Decided on August 07,1963

MANIAN Respondents


- (1.)This appeal has arisen in a proceeding to fix fair rent under S.16 of the Malabar Tenancy Act and concerns the interpretation of the Explanation added to S.4(a) of the Act by the Amendment Act XXII of 1956. That Explanation reads:
"In ascertaining the normal produce the yield of the second crop shall be deemed to be half of that of the principal crop which shall be deemed to be the first crop."

It came into force on 27 10 1956 while the proceedings in this case were pending in appeal before the Subordinate Judge. In applying the Explanation to this case, the Subordinate Judge held the Kanni crop to be the first crop, the yield whereof he found to be 135.9 parahs of paddy per acre, and then the yield of the Makaram crop to be a half thereof as per the Explanation, and fixed the fair rent accordingly even though the tenant admitted and the Rent Court found the Makaram crop of the property to yield a quarter more than the Kanni crop. In O. P. No. 103 of 1961 moved by the landlord to have that order of the Subordinate Judge quashed that interpretation of the Explanation was challenged, but Vaidialingam J. has affirmed it. It is against the latter judgment that this appeal has been preferred by the landlord.

(2.)To us the language of the Explanation seems to bear no ambiguity. It makes the principal crop the basis of calculations to ascertain the normal produce of the land for purposes of fixing the fair rent thereof. The adjective 'principal' means chief, main or leading. The principal crop must therefore connote that crop which gives the higher yield. The Explanation directs imperatively that the principal crop "shall be deemed to be the first crop" of the land implying thereby that the next crop of the land shall be called the second crop. It further directs that the yield of the second crop "shall be deemed to be half of that of the principal crop."
(3.)It follows that the first crop of the land is not to be reckoned with reference to either the calendar year or the agricultural year, but according to the yield of the particular land concerned. That which gives the larger yield is the first crop in the reckoning of the Malabar Tenancy Act. The Subordinate Judge has, without any reference to the yield, assumed the first crop to be the Kanni crop and, finding its yield to be 135.9 parahs per acre, fixed the yield of the Makaram crop at its moiety and fixed the fair rent accordingly. In the petition to fix the fair rent the tenant has mentioned the proportion between the Kanni and Makaram crops of the land to be 200:250, though he has given low estimates of the actual yield of both crops. The Rent Court has kept up that proportion as it fixed the yields for Kanni and Makaram crops at 120 and 150 parahs of paddy per acre respectively. The tenant has not demurred to it. On appeal by the landlord complaining the fixation of the yield by the Rent Court to be too low, the Subordinate Judge has found the yield of the Kanni crop (alone) to be 135.9 parahs per acre and that has not been objected to before us by either party and has therefore to be accepted. The yield of the Makaram crop shall then be 5/4 thereof; that is to say 169.9 parahs of paddy. For purposes of fixing fair rent the latter has to he taken as the yield of the principal or the first crop and one half thereof as the yield of the second crop, as per the Explanation referred to above.

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