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Gopal Naidu and Executive Officer Kallalagar Devasthanam Vs. the Special Tahsildar for Land Acquisition, Neighbourhood Project and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1974)1MLJ124
AppellantGopal Naidu and Executive Officer Kallalagar Devasthanam
RespondentThe Special Tahsildar for Land Acquisition, Neighbourhood Project and ors.
Cases ReferredOfficial Receiver. In Ramanathan Chettiar v. Kalidasa Kavandan
Excerpt:
- .....in one of the columns assessment of the land is mentioned would not lead to the inference that the inam grant comprised only of melwaram right. that was the principle laid down by the supreme court in satyanarayana v. venkatappayya : [1953]4scr1001 . construing a similar extract, the supreme court in periaswami gounder v. sundaresa iyer : [1964]8scr347 . held that the grant was of both warams. it is pointed out in that decision that details regarding the nature of the land whether dry or wet are only consistent with the view that the grant was of both warams rather than being of mere melwaram. the further fact to be noted is that if at the time of the inam commission enquiry anybody other than the descendant of the original grantee was in possession as kudiwaramdar, it is not likely that.....
Judgment:

Palaniswami, J.

1. These two appeals arise out of an order of the Subordinate Judge of Madurai made in a reference under Section 30 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. An extent of 4 acres, 16 cents in R.S. No. 167/1, Tallakulam village, Madurai Taluk has been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for Madurai Neighbourhood Project. As there were rival claims for the compensation, the Acquisition Officer made the reference under Section 30. The first claimant contended that the land had been granted in inam in favour of his ancestors in both warams for the service of paricharakam in the pagoda of Kallalagar Devasthanam and that he was entitled to the compensation amount in respect of 1 acre 63 cents. He conceded that the second claimant was entitled to compensation in respect of 2 acres 53 cents as alienee. The second claimant supported the case of the first claimant that what was granted consisted of both the Melwaram and Kudiwaram and claimed compensation for the extent of 2 acres 53 cents, which he claimed to have purchased on 1st March, 1960, from the heir of the original grantee. The Kallalagar Devasthanam contended that what was granted was for the performance of paricharakam service, that the inam was inalienable and that, therefore, the entire compensation amount was payable to the Devasthanam.

2. Claimants 3 to 15, 18 to 23 and 25 contended that what was granted was only melwaram, that kudiwaram was always in the possession and enjoyment of the riots and that under the provisions of the Minor Inams Abolition Act, 1963 (Madras Act XXX of 1963) the kudiwaramdars alone were entitled to receive the compensation amount. Claimants 16 and 17 did not put forward any claim.

3. On a consideration of the evidence, the Court below held that the grant for paricharakam service comprised only melwaram interest that the grant was not to the office of paricharakam and that the grant being personal, the Devasthanam was not entitled to claim the compensation. The Court below further found that the kudiwaram interest was dealt with by those in possession, and accepting their claim, the Court below held that claimants 3 to 15, 18 to 23 and 25 were entitled to share the compensation in certain proportions. Aggrieved by this order the second claimant has filed A.S. No. 769 of 1967, whereas the Executive Officer of the Kallalagar Devasthanam has filed A.S. No. 15 of 1968.

4. The first claimant, Amudar Sundararaja Iyengar, the descendant of the original grantee, put forward the contention that the grant was of both warams. Though his contention was not accepted by the Court below, he has not preferred an appeal. He was supported by the second claimant Gopal Naidu, who has filed A.S. No. 769 of 1967. It was the contention of the Devasthanam also that the subject-matter of the grant was of both warams. In these circumstances, the substantial question that arises for consideration is whether the subject-matter of the grant was of both warams or was of melwaram only. There is no presumption that the grant was of both warams or of melwaram only, The question as to whether, in a particular case, the subject of grant was of both warams or one waram only has to be decided upon the evidence in each case. The original title deed is not produced. The only material evidence is that furnished by the extract from the Inam Register, which is marked as Exhibit B-6. The importance of the recitals in the Inam Register has been emphasised by the Judicial Committee in Arunachalam Chetti v. Venkatachalapathi Guruswamigal (1919) 37 M.L.J. 460 : 46 I.A. 204 : I.L.R. 43 Mad. 253 : 53 I.C. 288 : A.I.R. 1919 P.C. 62. It is pointed out that the Inam Commission enquiry is one made on the spot after hearing witnesses and examining documents with regard to each property and that where no other evidence is available, utmost importance should be attached to the information set forth in the Inam Register. The Privy Council reiterated this view in Sankaranarayana Pillaiyan's case . Following this view, the Supreme Court in Periaswami Gounder v. Sundaresa Iyer : [1964]8SCR347 . held :

As observed by the Judicial Committee the entries made in the said Register are the result of an elaborate enquiry based upon oral evidence and on the spot enquiry and scrutiny of available accounts and records.

5. The extract from the Inam Register, Exhibit B-6, consists of several headings, each one of which is divided into several sub-heads. The first major heading reads 'Glass, extent and value of inam'. This is divided into several sub-heads. The first major heading reads : 'Class, extent and value of inam'. This is divided into seven sub-headings. In column (2), the heading is : 'General class to which the inam belongs'. Under this column, the entry is :

'Devadayam'. Column (3) requires the survey number and the name of the field comprised in the grant to be given. Under this column, the entry is : 'Wet. Kallasayi. One crop'. Columns (4) and (5) require the information as regards the local measure and acres and decimals to be given. Necessary details are given as regards the extent. The heading in column 'Revised or present assessment'. No entry is found in column (6), whereas in column (7) the amount is mentioned as 'Rs. 24-11-1'.

6. The next major head reads 'Description, tenure and documents in support of the inam'. This is sub-divided into five columns. Column (8) is important, the heading of which is : 'Description of inam. If for service it is to be stated whether the service is continued. If for tanks, buildings, etc., whether they are efficiently kept up.' Under this column, the entry reads : 'For the service of paricharakam in the pagoda of Kallalagar, Melur Taluk, Venkatachalapathi at Tallakulam. Now rendered'. The common heading for columns (9) and (10) is 'Tenure'. In column (9) the heading is : 'Whether free of tax i.e., Sarvadumbala etc., or liable to quit rent i.e., jodi, katubadi, bediga etc. Amount of latter to be entered.' The entry under this column (10) is : 'Hereditary unconditional for life only or for two or more lives'. The entry under this column is 'Permanent'. The heading in column (11) is : 'By whom granted and in what year'. No information is given under this column. The heading in column (12) is : 'Written instruments in support of the claim'. The entry in this column is : 'Chitta of F. 1212 and 1217. Extent as per F. 1212. K.V. 64 3-14-0. No excess,' Evidently, the figures '3-14-0' denote the extent in local measure as given in column (4).

7. The next major heading is : 'Name and relationship of original grantee and of subsequent present holders--Length of possession'. This again is divided into eight columns. In column (13) the heading is 'Name of original grantee'. No entry is found under this column. In column (14) the heading is : 'Name entered in the register prepared according to Regulation XXXI of 1802 or in the permanent settlement accounts and relationship of persons so entered to original grantee'. The heading in column (15) is 'Name entered in the survey or in any accounts and relationship to predecessors.' The common entry found in both these columns is : 'In F. 1212 and 1217. Amudar Ramaswami Aiyangar.' Columns (16) and (17) require the particulars to be given as regards the name, age and place of residence etc. of the present owner. The common entry found in both these columns is : 'Madhura--Ramaswami Ayyangar 20'. In column (18) the heading is 'Relationship to original grantee or subsequent registered holders'. The entry under this column is : 'Grandson'. It is unnecessary to refer to columns (19) and (20) which are not important. In column (21), the heading is 'Remarks' under which an abstract of the Government Order along with the Deputy Collector's opinion and recommendation is required to be given. Under this column the entry is 'To be confirmed under Rule 3 Clause 2, jodi Rs. 4-15-1. Sd. A. Srinivasa Rao, Deputy Collector and Inam Commissioner. 21st May, 1863'. Column (22) deals with the decision of the Inam Commissioner or his assistant. Under this column, the entry is : 'Confirmed. Sd. P. Chentsal Rao, Ag. Spl. Assistant. 1st October, 1863. T.D. No. 1313.'

8. In this case, we do not have the benefit of any statement recorded by the Inam Commissioner. Nor do we have the benefit of the title deed issued by the Inam Commissioner. But the second claimant has produced certain pattas which fortify the inference that the grant was of both warams. Exhibit A-18 is a patta issued in the year 1806 by the Collector of Madurai in favour of Ramaswamy Ayyangar, the predecessor in interest of the first claimant, describing the said Ramaswami Ayyangar as Exhibit A-19 is another patta issued in the name of the first claimant in the year 1918 in respect of miscellaneous revenue. It contains nota bene. It inter alia says that in case minerals are found in the land, excess kist would be levied. That recital shows that the patta was issued in favour of the person in possession of the land. Exhibit A-20 is another similar patta issued in the year 1903 containing a similar reference. The recitals in the pattas are also consistent with the view that the grant was of both warams. The entries in the Inam Register themselves clearly indicate that the subject matter of the grant was the land and not merely the assessment. The mere fact that in one of the columns assessment of the land is mentioned would not lead to the inference that the inam grant comprised only of melwaram right. That was the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in Satyanarayana v. Venkatappayya : [1953]4SCR1001 . Construing a similar extract, the Supreme Court in Periaswami Gounder v. Sundaresa Iyer : [1964]8SCR347 . held that the grant was of both warams. It is pointed out in that decision that details regarding the nature of the land whether dry or wet are only consistent with the view that the grant was of both warams rather than being of mere melwaram. The further fact to be noted is that if at the time of the Inam Commission enquiry anybody other than the descendant of the original grantee was in possession as Kudiwaramdar, it is not likely that such information would have been omitted to be recorded in the Inam Register. The claimants whose claim has been upheld by the Court below have not produced any evidence to support their contention that at the time of the grant the Kudiwaram belonged to their ancestors. No document anterior to the Inam Commission enquiry, namely, 1863, has been produced by these claimants to support their case that kudiwaram interest was dealt with by their ancestors. Having regard to all these circumstances, we are of the opinion that the subject matter of the grant was of both melwaram and kudiwaram. We also hold that the grant was personal for performing the service and it was not in favour of the Devasthanam.

9. The claimants whose claim has been upheld by the Court below have not based their claim on the ground that they and their ancestors had acquired title by adverse possession for over the statutory period. The Counsel appearing for these claimants before us conceded this. The Court below has also referred to certain admissions contained in certain documents executed by the inamdar describing himself as melwaramdar and describing the persons in possession as kudiwaramdars. The Court below has placed considerable reliance upon this admission as fortifying its view that what was granted originally was of melwaram only and that the persons in possession were entitled to kudiwaram. We have already pointed out that from Exhibit B-6 it is clear that at the time of the Inam Commission enquiry nobody other than the descendant of the grantee was in possession. The mere fact that the inamdar, under the erroneous impression, called himself as melwaramdar and called the tenants in possession as kudiwaramdars would not confer title upon the persons in possession. It is conceded by the Counsel appearing for the claimants whose claim has been upheld by the Court below that such admission by itself would not confer title on the persons in possession. The Counsel did not dispute the position that if, on a construction of Exhibit B-6 the inference should follow that the subject-matter of the grant was of both warams, no amount of admission by the inamdar would destroy that inference and also would not confer title upon persons in possession with kudiwaram right.

10. The second claimant, appellant in A.S. No. 769 of 1967, is the alienee of both melwaram and kudiwaram regarding a portion of the acquired property. It is on that basis that he claims a portion of the acquired property. It is on that basis that he claims a portion of the compensation. The inam was personal and was inalienable as it was granted for the performance of paricharakam service. The Court below failed to consider the contention urged on behalf of the Devasthanam that the grant being personal for the performance of paricharakam service in the temple, it was inalienable and that the alienee does not get any title. That a personal service inam is inalienable is well settled. In Anjaneyalu v. Venugopal Rice Mills 42 M.L.J. 477 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 620 : A.I.R. 1922 Mad. 197. it was held that a personal inam for public service is not a property that is liable to attachment under Section 60, Civil Procedure Code. It is pointed out that where the land is personal inam for public service, Section 6 (h) of the Transfer of Property Act prohibits transfer of such property as it is opposed to public policy and the transfer cannot convey any title. In Ramakrishnamma v. Venkatasubbiah 68 M.L.J. 46 : I.L.R. 58 Mad. 389 : A.I.R. 1935 Mad. 252. it was held that the land burdened with the performance of. a service of a public nature is inalienable being opposed to public policy and that Dashabandham inams being burdened with a service of a public nature are inalienable and cannot be sold in execution of a decree against the inamdar. In Masumayya v. Official Receiver, Kurnool : AIR1943Mad72 the question arose whether, on the adjudication of a holder of certain inam as an insolvent, the inam land would vest in the Official Receiver. The question was answered in the negative, holding that such land not only could not be alienated but could not be transferred from the holder to the Official Receiver. In Ramanathan Chettiar v. Kalidasa Kavandan : AIR1936Mad559 it was held that the mortgage of a temple service inam is opposed to public policy and is, therefore, invalid. The Counsel appearing for the second claimant did not bring to our notice any authority to hold that the alienation under which this claimant claims title is valid. We, therefore, hold that the second claimant, who claims to have acquired title as an alienee from the descendant of the original grantee, has no valid title to the acquired property and is, therefore, not entitled to claim a share in the compensation.

11. It was contended on behalf of those in possession that they would be entitled to ryotwari pattas under the provisions of the Minor Inams Abolition Act, 1963, and that if such a patta is obtained, the holder of the patta would be entitled to the entire compensation. We do not accept this contention. No doubt, under the Minor Inams Abolition Act, persons satisfying certain conditions with regard to kudiwaram in an inam are entitled to ryotwari patta. Under that Act, minor inams are abolished and all the lands in such inams have vested in the Government. But in these cases, notwithstanding such vesting, the Government have invoked the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act on the basis that the lands do not belong to the Government but belong to others. Therefore, the provisions of that Act should be applied in ascertaining the interests of the persons entitled to the compensation. We may also point out in this connection that the question of obtaining patta in recognition of kudiwaram right does not arise in view of our finding that the grant was of both warams.

12. In the result A.S. No. 769 of 1967 is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. So far as the Devasthanam is concerned, though it is not entitled to the compensation amount, it is entitled to have suitable orders being passed for securing the amount so that the service may be continued. The Court below will pass suitable orders under Section 32 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act for investing the amount. The Devasthanam is at liberty to move the Court below for this purpose. A.S. No. 15 of 1968 is ordered accordingly. No order as to costs.


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