Appa Rao 1914 Mad. 285, already cited, the claim was made by a zamindar as against the inamdar and related to a cess known as ghatta thumulu which, like the cess under discussion, was connected with the zamindar's obligation to keep the village tanks in good repair. Seshagiri Ayyar, J., observes:

The payment probably originated in a contract, the contract on the part of the zamindar being that he should keep the tank, from which water was to be supplied to the defendant, in good repair and the consideration on the part of the defendant being that he should pay a certain sum of money to enable the zemindar to-effect this purpose.

3. The claim of the zamindar was in that case upheld. In Venkata Narasima Naidu v. Ramamma (1913) M.W.N. 551, where also the claim was-against the inamdar, the question arose with reference to the same cess ghatta thumulu, and there the learned Judges, assuming that the cess was lawfully payable, held on the particular facts of the case, that by reason of the zamindar having allowed the tanks to fall into disuse, he was not entitled to the payment : see Pandia Thevar v. Sankaramoorthi Naidu 1919 Mad. 535 , where the case has been so distinguished. In the present case, there is a. clear finding that the irrigation tanks and the supply channels have been maintained by the zamindar in proper condition and that the defendants lands are irrigated by one of the tanks so kept in good repair.

4. In the result the lower Court's decision is upheld and the revision petition is dismissed with costs.


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