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Lakshmi Narasimham Vs. Veerabadra and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Decided On
Reported inAIR1924Mad589
AppellantLakshmi Narasimham
RespondentVeerabadra and ors.
Cases ReferredBrahmayya v. Ackirazu
- .....articles now recited.'6. the contention of mr. ramdoss is that the mokhasa being a pre-settlement inam granted on favourable quit-rent, it must have been excluded by section 4, at the time when the revenue of the zimindari was taken into account for the purpose of the permanent settlement' and that, even if it was included, it could not affect the rights of the mokhasadar, as such inclusion would be opposed to the provisions of the permanent settlement regulation. reliance has been placed on kuppa reddi nookayya v. beemanna 1923 mad. 454, in that case the zamindar of pittapur granted in 1800 an inam of certain lands in the zamindari. it was made free of kattubadi and purported to be sarva dumbala or absolute. it was held that the inam was not part of the pittapur zamindari as it was a.....

1. These appeals arise out of two suits filed by the plaintiff in the District Munsif's Court of Nuzvid to eject the defendants who are alleged to be his tenants.

2. The land in dispute is situate in Arugolam Mokhasa within the ambit of the Nuzvid Zamindari. It is alleged to have been exchanged for patta lands held under Government pattahs. The defendants pleaded inter alia that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suits as the land forms part of the estate within the meaning of the Estates Land Act, The District Munsif found the fifth issue, namely, whether the suit village is an estate, in favour of the defendants and dismissed the plaintiff's suits on the ground that the land in question was part of an estate within the meaning of the Estates Land Act. On appeal the Subordinate Judge held that the village in which the suit land is situate forms part of the Nuzvid Zamindari and is an estate as defined in Section 3, Clause 2(e) of the Estates Land Act, that the character of the land has cot changed by reason of the exchange referred to in the plaint, and that the plaintiff is therefore a landholder. He returned the plaints for presentation to the Reveune Court and against those orders the plaintiff has filed the present appeals.

3. The land in dispute was admittedly part of the Nuzvid Zamindari. The Village of Arugolam in which the land is situate appears to have been granted as Mokhasa in 1747 by the then holder of the Zamindari Jagannatha Appa Rao. The original grant has not been produced but the terms of the grant can be gathered from Ex. I which is an extract from the Inam Register. The Inam is classed as personal Inam. The Ayakat is said to be 1781-85, Porambcke 542-54 and the Inams 50 acres 91 cents. Under the column of the description of Inam, the entry is Bbata Vritti. The original grantees were Desapandyas. It is admitted before us that Desapandyas were the persons who were doing the duty of collecting the revenue. Under the heading of tenure, the entry is 'The tenure is Ghaturbhagam, now also settled on the same tenure, on produce 450-0-0.' The grant is said to be hereditary by prescription and is said to have been granted by Jagannatha Appa Rao in Fasli 1156 or A.D. 1747. The East India Company acquired the Government of the Circars in 1768, and the grant therefore was one made not only before the Permanent Settlement, but before the acquisition by the Company of the Government of the Circars. 'Chaturbhagam' is defined in Wilson's Glossary as the fourth part of the annual crop received by Government from the holders of certain alienated lands. In Sri Rajah Sobhanadri Appa Rao Bahadur v. Sri Raja Venkatanarasimha Appa Rao Bahadur (1920) M.W.N. 639 the tenure known as Mokhasa has been defined as one which is created by au assignment of village or land to an individual either rent free or at a low quit rent on condition of service.

4. It is argued for the appellant that the grant was on favourable quit rent, which means something less than the actual Melwaram which the landlord would be entitled to but for the grant, and that in ease of Chaturbhagam Mokhasas the grant was on condition that only a fourth of the produce was paid to the Zamindar, that the very fact that the Mokhasa was granted for Bhata Vritti, that is, service, and that the grantees were Dasapandyas or Collectors of Revenue shows that the benefit to the grantees by reason of the grant of the Mokhasa was the difference between the rent which would ordinarily have been paid, and the fourth which the grantees have to pay.

5. It seems to us to be clear, that the grant being a pre-settlement grant, it would not form part of the Zamindari unless it can be brought under any of the Clauses of Section 3 Clause 2 of the Estates Land Act, and for this purpose it is necessary to see, whether at the time of the permanent settlement this pre-settlement inam was treated as Dart of the Zamindari assets and the income taken into account for the purpose of the Sannad. In this eon action, reference has to be made to Regulation XXV of 1802. Section 4 of the Regulation runs as follows:--'The Government having reserved to itself the entire exercise of its discretion of continuing or abolishing, temporarily or permanently, the articles of revenue included, according to the custom and practice of the country, under the several heads of salt and saltpetre of the Sayar, or duties, by sea or land--of the abkari or tax on the sale of spirituous liquors and intoxicating drugs, of the excise on articles of consumption--of all taxes personal and professional, as well as those derived from markets, fairs or bazaars--of Lakhiraj lands (or lands exempt from the payment of public revenue), and of all other lands paying only favourable quit rents, the permanent assessment of the land tax shall be made exclusively of the said articles now recited.'

6. The contention of Mr. Ramdoss is that the Mokhasa being a pre-settlement inam granted on favourable quit-rent, it must have been excluded by Section 4, at the time when the revenue of the Zimindari was taken into account for the purpose of the Permanent Settlement' and that, even if it was included, it could not affect the rights of the Mokhasadar, as such inclusion would be opposed to the provisions of the Permanent Settlement Regulation. Reliance has been placed on Kuppa Reddi Nookayya v. Beemanna 1923 Mad. 454, in that case the Zamindar of Pittapur granted in 1800 an inam of certain lands in the Zamindari. It was made free of Kattubadi and purported to be Sarva Dumbala or absolute. It was held that the inam was not part of the Pittapur Zamindari as it was a pre-settlement inam excluded from the assessment of the Zamindari. Oldfield and Rameaam, JJ., after referring to Regulation XXV of 1802 were of opinion that in view of the unqualified terms of Section 4 there was no relevancy in the enquiry, whether the inam was in fact included in the assets of the Zamindari on which the peishcush was fixed, with regard to the Circuit Committee's accounts prepared before 1786. In the other Second Appeal Varahaliah v. Venkata Suryanarayana 1924 Mad. 117 Ayling and Odgers, JJ., held that though the fact of an inam having been granted prior to 1802 raised a presumption that the lands granted were excluded from the permanent settlement, that presumption was capable of being rebutted. As pointed out by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Secretary of State v. Raja of Venkatagiri (1912) 44 Mad. 864 the draft of Section 4 'can by no means be commended for preciseness or lucidity.' Objection is now taken by Mr. Ramdoss that even assuming that the income from this Mokhasa was taken into account for the Permanent Settlement, it should be ignored because of the express provisions of the Regulation. The effect of Section 4 was considered by their Lordships of the Privy Council at page 875 of the report. After pointing out that so far as the actual settlement of the Venkatagiri Zamindari was concerned, the Government fixed a definite specific assessment on the whole Zamindari irrespective of the particular assets derived from each particular unit of property within the estate, their Lordships observe:--'The question now is whether the action of the Government was, in view of the provisions of Regulation XXV of 1802, valid or otherwise. As already stated, Counsel for the appellant have strongly argued that in view of the provisions of Section 4 of that regulation excluding lakhiraj lands (or lands exempt from the payment of public revenue) and all other lands paying only a favourable quit-rent' from the permanent assessment of the land tax, it was not competent for the Governor in Council to grant a Sannad of the character that is in issue in this case.' Their Lordships of the Privy Council were of opinion that the question had to be decided with reference to Sections 3 and 4 of the Act and the conditions of the Sannad, and that where the Sannad contained no reference to lakhiraj lands Section 4 could have no application, and the assessment fixed upon the Zamindari by virtue of the arrangements adopted in 1802 was upon a basis quite different from that provided in Section 4 of the Regulation.

7. The question therefore in this oa3e cannot be decided without reference to the terms of the Sannad granted by the Zamindar and to what actually took place at the time of the Permanent Settlement. We are of opinion that, where at the time of the Permanent Settlement lands, which the Government might have excluded from assessment by reason of the various grounds set forth in Section 4 of the Regulation, were as a matter of fact included in calculating the assessment payable by the Zamindari, and where both the Government and the Zamindar from 1802 acted on the footing that the inam forms part of the Zamindari, the tenants, who were subsequently introduced into the property, have no right to question the acts of the persons entitled at the time of the Sannad to enter into those arrangements.

8. Reliance has been placed by the Subordinate Judge on the fact that at the time of the Inam Settlement an attempt was made to enfrachise the whole village but that after some enquiry the Government gave up the attempt and the matter went up to the Secretary of State with the result that the enfranchisement proceedings were given up. ID is argued that the fact that the Government gave up enfranchising the village after so much correspondence show that the income of the village must have been included in the assets of the Zamindari. It was stated before us that the order of the Government at the time of the Settlement was subpoenaed for, but that the order was not filed owing to objections taken by the Board of Revenue. As it appeared that copies were obtained by the Zamindar and were filed in other proceedings relating to the same village and as Ex. II which is a judgment of the Subordinate Judge of Masulipatam in A.S. No. 466 of 1912 relating to another portion of the same village and where the Government order is referred to, was filed without any objection in both the lower Courts, we thought it desirable in the interests of justice to call for the Government Order No. 2374, dated the 24th of December, 1861. The order of the Government and the connected papers have now been produced, The letter from Mr. Taylor, the Inam Commissioner to the Government, dated July 23rd, 1860, refers to the Mokhasas of the old Masulipatam District and it states that the full value of the Mokhasas in the Nuzvid Zamindari was included in the accounts of the Permanent Settlement. After dealing with the several reports he states as follows:

It was necessary to devote the most careful scrutiny to the above references as the original nature of these Mokhasas, and the circumstances of their being included in the assets of the Zaminiaries had not been generally and, understood. The village of the Zamindari Estates are distinguish d on the back on the permanent Kaul, as Seri (i.e., under the direct management of the Zamindar) Mokhases and Agraharams. But this distinction affords no ground for classing the Mokhasas with the (sic) land excluded by the Sannad; (sic) a different conclusion is fully established by the accounts upon which the Permanent Settlement was based, and which ought to explain the terms of the Kaul. Should the Government concur in the justice of these observations, I submit we possess no reversionary interest in the Mukhasas nor can we claim to derive a quit-rent by their enfranchisement. The Government on the 11th of August, 1860, after referring to Mr. Taylor's letter were of opinion that as the question was one of importance, the letter of Mr. Taylor should be referred to the Board of Revenue for report. An exhaustive enquiry was made by the Board through the Collector and the Board of Revenue agreed with the opinion of the Inam Commissioner and the Collector that Mr. Taylor was right and the Mokhasas could not be enfranchised. On the 24th of December, 1881, the Government passed the following order:--'In their order of 11th August, 1860, No. 1335, the Government referred to the Board of Revenue for report a letter from the Inam Commissioner relating to the Mokhasa Villages of the Zamindarias in the old Masulipatam District. Mr. Taylor was of opinion that these villages were not excluded from the assets of the estates, as had usually been supposed, and that therefore they would not coma under his operations.

The Board were at first doubtful on the matter and resolved to refer the subject for enquiry by the Collector. Toe result is now submitted with the proceedings recorded above.

Mr. Thornhill has conclusively shown that Mr. Taylor was correct, in his surmise and the Board now agree both with him and the Inam Commissioner, that Government cannot claim the reversionary right to the villages, and therefore that the Rules for redeeming that right are inapplicable to them.

In this view the Government concur.

9. It is now clear that these Mokhasas were not excluded from the Zamindari at the time of the Permanent Settlement and that they were treated sis part of the Zamindari. Thoy are therefore part of an 'estate' within the meaning of the Estates Land Act and Civil Courts have no jurisdiction.

10. As regards the exchange alleged by the plaintiffs, we do not think that it would, even if true, change the character of the plaint lands. It bas not bean shown that the consent of the Zamindar had been obtained. The question is concluded by the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Parthasarathi Appa Rao v. Raja Bommadevara Satyanarayana (1919) 42 Mad. 355). The acts of the Inam Commissioner are not by themselves sufficient to affect the Zamindar see Sobhanadri Appa Rao v. Emperor 1924 Mad. 242.

11. It is argued that the plaintiff is not a landholder within the meaning of Section 3, Clause 5 of the Estates Land Act as he is a minor Inamdar in a Mokhasa. 14 has been held by a Full Bench of the Court in Brahmayya v. Ackirazu 1922 Mad. 373 that such an Inamdar is a landholder within the meaning of the section. This decision is binding on us.

12. The decisions of the District Munsif and the Subordinate Judge are right. The appeals Ml and are dismissed with costs.

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