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Mautripragada Gowrikantam and ors. Vs. Mantipragada Ramamurthy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in80Ind.Cas.557
AppellantMautripragada Gowrikantam and ors.
RespondentMantipragada Ramamurthy and ors.
Cases ReferredMajanath Alli v. Khaji Mis Mujafar Alli
Excerpt:
inam - karnam service inam--enfranchisement, effect of--resumption and re-grant--distinction between service and personal inams-prescriptive title against grantee of service inam, proof of--madras act iv of 1882, iv of 1868 and viii of 1869, operation of. - .....the plaintiff's title only began in 1911, and that the title of any of the grantees under the inam title deed began only on the date of the enfranchisement, namely, in 1911. the lower appellate court accepted that argument, and gave a decree for plaintiff. the first defendant appeals.2. there are two main lines of argument for the appellant, first, that enfranchisement and grant of an inam title-deed means nothing more than a removal of the service obligation on the land and does not in any way affect the manner in which the land was previously held or affect the rights of those previously holding it, whether members of the service-holder's family or outsiders; and secondly that, even if it be held that the inam title deed implies total resumption of government and re-grant, that.....
Judgment:

Wallace, J.

1. The plaintiff, the seventh defendant and another were the sons of one Bogyapparaju. The plaint property was a Mirasi Karnam inam enfranchised in the names of the seventh defendant, the plaintiff and Suryanarayana, who were the three sons of Bogyapparaju, and the first defendant who is the brother of Bogyapparaju, Suryanarayana died long ago. The plaintiff sued for one half share in the property on the footing that the 1st defendant had no right in it. The first defendant relied on a family arrangement in 1905 in which the plaintiff and the seventh defendant gave up their third shares to the first defendant. The District Munsif upheld that arrangement and dismissed the suit on the ground that the first defendant had been in adverse possession for more than 12 years since 1905. In the lower Appellate Court it was argued that, as the enfranchisement of the inam was in 1911, the property was until then the absolute property of Government, that the first defendant, if he was from 1905 to 1911 prescribing for a title for adverse possession, could so prescribe against Government only and had not completed such title, that no adverse possession was running from 1905 against the plaintiff since the plaintiff's title only began in 1911, and that the title of any of the grantees under the inam title deed began only on the date of the enfranchisement, namely, in 1911. The lower Appellate Court accepted that argument, and gave a decree for plaintiff. The first defendant appeals.

2. There are two main lines of argument for the appellant, first, that enfranchisement and grant of an inam title-deed means nothing more than a removal of the service obligation on the land and does not in any way affect the manner in which the land was previously held or affect the rights of those previously holding it, whether members of the service-holder's family or outsiders; and secondly that, even if it be held that the inam title deed implies total resumption of Government and re-grant, that re-grant will not avail to disturb the preexisting rights in the land, of persons not claiming any title or spes in the office, and particularly, will not rid the land of any right in the land acquired by outsiders by adverse possession. These points were argued on the assumption that, if the enfranchisement does nob avail to break the running of the adverse possession in favour of the first defendant, then the first defendant's title by adverse possession is perfected.

3. On the first point I ana quite clear that it cannot now be considered good law in the face of the Privy Council pronouncement of Venkata Jagannadha Sarma v. Musti Veera-bhadrayya 61 Ind. Cas. 667 : 44 M.P 643 : 1921 41 M.L.J. 1: 34 C.L.J. 16 : 14 L.W. 59 : (1921) M.W.N. 401 : 30 M.L.J. 14 : 26 C.W.N. 302 That decision interpreted an inam title deed of exactly the same terms as the present one and of almost the same date. It lays down clearly that the lands comprising attached to the office as such, so that, even if a stranger be the family is appointed, the land goes with the appointment, that eligibility to the office is a personal matter though the land goes with the office and is impartible, and that Government, in the act of enfranchisement, severs the land from the office and allows the office-holder for the time being to enfranchise it. The Full Bench ruling in Venkata v. Rama 9 Ind. Jur. 185 and other rulings which have followed it are approved in that decision and other rulings of this Court which do not follow Venkata v. Rama 8 M. 249 : 3 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 172 for example, Gunnaiyan v. Kamakshi Aiyar 26 MS. 339 and Pingala Lakshmipathi v. Bom-mireddi Palli Chalamayya 17 M.L.J. 101 are disapproved of. The whole trend of that decision was set out and relied on in S.A. No. 287 of 1921 in this Court, with which I respectfully agree. It was there clearly pointed out that the distinction between the enfranchisement of a service inam and that of a personal inam is that the latter is a mere release of the service obligation, release by the Crown of its reversionary interests, while the former is a resumption of the lard by Government and a re-grant of it to whomsoever Government pleases, although no doubt ordinarily the re-grant would be to the holder of the office at the time of the enfranchisement. The appellant relies on the wording of Act IV of 1862, Act IV of 1868 and Act VIII of 1869 and the ruling in Talikonda Lakshminarasimham v. Talikonda Venkataratnayamma 70 Ind. Cas. 642. The first two Acts are mere legal statements of the the emoluments of the Karnam evidentiary value of the inam title-deed, while Act VIII of 1869 seem to me merely to save the existing rights of occupancy holders or kudivaramdars already on the land. It has been pointed out to me that Act VIII of 1869 in terms only applies to inam title-deeds 'heretofore issued' and this point seems to have been overlooked, if I may say so with respect, by Spencer, J, in Talikonda Lakshmi-narasimham v. Talikonda Venkataratna-yamma 70 Ind. Cas. 642 It does not follow from the Act that inam title deed issued after it did not create a title where no title existed before. The other learned Judge, Ramesam, J. proceeded on the footing that the case does not prevent an aggrieved party whose name was already in the title-deed, from showing that another name was included in it by mistake. I may also note that the pronouncement on this point in that case was not necessary for the decision of the case, since the decision proceeded on a finding of estoppel aliunde. I, therefore, follow what I conceive to be the ratio decidendi of the case and hold that the enfranchisement of a service inam and the issue of a title-deed thereupon creates a new title in the grantee. I do not in any case understand the first defendant to contend here that the name of the plaintiff was included in the inam title-deed by mistake other than failure to give effect at the time of the issue of the title-deed to his own title by adverse possession. There is no plea before me, for example, that the grantees were not at the time holders of the service.

4. This brings me to the second point namely, whether assuming that the first defendant has been in exclusive possession of the land for more than 12 years before suit, that prescriptive title can avail against the rights of the grantees under the title-deed. Such an argument has been considered in S.A. No. 287 of 1921 above, and it was there decided that no one claiming adversely to the inam title-deed can succeed on prescriptive title unless he proves either that there was no inam at all or that Government had no right left in it at the time of the resumption, that is, that his prescription was for more than sixty years at the date of the grant. The first alternative does not arise here since it is not contended that the land was not service inam. As to the second alternative the appellant argues that it is not necessary for him to prescribe against Govern-merit and that it is sufficient if he had prescribed against the plaintiff, who claims under the title-deed. Since, however, I hold it is clear on the authority of Venkata Jagannadhaswami v. Musti Veerabhadrayya 61 Ind. Cas. 667: 434 C.L.J. 16 : (1921) M.W.N. 401 : 26 C.W.N. 302 : A.I.R. (1922) P.C. 96 that enfranchisement is a clear and unequivocal resumption by the Government of the land and a re-grant to whomsoever it pleases, it follows that, unless Government had at the time of the resumption no right be resume, the 1st defendant has no case. If the rulings relied on by him Neelachalam v. Kamaraju 14 M.L.J. 438 and Idarapalli Dhanush Kotirayudu v. Vankayala Venkataratnam 59 Ind. Cas. 65 : 11 L.W. 453, imply the contrary, they must be taken to have been overruled by the ease, which was pronounced in 1921. The case of Majanath Alli v. Khaji Mis Mujafar Alli 77 Ind. Cas. 568 : 45 M.L.J. 791 : (1924) M.W.N. 53 is a case of a khaji inam, to which the case has no application and is not in point here. Different considerations as pointed out in that case, apply to the cases of personal inams.

5. Another point might have been taken, namely, that, as the first defendant is one of the grantees presumably he was an officeholder prior to the grant and, therefore, was holding not adversely to the office-holder bub on his or their behalf. But as there is no evidence as to who actually was the holder at the time of the grant and as the case can be disposed of on the lines indicated above without going into the question, I need nob consider it any further.

6. I hold, therefore, that the finding of the lower Appellate Court is correct. The Second Appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs.


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