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D. Shanmuga Raja, Rajah of Sivaganga Vs. the State of Madras Represented by the Collector of Ramanathapuram and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1963)1MLJ287
AppellantD. Shanmuga Raja, Rajah of Sivaganga
RespondentThe State of Madras Represented by the Collector of Ramanathapuram and ors.
Cases ReferredRent Reduction Act. In Moosa Kazim v. Sheriff
Excerpt:
- .....issue of a writ of mandamus directing the government of the state of madras to collect arrears of rent payable by the ryots in the zamindari for faslis 1357 and 1358 without reducing the same by reference to the notifications issued under the madras rent reduction act, (xxx of 1947) (which we shall hereafter refer to as the rent reduction act).2. the petition originally came up for hearing before rajagopala ayyangar, j. the learned judge felt that as the determination of the question would affect the liability of the concerned ryots, they should be impleaded as parties to the petition. steps were thereafter taken to implead respondents 2 to 1 o as representatives of the tenants but none of them have entered appearance. the writ petition then came up before jagadisan, j. who referred the.....
Judgment:

Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.

1. This is a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution by the landholder of the erstwhile Sivaganga Zamindari for the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the Government of the State of Madras to collect arrears of rent payable by the ryots in the Zamindari for faslis 1357 and 1358 without reducing the same by reference to the Notifications issued under the Madras Rent Reduction Act, (XXX of 1947) (which we shall hereafter refer to as the Rent Reduction Act).

2. The petition originally came up for hearing before Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. The learned Judge felt that as the determination of the question would affect the liability of the concerned ryots, they should be impleaded as parties to the petition. Steps were thereafter taken to implead respondents 2 to 1 o as representatives of the tenants but none of them have entered appearance. The writ petition then came up before Jagadisan, J. who referred the matter to be heard by a Bench as in his opinion the value of the subject-matter in dispute and the question of law raised in the case were of such substantial nature that it was fit for being heard by a Division Bench. The petition has accordingly been posted before us.

3. The Sivaganga Zamindari has been taken over by the Government under the provisions of Madras Act XXVI of 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Abolition Act) by a Notification of the Government, dated 7th September, 1949. As and from that date the estate vested in the Government and the landholder would not be interested in the rent or revenue payable by the ryot to the Government. The application is therefore confined to the legality of the reduction of rents effected with respect to faslis 1357 and 1358, a period prior to the abolition of the estate.

4. The Rent Reduction Act which came into force on 7th January, 1948 provides for the reduction of rent payable by ryots in estates governed by the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908, so as to bring such rents approximately to the level of assessment of land revenue on similar lands held under the ryotwari system. Section 2 of that enactment provides for the appointment of a Special Officer for every estate for the purpose of recommending to the Government fair and equitable rents payable by the ryot. Section 3 provides for an enquiry by the Special Officer and a submission of a report to the State Government recommending the rates of rent for each class of ryoti land in the village. The rules framed under the Act prescribe the procedure to be followed in ascertaining the rates of rent. The enquiry should be conducted after notice to the landholder. The rent for each land will have to be fixed after such enquiry.

5. The Sivaganga Zamindari consisted of as many as 469 villages. Prior to 7th September, 1949 when the estate was notified under the Abolition Act and taken over by the Government, the State Government had issued Notifications under the Rent Reduction Act for about 49 villages. It was only subsequent to the taking over of the estate that Notifications were issued in respect of the remaining villages reducing the rent payable by the ryots.

6. Under Section 3(3) of the Rent Reduction Act, the reduced rents will apply to estates from the commencement of the fasli year 1357. The State Govrnment commenced to collect arrears of rents for faslis 1357 and 1358 from the ryos at the reduced rates from the year 1956. It was found that deducting therefrom the peshkush, cesses, etc., payable by the landholder and also of the collection expenses at the statutory percentage, very little was left for payment to the landholder. The landholder applied to this Court for the issue of a writ of mandamus for the relief stated above.

7. Two questions were raised in the petition regarding the validity of the proceedings by the Government in relation to the reduction of rent in the villages : (1) that the reduction of rents had been so drastic that it amounted to an unreasonable restriction on the petitioner's right of enjoyment of his property, and (2) that on the abolition of the estate and its being taken over by the Government, the Rent Reduction Act would no longer apply and the notification made under that enactment after the date of abolition would be invalid.

8. Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner did not press before us, the first of the two contentions in view of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 242 of 1960. But on the second point he has contended that the Rent Reduction Act, being as its Preamble indicates a measure to reduce the rents payable by ryots in estates governed by the Madras Estates Land Act, 1908, it could only be regarded as a temporary enactment to be in force so long as the Madras Estates Land Act was alive, and as the latter enactment has been repealed by the Abolition Act, it would be incompetent for the Government to issue a Notification under the Rent Reduction Act. In other words, the contention is that in order that the provisions of the Rent Reduction Act could apply, there should be in existence an estate and a ryot, as the Special Officer to be appointed under the provisions of Section 2 of that enactment could only be for an estate. This contention is sought to be reinforced by a reference to the Rules made under the Act which prescribe for the issue of notice to the landholder before the commencement of any enquiry for reduction of rents. It is further argued that Section 4 of the Rent Reduction Act which obliges a ryot to pay rent says, that such rent will be for ryoti land, which implies the continued existence of an estate under the Estates Land Act. Founding himself on this line of reasoning learned Counsel contends that it would not be open to the Government which acts as a statutory agent of the landholder under Section 55 of the Abolition Act, to collect only the reduced rents, as the reduction after the date of the abolition in regard to the 424 villages would be invalid.

9. The argument that on the Abolition Act coming into force with respect to an estate, the Rent Reduction Act ipso facto ceases to have operation fails to take note of the express provision of Section 3(a) of the former Act which preserves the provisions relating to reduction of rents and collection of arrears of rent under the latter Act. It must also be noticed that although estates have been taken over by the Government under the provisions of the Abolition Act for being converted into ryotwari tenure, it would take some time before ryotwari pattas could be granted to persons entitled to the same. The Abolition Act itself provides for adjudication of claims to patta, for enquiries, surveys, settlement, etc. It is therefore necessary that till the time when the entire estate is switched over to ryotwari tenure, there should be an equitable settlement of rent to be paid by the ryots to the Government, and the Rent Reduction Act which provides the machinery for this purpose, should therefore be in force. It would be apparent from the further provisions in the Abolition Act that even for the purpose of working that enactment, the machinery provided by the Rent Reduction Act would be necessary. Section 23 of the Abolition Act which provides for the determination of the land revenue payable to the Government by the ryot before the ryotwari settlement is brought into force, expressly states that in respect of ryoti lands the revenue payable to the Government will be the rent as determined under the Rent Reduction Act. With respect to cases where there has been no such reduction, Sub-clause (ii) provides that the ryot should pay the rent which would have been payable to the landholder in respect of the fasli year in which the estate has been notified. But this provision is subject to an important and significant proviso, namely:

Provided further that in cases falling under Sub-clause (ii) where after the rent has beena determined under the Madras Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947, it is found that the land revenue paid exceeds the rent so determined, such-excess shall be adjusted towards the land revenue payable in the subsequent fasli year or years.

Two things are apparent from this provision (1) For the purpose of ascertaining the land revenue payable by the ryot after abolition, it is only the reduced rent that: is taken into account, and (2) where there has been no reduction in rent under the provisions of the Rent Reduction Act prior to the abolition, revenue payments are tentatively fixed at the rate current in the year of taking over, and the excess collections over and above the reduced rent is given credit to the ryot. That provision obviously contemplates that proceedings under the Rent Reduction Act should be taken after the abolition of the Estate. This view is supported by the provisions of Section 55 of the Abolition Act which provides for the collection of arrears of rent which accrued before the notified date by the Government. That section reads:

(i) After the notified date, the landholder shall not be entitled to collect any rent which accrued due to him from any ryot before, and is outstanding on, that date; but the manager appointed under Section 6 shall be entitled to collect all such rent and any interest payable thereon , together with any costs which may have been decreed, as if they were arrears of land revenue; and there shall be paid to the landholder all amounts so collected after deducting (a) ten per cent thereof on account of collection charges, (b) the arrears of peshkush, quit rent, jodi or other amount, if any, of a like nature due from the land holder to the Government, and (c) the rent, if any, collected before the notified date by the landholder from the ryots in respect of the fasli year in which the estate is; notified under this Act and any amount collected by the landholder from the ryots in excess of the rent determined under the Madras Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947 (Madras. Act XXX of 1947), and outstanding to the credit of the ryots on the first day of the fasli year:

Provided that any such rent, which accrued due in respect of the fasli year 1356 and earlier faslis, shall be reduced on the basis that the landholder is entitled in respect of each of those faslis, only to the rent as determined under the Madras Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947:

Provided further that where the ryot-

(a) has paid before the notified date or pays within two years of that date, or

(b) where the rate of rent for the land has not been fixed under the Madras Estates Land (Reduction of Rent) Act, 1947, before the notified date, pays within two years of the date on which such rates of rent are fixed under that Act, the rent due for the fasli years 1356 and 1357 and any interest payable thereon together with any costs which may have been decreed, then, all arrears of rent due from such ryot in respect of all prior fasli years, including interest and costs, if any, shall, be deemed to have been completely discharged.

(Explanation and Sub-section (2) omitted).

10. The Provisos to the section clearly indicate that the proceedings could be taken under the Rent Reduction Act even after the estate had been abolished and taken over by the Government. This was the view taken by Rajagopala Ayyangar, J., in Andal Ammal v. Vadivelu Seshapiryar W.P. No. 907 of 1956 with which we respectfully agree.

11. The same conclusion can be reached on another line of reasoning. On the terms of Section 55 referred to above, it is evident that the provisions of the Rent Reduction Act have been impliedly incorporated therein. Therefore for the purpose of ascertaining and collecting arrears of rent the Government will be entitled to employ the machinery of the Rent Reduction Act. In Moosa Kazim v. Sheriff : (1959)IILLJ344Mad one of the members of the present Bench, had to consider the effect of the incorporation of a statute into another. It is there held if the provisions of a statute are incorporated by reference in another, and even if the earlier statute is afterwards repealed, the provisions thus incorporated will continue in force for the purpose of the second enactment. It follows that even if it were to be held that the Rent Reduction Act had ceased to apply, on the estates ceasing to exist on their abolition, the machinery provided by that enactment can be availed of for the purpose of Section 55 of the Abolition Act.

12. The argument that after the abolition there can be no estates and consequently the provisions of the Rent Reduction Act will have no application ignores the very terms of the Abolition Act. The term ' Estate ' as will be seen from the various-provisions of that enactment is not merely confined to existing estates but also to estates which had been taken over under the Act. We are of opinion that the Notifications issued by the Government under the Rent Reduction Act even after the Sivaganga Zamindari had been taken over by it are perfectly valid and that the petition is devoid of merits. This petition is therefore dismissed with costs.


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