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Smt. Savitri Devi Vs. Santa and Etc. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberM.S.A. Nos. 8 and 9 of 1972
Judge
ActsHimachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act, 1954 - Section 11, 11(1) and 11(2) ; ;Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Rules, 1955 - Rule 19
AppellantSmt. Savitri Devi
RespondentSanta and Etc.
Appellant Advocate Inder Singh, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Kapil Dev Sood, Adv.
DispositionAppeals dismissed
Cases ReferredLilaram Jamiatrai v. Meghraj Hardasmal Kal
Excerpt:
- h.s. thakur, j.1. m.s.a. no. 8 of 1972 has been referred to a pull bench by the then hon'ble chief justice (t. u. mehta) by an order dated 3rd july, 1979. at the time of hearing, m.s.a. no. 9 of 1972 was also connected with m.s.a. no. 8 of 1972. it is desirable to reproduce the said order:'in this case, on behalf of the appellant, two point are submitted, namely (1) the original appellant durga dart has died pending this m.s.a. and, therefore, according to the decision given by this court in chuhatli v. bratu reported in ilr (1975) him pra 579, the application of the tenant under section 11 has become in fructuous, and (2) the ownership rights in favour of the tenant cannot be granted in view of the fact that one of the co-owners durga datt was physically incapable. in support of this.....
Judgment:

H.S. Thakur, J.

1. M.S.A. No. 8 of 1972 has been referred to a Pull Bench by the then Hon'ble Chief Justice (T. U. Mehta) by an order dated 3rd July, 1979. At the time of hearing, M.S.A. No. 9 of 1972 was also connected with M.S.A. No. 8 of 1972. It is desirable to reproduce the said order:

'In this case, on behalf of the appellant, two point are submitted, namely (1) the original appellant Durga Dart has died pending this M.S.A. and, therefore, according to the decision given by this Court in Chuhatli v. Bratu reported in ILR (1975) Him Pra 579, the application of the tenant under Section 11 has become in fructuous, and (2) the ownership rights in favour of the tenant cannot be granted in view of the fact that one of the co-owners Durga Datt was physically incapable. In support of this proposition reliance is placed on the decision given by a Division Bench of this Court in Paras Ram v. Bhuru, reported in ILR (1973) Him Pra 31.

I have perused both these decisions and in my opinion both of them require to be reconsidered by a larger Bench. It is, therefore, ordered that both these matters be put before a Full Bench. M. S. A. No. 3 of 1978 and M. S. A. No. 4 of 1'978 be also connected with these matters and put before the Full Bench pursuant to the proceedings made in those cases on 28-2-1978.'

2. The facts relevant to M.S.A. No. 8 of 1972 may be stated in brief. The respondent-tenant thereinafter to be referred as 'the tenant') filed an application under Section 11 of the Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Act ('The Act' in short) for the grant of proprietary rights in the land in dispute. The appellant-landlord thereinafter to be referred as 'the land-owner') opposed the application. Inter alia, it was contended that the landowner was a disabled person, and the income from the land was his only source of livelihood. Issue to this effect was framed by the Compensation Officer, but the proprietary and other rights were granted to the tenant on payment of compensation to the landowner. An appeal was filed on behalf of the landowner, but the same was dismissed by the learned District Judge, on 27-12-71.

3. Aggrieved by the order and judgment passed by the learned District Judge, the landowner filed an appeal under Section 104 of the Act in this Court, It may be pointed out that the original landowner. Durga Dutt, and the co-landowner. Bishan Singh, died during the pendency of the appeal in this Court.

4. We shall deal with the first point first The then Chief: Justice (Mr. Justice T.U. Mehta) has referred to two decisions of this Court which are relevant to the points in issue. The judgment relevant to point No. 1, referred to in the referring order, is Chuhatli v. Bratu (lLR (1975) Him Pra 579). This is a judgment delivered by a Division Bench of this Court. Before we refer to the relevant decisions in this case, it is desirable to reproduce the relevant provision as contained in Section 11' of the Act The same reads as under:

'11. (1) Notwithstanding any law, custom or contract to the contrary a tenant other than a sub-tenant shall, on application made to the Compensation Officer at any time after the commencement of this Act, be entitled to acquire, on payment of compensation, the right, title and interest of the landowner in the land of the tenancy held by hm under the landowner:

Provided that a tenant not having a right of occupancy shall not be entitled to acquire the right, title and Interest of the landowner in the land of the tenancy from which he is liable to ejectment under Clause (d) or Clause (f) or Clause (g) of Sub-section (1) of Section 54

(2) Nothing contained in Sub-section (1) shall apply to a landlord, if he has no other means of livelihood and is a minor, widow or a person suffering from physical or mental disability incapable of earning his livelihood. In the case of a minor, Sub-section (1) shall not apply during his minority and La other cases for his lifetime.

(3) The application referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be made in writing to the Compensation Officer who shall thereupon determine the amount of compensation payable to the landowner in respect of the land in accordance with the provisions, of Sections 12 and 13.

(4) The tenant may pay the amount of compensation as determined by the Compensation Officer under Sub-section (3) either in one lump sum or in such number of instalments not exceeding ten as may be determined by the Compensation Officer during a period not exceeding five years; and such compensation or such instalments of compensation shall be paid on such date or dates as may be fixed by the Compensation Officer in this behalf.

(5) The amount of compensation or any instalment thereof shall be deposited by the tenant in a Government treasury and as soon as the compensation or the first instalment thereof has been deposited in the Government treasury, the Compensation Officer shall grant a certificate in the prescribed form declaring the tenant to be the landowner in respect of the land specified in the certificate.

(6) On and from the date of the grant of the certificate under Sub-section (5) the tenant shall become the owner of the land comprised in the tenancy and the right, title and interest of the landowner in the said land shall determine.

(7) An instalment of compensation which is not paid on the date fixed by the Compensation Officer, shall together with interest thereon at the rate of two and half per cent per annum be recoverable as an arrear of land revenue.

(8) Where compensation is paid in instalments the unpaid amount of compensation shall be a charge upon the land.'

While interpreting the aforesaid provisions, the Division Bench in para 4 of the aforesaid judgment observed as under:

'The title of the tenant to acquire is determined by two conditions

(1) He must be a tenant of the land respecting which he seeks to acquire the right, title and interest of the landowner, and

(2) The bar imposed by Sub-section (2) should not exist. It is only if both the conditions co-exist that a tenant can successfully maintain an application for acquiring the right, title and interest of the landowner. The two conditions constitute the frame of reference within which alone such application is maintainable. If the tenancy ceases to subsist or if the bar imposed by Sub-section (2) comes into operation a tenant's application will not lie and must fail, it will be noted in this context that the tenant's application under Sub-section (1) is directed against the right, title and interest of a particular landowner -- the existing landowner --and in the same context the circumstances of that landlord for the purposes of Sub-section (2) fall to be considered. In other words, the tenant's application must be tried in a particular set of conditions and circumstances defined by the subsistence of his tenancy in the land in question and the absence of the circumstances enumerated in Sub-section (2) peculiar to the then landlord.'

In para 5 of the judgment, the Court further observed as under:

'I am of opinion that the question whether a tenant is entitled to acquire the right, title and interest of the landowner falls to be determined not with reference to the date of his application but with reference to the date on which the proceedings are finally disposed of, whether that be the date of the Compensation Officer's order where no appeal is preferred against it, or on the date when the ultimate appellate order is passed and the application can be said to have been finally disposed of. If during the pendency of the application, whether before the Compensation Officer or in subsequent appeal, the bar imposed by Sub-section (2) drops into position and becomes operative by reason of the landlord becoming a widow or a person suffering from physical or mental disability incapable of earning his livelihood or if the landlord ceases to have other means of livelihood, the tenant's application must fail. Likewise, if after the tenant has made his application the existing minor landlord attains majority and has other means of livelihood, there is no reason why the tenant should not be held entitled to acquire the right, title and interest of the landowner in the tenancy land. In all cases it is the situation obtaining on the date of the order disposing of the proceeding finally which determines the question whether the tenant can succeed.'

Ultimately, in para 6 of the judgment, the following observations were also made:

'Another event which can defeat a tenant's application is the death of the existing landowner. The tenant's application having been directed against the right, title and interest of that landowner, and inasmuch as it depends for its success on the co-existence of the two conditions already mentioned, the application becomes in fructuous if the landlord dies. The frame of reference in which the application was valid stands dissolved and exists no longer. That is the position in law no matter what the stage at which the application is pending, whether it be the original or the appellate stage.'

5. The second point raised in the referring order may now be discussed. The case relevant to the point, as referred to, in Paras Ram v. Bhuru (ILR (1973) Him Pra 31). This is also a judgment by a Division Bench of this Court. In this judgment, it has been held that a tenant who seeks to acquire the right, title and interest of the landowner in the land of the tenancy held by him under the landowner by virtue of Section 11 (1) of the Act, cannot acquire the said rights if there are some disabled persons among the landowners. It has been further observed that the entire body of the landowners constitute one landlord and the tenancy is one and indivisible in protection, because the indivisibility of one of the co-sharers must be extended to the other co-sharers also till the time the indivisibility ceases.

6. A doubt having been expressed by the then Chief Justice about the correctness of the aforesaid decisions, the matter has been referred to a Full Bench.

7. Shri Inder Singh, learned counsel for the landowner, submits that no doubt the Act is a social legislation and the object of the Act is that a tenant of a land should be its owner. All the same it is vehemently contended that protection has been also given to landowners under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act. The object behind this provision apparently is that the rights of a minor, widow or a person suffering from physical or mental disability incapable of earning livelihood, be also safeguarded. According to the learned counsel, this category of persons constitutes a weaker section of the society and social justice has also to be done to them. He has referred to numerous decisions relevant to the above points. Our attention has been drawn to 8 judgment of the Federal Court in Lachmeshwar v. Keshwar Lal (AIR 1941 FC 5). It has been held in this judgment that the hearing of an appeal under the procedural law of India is in the nature of re-hearing and, therefore, in mounding the relief to be granted in a case on appeal, the Appellate Court is entitled to take into account even facts and events which have come into existence after the decree appealed against. Reliance has also been placed on a judgment in Pasupuleti Vankateswarlu v. Motor & General Traders (AIR 1975 SC 1409). In this judgment their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed as under (at p. 1410) :

'It is basic to our processual jurisprudence that the right to relief must be judged to exist as on the date a suitor institutes the legal proceeding. Equally clear is the principle that procedure is the hand-maid and not the mistress of the judicial process. If a fact, arising after the lis has come to court and has a fundamental impact on the right to relief or the manner of moulding it, is brought diligently to the notice of the tribunal, it cannot blink at it or be blind to events which stultify or render inept the decretal remedy. Equity justifies bending the rules of procedure, where no specific provision or fair play is violated with a view to promote substantial justice subject, of course, to the absence of other disentitling factors or just circumstances. Nor can we contemplate any limitation on this power to take note of updated facts to confine it to the trial court, If the litigation spends the power exists, absent other special circumstances repelling resort to that course in law or justice. Rulings on this point are legion even as situations for applications of this equitable rule are myriad. We affirm the proposition that for making the right or remedy claimed by the party just and meaningful as also legally and factually in accord with the current realities, the court can, and in many cases must, take cautious cognisance of events and developments subsequent to the institution of the proceeding provided the rules of fairness to both sides are scrupulously obeyed.'

8. Our attention has been also invited to a judgment of a single Judge of this Court (R, S. Pathak, C. J.) in Smt Bimla v. Devia (ILR (1975) Him Pra 607). The Hon'ble Judge has followed the decision in Chuhatli's case (ILR (1975) Him Pra 579) (supra). The learned counsel has further argued that even if a 'patta' has been issued in favour of a tenant for recognition of the conferment of proprietary and other rights on a tenant, the same falls in case the order which is the foundation of such a 'patta' is set aside. In support of his contention, he has placed reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mithoo Shahani v. Union of India (AIR 1964 SC 1536). It is convenient to reproduce the relevant observations in this judgment (para 9) :

'It is not disputed that this condition has not been fulfilled but the question, however, is whether when the order of allotment on the basis of which the property was granted to the appellant and the sanad issued, is itself reversed or set aside can the sanad and the title obtained thereunder survive?..................Subsequent to this decision a case arose before the High Court of Punjab, Balwant Kaur v. Chief Settlement Commr. (Land), ILR ' (1964) I Punj 36 : (AIR 1964 Punj 33) and a Full Bench of that Court by a majority dissented from this view and held that where an order making an allotment was set aside the title which was obtained on the basis of the continuance of that order also fell with it. We are clearly of the opinion that the judgment of the Punjab High Court is correct. The relevant provisions of the Act and the Rules have all been set out in the decision of the Punjab High Court and we do not consider it necessary to refer to them in any detail. It is sufficient to say that they do not contain any provision which militates against the position which is consistent with principle and logic. It is manifest that a sanad can be lawfully issued only on the basis of a valid order of allotment. If an order of allotment which is the basis upon which a grant is made is set aside it would follow, and the conclusion is inescapable that the grant cannot survive, because in order that that grant should be valid it should have been effected by a competent officer under a valid order. If the validity of that order is effectively put an end to it would be impossible to maintain unless there were any express provision in the Act or the rules that the grant still stands.'

It may be relevant to point out that subsequent to the aforesaid decisions of this Court, a Division Bench of this Court in Shankar Singh v Smt Santi, (ILR (1979) Him Pra 365) held that during the minority of the landowner, the protection afforded to a minor landowner by Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act would no longer be available to him if during the course of the pendency of the proceeding? the minor landowner attains majority. At the same time, our attention has been invited to a judgment in Rameshwar v. Jai Ram (AIR 1976 SC 49). In the case the point involved was whether under Section 13 (4) of the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act if a right has vested in a tenant, can the same be divested by subsequent death of the landowner and devolution of his rights on his heirs? Their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed as under. (Para 51

'The solitary point which thus falls for determination is as to whether the subsequent event of the landowner's death at the appellate stage unsettles the right acquired by the tenants of whether the tribunal must uphold rights which have crystallized as on the date the applications were made and, in any event, the deposits of the first installment were made by each of the tenants. We see no difficulty in answering this question against the appellant, but. in view of the persistent submission based upon a few rulings of this Court, the Federal Court and the High Courts. made by counsel for the appellant, we may as well consider the question of law, adopting an interpretative attitude which will further and not frustrate the legislative will in case there are alternative choices for the Court. Of course, a construction which will promote predictability of results, maintenance of reasonable orderliness, simplification of the judicial task, advancement by the Court of the purpose of the legislation and the judicial prelecence for what it regards as the sounder rule of law as between competing ones must find favour with us. A plain reading of Section 18, without reference to consideration of subsequent event a the appellate lever yield; the easy and only conclusion that the rights to parties are determined on the date they come to Court and what is an insurmountable obstacle to any other construction is that once the deposit is made the like to the land vests in the tenant. Agrarian reform law affects a considerable number of people and to keep rights uncertain over a long stretch of time till appeals and reviews and revisions and other processes are exhausted, is to inject unpredictability of results for its is quite on the cards that a landlord may die in the long course of litigation, or other events may happen at later stages beyond the trial Court. Can rights of parties fluctuate with such uncertain contingencies? If so, stabilization of land-ownerships so vital to the new pattern of agrarian relations, will be postponed for a long time. Is not the judicial task simplified by adopting the golden rule that the rights of parties must be determined when they seek justice and not when the last Court has had its last say, long years after the litigation was initiated? A system of orderliness about rights in land will result from this approach. More than all, the sounder rule of law as between rival claims to consideration of, or indifference to, subsequent events is surely that which excludes the later event factually or legally. Such a reading of the statutory scheme rhymes well with rapid agrarian reform contemplated by the framers.'

9. While dealing with the second point regarding the tenancy being indivisible, the learned counsel has referred to a decision in Miss S. Sanyal v. Gian Chand (AIR 1968 SC 438). The Supreme Court in this judgment observed as follows (at p. 440):

'The contract Of tenancy is a single and indivisible contract and in the absence of any statutory provision to that effect it is not open to the Court to divide it into two contracts--one of letting for residential purposes and the other for non-residential purposes, and to grant relief to the landlord under Section 13 (1) (e) limited to the portion of the demised properly which is being used for residential purposes.'

19, A Full Bench of Lahore High Court in Miran Baksh v. Mian Khan (AIR 1945 Lah 249) while considering the impact of Sections 53. 56 and 60 of the Punjab Tenancy Act and dealing with S. 53 thereof observed as under:

'This section is usually styled as a section conferring a right of pre-emption on the landlord, and this right can be exercised by any one of the co-landlords after notice has been served on all of them, and if all of them do not choose to exercise the right. The phrase landlord' has been denned in Section 4 as a person under whom a tenant holds land, and to whom the tenant is, or, but for a special contract would be, liable to pay rent for that land; and it has been held that where a tenant holds under more persons than one, any one or some of them are not landlords but all them collectively, except where it is expressly provided so. Section 53 Clause (10) hat: expressly provided that for the purpose of Section 53 and that section alone any one may be deemed to be the landlord.

Similarly, in Kahnu v. Hirda Ram (1969-5 Delhi LT 183) the learned single Judge of Delhi High Court held that where land is owned by two co-sharers, one co-sharer cannot induct a tenant into his share as well as the share of the other co-sharer in the land so as to make the tenancy binding upon the other.

11. Repelling the contentions of the learned counsel for the appellant, it is contended by Shri K.D. Sud, learned counsel for the respondents, that so far as first point is concerned, it is the date of filing the application for acquiring the proprietary and other rights of a landowner which is material and it determines the date for giving the relief to a tenant. It is further contended that subsequent events cannot be looked into and the legal representatives cannot take the benefit of Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act. In the alternative, it is contended that in the event of one of the landowners dying, the application may be disallowed to the extent of the share of such a landowner, but the application as a whole cannot be dismissed. He has placed reliance on a judgment of the Supreme Court in Bhajan Lal v. State of Punjab (1971-T SCC 34). He has relied upon para 7 of the judgment. It is convenient to reproduce the same;

'Shadi was a tenant prior to the date of the institution by Bhajan Lal of the proceeding in ejectment and he continued to remain a tenant till an order was passed by the Assistant Collector on April 30, 1964. But before that date Shadi had exercised his right to purchase the land and that right to purchase the land would not be defeated merely because on a date subsequent thereto an order in ejectment was passed against him. Shadi had, therefore, at the date when he initiated proceeding under Section 18 right to purchase the lands. By the subsequent order in ejectment made against him the statutory right of Shadi was not prejudicially effected.'

The learned counsel has also relied on the judgment in Bameshwar's case (AIR 3976 SC 49) (supra). On this account, it is contended by the learned counsel that there being no difference between the Himachal Act and the aforesaid Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, the aforesaid decisions of the Supreme Court were fully applicable to the present case on all fours. The learned counsel further seeks help in support of his contention from a judgment in Lilaram Jamiatrai v. Meghraj Hardasmal Kal-wani (AIR 1972 Guj 66). This was also a case under Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act. It is held in this judgment that High Court cannot examine the legality of the decree on facts which were not before the lower appellate Court and which occurred subsequently. It is further observed that additional evidence of new and subsequent events also cannot be allowed to be led in for the reason that the new events which may be attempted to be brought on record will require investigation and proof which the High Court cannot do in a revision anolication.

12. Before we consider the case law on the subject, it will be convenient to consider the relevant provisions of the Act. The preamble of the Act provides for the abolition of big landed estates and to reform law relating to tenancy and to make provisions in matters connected therewith. Chapter I of the Act deals with the definition of clauses. Under Sub-section (19) of Section 2, the 'Tenancy' has been defined as under:

' 'Tenancy' means a parcel of land held by a tenant of a landlord under one lease or one set of conditions. Chapter II deals with rights of tenancy whereas Chapter III deals with acquisition of proprietary rights by tenant. It is not necessary to deal with all the remaining chapters of the Act as they are not relevant to determine the points in issue. It may, however, be pointed out that under Section 104 of the Act, an aggrieved party has a right to prefer an appeal before the District Judge from any order of the Compensation Officer and a second appeal from the decision of the District Judge to the Judicial Commissioner (now the High Court). Under Section 105 of the Act, the Judicial Commissioner (now the High Court) has also been empowered to call for the record of the case to satisfy itself with the order of the District Judge deciding the appeal according to law.

13. Sub-section (1) of Section 11 of the Act gives right to tenant other than a sub-tenant to file an application before the Compensation Officer at any time after the commencement of the Act, to acquire on payment of compensation, the right, title and interest of the landowner in the land of the tenancy held by him under the landowner. The right of such a tenant is subject to Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act. As such, both these provisions have to be harmonised in a way that a balance is struck between the rights of the respective parties. We shall deal with this aspect of the matter at a later stage.

14. It may be pointed out that perhaps due to oversight, the learned counsel for the parties did not bring to our notice the rules framed under Ss. 26, 108 and 140 of the Act by the Lt. Governor, Himachal Pradesh. These rules were called 'The Himachal Pradesh Abolition of Big Landed Estates and Land Reforms Rules, 1955'. It cannot be disputed that the relevant rules are applicable to the proceedings under the Act. The relevant rule is Rule 19 which is reproduced as under:

'1'9. Proceedings not to abate on death or marriage of party.-- The death of one of the parties to a revenue proceeding, or in a proceeding to which a female is a party, her marriage shall not cause the proceeding to abate. And the Revenue Officer before whom the proceeding is held shall have power to make the successor-in-interest of the deceased person or of the married female a party thereto.'

The impact of the said rule is that the proceedings under the Act are not, to abate. The Revenue Officer, however, has been empowered to make the successor-in-interest of the deceased person or of the married female, a party thereto. While answering the aforesaid point, we have to keep in mind the provision contained in the aforesaid rule.

15. The points for determination as referred may be formulated: Point No. 1

Whether the death of a landowner, pending the proceedings, renders the application of a tenant infructuous? Point No. 2

Whether ownership rights in favour of a tenant cannot be granted if one or more of the landowners are entitled to the protection under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act?

16. Both these points are interconnected. The definition of 'Tenancy' indicates that it means a parcel of land held by a tenant under one lease or one set of conditions. It is an established principle of law that a plaintiff is entitled to the relief on facts as they exist on the date of the filing of the lis. Normally subsequent events after the filing of the lis would not defeat his rights. As such, the question of taking note of subsequent events e.g. the death of a tenant or any of the landowners, pending the proceedings would not create any obstacle in the rights of a tenant to acquire proprietary and other rights in the land. The main object of the Act is that a tenant of land should be its owner. The moment a tenant makes the requisite application, his rights become crystallised. The proceedings are to be held only to determine the essential conditions. If the conditions as required under the Act are satisfied, a tenant is entitled to acquire the rights conferred on him under the Act. A tenant cannot be made to suffer because of change of circumstances arising out of the delay in finally deciding his application. The application of a tenant is not to be affected by the death of the landowner since his rights are fructified at the time of making the application and subsequent events cannot take away his statutory rights. The judgment of the Federal Court in the case of Lachmeshwar (AIR 1941 FC 5) (supra) and of the Supreme Court in the case of Pasupuleti Venkateswarlu (AIR 1975 SC 1409) (supra) have no application since the Act with which we are dealing is a special legislation, providing otherwise, by necessary intendment. In fact, the decision of the Supreme Court in Rameshwar's case (AIR 1976 SC 49) (supra) practically applies to the proceedings under the Act. The position has been further clarified by Rule 19 as reproduced) earlier above. Under this rule, the proceedings are not to abate on death or; marriage of a party. It is further provided that the Revenue Officer before whom the proceedings are pending shall have power to make the successor-in-interest a party thereto. As such, the answer to point No. 1 is that on the death of landlord, the application of a tenant is not rendered infructuous.

17. Now we shall consider point No, 2. While considering point No. 1, we have come to the conclusion that the rights of a tenant to acquire proprietary and other rights under Sub-section (1) of S. n of the Act, are crystallised on the date of the filing of the application and the rights of such a tenant are not defeated by subsequent events. In the event of the death of a landowner during the pendency of the proceedings under Sub-section (1) of Section 11, who was not entitled to the protection under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act, his succes-sors-in-interest even if suffering from any of the disabilities under Sub-section (2) of Section 11, would not be entitled to such benefits. Otherwise also, the right of a tenant to acquire proprietary and other rights in the land is matured the ornament such disabilities as contained in Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of landowners cease to exist. It is an established principle of interpretation of statutes that the provisions of a special legislation are to be so interpreted as to enhance the purpose of the Act. In the event of a minor landlord becoming major, a tenant can acquire his rights. Similarly, it is possible that mental or physical disability of a landlord may be cured to such an extent that he may be capable of earning his livelihood. In such a situation, a tenant is entitled to acquire proprietary rights under the Act. It is also possible that a widow may re-marry. In that event too, a tenant is entitled to acquire her rights in the land. Similarly, the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that a tenancy is indivisible and in case one or more of the landlords are suffering from any of the disabilities as specified under Sub-section (2) of Section 11, a tenant cannot acquire proprietary and other rights in respect of part of the tenancy land, cannot be sustained. It may be noticed that a tenant is not prohibited from making successive applications under Sub-section (1) of Section 11 of the Act. A decision in previous proceedings would not operate as res judicata in subsequent proceedings. It cannot be disputed that a person, including a tenant, can purchase the share of a co-owner. Similarly, a tenant is not debarred from acquiring proprietary rights of a co-owner in a tenancy. In fact, the tenant on the acquisition of such a right will step into the shoes of the co-owner whose undivided share he has acquired under the Act. After such an acquisition, the tenant would be also entitled to seek partition of the land. The ultimate result would be that a tenant would cease to be a tenant of that portion of the property of which he has become the owner under the Act, and in respect of the remaining land he would continue to be a tenant. It would have no effect on the tenant continuing as such on the remaining land of other co-owners who are protected under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act It may be noticed that such an interpretation of the provisions contained under Section 11 of the Act would enhance the in-tendment of the Act and achieve the object as envisaged under the Act.

18. For the foregoing reasons, we are of the view that a tenant is entitled to acquire the proprietary and other rights under Sub-section (1) of Section 11 of the Act of one or more co-owners who are not suffering from any one or more of the disabilities as provided under Sub-section (21 of Section 11 of the Act and remains a tenant of the remaining land of other co-owners who suffer from such disabilities.

19. In view of the above observations, our answer to the aforesaid points is as under:

Point No. 1.

20. An application for acquisition of proprietary and other rights filed by a tenant does not on the death of a landowner become infructuous but his suc-cessors-in-interest are to be made a party to the proceedings.

Point No. 2.

21. In the part of tenancy held by a tenant, he can acquire proprietary and other rights under Sub-section (1) of Section 11 of the Act of such co-owners who are not entitled to the protection under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act. Similarly, he continues to be a tenant of the remaining land in which he could not acquire ownership rights of such co-owners who were entitled to the protection under Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act.

22. In both the above M.S.As., the landowners are the same whereas the tenants are different. The relevant facts briefly pertaining to M.S.A. No. 8 of 1972, have already been stated earlier above. As such, it is not necessary to reproduce the same over again. After having answered the aforesaid two points referred to the Full Bench, we are of the view that both the appeals filed on behalf of the appellants/landowners be dismissed. Accordingly, the appeals are dismissed and the orders and judgments passed by the lower Appellate Court affirming the orders of the Compensation Officer granting proprietary and other rights in favour of the respondents-tenants are affirmed. However, keeping in view the questions of law involved in these appeals, the parties are left to bear their own costs.


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