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Kanakasabai Pillai Vs. Muthayyan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1959)2MLJ418
AppellantKanakasabai Pillai
RespondentMuthayyan and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....that order was under section 13(1) of the aforesaid act. against the orders of the conciliation officer the landlord filed four appeals, purporting to be under section 13(2) of the act, to the revenue court, kumbakonam. the revenue court held that while an appeal would lie in regard to direction of payment of kalavadai, no appeal would lie in regard to the other questions involved in the case namely, (1) whether the respective respondents were pannaiyals of the petitioner and (2) whether the landlord was exempted from the provisions of madras act xiv of 1952 on the ground that he owned less than 6 2/3 acres of lands. the landlord has come up in revision against the orders of the revenue court, holding that he was not entitled to an appeal against that portion of the order of the.....
Judgment:

Ramachandra Ayyar, J.

1. These Civil Revision Petitions are directed against the orders in A.P. Nos. 3 to 6 of 1958 on the file of the Revenue Court, Kumbakonam. The landlord is the petitioner in all these petitions. The respective respondents in these petitions filed applications before the Conciliation Officer, Mayuram, alleging that they were pannaiyals under the petitioner who owned more than 6 2/3 acres of lands in Tanjore District, that the petitioner refused to give them the kalavadai due to them and that he improperly dismissed them from service, when they demanded kalavadai as per the terms of what is known as Mayuram agreement. The petitioner resisted the applications on the ground that he owned less than 6 2/3 acres of lands, that the respondents were never his pannaiyals but only causal labourers, and that in any event, he was not liable for the kalavadai claimed by respondents. The' Conciliation Officer accepted the case of the respondents and directed their reinstatement under Section 12(3) of the Tanjore Pannaiyal Protection Act, 1952 (Madras Act XIV of 1952). He also directed payment of kalavadai to the respective respondents. That order was under Section 13(1) of the aforesaid Act. Against the orders of the Conciliation Officer the landlord filed four appeals, purporting to be under Section 13(2) of the Act, to the Revenue Court, Kumbakonam. The Revenue Court held that while an appeal would lie in regard to direction of payment of kalavadai, no appeal would lie in regard to the other questions involved in the case namely, (1) whether the respective respondents were pannaiyals of the petitioner and (2) whether the landlord was exempted from the provisions of Madras Act XIV of 1952 on the ground that he owned less than 6 2/3 acres of lands. The landlord has come up in revision against the orders of the Revenue Court, holding that he was not entitled to an appeal against that portion of the order of the Conciliation Officer which held that the respondents were pannaiyals of the petitioner and that the landlord was not entitled to the exemption pleaded.

2. The learned advocate for the petitioner, Mr. T.S. Kuppuswami Iyer, contended that the plea of the petitioner, that the respondents were not his pannaiyals, and the further plea, that the landlord was exempt from the operation of the Act by reason of holding less than 6 2/3 acres of lands, were really disputes that would come within Section 13(1) of the Act, and that there could be a right of appeal against the decision rendered on those questions by the Conciliation Officer under Section 13(1) of the Act. On the other side it was contended that the questions involved in the case would really come within Section 12 of the Act in respect of which there is no right of appeal.

3. To appreciate the contentions it is necessary to refer to the relevant provisions. Section 12 of the Act states thus:

12. (1) Whenever a landowner dismisses a pannaiyal, he shall within a week from the date of such dismissal, make a report thereof to the Conciliation Officer having jurisdiction over the area.

(3) After considering the representation, if any so made, and after making such further inquiry into the case as he may deem fit, the Conciliation Officer may, if he finds that the dismissal of the panniyal was not just and proper, by an award in writing, require the landlowner to take back the pannaiyal and reinstate him in all the rights which would have accrued to him but for his dismissal.

13. (1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, any dispute between a landowner and a pannaiyal including any matter which affects their mutual harmonious relationship in the cultivation of land, or any question which may arise as to the payment or non-payment of any wages shall, on application by any party, be decided by the Conciliation Officer.

(2) Against any final order passed by a Conciliation Officer under Sub-section (1), an appeal shall lie to the Revenue Court within thirty days of the passing of the order unless the Court in the special circumstances of any case, condones the delay in preferring the appeal within that time; and the decision of the Revenue Court on such appeal shall be final.

It is unnecessary to refer to the other portion of the section. The question whether a pannaiyal would be entitled to reinstatement would undoubtedly come within Section 12(1). Mr. T.S. Kuppuswami Iyer, the learned advocate, for the petitioner, contended that the provisions of Section 12(1) would only apply to the case of admitted relationship of landlord and pannaiyal and where such relationship is denied by one side or the other, the Conciliation Officer will have no jurisdiction to proceed under Section 12 but could proceed to decide the dispute under Section 13(1). He therefore, contended that the decision in the instant case would be subject to an appeal provided under Section 13(2). I cannot, however, agree with the contention in the form in which it was urged before me. It is, no doubt, correct to say that Section 12 confers power to the Conciliation Officer to require the landowner to take back the pannaiyal and reinstate him with all the rights which would have accrued to him but for his dismissal. But as an incident to the power, he would, in my opinion, have a right to enquire into the further question whether the relationship of the landlord and pannaiyal subsisted between the parties and whether the landlord was entitled to the exemption under the Act. Those questions, though they do not come strictly within Section 12(1), could nevertheless be considered as an incident or collateral to the adjudication of the question under Section 12(1), that is, the question of reinstatement. But determination of such question would only be an incidental one. If, however, the question of relationship is a substantial item of dispute, the jurisdiction of the Conciliation Officer to decide that dispute would be only under Section 13(1). Section 13(1) confers power upon the Conciliation Officer to decide any dispute between a landowner and a pannaiyal except those otherwise expressly provided in the Act. Section 12 confers a power only to reinstate a pannaiyal. The incidental questions, for example, whether at all there was relationship of landlord and pannaiyal between the parties or whether the provisions of the Act would apply to the particular landlord which may have to be decided for the purpose of exercising jurisdiction under Section 12, cannot confer on the Authority under Section 12 a power to finally adjudicate those questions. They will, therefore, come only under the provisions of Section 13(1). If an adjudication is made under Section 13(1) an appeal would lie under Section 13(2). Therefore, in the present case whether there was at all relationship of landlord and pannaiyal between the parties, and whether the landlord was not exempted from the operation of the Act are questions which could be adjudicated only by virtue of Section 13(1). The petitioner would have a right to appeal against the decision of the Conciliation Officer to the Revenue Court. The lower Court is in error in declining to entertain the appeals. The orders of the lower Court are set aside, and it is directed to restore the appeals to its file and dispose of them in accordance with law. There will be no order as to costs.


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